Robotics undoubtedly has the potential to improve lives in the developing world. However, with limited budgets and expertise on the ground, putting this technology in place is no small task. Step forwards WeRobotics, a new Swiss/American NGO dedicated to meeting this goal through the creation of in-country ‘flying labs’. Co-founder Adam Klaptocz explains all.
The Amazon is home to thousands of local indigenous communities spread across very remote areas. As a result, these sparsely populated communities rarely have reliable access to essential medicines and public health services. Local doctors in the region of Contamana report an average of 45 snakebites per month and no rapid access to antivenom, for example. We recently traveled to the rainforest to learn more about these challenges, and to explore whether cargo drones (UAVs) could realistically be used to overcome some of these problems in a sustainable manner.
After the devastating earthquake in Amatrice, Italy, on August 24th, the Vigili del Fuoco (Italian fire brigade) requested assistance from the TRADR (Long-Term Human-Robot Teaming for Robot-Assisted Disaster Response) project (EU FP7 framework, grant No. 60963). TRADR deployed two Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) and three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to assist the post-earthquake response in Amatrice.
Over the past 15 years, drones have progressed from laboratory demonstrations to widely available toys. Technological improvements have brought ever-smaller components required for flight stabilization and control, as well as significant improvements in battery technology. Capabilities once restricted to military vehicles are now found on toys that can be purchased at Wal-Mart.
Samira Hayat was one of the few women in Pakistan studying electrical engineering. In this interview, she talks about her research exploring networks of drones. Rescue missions performed by drone networks are highly involved, covering areas such as detection and communication. She is particularly interested in determining optimal processes from a mathematical perspective.
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!
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.
The EU-funded Collective Cognitive Robotics (CoCoRo) project has built a swarm of 41 autonomous underwater vehicles (AVs) that show collective cognition. Throughout 2015 – The Year of CoCoRo – we’ll be uploading a new weekly video detailing the latest stage in its development. This week’s video shows an autonomous swarm of underwater robots coordinating their motion to form coherent shoals.
The EU-funded Collective Cognitive Robotics (CoCoRo) project has built a swarm of 41 autonomous underwater vehicles (AVs) that show collective cognition. Throughout 2015 – The Year of CoCoRo – we’ll be uploading a new weekly video detailing the latest stage in its development. This week’s video demonstrates autonomous shoaling that can also be controlled.