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.
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.
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.
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.
In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Anouk Wipprecht, a Dutch FashionTech Designer who incorporates technology and robotics into fashion. She thinks that “Fashion lacks Microcontrollers”.
Anouk creates instinctual and behavioral wearables; essentially clothes that can sense, process and react. She creates dresses that move, including motors and special effects. They don´t follow the normal fashion cycle of becoming irrelevant after six months, since they can be updated, improved, and interacted with.
She is a big supporter of open source and is contributing an open source unicorn horn + cam design for children with ADHD amongst other things that she publishes on Instructables.com or Hackster.io.
Three and half years ago, I stood on the corner of West Street and gasped as two window washers clung to life at the end of a rope a thousand feet above. By the time rescue crews reached the men on the 69th floor of 1 World Trade they were close to passing out from dangling upside down. Everyday risk-taking men and women hook their bodies to metal scaffolds and ascend to deadly heights for $25 an hour. Ramone Castro, a window washer of three decades, said it best, “It is a very dangerous job. It is not easy going up there. You can replace a machine but not a life.” Castro’s statement sounds like an urgent call to action for robots.
In this episode, Abate interviews Andrew Stein from Anki. At Anki they developed an engaging robot called Cozmo which packs sophisticated robotic software inside a lifelike, palm sized, robot. Cozmo recognizes people and objects around him and plays games with them. Cozmo is unique in that a large amount of development has been implemented to make his animations and behavior feel natural, in addition to focusing on classical robotic elements such as computer vision and object manipulation.