Robohub


Efficient data acquisition in MATLAB: Streaming HD video in real-time

Robohub

The acquisition and processing of a video stream can be very computationally expensive. In MATLAB we can get multi-threading by interfacing with other languages, but there is a significant cost associated with exchanging data across the resulting language barrier. In this blog post, we compare different approaches for getting data through MATLAB's Java interface, and we show how to acquire high-resolution video streams in real-time and with low overhead. For our booth at ICRA 2014, we put together a demo system in MATLAB that used stereo vision for tracking colored bean bags, and a robot arm to pick them up. We used two IP cameras that streamed H.264 video over RTSP.


Battery safety and fire handling

Robohub

Lithium battery safety is an important issue as there are more and more reports of fires and explosions. Fires have been reported in everything from cell phones to airplanes to robots. If you don't know why we need to discuss this, or even if you do know, watch this clip or click here. I am not a fire expert. This post is based on things I have heard and some basic research.


The race to own the autonomous super highway: Digging deeper into Broadcom's offer to buy Qualcomm

Robohub

Governor Andrew Cuomo of the State of New York declared last month that New York City will join 13 other states in testing self-driving cars: "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives, and we are proud to be working with GM and Cruise on the future of this exciting new technology." For General Motors, this represents a major milestone in the development of its Cruise software, since the the knowledge gained on Manhattan's busy streets will be invaluable in accelerating its deep learning technology. In the spirit of one-upmanship, Waymo went one step further by declaring this week that it will be the first car company in the world to ferry passengers completely autonomously (without human engineers safeguarding the wheel). As unmanned systems are speeding ahead toward consumer adoption, one challenge that Cruise, Waymo and others may counter within the busy canyons of urban centers is the loss of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data. Robots require a complex suite of coordinating data systems that bounce between orbiting satellites to provide positioning and communication links to accurately navigate our world.


Robots' two-pronged role in Alibaba's $25.3 billion Singles' Day sale

Robohub

The Singles' Day Shopping Festival held each year on November 11th is just like Black Friday, Mothers' Day or any other sales-oriented psuedo-holiday, but bigger and more extravagant. Starting in 2009 in China as a university campus event, Singles Day has now reached all over China and to more than 180 countries. After 24 hours of non-stop online marketing, including a star-studded Gala with film star Nicole Kidman and American rapper Pharrell Williams, the day (also known as Bachelors Day or 11/11 because the number "1" is symbolic of an individual that is alone) concluded with a sales total of ¥168 billion ($25.3 billion) on the Tmall and Taobao e-commerce networks (both belong to the Alibaba Group (NASDAQ:BABA)). JD.com, VIP.com and Netease's shopping site you.163.com also participated in the 11/11 holiday with additional sales. Muyuan Li, a researcher for The Robot Report, said: "Chinese people love shopping on e-commerce websites because sellers offer merchandise 20% – 60% cheaper than in the stores, particularly on 11/11.



Robohub Podcast #al-: ANYmal: A Ruggedized Quadrupedal Robot, with Marco Hutter

Robohub

In this interview, Audrow Nash interviews Marco Hutter, Assistant Professor for Robotic Systems at ETH Zürich, about a quadrupedal robot designed for autonomous operation in challenging environments, called ANYmal. Here is a video showing some of the highlights of ANYmal at the ARGOS Challenge. Here is a video that shows some of the motions ANYmal is capable of. Marco Hutter is assistant professor for Robotic Systems at ETH Zürich since 2015 and Branco Weiss Fellow since 2014. Before this, he was deputy director and group leader in the field of legged robotics at the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zürich.


How will robots and AI change our way of life in 2030?

Robohub

At #WebSummit 2017, I was part of a panel on what the future will bring in 2030 with John Vickers from Blue Abyss, Jacques Van den Broek from Randstad and Stewart Rogers from Venture Beat. John talked about how technology will allow humans to explore amazing new places. Jacques demonstrated how humans were more complex than our most sophisticated AI and thus would be an integral part of any advances. And I focused on how the current technological changes would look amplified over a 10–12 year period. After all, 2030 isn't that far off, so we have already invented all the tech, but it isn't widespread yet and we're only guessing what changes will come about with the network effects.


smart-soft-robotics-for-stroke-rehabilitation

Robohub

The culmination of work by Alistair C. McConnell (lead-researcher) through his PhD and the SOPHIA team, the Soft Orthotic Physiotherapy Hand Interactive Aid (SOPHIA) forms the foundation for our future research into Soft Robotic rehabilitation systems. Through Alistair's research, it became apparent that there was a lack of stroke rehabilitation systems for the hand, that could be used in a domestic environment and monitor both physical and neural progress. Alistair conducted a thorough review of the literature to fully explore the state of the art, and apparent lack of this type of rehabilitation system. This review investigated the development of both Exoskeleton and End-Effector based systems to examine how this point was reached and what gaps and issues still occurred. From this review and discussions with physiotherapists, we developed an idea for a brain machine controlled soft robotic system.


Funding trends: self-driving dreams coming true

Robohub

Participants and startups in the emerging self-driving vehicles industry (components, systems, trucks, cars and buses) have been at it for over almost 60 years. The pace accelerated in 2004, 2005 and 2007 when DARPA sponsored long-distance competitions for driverless cars, and then again in 2009 when Uber began its ride-hailing system. As the prospects that self-driving ride-hailing fleets, vehicles, systems and associated AI would soon be a reality, startups, fundings, mergers and acquisitions have followed reaching a peak in 2017. Thus far in 2017 more than 55 companies and startups offering everything from solid state distancing sensors to ride-share fleets and mapping systems – plus five strategic acquisitions – raised over $28.2 billion! Listed below are month-by-month recaps of self-driving-related fundings and acquisitions as reported by The Robot Report.


1000 local events expected during the European Robotics Week 2017

Robohub

The importance of robotics for Europe's regions will be the focus of a week-long celebration of robotics taking place around Europe on 17–27 November 2017. The European Robotics Week 2017 (ERW2017) is expected to include more than 1000 local events for the public -- open days by factories and research laboratories, school visits by robots, talks by experts and robot competitions are just some of the events. Robotics is increasingly important in education. "Since 2011, we have been asking schools throughout all regions of Europe to demonstrate robotics education at all levels," says Reinhard Lafrenz, the Secretary General of euRobotics, the association for robotics researchers and industry which organises ERW2017. "I am delighted that many skilled teachers and enthusiastic local organisers have taken up this challenge and we have seen huge success in participation, with over 1000 events expected to be organised in all regions of Europe this year."