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ETH Zurich

by   -   November 25, 2016

mesh-mould-5

During the 11th Swiss Innovation Forum in Basel, the project team behind the novel building technology Mesh Mould received the Swiss Technology Award 2016.

“Mesh Mould”, developed by researchers at ETH Zurich, allows for building load-bearing concrete elements of any shape without formwork. The building technology has the potential to revolutionise construction of steel-reinforced concrete structures through the combination of the two commonly separated functions of formwork and reinforcement in a robotic fabrication process. In short, Mesh Mould enables architects and engineers to build complex concrete structures without any additional costs. In addition, it allows for the saving of material and therefore contributes to a more sustainable construction.

by   -   August 24, 2016
T=0h. Autonomous (hand-) launch.
T=0h. Autonomous (hand-) launch.

One year after having demonstrated the 81-hour continuous solar-powered flight that is still the current world record in flight endurance for all aircrafts < 50kg total mass, the AtlantikSolar UAV has completed its next milestone by demonstrating the first-ever fully autonomous (from launch to landing) solar-powered perpetual flight with significant payload (Color + Thermal Camera) in a 26-hour Search-and-Rescue (SaR) mission.

by   -   August 9, 2016
The Flying Ring in action. Source: Rajan Gill/YouTube
The Flying Ring in action. Source: Rajan Gill/YouTube

The Flying Ring is a new flying vehicle being developed at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich. The goal of the project is to fully characterize all aerodynamic properties of the vehicle. While traditional quadcopters are agile and carry high payloads they are not efficient in forward flight, with traditional lift to drag ratios comparable to a fruit fly. The Flying Ring vehicle, however, can fly on its side, allowing the blades to propel it forward faster than a typical quadcopter.

by ,   -   July 29, 2016
Photo: Cirque du Soleil - PARAMOUR on Broadway - at the Lyric Theatre. Featuring Flying Machine Design and Choreography by Verity Studios. Pictured: Ruby Lewis as 'Indigo' Ryan Vona as 'Joey'. ©, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical. Photo by: Richard Termine
Photo: Cirque du Soleil – PARAMOUR on Broadway – at the Lyric Theatre. Featuring Flying Machine Design and Choreography by Verity Studios. Pictured: Ruby Lewis as ‘Indigo’ Ryan Vona as ‘Joey’. ©, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical. Photo by: Richard Termine

Since April, a troupe of eight flying machines has been performing in a Cirque du Soleil Broadway show called Paramour. This group of quadcopters has now completed its first 100 shows in front of a live theater audience, without a single incident. Given the string of recent safety incidents with drones (there’s more), this begs the question: How was this accomplished?

by   -   July 28, 2016
Image credit: Robin Ritz
Source: Robin Ritz, Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich.

The IDSC Tailsitter has been designed at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, ETH Zurich, as a testbed for novel control algorithms for tailsitter vehicles. The goal of the project is to develop controllers that enable agile and robust flight for all flight regimes, such that the full potential of these vehicles can be exploited.

by ,   -   May 23, 2016

aerial-robot-robotics

Autonomous exploration of unknown environments corresponds to a critical ability and a major challenge for aerial robots. In many cases, we would like to rely on the ability of an intelligent flying system to completely and efficiently explore the previously unknown world and derive a consistent map of it. On top of this basic skill, one can then work on several tasks such as infrastructure inspection, hazard detection, and more.

by   -   May 4, 2016
UAV-euRathlon
UAV developed by Ascending Technologies. Photo credits: TRADR

The University of Oulu will host a summer school on heterogeneity in Robotic Systems this August in Oulu, Finland, where the latest advances and developments in the field of European research within this area will be presented.

The euRathlon/TRADR summer school 2016 will take place from 22-26 August and will provide participants with both theoretical and practical insight in multi-domain (ground, marine and aerial) real robotic systems for deployment in disaster response scenarios.  The trend in this area is towards multi-robot systems with different platforms, processing powers and operational spaces (ground, water, air) that will be deployed over long periods and several sorties. This raises many challenges including multi-modal heterogeneous mapping, semantic analysis and reasoning, collaborative planning under uncertainty, and the integration of mapping and planning.

The summer school programme has been designed to provide attendees with hands-on experience; they will work on practical tasks using several robots with different sensory equipment.

Three invited speakers will give master classes. The keynote speakers confirmed are:

The intended audience of the summer school is undergraduate students, Master students, PhD students, postdoc students, researchers from universities/organisations and engineers from industry companies around the world. The summer school will provide an opportunity for attendees to deepen their understanding of heterogeneous robotics systems and share ideas and experiences. Participants can optionally present a paper/poster during the summer school.

Participants of euRathlon/SHERPA 2015 summer school during the hands-on experience with domain-specific simulators.  Photo credits: euRathlon
Participants of euRathlon/SHERPA 2015 summer school during the hands-on experience with domain-specific simulators. Photo credits: euRathlon

During their stay in Oulu, participants will extend their knowledge by learning about the latest advances in multi-domain real robotic systems for deployment in disaster response scenarios.

In addition to improving their knowledge in field robotics, the event constitutes a great opportunity to meet professionals and specialists with common interests and can serve to create new teams willing to participate in the ERL Emergency competition in 2017.

The call for participation in the summer school is now open and full information is available on http://www.eurathlon.eu/index.php/workshop/summerschool2016/

The summer school is jointly organised by EURATHLON and TRADR research projects funded by the Seventh Framework Programme and the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission, respectively.

Participants of euRathlon/SHERPA 2015 summer school test the USV on the lake in Oulu.  Photo credits: euRathlon
Participants of euRathlon/SHERPA 2015 summer school test the USV on the lake in Oulu. Photo credits: euRathlon

euRathlon is an outdoor multi-domain robotic competition inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident. The euRathlon Challenges requires teams of land, underwater and flying robots to work together to survey the scene, collect environmental data, and identify critical hazards. After three successful years, euRathlon takes a step further under the RockEU2 EU-Horizon 2020 project.  RockEU2 builds on the success of the RockEU FP7 coordination action, together with the expertise in robotics competitions generated within euRathlon, RoCKIn and EuRoC EU-FP7 projects. The approach to robot competitions will be transitional and experimental. RockEU2 traces the first steps of a novel model for competitions: the European Robotics League (ERL). The ERL model will be tested for viability alongside its implementation during the next two years, in which euRathlon will become ERL Emergency Robots.

Watch the video resume of the euRathlon 2015 Grand Challenge:

TRADR is a research project. It focuses on long-term human-robot teaming for robot-assisted disaster response and addresses the scientific challenges arising from making the experience of a human-robot disaster response team persistent over multiple sorties during a prolonged mission. Using a proven-in-practice user-centric design methodology, TRADR develops novel science and technology for human-robot emergency teams.

Ground robots used in survey and rescue missions by TRADR. Photo credit: TRADR.
Ground robots used in survey and rescue missions by TRADR. Photo credit: TRADR.

Different types of robots collaborate with human team members to explore the environment, and gather physical samples. Throughout this collaborative effort, TRADR enables the team to gradually develop its understanding of the disaster area over multiple synchronous and asynchronous sorties (persistent environment models), to improve team members’ understanding of how to work in the area (persistent multi-robot action models), and to improve team-work (persistent human-robot teaming).

Watch the video of TRADR Joint exercise in Dortmund, Germany:

The Monospinner in flight.
Fig. 1. The Monospinner in flight.

The Monospinner (Fig.1), developed at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich, is the mechanically simplest, controllable, flying machine in existence. It has only one moving part (the rotating propeller), but can still fully control its position in space. The vehicle features no additional actuators or aerodynamic surfaces. 

by   -   April 14, 2016

Kickstart-programThe Kickstart Accelerator program in Switzerland is currently accepting applications from early-stage startups making “smart and connected machines”, namely robots.

by   -   April 1, 2016
Drone flying over a field.
Drone flying over a field.

by Fintan Burke

The last place you might expect to find drones and rovers is checking up on a corn field, but they could soon join tractors and ploughs on a farmer’s list of must-have agricultural tools, thanks to their potential to reduce pesticide use and increase the amount of crops that can be grown.

by   -   March 23, 2016

roscon_hamburg_CropROSCon is an annual conference focused on ROS, the Robot Operating System. Every year, hundreds of ROS developers of all skill levels and backgrounds, from industry to academia, come together to teach, learn, and show off their latest projects. ROSCon 2015 was held in Hamburg, Germany.

Here is the next set of posts from the OSRF blog, along with videos.

by   -   March 11, 2016

cybathlonOn Saturday, 8 October 2016 ETH Zurich is organising the very first Cybathlon at the SWISS Arena in Kloten, Switzerland.  Individuals with physical disabilities will compete side by side in six demanding disciplines, using the latest assistive technologies, and now tickets are available to buy.

by   -   March 8, 2016
Source: ADRLabETH/youtube
Hardware experiments on motion planning for the the ballbot Rezero using direct transcription. Source: ADRLab ETH/youtube

When you walk across a room or down a path, your brain is making thousands of decisions on how best to move. For example, how best to use your weight, scanning for any obstacles or uneven surfaces, and how rigid (or soft) your limbs and joints should be. Teaching a robot to conduct the same decision-making process is ongoing in robotics, and a team from ADRL, ETH Zurich and NCCR Robotics is studying existing direct transcription methods for trajectory optimization applied to robot motion planning.

by   -   March 7, 2016
 Photo source: 2016 NYCDFF
Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director of Creation, Cirque du Soleil (L) and Benjamin Dupont (R). Source: 2016 NYCDFF

SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters won the 2016 New York City Drone Film Festival (NYCDFF) Featuring Drones category.

NYCDFF is the world’s first event exclusively dedicated to celebrating the art of drone cinematography. The festival offers an international platform for filmmakers from every corner of the globe to exhibit their work in front of industry professionals and the drone cinema fan community. 

by   -   February 25, 2016
photo source: ETH Zurich, RSL
ANYmal walking. photo source: ETH Zurich, RSL

ANYmal is a quadrupedal robot designed for autonomous operation in difficult terrains. It is capable of running and climbing, and with its incorporated laser sensors and cameras, the robot can perceive its environment to continuously create maps and accurately localize.





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