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open source

by   -   December 17, 2014

The Intelligent Systems Control Department at Sandia is developing a humanoid robot intended for energy-efficient walking.

by ,   -   December 23, 2013

RoboEarth - mapping in the cloud

UPDATE: New video of a collaborative, cloud-based mapping experiment. Mapping is essential for mobile robots and a cornerstone of many more robotics applications that require a robot to interact with its physical environment. It is widely considered the most difficult perceptual problem in robotics, both from an algorithmic but also from a computational perspective. Mapping essentially requires solving a huge optimization problem over a large amount of images and their extracted features. This requires beefy computers and high-end graphics cards – resulting in power-hungry and expensive robots.

by   -   December 23, 2013

aisoy_lookleft

Aisoy, a spanish robotics startup, is motivated by the goal of building intelligent, personal, “social” robots, which make our lives easier and funnier. Their robot, the Aisoy1, is their first step towards achieving this vision. Robohub recently caught up with the team, to talk about social robotics, the Aisoy1, and the startup culture in Spain.

by   -   October 9, 2013

Open source vs. proprietary software is an age old question. Since the advent of robotics, we also have the question of open source hardware.

In academia, where robotics researchers look to open source as a means of advancing community knowledge, the answer is perhaps more obvious. But in business, it’s clearly a balancing act. And so, ‘To be open, or not to be open?’ — that is the question for our panelists this month.

We asked Frank Tobe, Robert Morris and Brian Gerkey to weigh in. Here’s what they have to say …

 

Gerkey BrianBrian Gerkey on “Is open source a good business model for robotics?”

The IT economy has powerfully demonstrated what happens when companies can leverage open source infrastructure when they build new products and services.  A company like Google would never have come into existence had they not been able to rely from the beginning on solid open source tools like Python and GCC.  IBM would arguably have not been able to make its immensely successful pivot from products to services without Linux.  How many startups these days begin as a cloud-hosted machine running some derivative of the venerable LAMP stack? …

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robert-morrisRobert Morris on “Is open source a good business model for robotics?”

The premise of this question is that robotics companies are manufacturers and that there is choice between an open source and closed source business model.  Robotics companies are best thought of as service companies (even manufacturers, especially when moving beyond early adopters) and openness is not an ‘either/or’ choice, but rather a continuum.  In this day and age the question is, ‘What do you need to keep open create value for your customers?’ …

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Mark-Tilden

Frank Tobe on “Is open source a good business model for robotics?”

Certainly robotics has its share of proprietary software and control systems. Each robot manufacturer markets their products based on the need for secure, proprietary and un-shared systems so that they can ensure stability and control. Whole industries have been set up to bridge those proprietary barriers so that multi-vendor solutions can happen …

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by   -   October 9, 2013

The IT economy has powerfully demonstrated what happens when companies can leverage open source infrastructure when they build new products and services.  A company like Google would never have come into existence had they not been able to rely from the beginning on solid open source tools like Python and GCC. IBM would arguably have not been able to make its immensely successful pivot from products to services without Linux.  How many startups these days begin as a cloud-hosted machine running some derivative of the venerable LAMP stack?  And increasingly the underlying cloud infrastructure itself is open.

While arguing by analogy is fraught with peril, I believe that the similarities between robotics and the rest of the IT world are strong enough to justify it.  In robotics, we have many shared problems to solve when developing a product or service, from low-level drivers to high-level capabilities, and all the developer libraries and tools in between.  I have yet to see a successful robotics business for whom any of that stuff is the competitive advantage.  Rather, success comes from the innovative composition and application of that technology in a form that somebody will pay for.  The hard part is figuring out what the robot should *do*.  By working together on the common underlying problems, we end up with better, more reliable solutions, and we free ourselves to spend more time at the application level, which is where we can differentiate ourselves.

In other words, I believe that open source is a great model for the robotics business as a whole.  Now, is it a good model for any individual company?  It certainly can be.  As examples, we see small-to-medium companies, such as Clearpath Robotics, Rethink Robotics, and Yujin Robot, which use ROS directly in their products. And we see larger companies, such as Bosch and Toyota, using ROS in R&D and prototyping efforts.  These are all profit-motivated companies making what is presumably a rational economic decision to rely on open source software.  They’re each holding something back that is their “special sauce,” whether that’s higher level application software, configuration data, customizations to the open source code, or the designs for the hardware.  And that’s expected: unless you’re in a pure consulting business (selling your time), then you need to own and control something that forms the basis of your product or service offering (to allow you to sell something other than your time).

Fortunately, open source software is entirely compatible with such business models.  In fact, it was our hope to one day see such commercial users of ROS that led us to choose a permissive license (BSD, or Apache 2) for the code that we developed.  We’re now witnessing, with the debut of so many new robotics companies, the fruits of those earlier labors in building a shared development platform.

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by   -   July 1, 2013

ARDroneSubscribingFeedback

This is the third tutorial in the Up and flying with the AR.Drone and ROS series.

In this tutorial we will:

  1. Learn about the AR.Drone’s state feedback (and how it is handled by ROS)
  2. Learn about the AR.Drone’s tag detection
  3. Program our first ROS nodes: A subscriber and a publisher
by   -   May 7, 2013

On April 8-9, Stanford Law School held the second annual robotics and law conference, We Robot. This year’s event focused on near-term policy issues in robotics and featured panels and papers by scholars, practitioners, and engineers on topics like intellectual property, tort liability, legal ethics, and privacy. The full program is here.

by   -   April 26, 2013

Rethink Robotics' Baxter and Aldebaran Robotics' NAO robots
Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Aldebaran Robotics’ NAO robots
Rethink Robotics just launched a version of their Baxter robot armed with a new SDK providing educators and researchers with almost limitless capabilities at an affordable cost. Using ROS and the new SDK, educators and researchers have the ability to share innovations and build on each other’s work and know-how. Read their press release.

by   -   February 25, 2013

In recent years cloud computing has made an entrance into our lives. Naturally, this begs the question how cloud computing can be used in robotics applications. With Rapyuta, the RoboEarth Cloud Engine, an open source software package is released that tries to answer this question. Rapyuta provides an easy solution specifically tailored to robotics applications.

by   -   February 8, 2013

One of the latest papers in the Journal Autonomous Robots presents ManyEars, an open framework for robot audition.

by   -   January 29, 2013

111209_turtlecore
One of the exciting announcements at Automate 2013 is also one of the smallest. Gumstix, providers of Linux computers-on-modules (COMs) are offering ROS on a stick. For $45, Gumstix provide a bootable microSD card with ROS preloaded, joining their Overo range of expansion boards for iCreate and similar platforms. ROS in COM format responds to the rapid growth in Ubuntu systems powering robotic devices, as evidenced by the growing number of public ROS repositories, with more than 175 to date. New offerings from Gumstix will really speed up the development of small robotic devices. See also Frank Tobe’s wrap up of all the robots at Automate 2013.