It is my pleasure to welcome you to the WR issue 100000000. It feels like quite a milestone. Anyways, last week I had the pleasure of attending the Cracow Robotics and AI Club meetup in Krakow, Poland (here is the meetup recording for the interested). The event was packed! If you are visiting and can attend one of these, I highly recommend it! It feels like robotics is booming these days, especially since Weekly Robotics saw 1% e-mail subscription growth in just a week. As usual, the publication of the week section is manned by Rodrigo. Last week’s most clicked link was the article about Gall’s law, with 14.0% opens.
Intel Exiting the PC Business as it Stops Investment in the Intel NUC
Let’s start with the news that can impact many roboticists. Intel might stop being associated with NUC, a line of small computers that were a convenient choice for projects. I hope that some lookalike models will remain on the market and that we will continue to have alternatives.
5 Side PCB Test Fixture
Josh from mjbots created this test fixture for his moteus-n1 brushless motor controller. If I were making electronics, I would look into replicating something similar and automating the process as much as possible.
No Moving Parts LiDAR
Researchers at the University of Washington created a LiDAR with no moving parts that use a laser on a chip that is bent using acoustic waves. According to the article, the Lidar has a range of 100 feet (30 meters).
Meta had released their HomeRobot mobile robot manipulation stack. Open Vocabulary Mobile Manipulation (OVMM) assumes that a robot placed in an unknown environment needs to explore it, find an object, find a location where to put this object, and then place it there. The project has an MIT licence, and is currently demoed using a Hello Robot Stretch manipulator.
6-circuit slip-ring teardown
I didn’t anticipate enjoying a slip-ring teardown last week, but here we are.
Odometry using Optical Flow
Aditya Kamath wrote a detailed article on integrating a PAA5100 optical flow sensor with ROS 2 (and a roll-on deodorant ball). The write-up is also a great introduction to the lifecycle nodes.
Publication of the Week - Energy Sufficiency in Unknown Environments via Control Barrier Functions (2023)
Exploring unknown environments with robots requires ensuring that your robot doesn’t get stuck or run out of battery. This paper presents an energy-aware exploratory path planner. As the robot moves, the method simultaneously creates an exploratory and a homing path. The homing one is more direct and shorter, leading the robot to the charging station. When the Control Barrier Functions (CBFs) detect the battery running low, it switches from the exploratory mode to the homing path. The energy-aware framework is modular, so it can easily integrate into any planner. You can check the video of the system running on an AgileX Scout Mini rover.
Simbe brings in $28M with Eclipse leading the way
“Simbe, a robotics company that develops robots to help retailers gather in-stock and shelf data, has brought in $28 million in Series B funding.”
Industrial robot components market worth more than $18B by 2027
“Updated research by Interact Analysis shows that revenues for the key components in industrial robots exceeded $10.5 billion in 2021, which has led the company to revise their forecasts upwards for the next 5 years. The key components considered in this research include motors, drives, precision gearboxes, robot controllers, teach pendants, sensors, end effectors and machine vision hardware. As a result of the growing demand for industrial robots, the components in the industrial robots market is predicted to be worth more than $18 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.7%.”