Weekly Robotics #78

Issue 78

One of the newsletters I’ve been subscribed to for a long time is The Prepared. One of the many things I like about that newsletter is that in each issue authors provide some statistics on the links that were most often viewed by the readers. I would like to do this too! The most clicked link last week was the publication of the week: “How do you Architect your Robots? State of the Practice and Guidelines for ROS-based Systems” with 14.2% opens.

1) Dynamixel Position Feedback Demo.
YouTube (trossenrobotics)
INFO: Cool demonstrator of position feedback from Trossen Robotics showing how position feedback from servos in one robot arm can be used to mirror its movement in the second arm. Many thanks to Allan Scherger for sharing this video in ROS Agriculture Slack channel!

2) 3D Printed Hands Are Giving Syrian Children a Second Chance.
INFO: Here is another story on tech for good: Loai, a boy from Syria, lost his forearm in 2016 but thanks to the company called Smart Hand he was able to receive a 3D printed prosthetic arm. If you know other stories on how robotics or technology are used for good causes please let me know - I love reading about them.

3) “Sensorized” Skin Helps Soft Robots Find Their Bearings.
INFO: Last week I’ve covered MakeSense from DisneyResearch that embedded strain sensors into soft robots to reconstruct their deformation. The MIT team had taken a different approach in which they applied the strain sensors on the robot body. Which of the two methods do you prefer?

4) NASA Begins Testing Next Moon Rover.
IEEE Spectrum
INFO: NASA is working on a VIPER (Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover) that’s meant to look for water ice on Moon’s south pole. In the video featured in the article you will see engineers performing tests on a simulated lunar regolith.

5) Pinocchio - A Rigid Body Dynamics Library.
INFO: Via GitHub readme file: “Pinocchio instantiates the state-of-the-art Rigid Body Algorithms for poly-articulated systems based on revisited Roy Featherstone’s algorithms. Besides, Pinocchio provides the analytical derivatives of the main Rigid-Body Algorithms like the Recursive Newton-Euler Algorithm or the Articulated-Body Algorithm”. As of right now pinocchio is one of the projects featured in my Awesome Weekly Robotics list.

6) The Robot That Grips without Touching.
INFO: Marcel Schuck from ETH Zurich are developing a manipulator that can pick up and manipulate objects using acoustic levitation.

7) gazebo_model_destroyer_plugin.
INFO: This is for those of you working with ROS: thanks to this plugin you can destroy your robots with ROS. This sounds like a tool that can make integration tests slightly more interesting.

8) Publication of the Week - Gears (2020).
INFO: If you are reading this newsletter chances are you already have a good knowledge of mechanics but I would still recommend checking out this blog post by Bartosz Ciechanowski. What I especially like about this piece are the interactive animations and a clear design of the website.