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Research & Innovation

interview by   -   May 31, 2020

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Dave Coleman, CEO of PickNik Robotics, about the open source robotics manipulation platform called MoveIt. Coleman talks about MoveIt’s story, from inception and the early days to development and maintenance, as well as how MoveIt relates to the Robot Operating System (ROS) and their move to support ROS-2. He also speaks about MoveIt’s implementation, including global versus local planners and what that means. Coleman concludes by talking about World MoveIt Day and how those interested can begin learning MoveIt and contributing.

interview by   -   May 20, 2020

In this episode, Kate Zhou interviews Farrell Helbling, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Microrobotics lab, who has worked on developing the RoboBee, an insect-inspired robot that is the lightest vehicle to achieve untethered flight. Farrell discusses challenges with building the robot at centimeter-scale as well as integration of sensors and power electronics particularly in considerations with weight trade-offs.

by   -   March 19, 2020

Researchers from the University of Zurich and NCCR Robotics have demonstrated a flying robot that can detect and avoid fast-moving objects. A step towards drones that can fly faster in harsh environments, accomplishing more in less time.

interview by   -   February 17, 2020

In this episode, Shihan Lu interviews Dr. Heather Culbertson, Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California, about her work in haptics. Dr. Culbertson discusses the data-driven realistic texture modeling and rendering, haptic technologies in the social touch, the combination of haptics and robots, expectations and obstacles of haptics in the next 5 years.

interview by   -   February 2, 2020

In this episode, Lauren Klein interviews Human-Robot Interaction researcher Patrícia Alves-Oliveira. Alves-Oliveira tells us about the upcoming RSS Pioneers workshop at the 2020 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference; the workshop brings senior PhD students and postdoctoral researchers together to collaborate and discuss their work with distinguished members of the robotics field. She also describes her own research designing robots to encourage creativity in children.

interview by   -   January 10, 2020


In this episode, our interviewer Audrow Nash speaks to Gil Weinberg, Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Music and the founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology. Weinberg leads a research lab called the Robotic Musicianship group, which focuses on developing artificial creativity and musical expression for robots and on augmented humans. Weinberg discusses several of his improvisational robots and how they work, including Shimon, a multi-armed robot marimba player, as well as his work in prosthetic devices for musicians.

interview by   -   December 9, 2019

From Robert the Robot, 1950s toy ad

In this episode, we take a closer look at the effect of novelty in human-robot interaction. Novelty is the quality of being new or unusual.

The typical view is that while something is new, or “a novelty”, it will initially make us behave differently than we would normally. But over time, as the novelty wears off, we will likely return to our regular behaviors. For example, a new robot may cause a person to behave differently initially, as its introduced into the person’s life, but after some time, the robot won’t be as exciting, novel and motivating, and the person might return to their previous behavioral patterns, interacting less with the robot.

To find out more about the concept of novelty in human-robot interactions, our interviewer Audrow caught up with Catharina Vesterager Smedegaard, a PhD-student at Aarhus University in Denmark, whose field of study is Philosophy.

Catharina sees novelty differently to how we typically see it. She thinks of it as projecting what we don’t know onto what we already know, which has implications for how human-robot interactions are designed and researched. She also speaks about her experience in philosophy more generally, and gives us advice on philosophical thinking.

At Danfoss in Gråsten, the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) is testing, as part of a pilot project in the European robot network ROBOTT-NET, several robot technologies: Manipulation using force sensors, simpler separation of items and a 3D-printed three-in-one gripper for handling capacitors, nuts and a socket handle.

interview by   -   November 11, 2019


In this episode, we hear from Brad Hayes, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, who directs the university’s Collaborative AI and Robotics lab. The lab’s work focuses on developing systems that can learn from and work with humans—from physical robots or machines, to software systems or decision support tools—so that together, the human and system can achieve more than each could achieve on their own.

Our interviewer Audrow caught up with Dr. Hayes to discuss why collaboration may at times be preferable to full autonomy and automation, how human naration can be used to help robots learn from demonstration, and the challenges of developing collaborative systems, including the importance of shared models and safety to allow adoption of such technologies in future.

interview by   -   October 29, 2019


In this episode Lilly Clark interviews Nicholas Roy, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, about the Quest for Intelligence initiative and his research in robust robotics. Roy discusses how cognitive science pushes artificial intelligence, further pushing the capabilities of engineering tools and services, and speaks about the importance of explainable and ethical AI. He explains the challenges of capturing context and semantics in useful models of a system, and designing unmanned aerial vehicles and robots which interact with humans.


“Within the framework of the European project ROBOTT-NET we are developing software and robotic solutions for the prevention and control of rodents in enclosed spaces”, says Marco Lorenzo, Service Supervisor at Irabia Control De Plagas.

interview by   -   October 7, 2019

In this episode, Lauren Klein speaks with Dr. Rand Voorhies, co-founder and CTO of inVia Robotics. In a world where consumers expect fast home delivery of a variety of goods, inVia’s mission is to help warehouse workers package diverse sets of products quickly using a system of autonomous mobile robots. Voorhies describes how inVia’s robots operate to pick and deliver boxes or totes of products to and from people workers in a warehouse environment eliminating the need for people to walk throughout the warehouse, and how the actions of the robots are optimized.

interview by   -   September 2, 2019
Source: CC0

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Zhuoran Zhang, PhD student at the University of Toronto, about how robots can be used to assist in artificial insemination. Zhang discusses how precise robotic manipulators can be used to extract a single sperm and how sperm can be evaluated for fitness using computer vision. Zhang also discusses his future plans.

interview by   -   August 6, 2019


In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Brian Gerkey, CEO of Open Robotics about the Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo. Both ROS and Gazebo are open source and are widely used in the robotics community. ROS is a set of software libraries and tools, and Gazebo is a 3D robotics simulator. Gerkey explains ROS and Gazebo and talks about how they are used in robotics, as well as some of the design decisions of the second version of ROS, ROS2.

interview by   -   July 22, 2019



In this episode, Lauren Klein interviews Michal Luria, a PhD candidate in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, about research that explores the boundaries of Human-Robot Interaction. Michal draws inspiration from the Medieval Times for her project to test how historical automata can inform modern robotics. She also discusses her work with cathartic objects to support emotional release.



Robotics Manipulation with MoveIt
May 31, 2020


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