Robotnik's Mobile Manipulator RB-1

From Smashing Robotics: Spanish company Robotnik introduced earlier this week their very own RB-1 mobile manipulator. The robot is designed for indoor use in household as well as professional environments, and is brought to life by using well known Dynamixel Pro series servo actuators which add up to 13 degrees of freedom (DOF), depending on variant. It is well suited for remote manipulation or human assistance applications and can be fully autonomous or manually controlled... ( full article ) ( datasheet )

Global Industrial Robots and Material Handling Conveyor Growth in 2015

From increased sales and installations to more affordable robots and quicker ROIs, all evidence points to the multi-billion dollar market of industrial robotics continuing to grow for years to come.

Robots at ProMat to Feature Indian AGVs for the First Time

Hi-Tech Robotic Systemz is making its North American debut at ProMat 2015 (booth #5521) in Chicago, IL, with a focus on automating e-commerce fulfillment centers.

Company Overcomes Manpower Problems with New Automated Stacking System

With the robotic board handling system, the company increased production an average of 20-30 percent and as high as 60 percent on some products.

ROBOCHOP: Interactive Installation Allows Internet Users Worldwide to Remotely Control a Pop-up Robotic Plant

From Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram: From March 16-20, 2015 internet users and visitors to CODE_n (Hall 16) at CeBit in Hanover will be able to use an online app connected to the ROBOCHOP installation to design and fabricate a piece of furniture in real time. The ROBOCHOP interface lets participants instruct a robotic arm to grab and sculpt a prefabricated 40 x 40 x 40cm durable foam cube using a floor mounted hot wire tool to create the object of their choice. The pop-up robotic plant has been conceptualised, coded and built by KRAM/WEISSHAAR. ROBOCHOP features a needle gripper as the robot’s hand, coaxial cooling of the cutting wire and sensors to measure the wire’s tension and provide direct feedback to the system. This harnesses the robot’s brute force and allows it to sculpt hundreds of unique objects consecutively with elegance and precision. Once manufacturing is complete, each custom object is packaged and posted to the user anywhere in the world entirely free of charge... ( full release ) ( homepage )  

Regulating the UAV Industry: Current Status and Future Trends

Current UAV regulation is not a cause for concern as is so often suggested. Regulations for commercial UAV usage are fit for purpose and are likely to become more relaxed as UAV technology evolves.

Robotics Engineers: What are the salary levels & who is hiring?

The below salary charts for robotics engineers shows the highest salary levels for robotics engineers in New York & San Francisco at approx. $110,000.

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 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.

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