Given a choice between crashing into a motorcyclist wearing a helmet vs. a motorcyclist who isn’t wearing one, which one should an autonomous car be programmed to crash into? What about the choice between crashing into an SUV vs. a compact car?
These are some of the dilemma situations Professor Patrick Lin brought forth in his WIRED article, The Robot Car of Tomorrow May Just be Programmed to Hit You.
At the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory at EPFL, they’re leveraging fast vision, fast computers, fast controllers, fast motors, programming by demonstration, and object modeling to be able to snatch unpredictably unbalanced flying objects straight out of the air.
Read more by Evan Ackerman on Automaton
In this guest lecture, Rafael Núñez from the University of California, San Diego, USA, talks about Mathematics as a paradox for embodiment and cognitive mechanisms in conceptual systems and human imagination.
The lecture starts with a short introduction to the Interactive Robots and Media Lab and the United Arab Emirates. Then, it continues by exploring some basic requirements towards creating Situated Conversational Assistants, i.e. devices with sensing, actuation, and spoken natural language which can assist humans in various tasks.
[UPDATE] – KUKA just published the well-advertised video of the table tennis match of top athlete Timo Boll and one of its fastest robots, the KUKA KR AGILUS. Don’t forget that even if the actual movements performed by the robot are real, the match is a directed and scripted advertisement with multiple takes (as you can see in the making of video below). It’s a very impressive presentation of the agility and speed of AGILUS, but it’s not an actual match. KUKA is celebrating with a very popular sport in China to mark the occasion of its new plant in Shanghai.
Watch the video of the match below and read more about the making of.
In this video update, we show that a quadrocopter can be safely piloted by hand after a motor fails, without the aid of a motion capture system. This follows our previous video, where we demonstrated how a complete propeller failure can be automatically detected, and that a quadrocopter can still maintain stable flight despite the complete loss of a propeller.
Update: New video of final robot! My colleagues at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH Zurich have created a small robotic cube that can autonomously jump up and balance on any one of its corners.
The DelFly Explorer is the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments. Weighing just 20 grams and with a wingspan of 28cm, it is equipped with an onboard stereo vision system. The DelFly Explorer can perform an autonomous take-off, keep its height, and avoid obstacles for as long as its battery lasts (~9 minutes). All sensing and processing is performed on board, so no human or offboard computer is in the loop.
The team at the ETH Flying Machine Arena has released three new videos, demonstrating quadrotors building tensile structures, tossing a ball back and forth, and refining a figure-eight trajectory using iterative learning. Worth the watch!!
No, this is not about shapeshifting robots, come to save or destroy Earth. It is about transforming the contexts within which robotic technologies are applied, and about practicing robotics with the intention of bringing about transformational results. In some cases this means finding better ways of accomplishing the same ends as before. In other cases it means pursuing ends that were previously unachievable. It hinges on the recognition that robotics is a revolutionary development, on the order of fire or writing, with the potential to transform everything it touches.
What can you do with 12 RC robots all slaved to the same joystick remote control? Common sense might say you need 11 more remotes, but our video demonstrates you can steer all the robots to any desired final position by using an algorithm we designed. The algorithm exploits rotational noise: each time the joystick tells the robots to turn, every robot turns a slightly different amount due to random wheel slip. We use these differences to slowly push the robots to goal positions. The current algorithm is slow, so we’re designing new algorithms that are 200x faster. You can help by playing our online game: www.swarmcontrol.net.
Napp tells us about his project to create robots that can reliably build structures in uncertain, unstructured terrain. Like termites that can build complex structures using shapeless materials like mud, his robots build structures out of foam, toothpicks or bags of sand.