Weekly Robotics #49


This week in the newsletter we feature a header image from Bossa Nova Robotics. If you would like to work on retail robots then you will find some more information about them in the careers section. Since yesterday I’m on holidays and since I’ll be spending most of my time in the wilderness and hiking I won’t be able to dedicate the usual amount of time to the project. It’s quite likely that some of the readers will take over the Publication of the week part of the newsletter for the next 3 weeks. Stay tuned!

1) Acutronic Robotics Closes After Financing Plans Fall Through.
Acutronic Robotics
INFO: Sad news from Spain. Acutronic Robotics, a company behind ROS2 ready MARA arms and H-ROS will be closing its doors at the end of July. The reason cited in the above blog post are issues with financing and acquisitions. Acutronic Robotics was also part of the Ofera Consortium working on micro-ROS project that I was really looking forward to see grow.

2) Mauled by Lions, Trampled by Elephants, Stolen by Cubs: 10 Years of Adventures with BeetleCam.
INFO: Happy Birthday! Earlier this month BeetleCam turned 10. In this video Will Burrard-Lucas shares some of the stories about this mobile robot platform. I found the video to be quite entertaining and the stories captivating. The video also features many of the wildlife photos taken throughout the years.

3) Cable Robot.
INFO: I really liked this cable robot by Tom from Hackaday. The robot is running G-code (similarly to 3D printers or milling machines) and has 3 cable hoists actuators controlled by EMC2 software.

4) Lyft Level 5 Autonomous Vehicle Dataset.
INFO: Lyft is providing access to their Level 5 autonomous driving dataset. The dataset contains raw sensor camera and LiDAR inputs, human-labelled 3D bounding boxes of traffic agents and underlying spatial semantic map. Each vehicle was equipped with: 3 LiDARs (one on the roof and 2 on the bumper, all firing at the same direction at any time), 6 wide field of view cameras covering 360 FOV around the car, one long focal length camera pointing up. On the linked website you can find a dataset sample that you can play in your browser.

5) Automated System Generates Robotic Parts for Novel Tasks.
INFO: MIT researchers created a system for fabricating actuators to an enormous number of specifications. An example of the developed actuator is a portrait of Vincent Van Gogh when actuator is laid flat but when titled and activated it shows “The Scream” painting by Edvard Munch. The actuators are made of 3 different materials with various properties (colours, flexibility, magnetization). The software developed by the researchers breaks down the design into millions of voxels and then performs millions of simulations to achieve the specification.

6) LightSail 2 Successfully Deploys Solar Sail.
The Planetary Society
INFO: LightSail is a crowdsourced project (I really recommend the Kickstarter video featuring Bill Nye) that is aiming to prove that a cubesat can use a 32 square meters sail as a propulsion method. The satellite is expected to keep rising the orbit for one month. It is also expected to reenter the atmosphere in about 1 year. I also recommend having a peek at the mission control.

7) Publication of the Week - ROS Navigation Tuning Guide (2016).
INFO: This guide by Kaiyu Zheng is a useful resource for tuning a wheeled robot navigation using move_base package in ROS. The guide offers a good practical approach to tuning the platform parameters, global and local planners, costmap and robot localization with AMCL.


1) Airbus, Project Vahana (Santa Clara, CA, US) - Flight Controls and Dynamics Engineer.
INFO: Project Vahana intends to open up urban airways by developing the first certified electric, self-piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft. We envision Vahana being as a cost-comparable replacement for short-range urban transportation like cars or trains.

2) Bossa Nova Robotics (Various Cities, US) - Various Positions.
INFO: Bossa Nova is the leading provider of real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry. Our robots navigate the busy retail ecosystem, collecting a wealth of data that allows retailers to improve product availability, streamline operations, and create a better shopping experience.

3) Fraunhofer IPA (Stuttgart, Germany) - Research Associate
INFO: The “Robot and Assistive Systems” Department designs robots and automation solutions for industrial applications and the service sector. Key technologies are developed and translated into innovative industrial robots, service robots and intelligent machines.


1) Kuka Innovation Award 2020.
INFO: Kuka is organizing an Innovation Award for robotics solutions for medical robotics. The participants will be able to use Kuka Robots free of charge for the duration of the challenge, present their solution during MEDICA 2020 trade fair and can win €20,000. The deadline for the application is 5th of January 2020.