The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about robotics as a whole and how software, electronics and mechanics need to come together for you to create a solution and how sometimes you are not troubleshooting the right things as you are closing in on the bug you’ve been chasing. Looking at my notes, I had the same thoughts last year (curiously to a day!) and ended up with lots of scribbling on how agile might not necessarily be the right framework for robotics. As usual, the publication of the week section is manned by Rodrigo. The most clicked link last week was the Spider-Man stunt robot crashing into a building :( with 13.4% opens.
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An In-Depth Look At The Haptic Smart Knob
Back in March we covered Scott’s haptic knob. In the follow-up video, Scott goes through all the technical details that make this knob possible. It’s a bummer these hollow shaft DC motors are not available anymore as it looks like many people would like to replicate this project.
Lunar Science Stirring on Mount Etna
DLR and ESA are testing a lunar rover on a volcano in Sicily. In the experiment, the astronaut is controlling the robot from a nearby town and getting haptic feedback from the robot’s arms. These experiments target a future deployment of this kind of system as part of the Lunar Gateway.
Amazon Shows Off Impressive New Warehouse Robots
There have been several exciting pieces of information coming from Amazon’s re:MARS conference (more info in the next issue of the newsletter). This article describes Amazon’s effort in creating Proteus, a new shelf transporting AMR that looks like a solid mobile robot base. If you would like to dig more into this, you can start with this release from Amazon.
UBR-1 on ROS2 Humble
Michael Ferguson is back working on his UBR-1 robot! In this blog post he describes how he started porting his platform to ROS2 Humble and in the process provides some helpful tips on running RVIZ1 from docker images using the rocker tool.
Researchers Release Open-Source Photorealistic Simulator for Autonomous Driving
Researchers from MIT have released VISTA 2.0 which is capable of creating realistic simulation environments for captured data. What I found interesting is that the simulator also supports event cameras, hopefully helping popularize this technology event more (pun intended). You can learn more about this work from the paper, the website or the code
Team CERBERUS Wins the DARPA Subterranean Challenge
Earlier this month, Team CERBERUS had published this video showing the successful run of their ANYmal robots as part of the Sub-T challenge. I appreciate how spot-on the SLAM seems to be here.
Publication of the Week - VRChain: A Blockchain-Enabled Framework for Visual Homing and Navigation Robots (DATE)
Blockchain is most related to the world of virtual coins and transactions, but in this paper, the authors leverage this technology with a team of robots. Visual homing is an efficient and lightweight form of navigation, as it does not require a map of the environment or a global positioning system, such as GPS. The key challenge with the method is that the visual target must be in the robot’s field of view (FOV). The authors address this problem with a team of robots that shares their visual information through transactions within a blockchain. This way, each robot can see what the other sees and use that information to expand its navigation in a low latency form.
Apptronik Secures $14.6M to Accelerate Commercialization of General-Purpose Robots
“Apptronik, an Austin-based robotics company specializing in the development of versatile, mobile robotic systems that can work alongside humans, announced today that it raised $14.6 million in a Seed Round, including Capital Factory, Grit Ventures, Perot Jain and other strategic investors”.
Wingcopter Brings in $42M for Delivery Drones
“Wingcopter, a German delivery drone manufacturer and service provider, announced that it raised $42 million from a Series A extension round. The company originally closed its Series A round with $22 million”.
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