The difference between robotics and automation is almost nonexistent and yet has a huge difference in everything from trade shows, marketing, publications to academic conferences and journals. This week, the difference was expressed as an opportunity in the Dear Colleague Letter below from Professor Ken Goldberg, CITRIS CPAR and UC Berkeley, who suggested that students whose papers were rejected from ICRA, revise them for CASE, the Conference on Automation Science and Engineering. This opportunity was expressed beautifully in the title quote from Professor Raja Chatila, ex President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and current President of IEEE Global Society on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. “One robot on Mars is robotics, ten robots on Mars is automation.”
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews several companies at the International Conference for Robotics and Automation (ICRA). ICRA is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s biggest conference and one of the leading international forums for robotics researchers to present their work.
The Amazon Picking Challenge is over and two things stood out. One: how many different arm gripper solutions were possible; and two: just how difficult the challenge still is. The gap between the top two teams and the other 26 teams was significant, with Team RBO scoring 148 points, Team MIT scoring 88 points and Team Grizzly next best with 35 points.
Also presented recently at ICRA, Takahiro Kizaki and Akio Namiki from the Graduate School of Engineering at Chiba University in Japan demonstrated a system comprised of a fast vision system (500 fps) coupled with a fast robotic arm and three-fingered hand, capable of juggling two balls by tracking them in the air and adjusting accordingly. Automaton has more detail.
Researchers at MIT CSAIL have decided that slow and obstacle-free flight is boring, so they’ve come up with a way to get MAVs navigating at high speed, indoors, around obstacles, without needing motion tracking or GPS or beacons or any of that nonsense. All they need is a little aircraft that can carry a planar laser rangefinder, an IMU, and a pre-existing 3D occupancy map that the MAV can localize itself in.
The above video, by Erico Guizzo and Evan Ackerman of IEEE Spectrum, and shows Patrick Rowe, of RE2 (RE-squared), the firm hired by DARPA to build the standard platform for their ARM program, putting a completed unit through its paces at ICRA.
A small omni-roller suitable for use as one or more fingers of a robotic hand
An autonomous robotic fish for detecting and finding the source of pollution
MIT 6.141 Robotics Class Final Challenge for 2012
Back to ICRA to watch an Adept mobile robot navigating the show floor
Another Adept robot being used in research at Cornell
And finally, Georgia Tech’s Travis doing a little dance
The above video, posted to IEEE Spectrum’s YouTube channel, shows a sampling of the exhibits that were there to be seen at ICRA 2012 (May 14-18), with a few scenes taken from the robot’s point of view. Rated G for Good Fun!