Weekly Robotics #31

1) PathFinding.js.
qiao.github.io/
INFO: PathFindings.js is an open source project providing path finding algorithm for web based games. The page above provides an interactive visualization of some of the algorithms provided by the library.

2) Robot Hand is Soft and Strong.
MIT
INFO: MIT researchers created an origami shaped, vacuum-powered gripper that can lift objects that are up to 100 times heavier than its weight. You can see the gripper in action on YouTube.

3) Autonomous Snowplow Makes Debut on Winnipeg Runway.
CTV News
INFO: Northstar Robotics developed an autonomous snow plower that is meant to be used at an airport. According to this post the machine is powered by ROS.

4) Space Gateway.
ESA
INFO: In 2020s the partners of the International Space Station will launch a Space Gateway - a staging post much higher than ISS that could be used as an intermediate point for astronauts before going on the missions deeper into space. The gateway will weight 40 tonnes and the astronauts will be able to occupy it for up to 90 days at a time.

5) Jetson Nano.
NVIDIA
INFO: NVIDIA announced Jetson Nano, a 99$ single board computer for AI and Robotics. The board has dimensions of 70 x 45 mm and according to the above website the board will require up to 10 watts of power. Jetson Nano will be available from distributors worldwide from June 2019. If you get one and want to install ROS Melodic on it then you might like this tutorial by Stereo Labs.

6) Robotic Dreams, Robotic Realities: Why Is It So Hard to Build Profitable Robot Companies?.
IEEE
INFO: This article from IEEE talks about how difficult it is to be profitable in robotics and how we should build realistic expectations for our products and avoid overselling.

7) Publication of the week - Snapbot: a Reconfigurable Legged Robot (2017).
Disney Research
INFO: This paper introduces a modular legged robot design that can use up to 6 legs. The legs come at 2 DOF (roll-pitch or yaw-pitch) or 3 DOF (roll-yaw-pitch) variants, creating 700 possible robot configurations. The robot has snap-on connectors with 4 neodymium magnets and pogo-pin electrical connectors. The connector design combined with providing each servo with an ID allows for configuration discovery (performed every 100ms). The robot supports three types of motion: rowing, crawling and working, all depending on the leg configuration. You can see the video presenting the robot on YouTube.

Careers

1) Latent Logic (Oxford, UK) - Robotics Engineer.
INFO: Latent Logic’s mission is to use state-of-the-art A.I. to learn complex human behaviours from real demonstrations, such as video data, so that we can design autonomous systems which can work collaboratively alongside humans.