If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while you might remember this project from issue #112. The Open-Source bionic leg is an active prosthesis with a cost-effective design based on BLDC motors. Recently, I’ve been in touch with Professor Elliott J Rouse about the project’s latest improvements and here is a bullet list of what has been changed:
- Identical designs for knee and ankle (only housings are different between the designs)
- Safer, integrated batteries with BMS
- Single stage belt drive + 9:1 planetary transmission built into the actuators (the previous OSL had three stage belts / linkage transmission)
- Improved tensioning
- Ankle / knee both have selectable series elastic actuation
- Expanded internal storage / wire routing
- Slightly lower build height / mass
- Slightly lower transmission ratio
If you would like to learn more about the project then here is a 2020 paper and here is a presentation from Amazon’s re:MARS 2019, where Dr Levi Hargrove and Prof. Elliott Rouse present the project. At around 29:23 you will find videos of the early-stage research that will give you an idea of how crucial is correct terrain classification in a project like this.
Automating Mobile Games With A Robot Arm
Hackaday user Anykey, made a robot play games on an iPad to win in-game currency, in the process showing that the games are potentially rigged: after a game you can select 1 from 17 cards, where one of them should contain 1,000 diamonds. After over 100 attempts they did not manage to receive the top prize. The MakerDad channel has quite some videos with the robot playing multiple games like this.
Advent of Code
In 2 days Advent of Code kicks off. If you take part in this daily puzzle-solving challenge, good luck!
Years Later, Alphabet’s Everyday Robots Have Made Some Progress
In this article Evan Ackerman provides some of his insights on Everyday Robots graduating from X. General-purpose robots surely sound difficult, but I will be thrilled to see where it goes. I highly recommend going through Evan’s commentary to the released videos that you can find embedded in the IEEE Spectrum article.
Making The Strangest ebike - The Monowheel
Don’t try it at home! In this video, Sam Barker is using a hub motor to create a monowheel e-bike. Given how unstable it seems to be, I don’t think we are going to see this kind of vehicle on the road any time soon, which is probably a good thing!
NASA Research Launches a New Generation of Indoor Farming
NASA is taking vertical farms to the next level. Reading the article, you will find some general information on how these developments can help us solve food access issues in the future. You might be wondering what does it have to do with robotics, and normally I would agree if it was not for this tweet, that featured this article. It raises so many questions for me: what is this massive robot arm doing? Where are these plants going on the conveyor belt? Where can we learn the nitty-gritty details about this project?
Publication of the Week - A General Framework for Lifelong Localization and Mapping in Changing Environment (2021)
Malls, supermarkets, marketplaces, and many other sites that are currently being populated with service robots, have a high dynamic environment with non-static objects. In these circumstances, a static map might induce robots to fail at localization tasks. This paper presents a lifelong SLAM method that keeps the map up-to-date in real-time. The solution computes the difference between new and old submaps, and based on a threshold value, decides if the old one gets replaced. The authors make use of submap-based graph sparsification to increase efficiency and reduce computation complexity. You will find the instructions on obtaining datasets for this project in this repository.
WR Community Meeting #15 - Multi-Sensor Calibration: The Now & The Next (2nd of December)
In this talk, Tangram Vision co-founder and CEO Brandon Minor will draw on his experience in autonomy and calibration to discuss how to approach these new multi-sensor calibration challenges. In particular, Brandon will explore the intersection of photogrammetry and computer vision bundle adjustment techniques to allow parallel processing of multiple sensors from multiple modalities. The event will take place on the 2nd of December at 7 PM CET.