Welcome to 2024! I always find the new year super motivating - somehow, it feels like starting from a clean slate, even though it should not be the case. It is always a good time to think about side projects, cleaning up the workshop (already done!), and finding a good technical book (or five) to read. Whether you are a robotics pro or just starting out, I hope you will meet your goals and remember that every big journey starts with a small step (or a small servo motor, am I right?). As usual, the publication of the week section is manned by Rodrigo.
Meet the artist training Spot robots to make their own art
Agnieszka Pilat is redefining the intersection of art and robotics. Her show at the National Gallery of Victoria utilizes Boston Dynamics’ Spot robots to create unique artworks. The exhibit uses three robot dogs: one is a painter and an artist, the second is strutting around the exhibit, and the third is used for selfies. I love a good intersection of art and robotics.
The Simplest Walking Robot
Researchers at CMU have created a walking robot with a twist — it operates using only one actuator. Aaron Johnson and his team discuss their unique approach to simplifying robotic movement.
Remembering robotics companies we lost in 2023
2023 was not kind to some robotics companies. This retrospective looks back at those that couldn’t navigate the tough waters of the industry.
Predictions Scorecard, 2024 January 01
As we step into 2024, it’s time to check on Rodney Brooks’ predictions for the industry. It’s always an interesting read to start the new year!
ROS Wrapped ‘23 (Metrics Update)
David Lu!! contributes metrics.ros.org, where you can see some statistics on your favorite robotics framework.
California MRF says robotics profit-sharing model shows early success
“Caglia Environmental has collected more than 1,500 additional UBCs per day since it installed an AI-powered robot, a key milestone in its profit-sharing agreement with the Can Manufacturers Institute”. Deals like this sound like huge win-win situations. Do you know any other projects that work like this?
“Flying dragon” robot harnesses the “crazy hose” effect to fight fires
When I first heard of this project by Japanese researchers, the first thought that came to mind was ‘embracing chaos’. The system uses pressured water for both propulsion and extinguishing fires. To learn more about this project, check out this open-access paper.
Publication of the Week - RoboFiSense: Attention-Based Robotic Arm Activity Recognition with WiFi Sensing
Using Wi-Fi signals to extract data and identify objects is super interesting because of its adoption everywhere. This paper presents a robotic arm that uses Wi-Fi signals to recognize different movements. This method’s advantage is the independence of the line of sight that sensors such as cameras and LiDAR depend upon. The setup uses two Wi-Fi sniffers that are synchronized. The data collected is available at this repo. The authors successfully use visual transformers to identify eight different arm movements.
PaintJet brings in $10M to hone in on robotic ship painting
“PaintJet, a company using robots for industrial painting, has brought in $10 million in Series A funding. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company says its industrial painting robots can help protect infrastructure from premature aging”.
Commercial drone company PrecisionHawk shutting down
“Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy indicates a company no longer has plans to continue operating. According to the filing, PrecisionHawk has about $17 million of debt and assets of about $3.8 million. According to LinkedIn, it has between 51 and 200 employees”.