Weekly Robotics #63

Issue 63

I work on this newsletter in phases. Phase 1 is going through my news feed and shortlisting the articles I found interesting (currently I use bookmarks for that). The second phase is going through the shortlisted webpages and selecting the ones that will appear in the next issue. This week I broke the record with 38 webpages shortlisted (!). The third phase is selecting the 7 top features. If a page doesn’t make it to the top I either add it to the next issue or I delete it. I was thinking that in the future I might add the links that ‘did not make it’ to the newsletter.

1) Saildrone USV Completes First Atlantic Crossing East to West.
INFO: I’ve covered the first Atlantic crossing by Saildrone in the issue #28. This time Saildrone was the first Unmanned Surface Vehicle to pass the Atlantic East to West and thus becoming the first unmanned vessel to make a roundtrip of the Atlantic (it traveled the first leg of the journey in August this year).

2) The Spacex Starship Is a Very Big Deal.
INFO: This is a very thorough blog post about how SpaceX BFR/Starship is a game changer in space vehicles. In the blog post you will also find a video in which Elon Musk explains how Starship will perform landing on earth.

3) Build Your Own Thrust Vectored Rockets For Vertical Landings Like SpaceX.
INFO: While we are at SpaceX rockets: in the above article Joe Barnard shares his experience building reusable rockets.

4) Can Autonomous Wheels Disrupt Indoor Mobility?
The Robot Report
INFO: In this article Olivier Mitchell introduces wheel.me, an Oslo based company working on autonomous wheels (they were hirigin back in May). I really like the idea and I can’t wait to see this technology applied somewhere. Apart from technology the curious thing I found about this article is the wheel.me business model, which is described as indoor-mobility-as-a-service. I’m really curious to see how Robots-as-a-service evolves in the future. Will try to keep you posted!

5) Helping Autonomous Vehicles See around Corners.
INFO: MIT Researchers are working on a camera that uses computer vision techniques to detect and classify changes of shadows on the ground. According to the article the system was able to detect a car turning around a pillar 0.72 seconds faster than a LiDAR in the controlled environment the experiments were done in.

6) It’s Official: Bionicopter Is the Biggest Flying Robotic Insect.
Automation World
INFO: The robot has a wingspan of 63 cm (24.8 in), length of 44 cm (17.3 in) and weighs only 175 g (6.2 oz), which is impressive given that the robot has 13 degrees of freedom. You can learn more about the project and see the video demonstrating the robot in action on Festo Bionicopter page.

7) Publication of the Week - Risley Prism Scanner: Application Note (PDF).
INFO: Risley Prism Scanner uses two rotating prisms to create a circular scanning pattern using a single laser scanner. This application note by ThorLabs discusses the principle of this technology and shows how to build a scanner like this.


1) Franka Emika (Munich, Germany) - Mechatronics Engineer / Control Engineer Mechatronics
INFO: Franka Emika is a dynamic company that develops robotics technology for everyone, with a goal to overcome one of the biggest challenges of the modern society, relieving an entire generation of tedious, potentially dangerous, vastly time-consuming, and monotonous labor.

2) Andøya Space Center (Andenes, Norway) - Project Engineer.
INFO: The Andøya Spaceport project is developing a launch capability for small satellites at a new site on Andøya in Norway. Side note: I took part in a student rocket campaign at Andøya Space Center in 2014.