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Metals shop and auto mechanics in high school; B.A. in Biology, eventually leading to an interest in General Systems and computing; interest in robotics sparked by the realization that autonomous machines could enable a vast improvement in land management.



by   -   August 12, 2013

SparkFun National Tour

Following their east and west coast tours late last year, SparkFun has embarked on the ambitious goal of taking their experiential learning nationwide, with 50 stops in 50 states.

From the SparkFun National Tour page:

During our tour, we will teach workshops to students of all ages as well as teachers, librarians, after-school coordinators, and other educators, showing how electronics can be a vital part of education. Whether you’ve never played around with DIY electronics or you are a seasoned pro, we will give you the tools, knowledge, and skills you need to explore the wonderful world of how electronics fits with STEAM.

A video introducing the SparkFun National Tour (Feb. 11th), and two updates (July 9th & August 11th), appear below or after the break.

by   -   August 11, 2013

On June 30th of this year, Ryerson University in Toronto held an event titled UAVs: Pros vs Cons Symposium. Some of the presentations have since been incorporated into a YouTube playlist by Nikola Danaylov.

by   -   August 9, 2013

The ready-made platform (kit) options just keep getting better. Here SparkFun shows off its new Redbot kit, which includes everything you need to put together a basic mobile robot.

The RedBot Kit is a robotic development platform capable of teaching two motor robotics and sensor integration! This kit comes with our new RedBot Mainboard, the Magician Chassis, a handful of sensors, and everything required for assembly.

by   -   August 7, 2013

We take you now to sunny, southern California, where a small group of enthusiasts has constructed a very realistic, Arduino-based replica of Pixar’s WALL-E, entirely from custom-fabricated parts.

The beloved Wall-E robot was just computer generated graphics in the Pixar movie, but fans have spent years trying to bring him to life. We visit Mike McMaster’s workshop to see his incredible life-size Wall-E, a remote controlled robot that lives among an R2-D2 droid and other pets on Mike’s orange farm.

Over the last few years, there has been increasing talk about the potential of agriculture as a market for robotics. Speaking about future markets for unmanned aerial systems in a recent presentation at Maker Faire, DIY Drones founder and CEO of 3D Robotics Chris Anderson characterized agriculture as the “biggest economic potential with the lowest regulatory barriers,” and talked about the important role they can play in supplying much needed data to farmers, stating that “agriculture is a big data problem without the big data.”

by   -   June 9, 2013

AVC 2013 Logo

Most robotics hobbyists will be familiar with the name SparkFun, associating it with an electronics and robotics parts and kits supply house, located in Boulder, Colorado, and perhaps also with the instructional videos they publish on their YouTube channel.

The SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) for 2013 took place Saturday, June 8th, on a strip of land separating Boulder Reservoir from a private lake to the south. The event site was fenced in, encompassing what I’d guess to be about ten acres, with an adjacent area of water of similar dimensions marked off by buoys for the aerial course. There was also a fence around the ground course, to separate the vehicles from the crowd.

by   -   June 3, 2013

80233_barva

According to the preface of the Proceedings of the 7th Field Robot Event 2009:

It was in September 2002 when the story started: in a train back home from Budapest, where Wageningen Agrotechnology students won the vision award of the EurAgEng-Conference. That price-winning vision was about robots in agriculture. Why shouldn’t this vision become more real and why shouldn’t more students participate in such exciting activities – e.g. in a contest for small robots competing in a real field? The idea was born and preparations started immediately to invite students from all over Europe for the 1st Field Robot Event in June 2003.

by   -   May 17, 2013

This video depicts the map created by a whiskered robot as it moves about a confined space. It relates to research done by students and faculty of the University of Bristol and the University of Sheffield, as part of the BIOTACT project, presented at ICRA 2013.

by   -   April 26, 2013

Research version of Baxter, from Rethink Robotics

Rethink Robotics has announced the availability of a bundle, called the Baxter Research Robot, which includes their Baxter robot and a Software Development Kit, for US$22,000.

by   -   April 12, 2013

ShortHandledHoe

It used to be that it didn’t matter how grueling the work was, so long as it was safe enough that a worker could get through the day uninjured by being careful. If the boss paid cash at the end of the day and didn’t ask too many questions, there’d be someone waiting to jump in the back of his pickup truck when he went out early in the morning to collect workers. The pay wasn’t great, of course, but it was better than what the workers could expect for equivalent work back where they’d come from, and if they were frugal they could save a bit and send some home or eventually bring their families to the U.S. Moreover, there really weren’t any serious consequences for employers who hired undocumented workers.

by   -   April 1, 2013

Okay, the title is a bit of a stretch; a better analogy might be the virtual title character of the movie S1m0ne, starring Al Pacino. But Zoe isn’t an AI, or at least not one you’d mistake for being an artificial life form (so far), just a collection of 3D scans and audio recordings of British television actress Zoë Lister speaking a collection of short scripts with various inflections, as from several different emotional states, which have been fed into Toshiba’s Cluster Adaptive Training (CAT) algorithm. The project is a collaboration between Toshiba Research and the University of Cambridge.

by   -   February 11, 2013

symmetric_stepfields

NERVE, the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation Center at UMass Lowell, when it opens tomorrow, will be one of three such facilities in the United States. Incorporating elements of NIST’s Standard Test Methods for Response Robots, the facility will present candidates for validation with a wide range of challenges to be overcome.

Via Robotics Business Review

by   -   February 4, 2013

The IRB 120 is a no-nonsense workhorse of a robotic arm, but, as with other modern robots, it seems to have been designed to minimize jerk (the first derivative of acceleration) and maximize flexibility. This video makes good use of these strengths to push the envelope regarding robotic dance. The result, while adequately serving the purpose of demonstrating how this model might fit into an industrial context, borders on high art when it leaves the simulations behind and shows the actual robot in motion. Nicely done!

View on YouTube

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