Weekly Robotics #75

Issue 75

1) Issue No. 48.
The Orbital Index
INFO: Our friends at The Orbital Index had prepared a special issue of their newsletter covering climate change. I’ve learned a lot from the linked issue, especially on how space technologies can be used for measuring the effects of planet warming. I also haven’t heard of Project Drawdown before but I like their approach that ranks the problems and offers some solutions. When I set up my business I decided to pledge 1% of my revenue to environmental organizations through 1% For the Planet and I can highly recommend this as one of the things you can do.

2) Teardown: BilBot Bluetooth Robot.
INFO: Speaking of destroying the planet by buying cheap things nobody needs. This post shows a teardown of a $5 two-wheel toy robot has features like voice commands and bluetooth. As you probably expect - you won’t find too much hardware in this robot but it might turn into a nice hacking project.

3) I2C in a Nutshell.
INFO: A very good article on I2C protocol that also contains some useful and practical tips for debugging I2C issues.

4) Our Top Tips For Conducting Robotics Field Research.
INFO: Very solid advice on field testing robots from Timothy Barfoot, an autonomous space robotics researcher and associate professor at the University of Toronto. I’ve never heard of waterproof notebooks before!

5) Victoria Serrano Helps Panamanian Students Discover STEM Through Lego Robots.
IEEE Spectrum
INFO: Continuing on robots for good resources that I started last week here is a story of Victoria Serrano, who launched STEM Beyond the Borders programme in Panama to teach pre University students about STEM subjects.

6) Team Builds the First Living Robots.
INFO: A team of scientists have repurposed living cells from frog embryos and assembled them into millimeter wide “xenobots”. If this sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi book to you then welcome to the club!

7) Boston Dynamics Grows Spot Developer Toolkit.
INFO: BostonDynamics is making their Spot SDK available on GitHub.If you feel like reading some code today then I recommend looking at hello_spot.py that starts up the robot, makes it stand, twist its body, stand a bit taller and take a picture. I’m waiting for a ROS wrapper now!

1) Humble Book Bundle: Artificial Intelligence by MIT Press.
Humble Bundle
INFO: Get ready to dive into the world of intelligence, computers, systems, and machines with our latest ebook bundle! Pick up titles like Cybernetics: or the Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, What Computers Still Can’t Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason, and more. If you decide to purchase this bundle you can choose to support Weekly Robotics and help grow this newsletter, which will be highly appreciated!

2) Hub Drives – the Next Step for Modular Robots.
INFO: Ross Robotics is addressing challenges faced by all developers of electrically-driven vehicles: variable specifications in a single format / ease of repair and maintenance. The Hub Drives effectively ‘black box’ the motorization functionality, all that is required is to plug the drive onto the vehicle and send the Hub Drive very simple commands. The same format Hub Drive can be produced in a wide speed/torque range. Instant, tool-free pluggability makes it possible to swap-out Hub Drives to change the performance of the vehicle, also to swap-out for maintenance and repair.


1) X (Mountain View, CA, US) - Robotics Engineer.
INFO: X creates radical new technologies to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. We develop uncomfortably ambitious, potentially world-changing new ideas such as self-driving cars, balloon-powered Internet and smart contact lenses. We’re a team of makers, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and scientists with deep technical expertise who love the challenge of the seemingly impossible. X was formerly known as Google[x] and is part of Alphabet.

2) Woodside (Perth, Australia) - Robotics, Intelligent and Autonomous Systems.
INFO: Working within our IAS team, you will help build safe and autonomous mobile robots that are deployed into Woodside’s operating oil and gas assets to perform remote surveillance and manipulation. You will help deliver business results and improvements in health and safety performance, both to the core business and to the lab, by deploying technologies such as robotic perception, manipulation and/or machine learning. Depending on level of experience, some candidates will be able to help grow our team’s capability through coaching and training activities.


1) RoboCup 2020 Virtual Robot – Call for Participation.
INFO: The RoboCup Rescue Simulation League is a socially relevant part of the RoboCup event. Its main purpose is to provide emergency decision support by integration of disaster information, prediction, planning, and human interface. A generic urban disaster simulation environment is constructed on network computers. Heterogeneous intelligent agents such as firefighters, commanders, victims, volunteers, etc. conduct search and rescue activities in this virtual disaster world. Agents can sense their environment and make decisions on the basis of the perceived data. Mission-critical human interfaces support disaster managers, disaster relief brigades, residents, and volunteers to decide their actions to minimize the disaster damage. The pre-registration for the event is open until 22nd of February and the tournament will take place on June 25th-28th in Bordeaux, France.