Weekly Robotics Newsletter Archive

In these pages you can find all Weekly Robotics Newsletter issues released so far. This webpage will be always up to date, however if you would like to make sure that you won't miss any future issues then you can subscribe to our newsletter using the form above or you can subscribe via RSS.

  • Weekly Robotics #99

    Issue 99

    You are probably thinking that the next week is the 100th issue of Weekly Robotics but technically… it’s today! The reason the numbering is a bit off is because of me not numbering the 2018 in Robotics Summary. We can always celebrate twice! We can even try to rent a bunch of Spot and Pepper robots. The most clicked last week was the article on no-till farming with robots with 10.3% opens.

    1) The Octo-Bouncer: Advanced Bouncing Patterns.
    Electron Dust
    INFO: Before you read this blog post by T-Kuhn check out this YouTube video that was featured in the issue #33. Not only it seems T-Kuhn have made huge progress in platform redesign last year but this particular blog post covers interesting advancements in plate redesign and ball detection using a custom approach.

    2) Magnetic Couplings Make This Lego Submarine Watertight.
    Hackaday
    INFO: Very inspiring build for two reasons: 1. It’s all done from LEGO and a single IKEA food container and 2. The magnetic coupling is magic. Do you know anything like this used in the industry? Let me know and I will feature it in the next issue.

    3) NASA’s Venus Rover Challenge Winners Announced.
    heroX
    INFO: In the issue #91 I’ve mentioned the challenge for Venus rover design. Some of the designs participants have come up with are very interesting, even more so that some of them managed to build full-scale prototypes.

    4) Basalt.
    GitLab
    INFO: This is a library for visual-inertial SLAM that I discovered thanks to allenh1 response in this ROS discourse topic. Looking at the project website the results indeed seem very good. I’ll be looking forward to testing this library at some point in the future. I’ve already added the library to the Awesome Weekly Robotics list.

    5) Motion(Path) Planning in Robots.
    Medium
    INFO: In this post, Gunjan Giri does a short write up on some of the path planning algorithms in Robotics. For the implementation of some of these algorithms, you can check out PythonRobotics repository.

    6) MIT DriveSeg Dataset for Dynamic Driving Scene Segmentation.
    MIT AgeLab
    INFO: MIT AgeLab in collaboration with Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center had released this dataset that can be used for non-commercial purposes. You can see how the segmentation was performed in this video.

    7) Publication of the Week - Design of Extra Robotic Legs for Augmenting Human Payload Capabilities by Exploiting Singularity and Torque Redistribution (2020).
    arXiv
    INFO: Supernumerary Robotic Limbs (SRLs) are robots extending human capabilities that are not kinematically tied to the operator’s limbs (see the pdf for images). In this work, Researchers present an initial prototype of such a system built using motors from hoverboards, RoboteQ motor controllers, 8020 aluminum extrusions, and some machined parts. Looking forward to seeing the first working prototype at some point in the future!

    1) Humble Book Bundle: Programming for Makers by Make Co.
    Humble Bundle
    INFO: Learn how to program - the Makers way, with this ebook bundle! Get books like Making Makers, AVR Programming, Make: Arduino Bots and Gadgets, Make: Linux for Makers, and more. As usual with Humble Bundle links featured by purchasing the books using the link above you can choose to support Weekly Robotics and help grow the newsletter. Thanks!

    Job Seekers

    In the issue #83 I’ve started this section to try to help out those looking for work in the times of pandemic. If you are currently looking for work then feel free to send me your details in the same format as you can see in the entries below.

    Name: Hao Cheam
    Location: Amherst, MA, USA. Willing to relocate across USA
    Skills: Python, C++, C, openCV, PyTorch, Keras, Tensorflow, Raspberry Pi
    Profile: Master’s Graduate in Computer Science specialised in Computer Vision, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotics. Looking for Software Dev, Computer Vision Eng, Machine Learning Eng opportunities
    Social Profiles: LinkedIn
    Email: hcheam@umass.edu

  • Weekly Robotics #98

    Issue 98

    If you ever wondered how a delivery robot’s traffic jam looks like then Chris Paukert has an answer for you. This week we will try something new: a number of links in one newsletter entry (Weekly Robotics within Weekly Robotics!). The reason we are trying it is the ROS background growing out of proportion! The most clicked last week was the WireViz - a tool for wire documentation with 15.8% opens.

    1) ROS Related News.
    INFO: Self Balancing Robot tries to climb stairs! - a project by jsqu4re where he put together a 3D printed ROS2 based mobile robot. Underwater robotics simulation - Project Dave initial release - a new underwater simulation for Gazebo. Project ASLAN Open Source Announcement - a new Open Source self-driving software platform coming to ROS. Fiducial Marker Based Localization System - Package Annoucement - a node for mapping and localization using fiducial markers created by the Ubiquity Robotics Team.

    2) Robotic Textiles Are Fueled up and Take Action.
    Wyss Institute
    INFO: A team of researchers from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering are working on actuated textiles, working similarly to soft robots, but instead being pneumatically actuated they are inflated/deflated by temperature-dependent liquid-vapor phase changes. In the article, you can find a video showing how these systems work and how they are manufactured.

    3) Tiny Weed-Killing Robots Could Make Pesticides Obsolete.
    OneZero
    INFO: This article posted by Matt Droter on ROS Agriculture Slack channel explains why farmers are turning to no-till farming and how robots will help, especially on weed killing.

    4) Aggressive Indoor Copter Flying with SteamVR Tracking.
    discuss.ardupilot.org
    INFO: Peter Hall did some experiments with integrating SteamVR trackers for virtual reality gaming with a small ArduCopter based multirotor. Check out the video at the beginning of the blog post to see how well it works!

    5) Spot Mini Mini OpenAI Gym Environment.
    GitHub
    INFO: Maurice Rahme had developed a PyBullet simulation environment for Spot Micro that can be used for reinforcment learning tasks and gait simulation.

    6) RoboCup Humanoid League Videos.
    RoboCup
    INFO: RoboCup Humanoid League went virtual this year. In the website above you can see the event schedule, together with the links to the slides and YouTube videos. Big thanks to Lutz for letting me know about this event!

    7) Publication of the Week - How To Build a Thrust Vectored Model Rocket - National Rocketry Conference 2020.
    YouTube
    INFO: Very interesting talk by Joe Barnard from BPS.Space on building thrust vectored rockets. I found this talk to have very interesting insights on computers, sensors, power systems that you can use on your model rocket, and how to do it. I appreciate Joe highlighting issues with electro-mechanical devices susceptible to vibrations that you might not want to put on a rocket. The part of the video I enjoyed the most is the Software and state machine design.

    1) Humble Book Bundle: Circuits & Electronics by Morgan & Claypool.
    Humble Bundle
    INFO: Morgan & Claypool are here to power up your knowledge. Get ebooks like Arduino I: Getting Started, Understanding Circuits: Learning Problem Solving Using Circuit Analysis, and Engineering Principles in Everyday Life for Non-Engineers! As usual with Humble Bundle links featured by purchasing the books using the link above you can choose to support Weekly Robotics and help grow the newsletter. Thanks!

    Announcements

    1) PX4 Developer Summit | Virtual 2020.
    Px4
    INFO: On the 6th and 7th July Px4 Developer Summit will take place online. You can participate in the event for free and you will find the schedule on the event website

    2) HackadayU.
    Hackaday
    INFO: HackadayU is an initiative by Hackaday that provides ‘hacking’ courses on various topics in a pay-as-you-wish model. All proceeds from HackadayU courses will be donated to charities that help feed, house, and educate others.

  • Weekly Robotics #97

    Issue 97

    Remeber the Gundam robot from Japan (#76 and #77)? It’s moving! In other news: it’s been a while since I’ve added more than one project to Awesome Weekly Robotics from one issue and this week there are two! The most clicked last week was AR 2 & AR 3 open plan robot arms with 13.1% opens.

    1) Drone Helicopter Hybrid.
    YouTube
    INFO: Tom Stanton is at it again. This time he has built a helicopter that instead of using traditional swashplate slows the motor down at appropriate times to achieve a ‘virtual swashplate’. If you liked this video then you have to watch the follow up on Tom’s second channel that’s way more technical and covers what Tom had tried to get to the first working prototype.

    2) Building & Flying an Exercise Ball RC Plane!
    YouTube
    INFO: While we are on the subject of custom UAVs FliteTest had created a remotely piloted fixed wing UAV that uses an exercise ball as an (under)carriage.

    3) WireViz.
    GitHub
    INFO: ‘WireViz is a tool for easily documenting cables, wiring harnesses and connector pinouts. It takes plain text, YAML-formatted files as input and produces beautiful graphical output (SVG, PNG, …) thanks to GraphViz. It handles automatic BOM (Bill of Materials) creation and has a lot of extra features’.

    4) ‘SlothBot in the Garden’ Demonstrates Hyper-Efficient Conservation Robot.
    Georgia Tech
    INFO: The SlothBot that was featured in issue #44 is getting a field test! It looks like the Robotics Engineers at Georgia Institute of Technology had updated the design quite a lot - I really like that the current design comes with a head! Having “slowness” as a design principle is an interesting idea for this kind of project. Looking forward to seeing how the first demonstrator goes!

    5) An Open Torque-Controlled Modular Robot Architecture for Legged Locomotion Research.
    Open Dynamic Robot Initiative
    INFO: Quoting the linked website: ‘This website is the entry point to the resources of the Open Dynamic Robot Initiative. This project originated in an effort to build a low cost and low complexity actuator module using brushless motors that can be used to build different types of torque controlled robots with mostly 3D printed and off-the-shelves components. This module, and extensions, can be used to build legged robots or manipulators. A paper describing the actuator module and the quadruped design can be found here’.

    6) CARMA 2.
    University of Manchester
    INFO: Continuous Autonomous Radiometric Monitoring Assistant (CARMA) is a Jackal based platform designed for automatic radiation monitoring and is developed by Robotics for Extreme Environments Group at The University of Manchester. The robot is equipped with 2 Hokuyo LidarS, an Orbec depth camera, and two radiation probes. Here you can see a recent video showing the robot operating in a controlled environment.

    7) Publication of the Week - Event Cameras: Opportunities and the Road Ahead (CVPR 2020).
    YouTube
    INFO: Every now and then I like to check on the progress of event cameras and every time I do I end up looking at what UZH Robotics and Perception Group (RPG) is up to. In this talk, Davide Scaramuzza shares the current state of event cameras and shows some of the research done by his group. Compared to traditional cameras these cameras output a change of brightness of every pixel, resulting in a continuous sensor feed and low power consumption (as little as 1mW!). It looks like there are already 4 companies producing these sensors and the examples shown in this talk makes some very good points. I’ll be looking forward to seeing these sensors going more mainstream.

    1) Ouster OS1 - First Impressions.
    msadowski.github.io
    INFO: Recently I had a chance to play with Ouster OS1-16, a 16 plane automotive grade LiDAR. The above blog post describes some of the setup steps I have performed, integration with Cartographer, and workflow for extracting localized point clouds from a bag file.

    Job Seekers

    In the issue #83 I’ve started this section to try to help out those looking for work in the times of pandemic. If you are currently looking for work then feel free to send me your details in the same format as you can see in the entries below.

    Name: Seth King
    Location: Central Virginia, USA(Remote primary focus)
    Skills: C, C++(11,14), Python, , Linux, Yocto, ROS, ROS2
    Profile: Embedded software engineer with 15 plus years of experience in Unix/Linux OS. Georgia Tech OMSCS Grad in 2018 with a specialization in Robotics and Perception
    Social Profiles: LinkedIn, GitHub, Side Project
    Email: king.seth@gmail.com

    Announcements

    1) The FPV Drone Racing VIO Competition.
    RPG
    INFO: The participants are required to run their VIO algorithms on sequences selected from the public UZH-FPV Drone Racing Dataset, which include images, IMU measurements, and event-based camera data recorded with an FPV drone racing quadrotor flown aggressively by an expert pilot. The goal is to estimate the quadrotor motion as accurately as possible, utilizing any desired sensor combinations. The winning entry can win up to $2k and the deadline for submissions is September 27th, 2020.

  • Weekly Robotics #96

    Issue 96

    The most clicked last week was the hoverbike crash in Dubai with 18.0% opens. Unfortunately, since I’ve posted it it was removed from YouTube. Here is a mirror for you.

    1) Boston Dynamics’ Spot Robot Dog Now Available for $74,500.
    IEEE Spectrum
    INFO: Most probably you’ve heard the news already. If you were buying Spot instead of a luxury car you might be disappointed as the article quotes Boston Dynamics: “we specifically don’t want people to just be using it at home for fun”. I know this is probably quite a small detail but the user guide is amazingly well designed. Well done!

    2) ROS2 Tutorial for Beginners.
    YouTube
    INFO: A team behind Bot Builder had put together a series of video tutorials on ROS2.

    3) AR2 / AR3 Open Robotic Arms.
    Annin Robotics
    INFO: “The Annin Robotics AR2 and AR3 are free open plan low-cost robots anyone can make themselves. They can be made using aluminum components or you can 3D print the parts yourself”.

    4) How to Start a Robot Revolution | Part 1 | Breaking the Wheel.
    Red Hat
    INFO: Here is the first episode of a documentary series about ROS. In the first episode, we can learn about ROS, PR2 and Willow Garage. You can also get a glimpse of how a standup looks like at Open Robotics.

    5) UBR-1 on ROS2 (Part 3).
    Robot & Chisel
    INFO: Here is another update from Michael Ferguson on updating his UBR-1 to ROS2. This time the author covers porting openni2_camera driver to ROS2, components (ROS2 replacement for nodelets), parameters, and some RVIZ2 issues. As always the post is very technical and has solid insights on ROS2 debugging.

    6) NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Sample Caching System.
    YouTube
    INFO: “In terms of robots that go into space, the sampling and caching system on the Mars 2020 Mission is the most complicated, most sophisticated thing that we know how to build”. In this video we can learn about how many robots are involved in grabbing a sample and how difficult it actually is to pull off. You can learn more about these systems on NASA’s website.

    7) SLAM Lectures
    YouTube
    INFO: This YouTube playlist contains a lecture series on SLAM by Claus Brenner. You will find Python files used for the modules on Google Drive. Huge thanks to Patrick for letting me know about this series!

    8) Publication of the Week - RBR 50 Innovation Awards (2020).
    The Robot Report
    INFO: The Robot Report had published its annual innovation awards.

    Job Seekers

    In the issue #83 I’ve started this section to try to help out those looking for work in the times of pandemic. If you are currently looking for work then feel free to send me your details in the same format as you can see in the entries below. Please note that I will be able to list up to 5 profiles a week here.

    Name: David Fischinger
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    Skills: Robotic grasping, C++, ROS, PCL, Machine Learning, Python, OpenRAVE, Git, Linux, Agile Software Development (Scrum, Jira), Docker, CI, Jenkins, MoveIt, Gazebo, Blender, OpenCV, Matlab
    Profile: I am a roboticist specialized on object manipulation and grasping. My work (summary video until 2016) focuses on applications in service and elderly care robotics. Currently, I am leading the grasping team at Aeolus Robotics, where I built up the Austrian branch.
    Social Profiles: LinkedIn
    Email: david.fischinger@gmail.com


    Name: Aravindh Shanmuganathan
    Location: Sacramento, CA, USA. Willing to relocate across USA ( No Visa Sponsorship Required)
    Skills: C, C++(11,14,17), Python, MATLAB/Simulink, ROS, RVIZ, Gazebo, Linux, SLAM, RTOS, Microcontrollers- Texas Instruments(CC26XX), ATMega16
    Profile: Robotics Graduate with previous experience in embedded systems development. Strong knowledge in manipulator dynamics, SLAM, controls systems. Looking for opportunities in Robotics, Controls and Autonomous systems development
    Social Profiles: LinkedIn, Portfolio
    Email: shanmuganathan.a@wustl.edu

    Careers

    1) Animal Dynamics (Oxford, UK) - Systems Engineer.
    INFO: We design super-efficient systems inspired by the deep study of evolutionary biomechanics.

    Announcements

    1) Season of Docs.
    Cyberbotics
    INFO: Cyberbotics takes part in Google Season of Docs - this means you can contribute to the Webots documentation and receive a stipend of $2,400 – $6,000 USD from Google. The deadline for project idea submission is July 9th, 2020. You will be notified on August 16th, 2020 if your project is accepted by Google.

    2) HoverGames Challenge 2: Help Drones, Help Others During Pandemics with NXP.
    hackster.io
    INFO: In this edition of HoverGames participants will come up with innovative ideas to use drones to help save lives or help people during a global pandemic. The first 100 idea winners will receive a $400 discount on the NXP HoverGames Drone Developer kit and the finalist will also grab a $3,000 Visa Gift Card. Are you interested? Then for a head start check out this article from We Robotics - it should help!