Beating Super Hexagon With Computer Vision

Two great examples of using Computer Vision to beat Super Hexagon. Super Hexagon is a really hard game. The goal of Super Hexagon is to control a small triangle which circles around a central hexagon (which occasionally collapses into a pentagon or square in the hexagon and hyper hexagon difficulty) attempting to avoid contact with incoming "walls".  First example from Valentin Trimaille's Super Hexagon bot: Ray Casting Wall Detection The point is that a bot for this game makes a really nice image processing project to start learning OpenCV: simple shapes but lots of human disturbing effects, fast-paced game meaning real-time is required, very simple controls: rotate CW or CCW... ( full article ) Second example from Shaun LeBron's  Super Hexagon Unwrapper: This project is written in Python. It employs Computer Vision algorithms provided by SimpleCV to establish a reference frame in the image. Then it warps (or "unwraps") the image based on that reference frame, using OpenGL fragment shaders... ( github code ) ( full explanation )

Yale OpenHand Project

From Yale's OpenHand Project: This project intends to establish a series of open-source hand designs, and through the contributions of the open-source user community, result in a large number of useful design modifications and variations available to researchers. Based on the original  SDM Hand , the  Model T  is the OpenHand Project's first released hand design, initially introduced at ICRA 2013. the four underactuated fingers are differentially coupled through a floating pulley tree, allowing for equal force output on all finger contacts. Based on our lab's work with iRobot and Harvard on the  iHY hand , which won the  DARPA ARM program , the  Model O  replicates the hand topology common to several commercial hands, including ones from Barrett, Robotiq, and Schunk (among others). A commercial version of this hand is currently for sale by  RightHand Robotics ... ( homepage )

Automating Jobs: The Driverless Car Will Have Some Ugly Side Effects

During the ten years between 2020 and 2030, we're going to have our first experience with human-free businesses where systems/software will be communicating/negotiating with each other and you'll just be sitting on the sideline.

Stop Robot Abuse?

There is a word for this. Bullying. Check out  stoprobotabuse.com then read the hacker news comments. Finally go to the tumblr Help Stop Robot Abuse.

Prototyping with UberBlox

UberBlox is a new high-quality metal construction set and prototyping system for makers to build rigid structures and automated machines.

Robo.Op: Opening Industrial Robotics

From MADLAB.CC: Robo.Op is an open hardware / open software platform for hacking industrial robots (IRs). Robo.Op makes it cheaper and easier to customize your IR for creative use, so you can explore the fringes of industrial robotics. The toolkit is made up of a modular physical prototyping platform, a simplified software interface, and a centralized hub for sharing knowledge, tools, and code... ( homepage ) ( github )  

Proposed FAA Commercial UAS Rules

From IEEE Spectrum: Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg). Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must remain within VLOS of the operator or visual observer. At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close enough to the operator for the operator to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses. Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation. Daylight-only operations (official sunrise to official sunset, local time). Must yield right-of-way to other aircraft, manned or unmanned. May use visual observer (VO) but not required. First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways. Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87 knots). Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level... (full article)

Changing Automation with Sensitive Robots

Critics of automation claim robots are out to replace people. The near future will show that people are definitely in control and will be able to leverage technology for greater profitability and professional satisfaction.

Communicating Cars the Future?

If uninterrupted conversations between cars make driving safer, then self-driving cars will become safer as well.

Minibuilders

From iaac: Minibuilders was conceptualized as a community of three modestly sized robots which were tasked with very specific jobs that aggregated to a large scale operation. Each robot completes its programmed job in sequence to fully construct an automated, inhabitable structure... (full article)

Why I Automate: MPI Systems

The latest figures show that 179,000 industrial robots were sold worldwide in 2013, according to the International Federation of Robotics. That was a 12 percent jump over 2012. The increase is expected to continue when the final numbers are tallied for 2014.

Boston Dynamics' Spot

From Boston Dynamics' Youtube page: Spot is a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. Spot has a sensor head that helps it navigate and negotiate rough terrain. Spot weighs about 160 lbs. At this time Boston Dynamics hasn't released any additional info.  

The Art of Electronics Third Edition Coming In April

From Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill: 3rd Edition Description At long last, here is the thoroughly revised and updated third edition of the hugely successful Art of Electronics. It is widely accepted as the best single authoritative book on electronic circuit design. In addition to new or enhanced coverage of many topics, the Third Edition includes: 90 oscilloscope screenshots illustrating the behavior of working circuits; dozens of graphs giving highly useful measured data of the sort that's often buried or omitted in datasheets but which you need when designing circuits; 80 tables (listing some 1650 active components), enabling intelligent choice of circuit components by listing essential characteristics (both specified and measured) of available parts. The new Art of Electronics ​​retains the feeling of informality and easy access that helped make the earlier editions so successful and popular. It is an indispensable reference and the gold standard​​ for anyone, student or researcher, professional or amateur, who works with electronic circuits. Over 450,000 copies sold of first and second editions The leading practical guide to circuit design Fully up to date and packed with valuable advice Preorder at amazon .

Quirkbot: Arduino Platform For Building Things Out Of Straws

From Quirkbot's  kickstarter page : Quirkbot is a microcontroller toy that anyone can program.It is compatible with the open construction toy  Strawbees  and can be used along with readily available materials like regular drinking straws, LEDs, and hobby servos (motors) to create a wide variety of hackable toys suitable for anyone aged 10+.

European Research Consortium Collaborates to Develop Unmanned Robot to Manage Vineyards

A European research consortium comprising Spanish, French, Italian and German universities and companies is working on the development of an unmanned robot, equipped with non-invasive advanced sensors and artificial intelligence systems, which will help manage vineyards.

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Featured Product

US Digital - E4T Miniature Optical Kit Encoder

US Digital - E4T Miniature Optical Kit Encoder

US Digital is pleased to announce the launch of the E4T, their latest series of miniature high performance optical encoders. The E4T series delivers a marked performance increase over similar encoder models and designed to be an enhanced replacement for the E4P encoder series. The E4T utilizes state of the art transmissive optical sensing technology, and incorporates US Digital's own proprietary OptoASIC. Assembly of the E4T is simple and efficient and retains the previous E4P's form factor. Key features of the new E4T include: • Mechanically and Electrically Interchangeable with E4P • Improved Quadrature Signal Strength • 100 kHz Frequency Response • Transmissive Optical Design • Collet Style Push on Optical Disk Design (Patent Pending) • Simple & Efficient Assembly Process As with all of our products the E4T is designed and manufactured in their Vancouver, Washington USA facility and is available for purchase as of December 2014.