Last week, I published a Q3 2021 report to the Patreon supporters of this newsletter, sharing the numbers and some thoughts on this work. The gist of it is that in this quarter we’ve seen 5.18% of subscription growth and we are working on high-quality T-shirts that will be available to the Patreon supporters and Slack guests. On another note, the third Astrobee has been powered up on the ISS! As usual, the publication of the week section is manned by Rodrigo. The most clicked link last week was the blog post on the code that run differently every 49.7 days with 21.5% opens.
How Does A Sail Drone Bring Home Hurricane Footage In Record Time?
In the previous issue I’ve linked to the amazing video footage from the centre of a hurricane that was captured by Saildrone. The above article explains how Saildrone communications works. Thanks to Thales VesseLINK modems that connect to the Iridium NEXT constellation providing a 24hr/day coverage regardless of the environmental conditions and providing up to 352 kbps upload speed and 704 kbps download speed.
Flying High-Speed Drones into the Unknown with AI
Researchers from the University of Zurich Robotics and Perception Group had created an AI-controlled drone capable of flying through a forest at speeds of up to 40 km/h. You can find the video showing the system in action on YouTube. You might also want to check out the paper describing the work in detail. If you like seeing drones fly then I would also encourage you to check out the real-world results coming from this research.
Hacksmith Industries Powerloader build
Have you seen this Alien’s P-5000 power loader inspired build yet? According to the last video, this thing is running ROS on a Raspberry Pi.
This Flying Biped Can Skateboard and Slackline
LEgs ONboARD drOne is a 75 cm tall quadrotor with actuated joints that allow it to walk. The propellers are used for flying (obviously) and for ensuring the robot is upright when walking. Interestingly, with the current design, the robot is capable of 100 seconds of flight or 3.5 minutes of walking on a single battery charge. Equipping drones with legs is indeed an interesting concept, as an example, back in 2019 we’ve been looking at Passerine jumping fixed wing.
Go Inside a Telescope Mirror Factory | To a Billionth of a Meter
I found this video, taking a peek at the University of Arizona Mirror Lab. I’m fascinated by the fact that they can pull off such high precision on such a big piece of equipment. This article from SciTechDaily describes, how the lab produced its latest mirror for the Magellan telescope and hosts this time lapse of the process.
dronesploit is a “CLI framework is based on sploitkit and is an attempt to gather hacking techniques and exploits especially focused on drone hacking”. You will find a presentation explaining how this framework works in the repository.
Publication of the Week - Real-time Optimal Landing Control of the MIT Mini Cheetah (2021)
Every time I watch a video of quadruped robots in action, I get impressed with the level of manoeuvrability, reaction to avoid falling, and dexterousness. In this paper, the authors present an optimal landing control for the Mini Cheetah. Landing a quadruped robot is an important task, not only for navigating in harsh environments but also for preventing damage. The method described could land the robot in simulation up to 8m and 2m in real life. The controller comprises three components, a nonlinear model, a trained neural network, and a whole-body controller in which combined account for the complexity involved in such a task.
BAM days 2021
On the 19, 20 and 21 of October, Bitcraze Awesome meetup days (or BAM days for short) are the perfect occasion to discover, develop and talk about new, cutting-edge drone technology and what new challenges and opportunities lie ahead. Whether you’re a researcher, a drone enthusiast or a hacker, those 3 days of online conference will allow you to hear keynote speakers from different backgrounds, as well as follow workshops and demos centered around the Crazyflie. The BAM days will also focus on social gatherings, networking, and chats, thanks to a fun and spontaneous spatial chat where we can get together for casual greetings, fika time (the Swedish coffee break), and make valuable connections with driven, passionate people from the research community. BAMday’s attendance is free of charge!
Mega Tunnel Boring Machines in Action
Not sure if we can classify boring machines as robots, but let’s take 5 minutes to appreciate how smoothly they cut through rock.