As part of the UK’s National Robotics Week, The University of Sheffield hosted the 17th Towards Autonomous Systems (TAROS) conference from 28-30 June. Among the papers and discussions on the development of autonomous robotics research, two sessions on the last day looked at robots in the public eye and exploring the issue of responsible research in robotics.
Keyhole, or minimally invasive, surgery can offer many benefits over more traditional, open operations, including reduced risk of infections, quicker recovery times and less scarring. But internal organs can get in the way when hard robotic arms are used, given that access can be very limited and soft tissue can sometimes move in unexpected ways.
New research published today in the Journal of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics shows that an insect-inspired vision strategy can help indoor flying drones to perceive distances with a single camera – a key requirement for controlled and safe landing. With indoor drones no longer needing to bear the weight of additional sonar equipment, the strategy should hasten the miniaturization of indoor autonomous drones.
Our penultimate video features the initial “Big Vision” trailer we produced at the beginning of this project. The video showcases the basic components of the robotic system we targeted (surface station, relay chain, ground swarm) and how we imagined our collective of underwater robots forming coherent swarms.
Our underwater swarm research started in a few cubic centimeters of water with some naked electronics on a table. Over the next three and a half years, our swarm increased by a factor of 40, and the size of our test waters increased by a factor of 40 million as we went from aquariums and pools, to ponds, rivers and lakes, and finally ending up in the salt water basin of the Livorno harbour. Quite a stretch for a small project!
During the past year we have shown many swarm algorithms in various experiments. The spotlight was always on the Lily and the Jeff robots. However, there is now another star in the team and this trailer is dedicated to this special agent: the base station!
Joel Gibbard started out designing prosthetic hands in his bedroom out of sheet metal, but found himself drawn to 3D printing because of its universality and low cost. Now his company, Open Bionics, believes it can cut the cost of a bionic hand by a factor of 20 from the current around EUR 100 000 price tag.
Wearable technology uses electric motors and springs to augment the strength and balance of the human body. It has long been the subject of military research, but now engineers believe the technology is advanced enough to find much broader appeal.
Most of the videos from The Year of CoCoRo were shot during workshops we held throughout the project. These workshops, which were usually focussed on one or several specific demonstrators, were what drove our international team of collaborators to implement mechanical hardware, electronics and software into working installations. This form of workshop-driven development proved to be very successful, and by the end of the project we were able to show 17 working final demonstrators that show the versatility of robot swarms.
Bridging the gap between cutting-edge research in academia and the vibrant robotics startup ecosystem is no easy task. This Wednesday in the UK city of Bristol, a free public event titled “From Imagination to Market” — the centre piece of European Robotics Week 2015 — took on that challenge by bringing together leading innovators, researchers, startups and strategists. Below are the key moments and insights from the event.
A mouthwatering array of over 750 events has been taking place throughout Europe this week as the continent celebrates Robotics Week 2015. The festivities began with an eye-opening debate on “Robots and Society” in the UK city of Bristol on Tuesday, with experts versed in strategy, business, academia, law and policy. But, for many, the star of the show was Nao, in his guise as robot avatar.