The difference between robotics and automation is almost nonexistent and yet has a huge difference in everything from trade shows, marketing, publications to academic conferences and journals. This week, the difference was expressed as an opportunity in the Dear Colleague Letter below from Professor Ken Goldberg, CITRIS CPAR and UC Berkeley, who suggested that students whose papers were rejected from ICRA, revise them for CASE, the Conference on Automation Science and Engineering. This opportunity was expressed beautifully in the title quote from Professor Raja Chatila, ex President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and current President of IEEE Global Society on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. "One robot on Mars is robotics, ten robots on Mars is automation." Over 2000 papers were declined by ICRA today, including many that can be effectively revised for another conference such as IEEE CASE (deadline 15 March).
If you've ever swatted a mosquito away from your face, only to have it return again (and again and again), you know that insects can be remarkably acrobatic and resilient in flight. Those traits help them navigate the aerial world, with all of its wind gusts, obstacles, and general uncertainty. Such traits are also hard to build into flying robots, but MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Yufeng Chen has built a system that approaches insects' agility. Chen, a member of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Research Laboratory of Electronics, has developed insect-sized drones with unprecedented dexterity and resilience. The aerial robots are powered by a new class of soft actuator, which allows them to withstand the physical travails of real-world flight.
Dutch brewing company Heineken is one of the largest beer producers in the world with more than 70 production facilities globally. From small breweries to mega-plants, its logistics and production processes are increasingly complex and its machinery ever more advanced. The global beer giant therefore began looking for robotics solutions to make its breweries safer and more attractive for employees while enabling a more flexible organisation. The environment is constantly changing and the robot has to be able to respond immediately. Automatically adapting to the situation Dennis van der Plas, senior global lead packaging lines at Heineken, says, "We are becoming a high-tech company and attracting more and more technically trained staff. Repetitive tasks – like picking up fallen bottles from the conveyor belt will not provide them job satisfaction."
We consider an SAC agent trained with an IDM, with and without adaptation, and compare to CURL, a contrastive method discussed in a previous post. We compare the generalization ability of methods in the visualization below, and generally find that PAD can adapt even in non-stationary environments, a challenging problem setting where non-adaptive methods tend to fail. While CURL is found to generalize no better than the non-adaptive SAC trained with an IDM, agents can still benefit from the training signal that CURL provides during the training phase. Algorithms that learn both during training and deployment, and from multiple training signals, may therefore be preferred.
Doust explains the company's modular, robots-as-a-service subscription business model. They discuss robotic solutions for the agricultural industry, disinfecting robots to combat COVID19, and other exciting new developments at AIS. Afshin Doust is the Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Intelligent Systems (AIS). He is a seasoned entrepreneur with professional experience in finance, sales, business consulting, and strategic management with a keen interest in assembling teams to resolve business challenges. Afshin took the role of CEO at AIS in 2016, with the goal to lead the team towards the vision of creating innovations in autonomous robotic solutions for a wide range of applications.
Speakers in tonight's Society, Robots and Us at 6pm PST Tuesday Feb 23 include Henry Evans, mute quadriplegic and founder of Robots4Humanity and Aaron Edsinger, founder of Hello Robot. We'll also being talking about robots for people with disabilities with Disability Advocate Adriana Mallozi, founder of Puffin Innovations and Daniel Seita, who is a deaf roboticist. The event is free and open to the public. As a result of a sudden stroke, Henry Evans turned from being a Silicon Valley tech builder into searching for technologies and robots that would improve his life, and the life of his family and caregivers, as the founder of Robots4Humanity. Since then Henry has shaved himself with the help of the PR2 robot, and spoken on the TED stage with Chad Jenkins in a Suitable Tech Beam.
In this podcast series of episodes we are going to explain how to create a robotics startup step by step. We are going to learn how to select your co-founders, your team, how to look for investors, how to test your ideas, how to get customers, how to reach your market, how to build your product… Starting from zero, how to build a successful robotics startup. I'm Ricardo Tellez, CEO and co-founder of The Construct startup, a robotics startup at which we deliver the best learning experience to become a ROS Developer, that is, to learn how to program robots with ROS. Our company is already 5 years long, we are a team of 10 people working around the world. We have more than 100.000
In the last few days I started some serious coding. The first for 20 years, in fact, when I built the software for the BRL LinuxBots. My coding project is to start building an ethical black box (EBB), or to be more accurate, a module that will allow a software EBB to be incorporated into a robot. Conceptually the EBB is very simple, it is a data logger – the robot equivalent of an aircraft Flight Data Recorder, or an automotive Event Data Recorder. Nearly five years ago I made the case, with Marina Jirotka, that all robots (and AIs) should be fitted with an EBB as standard.
She studied mathematics in college and then worked for Prof. Joshua Tenenbaum at MIT in his computational cognitive science lab. She then started on a Ph.D at UC Berkeley working with Professor Alison Gopnik in 2018. She is most proud of receiving funding and winning an innovation prize that catalyzed her business! Her startup is called E-liza Dolls. They are 18'' electronic "liza" dolls that introduce young girls to coding and hardware in a fun way!
Imagine for a moment that a road is used only for a single car and driver. Everything is smooth and wonderful. Then you wake up from that utopian dream and remember that our road networks have multiple cars of varying sizes, from different manufacturers, each with a driver with unique behaviors behind the wheel. We quickly realize that traffic conventions and rules are in place to avoid complete and utter chaos. We believe with increasing robotic use cases in the public domain as we all do see, a similar parallel reality needs to be realized and we propose that RoMi-H, an open-source robot and infrastructure framework that simplifies cross fleet robot collaboration, is the way to achieve this coming reality!