In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Andrew Graham about snake arm robots that can get into impossible locations and do things no other system can. Andrew tells the story about starting OC Robotics as a way to ground his robotics development efforts in a customer need. He felt that making something useful gave a great direction to his projects. We also hear about some of the unique properties of snake arm robots: – They can fit in any space that the tip of the robot can get through – They can operate in very tight locations as they are flexible all along and therefore do not sweep large areas to move – They are easy to seal up so that they don't interact with the environment they operate in – They are set up in two parts where the part exposed to the environment and to risk is the cheaper part Andrew then shares some interesting insights from the many projects he has worked on, from fish processing and suit making to bomb disposal and servicing of nuclear power plants. This interview was recorded in 2015.
By Jennifer Chu MIT engineers have created soft, 3-D-printed structures whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The menagerie of structures that can be magnetically manipulated includes a smooth ring that wrinkles up, a long tube that squeezes shut, a sheet that folds itself, and a spider-like "grabber" that can crawl, roll, jump, and snap together fast enough to catch a passing ball. It can even be directed to wrap itself around a small pill and carry it across a table. The researchers fabricated each structure from a new type of 3-D-printable ink that they infused with tiny magnetic particles. They fitted an electromagnet around the nozzle of a 3-D printer, which caused the magnetic particles to swing into a single orientation as the ink was fed through the nozzle.
By Mary Beth O'Leary With the push of a button, months of hard work were about to be put to the test. Sixteen teams of engineers convened in a cavernous exhibit hall in Nagoya, Japan, for the 2017 Amazon Robotics Challenge. The robotic systems they built were tasked with removing items from bins and placing them into boxes. For graduate student Maria Bauza, who served as task-planning lead for the MIT-Princeton Team, the moment was particularly nerve-wracking. "It was super stressful when the competition started," recalls Bauza.
Sitting in New York City, looking up at the clear June skies, I wonder if I am staring at an endangered phenomena. According to many in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) industry, skylines across the country soon will be filled with flying cars, quadcopter deliveries, emergency drones, and other robo-flyers. Moving one step closer to this mechanically-induced hazy future, General Electric (GE) announced last week the launch of AiRXOS, a "next generation unmanned traffic" management system. Managing the National Airspace is already a political football with the Trump Administration proposing privatizing the air-control division of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), taking its controller workforce of 15,000 off the government's books. The White House argues that this would enable the FAA to modernize and adopt "NextGen" technologies to speed commercial air travel.
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Jonathan W. Hurst, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University and CTO and co-founder of Agility Robotics, about legged locomotion, about a bipedal robot, called "Cassie." Hurst discusses Cassie's design, what types of research questions Cassie should allow, and applications of walking robots, including package delivery. Below is a video of Cassie walking in several environments. Jonathan W. Hurst is Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Agility Robotics, as well as an Associate Professor of Robotics and College of Engineering Dean's Professor at Oregon State University. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. and Ph.D. in robotics, all from Carnegie Mellon University.
Twenty-seven startups were funded in May for a total of $2.5 billion. This month's $2.5 billion in fundings doubles the January thru April total of $2.5 billion. Four acquisitions occurred in May. The most notable was SPX Corp., the large inspection equipment components manufacturer, which acquired CUES, a Florida robotic pipeline video inspection and rehab company, for $189 million. Look at all those LiDARs!
If the robotics world had a celebrity it would be Spot Mini of Boston Dynamics. Last month at the Robotics Summit in Boston the mechanical dog strutted onto the floor of the Westin Hotel trailed by hundreds of flickering iPhones. Marc Raibert first unveiled his metal menaagerie almost a decade ago with a video of Big Dog. Today, Mini is the fulfillment of his mission in a sleeker, smarter, and environmentally friendlier robo-canine package than its gas-burning ancestor. Since the early 1990s, machines have relied on rechargeable lithium ion batteries for power.
In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Walter Wohlkinger from Blue Danube Robotics about their Airskin, a safety sensor covering robots and machines. Safety is critical in robotics and especially so in co-robotics where people work closely with robots. Walter tells us how his product, the Airskin, offers a way to add security to systems by adding a sensor to the robot. We get to hear how the Airskin can be used to control robots by sensing the pressure on different parts of the robot. This is interesting in a co-robot context as it allows for intuitive control of robots.
He leads the High Level Group on Industrial Technologies, which on 24 April released a report called Re-finding industry – Defining Innovation to make recommendations on EU research and innovation priorities for industry in the next funding programme. Your report says that AI should be designated as a key enabling technology in the next funding programme, which means it is classed as a priority policy area. What does this mean in practice? 'Artificial intelligence is something relatively new and a field of strong competition, not only in the world, but also in Europe. It is therefore essential to find a common way ahead to encourage our research.
In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Paul Ekas about his EZGripper and how he designed it to be low cost, lightweight, robust and to offer reliable gripping of small and large objects. The EZGripper is a tendon based gripper using Dyneema tendons and aluminum oxide eyelets to make it durable and able to handle rough environments. The EZGripper is under-actuated, the fingers stay straight when picking up small objects and wrap around large objects. You can control position and torque allowing you to grip soft or hard objects and to do so gently or firmly.