Weekly Robotics #94

Issue 94

It looks like the main part of ICRA 2020 has wrapped up - this means that we can expect to learn about a number of hugely interesting projects in the coming days - great news, especially if you happen to follow a robotic themed newsletter! The most clicked last week was a fast introduction to robotics v 2.0 with 13.9% opens.

1) Granular Boots for Bots.
INFO: “Roboticists at the University of California San Diego have developed flexible feet that can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain, such as pebbles and wood chips”. This is the first time I’ve seen jamming mechanisms applied to a moving robot, usually you could see it applied to robotic grippers. You can find a PDF with a paper describing this concept in detail here.

2) Robotic Third Arm Can Smash Through Walls.
IEEE Spectrum
INFO: “Researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada developed a waist-mounted hydraulic arm that can help you with all kinds of tasks”. I recommend taking a look at the project video. At the end of the article you find an interview with Catherine Véronneau - it was interesting to learn about compensating for the arm movement and about the inspiration for this project.

3) Restoring a UBR-1.
Robot & Chisel
INFO: Michael Ferguson recently purchased a UBR-1 robot off Craigslist. UBR-1 was developed by Unbounded, where Michael used to be a CTO. From the article it seems it took Michael no time to upgrade this Robot to the latest version of ROS and get it running. To learn a bit more about UBR1 and Unbounded you can check out Melonee Wise’s website.

4) Kuka Milling Robot Used to Manufacture Film Props.
Robotics and Automation News
INFO: Robocarv is an UK based company that uses robots to manufacture movie props. The company’s portfolio has many interesting projects. I didn’t expect drilling polystyrene can look so satisfying (here is the video).

5) Salto Jumping Robot Masters Pinpoint Landings.
IEEE Spectrum
INFO: Salto that you could have seen in issue #9 and #40 of this newsletter. With the latest improvements the Salto can now stably land where you tell it to. Looking forward to seeing what happens with this project in the future!

6) Next-Generation Cockroach-Inspired Robot Is Small but Mighty.
Wyss Institute
INFO: “PC-MEMS (short for printed circuit microelectromechanical systems) is a fabrication process in which the robot’s components are etched into a 2D sheet and then popped out in its 3D structure”. In this work Researchers scaled down an existing robot design to recreate a robot with the same functionality as its predecessor. You can see a video presenting this concept in detail on YouTube.

7) Dead Robots: Jibo.
INFO: Conrad Gray had published another article in his Dead Robots series, this time featuring Jibo. Similarly to the previous article Conrad had made a well researched post. Looking forward to the next articles!

8) Publication of the Week - Why Robotics Companies Fail (2020) [PDF].
Fresh Consulting
INFO: Fresh Consulting had published a 40 page white paper on why robotics companies fail. The document features many success and failure stories across 5 main causes that can kill a Robotics company.