Weekly Robotics #60

Issue 60

How do you like the stickers shown in the header image of this issue? Let’s do a giveaway! The first 20 readers that will send me an e-mail with their postal will get a sticker sent to them free of charge. As soon as your address makes it to the envelope it will be deleted to be never seen again.

1) Imagineering in a Box.
Khan Academy
INFO: Disney has released a free course on Theme Park design that I found very inspiring and interesting to watch. In Lesson 3 starting with video on Armatures you can have a look into Animatronics at Disney’s theme parks. In exercise sections you can even design your own linkage system and actuate it.

2) Drones as Detectives: Surveying Crime Scenes for Evidence.
IEEE Spectrum
INFO: I’ve heard of a similar idea years ago in the context of using drones and photogrammetry for accident mapping (this article from PhotoModeler Technologies will give you an idea what I’m talking about). I’m not sure how useful drones would be on the crime scenes though given that a person can easily take photographs from multiple angles with a handheld camera.

3) Xaxxon OpenLIDAR Sensor.
INFO: This project is an open source lidar built using Garmin’s Lidar-Lite v3 distance sensor. The maximum range of the assembled LiDAR is 40 meters and it can rotate at 250 RPM (equal to 4.17 Hz full scan rate).

4) Walmart’s Robot Army Has Arrived.
Fast Company
INFO: How to integrate robots into places full of people while signaling robot’s intent? That is one of the problems Bossa Nova has to tackle. I found this article to be a good inspiration to think about user interaction in Robotics.

5) TRI Teaching Robots to Help People in their Homes.
Toyota Research Institute
INFO: I really like the design of this robot - a body of a humanoid robot torso attached to a robot manipulator that is rigidly connected to a mobile robot platform. I recommend watching this YouTube video about this R&D Project. Given that TRI is in the ROS2 Technical Steering Committee what are the chances of this platform running ROS2?

6) Watch Astrobee’s First Autonomous Flight on the International Space Station.
IEEE Spectrum
INFO: One of my all time favourite ROS projects (I covered Astrobee launch in #35, a paper on Astrobee Software in #39 and the first flight in #44) made its first fully autonomous flight!

7) Publication of the Week - Design, Modeling and Control of a Robot Bat: From Bio-inspiration to Engineering Solutions (2019).
Carnegie Mellon University
INFO: This is a very interesting seminar on bio-inspired robot design by Seth Hutchinson. I’ve never realised how many Degrees of Freedom bats have! If you have a one hour of time to invest and you are interested in biologically inspired robots then I recommend watching this lecture. I’ve definitely learned something today.