Weekly Robotics #67

Issue 67

1) Hi Honey! NASA’s Second Astrobee Wakes Up in Space.
INFO: It looks like Luca Parmitano gets to play with Robots quite a lot while onboard ISS. Just last week I reported on him controlling a ground robot from space. This time Luca got to perform some initial tests on the second Astrobee. Since the hardware on both robots is identical Honey will get to use the map already created for Bumble. As always I will keep you posted on this project.

2) SmallKat: An Adorable Dynamics Oriented Robot Cat.
INFO: This Hackaday project features an open-source small quadruped cat robot. The 16 degrees of freedom are achieved using MG92b Micro Servos. For more information you can see the project repository. If you would like to have one then please consider buying it from creators on tindie and help support the project.

3) Hease Robotics Shuts Down After Fire Destroys Business.
The Robot Report
INFO: Sad news from France. Hease Robotics, a company that was developing service robots, shut down on November 7th. According to the article, the main reason for shutdown was the fire that burned the company’s offices, production facilities and stockpiles.

4) Using Swarms of Drones to Map and Help Fight Wildfires.
INFO: Engineers from University of Michigan developed UAVs that can map the boundaries of fires and provide real-time estimates to the ground crew.

5) NASA’s Latest Software Catalog Offers New Codes, Easier Way to Download Free Software.
INFO: NASA had released the 2019-2020 software catalog. If you browse the database you will find lots of open source projects and some open only to US citizens or federal employees. Some interesting projects I found are AprilNav, PX4 Autopilot Simulink Interface and Vehicle Sketch Pad.

6) 6 Autonomous Mobile Robot Trends to Watch.
The Robot Report
INFO: This article by Eugene Demaitre covers some trends in mobile robotics. I found the first one about accuracy to be on point.

7) Publication of the Week - Mechanical and Control Design of an Industrial Exoskeleton for Advanced Human Empowering in Heavy Parts Manipulation Tasks (2019).
INFO: I found this publication on the r/robotics reading thread. Huge thanks to Chestergc for sharing it! This paper discusses mechanical design consideration for an affordable 2 DOF industrial exoskeleton to assist factory workers in lifting tasks. The paper is easy to follow, I just wished a practical implementation was described too.

1) Giving LaMa a Shot.
INFO: I’ve recently had a chance to work a bit with iris_lama, a ROS package for SLAM. The above blog post describes my experience with it and compares it to slam_toolbox. Spoiler alert: iris_lama is very lightweight on CPU, with my laptop I was seeing 14% of CPU usage while mapping my office.


1) Airnamics (Ljubljana, Slovenia) - Various Positions.
INFO: Airnamics mission is to create the most advanced autonomous robotics systems by integrating proprietary virtual simulation environment with cutting edge mechatronic components. Our model based and AI driven design process is optimised for safety, performance and ease of use.

2) ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) - Technical Lead Robotics Platform.
INFO: In 2019, ETH hast started an initiative for a Center for Robotics. The goal of this cross-departmental initiative of MAVT, ITET, INFK, USYS, MATL, ARCH, BAUG, and HEST is to develop the strong competences of ETH in robotics into a joint research and educational platform.

3) Tesla (Fremont, CA, US) - Robotics Engineer.
INFO: Tesla is accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. We design, manufacture, sell and service the world’s best solar technology, energy storage systems, and electric vehicles, providing customers the opportunity to generate, store and consume energy entirely sustainably.