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Make Computers See with SimpleCV - The Open Source Framework for Vision - 0 views

  • So after all that you are probably asking, “What is SimpleCV?” It is an open source computer vision framework that lowers the barriers to entry for people to learn, develop, and use it across the globe. Currently there are a few open source vision system libraries in existence, but the downside to these is you have to be quite the domain expert and knowledgeable with vision systems as well as know cryptic programming languages like C. Where SimpleCV is different, is it is “simple”. It has been designed with a web browser interface, which is familiar to Internet users everywhere. It will talk to your webcam (which most computers and smart phones have built in) automatically. It works cross platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc). It uses the programming language Python rather than C to greatly lower the learning curve of the software. It sacrifices some complexity for simplicity, which is needed for mass adoption of any type of new technology.
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Will Today's Supercomputers Lead to Self-Aware Machines? | News & Opinion | PCMag.com - 1 views

  • Intel unveiled plans Monday to take supercomputing performance to levels that are orders of magnitude greater than currently possible by the end of the decade. Coincidentally, the news broke just after Japan's K supercomputer had been named the world's fastest, with over three times the processing power as the previous title holder, China's Tianhe-1A system.

    The power of supercomputers shows no signs of abating. Intel said its new Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture will deliver exaflop-scale supercomputing by 2018, with the fastest supercomputers reaching up to 4 exaflops of performance by 2020.

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robots.net - Swarming Micro Air Vehicle Network - 0 views

  • aims at developing swarms of flying robots that can be deployed in disaster areas to rapidly create communication networks for rescuers. Flying robots are interesting for such applications because they are fast, can easily overcome difficult terrain, and benefit from line-of-sight communication.
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Robotland: Rescue Robots & Systems Research in Japan - 0 views

  • The Special Project for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in Urban Areas (2002-2006) conducted by the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo. The project revealed the detailed geometry of the subducted Philippine Sea plate (PSP) beneath the Tokyo Metropolitan area and improved information needed for seismic hazards analyses of the largest urban centers. In 2007 the Special Project for Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in Tokyo Metropolitan Area started focusing at  the vertical proximity of the PSP down going lithospheric plate and the risks for the greater Tokyo urban region that has a population of 42 million and is the center of approximately 40 % of the nation's activities. A M 7 or greater (M 7+) earthquake in this region at present has high potential to produce devastating loss of life and property with even greater global economic repercussions. The Central Disaster Management Council of Japan estimated that a great earthquake in the region might cause 11,000 fatalities and 112 trillion yen (1 trillion US$) economic loss. The Earthquake Research Committee of Japan estimated a probability of 70 % in 30 years for a great earthquake in this region. 
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Automaton, Know Thyself: Robots Become Self-Aware: Scientific American - 0 views

  • Robots might one day trace the origin of their consciousness to recent experiments aimed at instilling them with the ability to reflect on their own thinking.

    Although granting machines self-awareness might seem more like the stuff of science fiction than science, there are solid practical reasons for doing so, explains roboticist Hod Lipson at Cornell University's Computational Synthesis Laboratory.

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Robots with a human touch - A*STAR Research - 1 views

  • In recent years, ‘social’ robots—cleaning robots, nursing-care robots, robot pets and the like—have started to penetrate into people’s everyday lives. Saerbeck and other robotics researchers are now scrambling to develop more sophisticated robotic capabilities that can reduce the ‘strangeness’ of robot interaction. “When robots come to live in a human space, we need to take care of many more things than for manufacturing robots installed on the factory floor,” says Haizhou Li, head of the Human Language Technology Department at the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research. “Everything from design to the cognitive process needs to be considered.”
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Interview: iRobot's AVA Tech Demonstrator | BotJunkie - 0 views

  • With all of the new competition in the consumer robotics field, it’s about time for iRobot to show that they’re still capable of innovating new and exciting things. AVA, their technology demonstrator, definitely fits into the new and exciting category.

    AVA is short for ‘Avatar,’ although iRobot was careful not to call it a telepresence robot so as not to restrict perceptions of what it’s capable of. AVA is capable of fully autonomous navigation, relying on a Kinect-style depth sensing camera, laser rangefinders, inertial movement sensors, ultrasonic sensors, and (as a last resort) bump sensors. We got a run-down a few days ago at CES, check it out:

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Kinect-enabled robotic telepresence | Computer Vision Central - 0 views

  • Taylor Veltrop used a Kinect to read his arm movements which were then carried out by a robot. The robot was programmed using Willow Garage's open-source robot operating system (ROS). As Kit Eaton suggest, this quick experiment provides an illustration of the path towards robotic avatars.
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robots.net - It's Cognitive Robotics, Stupid! - 0 views

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Urus Project - 0 views

  • In this project we want to analyze and test the idea of incorporating a network of robots (robots, intelligent sensors, devices and communications) in order to improve life quality in urban areas. The URUS project is focused in designing a network of robots that in a cooperative way interact with human beings and the environment for tasks of assistance, transportation of goods, and surveillance in urban areas. Specifically, our objective is to design and develop a cognitive network robot architecture that integrates cooperating urban robots, intelligent sensors, intelligent devices and communications.
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Video: Impressive Strawberry Picking Robot - 1 views

  • Developed by Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization and other local institutions, the robot may sound boring (when compared to humanoids, for example), but it’s actually pretty cool. The main bullet points are that it automatically detects how ripe the strawberries are (which fruit is ready for harvesting) and that it cuts the stalks without damaging the strawberries.
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・ARMAR-III - 0 views

  • Continuing to work on a humanoid helper robot called ARMAR, the Collaborative Research Center 588: Humanoid Robots at the University of Karlsruhe began planning ARMAR-IIIa (blue) in 2006. It has 43 degrees of freedom (torso x3, 2 arms x7, 2 hands x8, head x7) and is equipped with position, velocity, and force sensors.  The upper-body has a modular design based on the average dimensions of a person, with 14 tactile sensors per hand.  Like the previous versions, it moves on a mobile platform.  In 2008 they built a slightly upgraded version of the robot called ARMAR-IIIb (red).  Both robots use the Karlsruhe Humanoid Head, which has 2 cameras per eye (for near and far vision).  The head has a total of 7 degrees of freedom (neck x4, eyes x3), 6 microphones, and a 6D inertial sensor.
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・HRP-2FX - 1 views

  • Bipedal humanoid robots can step over obstacles and negotiate stairs where their wheeled counterparts cannot, but this comes with the risk of falling down.  Naturally, humanoid robots will never be accepted in society if they break when they fall down.  The bigger the robot, the more likely it is that it will damage itself during a fall and be unable to get up.

    In 2003 the HRP-2P was the first full-scale humanoid that could fall over safely and get back up, and so far remains alone; not even Honda’s ASIMO can do this.  As soon as it detected that it was falling, the HRP-2P would bend its knees and back, which helped to reduce the ground impact.  This motion, called “UKEMI”, is quite similar to how the SONY QRIO would react when falling over to reduce the risk of damaging its components.

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Robot cooks make pancakes - 0 views

  • Cooking is an art sometimes forgotten in the robotics world, but James, the PR2 robot, and Rosie, another robot from CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) in Munich have joined forces to show that robots can be of great use in the kitchen as well. They made some pretty successful-looking pancakes and used various tools around the Assisted Kitchen to show off their skills.

    The main chef in the experiment was Rosie, who used her broad arms and high levels of dexterity to flip and cook the pancakes. As you can see in the video, she is a bit on the slow side, but she’s also extra careful and gets it done right. She is capable of adjusting the way she pours the batter based on the weight of the bowl, demonstrating some impressive planning and a good use of her sensors, which allow the bot to recognize how much batter she has already poured.

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Robot Loses To Human At Bowling, Everyone Seems Surprised | BotJunkie - 0 views

  • EARL (that would be, Enhanced Automated Robotic Launcher) is a second generation bowling robot. Let me explain to you why a bowling robot is necessary at all: apparently, EARL is “invaluable in the many studies necessary to keep up with the ever-changing bowling ball industry… [EARL is] the future of bowling research.”

    Hmm. That’s worth pondering for a minute or two.

    Well, I won’t pretend to understand it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not impressed with the fact that EARL can throw bowling balls at 24 MPH and spin them up at 900 RPM, much faster than a human is capable of, which I guess is why people seemed to assume that the robot would win… Does it say something about the state of robotics, or something about the sport? Either way, bowling seems like a game with an extremely limited amount of random variables, and sooner or later (probably sooner) the only thing worthy of a news story will be a robot arm not bowling a perfect 300.

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DIY Drones - 0 views

  • This is a site for all things about amateur Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Use the tabs and drop-down menus above to navigate the site.

    These are our Arduino-based open source autopilot projects:
    * ArduPilot, a low-cost autopilot system for planes.
    * ArduCopter, a fully-autonomous quadcopter system (heli autopilot coming soon).
    * BlimpDuino, an autonomous blimp with both infrared and ultrasonic guidance.
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STOMP Motion Planner | Willow Garage - 0 views

  • Robot motion planning has traditionally been used to avoid collisions when moving a robot arm. Avoiding collisions is important, but many other desirable criteria are often ignored. For example, motions that minimize energy will let the robot extend its battery life. Smoother trajectories may cause less wear on motors and can be more aesthetically appealing. There may be even more useful criteria, like keeping a glass of water upright when moving it around.

    stomp_pole.pngThis summer, Mrinal Kalakrishnan from the Computational Learning and Motor Control Lab at USC worked on a new motion planner called STOMP, which stands for "Stochastic Trajectory Optimization for Motion Planning". This planner can plan paths for high-dimensional robotic systems that are collision-free, smooth, and can simultaneously satisfy task constraints, minimize energy consumption, or optimize other arbitrary criteria. STOMP is derived from gradient-free optimization and path integral reinforcement learning techniques (Policy Improvement with Path Integrals, Theodorou et al, 2010).

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HRP-4C Dances Thanks to AIST's Choreonoid Software - 0 views

  • Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has detailed the software used to make their robot dance (see some nice photos over at Pink Tentacle) in a recent press release.  The software, dubbed Choreonoid (Choreography and Humanoid), is similar to conventional computer animation software.  Users create key poses and the software automatically interpolates the motion between them.  What makes the software unique is that it also corrects the poses if they are mechanically unstable, such as modifying the position of the feet and waist, allowing anyone to create motions compatible with the ZMP balancing method.  This is especially important for robots like the HRP-4C, where complicated motions could easily cause it to fall over.
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