Weekly Robotics #35

1) NASA Launching Astrobee Robots to Space Station.
INFO: Astrobees are the robots that will soon float around the ISS. Each Astrobee is a cube with 30 cm (12 inch) side and is equipped with 6 cameras, touchscreen, speaker, microphone, signal lights, laser pointer and a built-in gripper. Among other things the robots will monitor radiation and air quality onboard the space station. The robots are controlled by pushing air through 12 adjustable nozzles and their software has been developed using ROS and can be found in the following GitHub repository.

2) The Drones and Robots that Helped Save Notre Dame.
INFO: We were quite bummed about the Notre Dame burning down but we hope that the robots deployed there brought at least some value by helping out the firefighters. The above article mentions the 2 DJI drones that were used (Mavic Pro and Matrice M210) in helping firefighters to see the intensity and spread of fire in real time and the 500 kg (1100 lbs) Colossus mobile tracked robot developed by Shark Robotics was deployed inside of the burning structure and was providing a constant stream of water to cool down the interior.

3) Robotic Refueling Mission 3 Update.
INFO: Back in Weekly Robotics #18 we covered the Robotic Refueling Mission 3 aiming to test new methods for transferring and storing cryogenic fluids like liquid methane in space and robotic tools and vision systems for satellite refueling. As we can read in the above update the coolers seem to have broken down making the module incapable of performing fuel storage and transfer, however the mission will continue operations with servicing and inspection tools.

4) Automate/ProMat 2019: 10 Takeaways for Robotics Developers.
The Robot Report
INFO: In this article by Eugene Demaitre from The Robot Report shares lots of insights on the commercial needs for industrial robots that he learned while attending Automate and ProMat 2019 exhibitions.

5) A Pet Robot, Just Like Boston Dynamics Makes.
INFO: This article presents Dizzy Wolf, a quadruped robot developed by Misha. As part of this project Misha designed and manufactured custom motors (some of them with built-in planetary gearbox) and a BLDC motor controller. You can learn more about the project on dizzy.ai.

6) RDP042: How ROS is Developed with ROS Platform Manager Tully Foote.
The Construct
INFO: In this episode of ROS Developers Podcast Ricardo Tellez hosts Tully Foote who is a ROS platform manager at Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF). From the podcast episode we can learn how ROS distributions are created and how timelines follow Ubuntu release lifecycle. There are also some interesting thoughts on Gazebo simulators, how Python 3 is going to be used in the future and the last release of ROS.

7) Publication of the week - ROS-based implementation of BatSLAM (2016).
INFO: In this paper Researchers from the University of Antwerp describe their efforts of integrating BatSLAM into a ROS based system developed on top of Pioneer P3-DX mobile robot. The system is using biomimetic sonar sensor that perform echolocation and a Hokuyo laser rangefinder that is used for capturing the ground truth information. To create a BatSLAM solution the Researchers process the information from the sonar sensor to create 8-bit images that they later use with RatSLAM. The end goal for the researchers is to use this solution to create an autonomous wheelchair.


1) Blue Robotics (Torrance, CA, US or remote) - Software Developer.
INFO: Blue Robotics specializes in developing, manufacturing, and online retailing of components and systems for marine robotics. We strive to make products that are high-quality, well-supported, and low-cost with the goal of enabling and expanding the field of marine robotics.

2) Veo Robotics ( Waltham, MA) - Various Positions.
INFO: Veo Robotics is transforming manufacturing with products that incorporate advanced computer vision, 3D sensing, and AI. Our first product lets high-performance industrial robots work collaboratively with people to enable much more flexible, productive, and efficient manufacturing workcells.

3) Flyability (Lausanne, Switzerland) - Software Engineer.
INFO: At Flyability, we believe that robots should be sent in hazardous places and dangerous situations instead of putting humans in danger. To support our belief we created Elios, the world’s first collision-tolerant flying robot that for the first time allows entry to complex and indoor spaces.

4) Zen Robotics (Helsinki, Finland) - Robotics Software Developer.
INFO: ZenRobotics Ltd is a global leader in intelligent robotic recycling. We provide a solution to the world’s waste crisis with AI-based sorting robots that make recycling more efficient, accurate and profitable.