Weekly Robotics #101
Image Credit: Östgötateatern
Welcome to the 5th issue of Weekly Robotics (sorry, couldn’t resist and this year is the last one in the next 17 years or so where I can do binary puns for this newsletter). If you happen to read this newsletter in a mailing list you won’t immediately see this but the website had gone through a huge redesign. As a result, the e-mail newsletter will look a bit different too but I’m hoping to approach a very similar design in the two mediums later this year. Until this happens I’ll try to keep the e-mail as clean as possible. I’d hugely appreciate any feedback you might have about the new design so feel free to drop me a line if you have any thoughts on it. The most clicked last week was IEEE Spectrum article on Hello Robot’s Stretch with 18.8% opens.
Robot + Nycirkus = Sant (Repetitioner på Östgötateatern)
Don’t try this at home!!! I’m not sure I was getting a correct translation of the title in an online translator so I Decided to left it in. This video from 2018 shows a group of acrobats training with an industrial robot arm (see the intro picture in this issue). If this video makes you slightly uncomfortable then it’s probably an OK reaction. It looks like to the left of the robot is a safety gade, probably to keep people away from the robot.
A Beginner’s Guide To Lithium Rechargeable Batteries
A good intro from Hackaday on lithium-based batteries. I especially recommend the section of respecting the battery limits and can’t stress it enough how important this is. I’m saying that as someone who let a 6S 5Ah battery deplete itself on a shelf - luckily nothing bad happened but the battery was destroyed.
Open Source Robotics Gains Traction in Manufacturing
This piece by Christoph Hellmann Santos offers some insights into why ROS is being used in manufacturing. It also provides examples of a couple of companies using ROS combined with vision systems in the industrial space.
A Bug-Sized Camera for Bug-Sized Robots and Bug-Sized Bugs
Roboticists from the University of Washington have created a tiny wireless, steerable video camera. In the video attached to the article, you can see the camera attached to a beetle and a micro-robot. The camera developed in this work can stream monochrome frames with a size of 160x120 pixels over Bluetooth. The battery life is 6 hours when using a 0.5g 10 mAh battery.
Letting Robots Manipulate Cables
Let’s Take A Closer Look At This Robotic Airship
Engineers from the University of Auckland are working on a ‘drone airship’ built from a LiPo battery, a Raspberry Pi Zero W, camera module, and 3 propellers and that can be mounted to an inflatable balloon. It looks like the device can perform a path following using a mocap system. This system looks very similar to Blimpduino 2 that I’ve covered in Weekly Robotics #8.
Publication of the Week - ORB-SLAM3: An Accurate Open-Source Library for Visual, Visual-Inertial and Multi-Map SLAM 
ORB-SLAM3, a visual-inertial SLAM library, is out in beta! Building on ORB-SLAM and ORB-SLAM2 this ‘version’ adds a fast IMU initialization, multi-session map merging, and makes the library suitable for large-scale long-term SLAM. You can learn more about the project by checking out the project repository.
Humble Book Bundle: Raspberry Pi by Raspberry Pi Press
Bring your programming dreams to life with a Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi Press book bundle! Featuring books like Build a 4K digital media hub: The MagPi #87, The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book – Volume 1, Book of Making – Volume 1, The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide – 3rd Edition, Build a retro games console: The MagPi #95, and many more. As always with these sponsored posts - if you purchase the bundle using the above link you can choose to support this newsletter, allowing me to make it even more awesome. Thanks!
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: José Nuno Pereira
Location: Geneva/Lausanne area, Switzerland
Skills: Service robotics, multi-robot systems, behavior-based control, real-world deployments, project management, team management, C++, Python, ROS
Profile: I am a roboticist with expertise in service robots operating in healthcare environments and coordination of multi-robot systems. I have experience in multiple topics related to robotics, supported by technical and theoretical background in mathematics and computer science. I have expertise in product development as well as in project and team management in the field of service robotics. My goal is to create products that enable employers and employees to become more efficient by using robots as tools
Social Profiles: LinkedIn
Robothon Challenge Series - Call For Teams [PDF]
At this year’s Automatica fair from 8-11 December, Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM) organize the first ever Robothon®, a multi-day-competition to showcase state-of-the-art methods in robotic manipulation. Selected robotic experts from academic and professional fields come together to deal with an unsolved problem: “Robotic disassembly and sorting of electronic waste”. The teams can apply to take part in the challenge until Monday, 17th of August using this form.