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DOE's E-ROBOT Prize targets robots for construction and built environment

Robohub

Silicon Valley Robotics is pleased to announce that we are a Connector organization for the E-ROBOT Prize, and other DOE competitions on the American-Made Network. There is \$2 million USD available in up to ten prizes for Phase One of the E-ROBOT Prize, and \$10 million USD available in Phase Two. Individuals or teams can sign up for the competition, as the online platform offers opportunities to connect with potential team members, as do competition events organized by Connector organizations. Please cite Silicon Valley Robotics as your Connector organization, when entering the competition. Silicon Valley Robotics will be hosting E-Robot Prize information and connection events as part of our calendar of networking and Construction Robotics Network events.


The future of robotics research: Is there room for debate?

Robohub

As the field of robotics matures, our community must grapple with the multifaceted impact of our research; in this article, we describe two previous workshops hosting robotics debates and advocate for formal debates to become an integral, standalone part of major international conferences, whether as a plenary session or as a parallel conference track. As roboticists build increasingly complex systems for applications spanning manufacturing, personal assistive technologies, transportation and others, we face not only technical challenges, but also the need to critically assess how our work can advance societal good. Our rapidly growing and uniquely multidisciplinary field naturally cultivates diverse perspectives, and informal dialogues about our impact, ethical responsibilities, and technologies. Indeed, such discussions have become a cornerstone of the conference experience, but there has been relatively little formal programming in this direction at major technical conferences like the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) and Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) Conference. To fill this void, we organized two workshops entitled "Debates on the Future of Robotics Research" at ICRA 2019 and 2020, inspired by a similar workshop at the 2018 International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML).


Self-supervised learning of visual appearance solves fundamental problems of optical flow

Robohub

How do honeybees land on flowers or avoid obstacles? One would expect such questions to be mostly of interest to biologists. However, the rise of small electronics and robotic systems has also made them relevant to robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For example, small flying robots are extremely restricted in terms of the sensors and processing that they can carry onboard. If these robots are to be as autonomous as the much larger self-driving cars, they will have to use an extremely efficient type of artificial intelligence – similar to the highly developed intelligence possessed by flying insects.


#326: Deep Sea Mining, with Benjamin Pietro Filardo

Robohub

In this episode, Abate follows up with Benjamin Pietro Filardo, founder of Pliant Energy Systems and NACROM, the North American Consortium for Responsible Ocean Mining. Pietro discusses the current proposed solutions for deep sea mining which are environmentally destructive, and he offers an alternative solution using swarm robots which could mine the depths of the ocean while creating minimal disturbance to this mysterious habitat. Benjamin "Pietro" Filardo After several years in the architectural profession, Pietro founded Pliant Energy Systems to explore renewable energy concepts he first pondered while earning his first degree in marine biology and oceanography. With funding from four federal agencies he has broadened the application of these concepts into marine propulsion and a highly novel robotics platform.


Women in Robotics Update: introducing our 2021 Board of Directors

Robohub

Women in Robotics is a grassroots community involving women from across the globe. Our mission is supporting women working in robotics and women who would like to work in robotics. We formed an official 501c3 non-profit organization in 2020 headquartered in Oakland California. We'd like to introduce our 2021 Board of Directors: Andra Keay founded Women in Robotics originally under the umbrella of Silicon Valley Robotics, the non-profit industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra's background is in human-robot interaction and communication theory.


Robotics trends at #CES2021

Robohub

Even massive events like the 54th edition of Consumer Electronics Show (CES) have gone virtual due to the current pandemic. Since 1967, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which is the North American trade association for the consumer technology industry, has been organising the fair, and this year was not going to be any different--well, except they had to take the almost 300,000m${} 2$ from CES 2020 to the cloud. In this post, I mainly put the focus on current and future hardware/robotics trends presented at CES 2021 (because we all love to make predictions, even during uncertain times). "Innovation accelerates and bunches up during economic downturns only to be unleashed as the economy begins to recover, ushering in powerful waves of technological change"--Christopher Freeman, British Economist. With this quote, I start the first session on'my show' of CES 2021, 'Tech trends to watch' by CTA (see their slides here).


How to keep drones flying when a motor fails

Robohub

Robotics researchers at the University of Zurich show how onboard cameras can be used to keep damaged quadcopters in the air and flying stably – even without GPS. As anxious passengers are often reassured, commercial aircrafts can easily continue to fly even if one of the engines stops working. But for drones with four propellers – also known as quadcopters – the failure of one motor is a bigger problem. With only three rotors working, the drone loses stability and inevitably crashes unless an emergency control strategy sets in. Researchers at the University of Zurich and the Delft University of Technology have now found a solution to this problem: They show that information from onboard cameras can be used to stabilize the drone and keep it flying autonomously after one rotor suddenly gives out.


IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast with Hod Lipson: Can we design self-aware robots?

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Can they design other robots and self-repair? Why should we evolve robots to do tasks that animals do so well? Why don't we have useful autonomous robots in the real world yet? Find out Hod's answers to these questions and updates on VoxCAD development for designing and simulation of soft robots in this episode of the IEEE RAS Soft Robotics Podcast. What's more, Hod gave his personal advice to roboticists being interviewed for an assistant professorship and to 1st-year robotics PhD students looking for a thesis topic, and he also commented on his approach to the ethical dilemma of military funding scientific research.


Women in Robotics Update: Melonee Wise, Maren Bennewitz, Alicia Casals

Robohub

Introducing the seventh post in our new series of Women in Robotics Updates, featuring Melonee Wise, Maren Bennewitz and Alicia Casals and from our first "25 women in robotics you need to know about" list in 2014. These women have pioneered foundational research in robotics, created organizations of impact, and inspired the next generations of robotics researchers, of all ages. There are 180 more stories on our 2013 to 2020 lists. Why not nominate someone for inclusion next year! And we encourage #womeninrobotics and women who'd like to work in robotics to join our professional network at http://womeninrobotics.org


Science Magazine robot videos 2020

Robohub

Did you manage to watch all the holiday robot videos of 2020? If you did but are still hungry for more, I have prepared this compilation of Science Magazine videos featuring robotics research that were released during last year. What if the folding wings of beetles could help robots navigate narrow places by not being affected by crashes? You can read a bit more here, and see the research article here. Researchers developed an iron-based spray that sticks to surfaces like origami paper or cotton thread, and turns objects into tiny robots that could be maneuvered inside our bodies for future biomedical applications.