Weekly Robotics #47


Last Sunday we’ve reached 1000 e-mail subscribers! This is a major milestone for Weekly Robotics and I’m really grateful for getting this far thanks to you! Starting in 2 weeks (after issue #49) I’ll be heading out for a 3 week holiday, therefore Weekly Robotics will enter ‘minimum support mode’. You will still get your weekly dose of interesting robotics news and projects but with minimal redaction. And if you happen to be in Norway and want to meet and talk robotics, feel free to contact me. Coffee is on me!

1) Reinforce Your 3D Prints with Steel.
INFO: This video by Brauns CNC explores a technique of reinforcing 3D prints with steel wire. After reinforcement the author performs a destructive tensile testing on 3 types of barts that were printed in pure plastic and reinforced with steel and observing an increase in strength in the range of 55.6% to 107.5%.

2) Jumping Space Robot ‘Flies’ Like a Spacecraft.
INFO: If you need to move around low gravity environment such as moon, why not try jumping? SpaceBok is the quadruped robot designed by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and Zhaw Zurich. The robot is using dynamic walking that allows gaits with full flight phases to get around low gravity environments. The robot is using a reaction wheel to stabilize itself in the air (you can see it in action in the video featured in the article). I really liked the test setup with a free floating platform and the robot mounted sideways to it!

3) Robot-ants that Can Jump, Communicate and Work Together.
INFO: Researchers at EPFL Professor Jamie Paik’s Laboratory had created tiny robots that weigh only 10 grams and are based on PCBs that can be folded to form a 3D shape of the robot and can accommodate all the robot components. The robots can move using shape-memory alloy actuators. For more information about the folding robots you might want to check out this TED talk in which Jamie paik talks about the robots her group is working on (origami haptic feedback devices look interesting).

4) ROS 2 Command Line Interface.
INFO: This short post by Jeremie Deray goes into how the command line interface tools had changed between ROS and ROS2 and specifies some of the ones that were freshly contributed by Ubuntu engineers.

5) OpenPnP - Open Source SMT Pick and Place System.
INFO: OpenPnp is a ready to run software for pick and place machines. The software supports various designs and is in active development. I found this project on YouTube utilizing OpenPnP very satisfactory to watch.

6) Developing Semi-automatic Nuclear Decommissioning Robots.
Lancaster University
INFO: Engineers from Lancaster University are building a semi-autonomous robot for handling nuclear waste. The robot is a mobile platform with two manipulators capable of grasping and cutting metal parts. The semi-autonomy of the robot allows the operator to select parts the robot should perform tasks on. For more information about the system you can check the Open Access publication about it.

7) Publication of the Week - Dragonfly: A Rotorcraft Lander Concept for Scientific Exploration at Titan (2018).
INFO: As promised in the previous issue here is a publication that introduces Dragonfly multirotor destined for Titan. Interestingly the first aircraft suggested for similar mission was a helicopter, however the idea was dropped due to the mechanical complexity of single rotor aircrafts. Even though the aircraft would perform just fine in a 4-rotor setup the 80rotor in coaxial configuration was chosen for redundancy. I really enjoyed the insights about the energy required to send science data to earth: “Missions with high-gain antennas (HGAs) empiri-cally require about 5 mJ per bit per astronomical unit”.

1) Humble Book Bundle: Programmable Boards by Make Community.
INFO: In this Humble Book Bundle you can grab various books related to single board computers, microcontrollers, sensors and even FPGAs. If you purchase this bundle through the above affiliated link you can choose to support Weekly Robotics.


1) Magazino (Munich, Germany) - Robot Deployment Engineer.
INFO: Magazino develops and builds intelligent, mobile robots for intralogistics.

2) ARM (Cambridge, UK) - Embedded Software Engineer - Automotive and Safety.
INFO: The Arm Open Source Software group enables partners to build software on Arm IP-based systems. We develop and contribute to open source software (OSS) projects, providing essential reference implementations and optimisations to key software system components, and also validated software stacks for Arm IP-based reference platforms used in intelligent devices.