NHK Documentary on Robotics

SCHAFT robotics is taking part in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. They are featured in this documentary by NHK

Neato’s New Signature Robot

Neato is always under my radar due to it’s low-cost hackable LIDAR that came with the XV-11. It came with a 360 degrees scanning LIDAR with 1 degree accuracy and 10Hz scanning speed. This is a entire website dedicated to getting the xv11 to run under ROS. They have recently launched the XV Signature series. It looks really nice with it’s all black casing but even better still is the fact that this new Neato has 50% more suction power with the same hardware and specification.

Honestly, i am not really concerned about the vacuuming but i am rooting for Neato to build better, faster and more efficient low-cost solutions to the navigation ability to this robot. Hopefully, this will be a general base one day where we can hack it to sweep, mop, fetch and cook at very affordable prices.

 

 

Willow Garage is Changing Focus

Willow Garage has always had deep pockets before of the visionary founder and funder Scott Hassan. He has announced that he will stop funding Willow Garage in 3 months. This has caused Willow Garage to look into a future where their PR2 or maybe ROS (Robotics Operating System) will bring in some money for the company.

We are all indeed grateful as a community for the wonderful work they have done in coordinating the robotics effort globally, uniting all robotics effort into building ROS. Willow Garage as a company has spun-off many companies and technologies and brought the PR2 in the the world (50 of them). We do not know what is going to happen for Willow Garage in the future but one would imagine that growth and survival will be on their minds.

Scott Hassan is now the CEO of Suitable Technologies, a spin-off of Willow Garage.

Foxconn’s First Robot is Here

Foxconn has been in the news lately plagued with the problems with human operators – under-aged workers, working condition and suicides. These will be a problem for any company and this situation will get worst as the cost of living in China is increasing. They decided to solve this problem by introducing robots into their lines. But rather than purchasing the robots from current manufacturers of robot, they have decided to start building robots themselves.

 

 

 

 

The robot in the picture is called the Foxbot and about 10,000 have been manufactured and deployed since 2011. These robots are pretty low cost priced at around $20k. According to International Federation of Robotics, there was a total sales of 160,000 robots in 2011. Their goal is to deploy 1 million robots by 2014 is 5 times that deployment. That’s an amazing feat by far and certainly good news for all robotists today. There’s going to be a growing demand for robots and all robotics related technologies in the near future.


 

 

 

Article at singularityHUB

Open Source – Is it good for Business?

The debate published in ieee spectrum between Colin Angle (iRobot) and Robert Bauer (Willow Garage) is interesting. Willow garage has benefited the community greatly and it’s pretty easy to get a robot to grasp a cup using the ROS platform (given you can purchase the robot). This approach of crowdsourcing does speed up the development but it’s not easy to build a hardware business out of this model. Do write your thought in the article. It will be interesting to see where this goes.