Weekly Robotics #84

Issue 84

I’m seeing a reduced rate of robotics news in my feed by about ~60%, which is understandable given the current COVID-19 situation in the world. Luckily I have a backlog of information to share with you, so we should be good for the next 2-3 weeks. Stay Safe! The most clicked last week was the open source ventilator with 8.8% opens.

1) The End of Starsky Robotics.
INFO: A very insightful article by Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, a CEO of Starsky Robotics, on the difficulties of scaling AI systems, difficulties in raising capital for safety oriented features and eventually having to close the company. I’ve definitely learned something from this article and I hope the whole team moved on and will keep doing great things!

2) Writing a New Costmap2d Plugin.
INFO: In the last issue we’ve learned about Navigation2 for ROS2 through the paper featured in the publication of the week section. Extending upon that this tutorial shows how to implement a custom costmap plugin for this navigation framework.

3) Open Source Turtle Robot (OSTR).
INFO: This instructable contains instructions on creating a turtlebot with a marker holder (did you ever play with logo. This project is the most thorough instructable I’ve ever seen. I was surprised that it even covered odometry calibration.

4) RB-0.
INFO: While we are on the topic of DIY 3D printed robots: RB-0 is a hobby-sized rover using the same method of suspension as NASA rovers. The brains of this rover is a Jetson Nano and in the repository you will find some ipython notebooks with some additional instructions and source code.

5) Ultra-Precise, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Hand for Amputees via RPNI Neural Interface.
YouTube (University of Michigan Engineering)
INFO: Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface (RPNI) is a small graft of muscle surgically attached to the end of severed nerves in an amputee’s arm in order to amplify the readable signal. I have to say that the results shown in the video seem very promising!

6) A3 Special Report: How Robots and Automation are Fighting Covid-19.
INFO: In this report Keith Shaw showcases some robotics companies that are aiding in the fight with COVID-19. If you know of anything happening in this space robotics wise that is worth highlighting feel free to let me know!

7) First look under Thwaites Glacier and Kamb Ice Stream.
Georgia Tech
INFO: “An international team including scientists from Georgia Tech captured new images and first-of-its-kind data from deep beneath an Antarctic glacier, which will help scientists to better understand the impact of one of Antarctica’s fastest changing regions and its impact on future sea level rise”. In this mission the team was using ICEFIN, a 130 kg submarine capable of getting to a depth of 1 km and covering a range of 3.5 km.

Job Seekers

Last week I’ve started this job seekers section for a limited period of time. If you are a roboticist looking for work in the pandemic feel free to send me your details in the same format as you can see in the entries below. Please note that I will be able to list up to 5 profiles a week in this section.

Name: Khaled Hammad Mohamed
Location: Cairo, Egypt. Willing to Relocate
Skills: Python, C++, ROS , KRL, URDF, Robotics, Autonomous Systems, AGV
Profile: I am a Robotics Engineer who is A multidisciplinary engineer with expertise in designing and building intelligent robotic systems. knowledge in ROS, SLAM and Embedded system Design, Looking for a company which is interested in developing Robotics solutions or Autonomous Systems
Social Profiles: LinkedIn
Email: khaledgabr77@gmail.com

Name: Andres Torres Garcia
Location: Merced, CA, USA. Willing to relocate
Skills: Python, Linux, MATLAB, C/C++11, ROS, GIT, Embedded Systems
Profile: I’m a Roboticist working on Mobile Robots, Localization and Robot Motion Planning. Currently working on an Autonomous Ground Vehicle(AGV) for Agriculture. Also, contributing to an open-source AGV for agriculture named Gribot
Social Profiles: LinkedIn
Email: andrestoga@gmail.com

Name: Ignat Georgiev
Location: Edinburgh, UK. Willing to relocate
Skills: motion control, machine learning, C/C++, ROS, Python, CUDA, PyTorch, Tensorflow, git, Linux, robotics simulators
Profile: I am an enthusiastic and hard-working student set to graduate from my Master’s this summer. I am interested in the intersection between autonomous robots and AI which led me to establish a student team at my university which is building an autonomous racecar. From that I have gained practical experience in object detection, localisation, SLAM, path planning and motion control
Social Profiles: LinkedIn, Website
Email: ignat.m.georgiev@gmail.com


1) Join the AI-ROBOTICS vs COVID-19 initiative of the European AI Alliance.
INFO: The European Commission launches an initiative to collect ideas about deployable Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics solutions as well as information on other initiatives that could help face the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.