Hi, holiday Mat here. As you are reading this issue, it’s been ten days since I went off-grid. Enjoy this issue that I’ve prepared beforehand. As always, all materials are up to my standard, but the first video has this magical hacker vibe and is an excellent project.
The coolest robot I’ve ever built!
In this video, Thomas Burns builds an animatronic robot with a face tracking module, servoing eyes, Amazon’s Alexa, and an old TV. I like the way Thomas talks and walks us through the project. This video is a fantastic example of inspiring storytelling. I highly recommend it.
DFKI tests lava cave exploration by autonomous robot teams for future lunar missions
CoRob-X project aims to deploy a team of rovers to do planetary exploration and focus on mapping lava tubes - underground cavities made by molten lava that are interesting not only from the research perspective but also as potential habitats for future manned missions.
CUDA-Accelerated Robot Motion Generation in Milliseconds with NVIDIA cuRobo
“NVIDIA cuRobo formulates the motion generation problem as a global optimization problem and leverages GPUs to solve it with many parallel seeds. cuRobo first performs collision-free inverse kinematics (IK) to find collision-free final joint configurations, followed by trajectory optimization leveraging the final joint configurations as seeds”.
These are continuum soft robots by Stanford that are easy to fabricate. The linked page contains many materials on how they work and instructions on building your own.
CI/CD for Embedded with VS Code, Docker and GitHub Actions
If you work on firmware, you might find this workflow for Continuous Integration and Deployment quite helpful.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Clocks 4,000 Days on Mars
I find it fascinating how robust this rover is. The original mission plan expected it to last 687 days, so getting to 4,000 is quite a feat. Since the mission started, Curiosity has driven 32 kilometers, and currently, the Engineers working on the rover are trying to solve a problem with the left camera on the rover’s mast.
The Mobile Robot Programming Toolkit (MRPT)
“Mobile Robot Programming Toolkit (MRPT) provides C++ libraries aimed at researchers in mobile robotics and computer vision. Libraries include SLAM solutions, 2D and 3D spatial transformations, SE(2)/SE(3) Lie groups, probability density functions (pdfs) over points, landmarks, poses and maps, Bayesian inference (Kalman filters, particle filters), image processing, obstacle avoidance, etc. MRPT also provides GUI apps for camera calibration, dataset inspection, and much more”.
Publication of the Week - Active SLAM: A Review On Last Decade
This preprint by the Ecole Centrale de Nantes researchers summarizes existing A-SLAM techniques. This is the first time I have come across this term. The article defines it as “A-SLAM deals with designing robot trajectories to minimize the uncertainty in its map representation and localization. The aim is to perform autonomous navigation and exploration of the environment without an external controller or human effort”.