Unboxing of Baxter from Rethink Robotics at OSRF

Baxter is new kind of robot that is trying to redefine manufacturing robotics. It’s the first robot built for industry with  intelligence and safety of humans in mind. A person is able to work closely with the robot and be able to teach baxter what to do just as he/she would with a human. This is interesting as we have to face the fact that Baxter is still far from human capabilities.

OSRF (Open Source Robotics Foundation), formed to engage the world to push the use of open source robotics software in any form of robotics. It would be great to see how they can make Baxter smarter and more capable in manipulation ,and understanding of both humans and environment.

Check out the excitement in the video!!

FRIDA Working With a Human

FRIDA(Friendly Robot for Industrial Dual-arm Assembly) is ABB’s dual arm robot. The robot was developed to work side by side with humans in the manufacturing environment. The aim of FRIDA is much similar to that of Baxtor from Rethink Robotics. It’s lightweight, human-safe with 2 arms, padded, adaptable to different situations, and low cost.

This video is a demostration of FRIDA at Automatica 2012 in Munich. Very interesting to see that the robot is aware of human present and give the lady a nudge when the lady forgot a part in assembly.   This gives the human the impression that the robot is “alive”. It did not have to talk or do anything complex. Just a simple nudge.

Dancing Robot Travis

Is this a robot or a moving speaker? Travis  is an better version of the Shimi. It is able to select songs from a library based on the rhythmic input.

This is not the only dancing robot around but another way to introduce robot technology to the real work through different mediums. Speakers docks are very popular given that most people own at least 1 smart phones. This reminds me a lot of the Sony Rolly.

Learning by Demonstration

It’s never easy to program a robot to perform a useful task. A person has to first attend a course or pick up some skills from a robotics manufacturer. There’s always a designated person in the factory that is able to program the robot and no one else. This is not true for a human operator as all we have to do is instruct the person to perform the task, and this is possible if you know the task to be accomplished.

Many researchers have worked on Learning by Demonstration and the following video is the work done at Willow Garage where they run trials on normal end-users. The end-users are able to physical move the PR2 to show it how to perform a particular task engaging the robot using speech recognition. This is one of the key things that will bring robots closer to a human centric environment.

Keepon is Not Alone

Keepon has been around for a while and used in the research field for helping children with autism with social interaction. It’s a very engaging robot, having such lively dance moves in-sync with upbeat music using the MAX visual programming platform.

Here are a couple robots that have similar functionality.

1) Spazzi

A MAKE magazine project by beatbots (maker of the Keepon) that puts together low cost components to create a keepon-like robot.

2) Romibo

A low cost (initial cost of $700) therapeutic robot with open source software for use by various researchers.

Singapore Empathetic Bear in a Nursing Home

This is not the first robot that is being introduced to elderly but it’s making an impact in Singapore. Paro, a japanese seal robot, has been named the “World’s Most Therapeutic Robot”. The bear is able to recognise emotion from the interaction. The bear has become a companion to the many elderly living in Singapore’s Villa Francis Home for the Aged. It’s good to see the smiles on the faces of the people interacting with the bear.

AFFETTO – Child Robot with Realistic Facial Motion

AFFETTO was developed at Osaka University’s Asada Lab. This is not the first baby robots that was developed in this lab. This is a new video of the baby with facial expressions. It looks really real.

The baby was developed to study cognitive development of children during interaction with the caregiver to understand how critical this relationship matters to a child’s cognitive development.

Festo’s New Robotic Hand – Exohand

Festo has been developing beautiful robots of late and it’s still amazing me the way that the develop robots with an understanding of biological systems. It not only gives robots the ability to mimic biological systems but gives us an understanding of how our anatomy works.

The Exohand won second place during the Hermes Award at this year’s Hannover Messe industrial fair. It’s a fair that showcases the latest and most innovative products.

The ExoHand has eight double-acting pneumatic actuators that act as the muscles of the hand, with eight linear potentiometers acting as displacement sensors, and 16 pressure sensors provide feedback about the positions, angles, and forces of fingers. This provides a means for haptic force feedback for the human operator while remotely manipulating the arm.

Festo has developed other systems worth looking at, e.g. the PowerGripper that models after a bird’s beak and a robotic arm that is inspired by the elephant trunk. They also have a flying robot that look at the flight of bird with the Robotino XT, their mobile platform used for education and research. I am sure there will be many more interesting projects in the pipeline.

Source – forbes.com

Musical Robot at Google I/O

Shimi is a musical robot creation by Tovbot. The robot allows you to dock your android phone and has high quality speakers to produce high fidelity sound. It’s your personal DJ, with the ability to face you wherever you are located to direct the sound towards you. It has the ability to give you alerts from your favorite social media platform if musics is not playing.

This robot is planned for launch at CES 2013. Hang in there if you want Shimi but for the time being, a sonos or Google Nexus Q might suffice!!


Source – IEEE Spectrum

Before You Die – The Last Moment Robot?

We want to be near our family on our death bed, to see them for the last time before we leave this world. But for those who do not have friends and family in the vicinity, this might be a good alternative, a robot who comforts you while you lie there.

This last moment robot strokes your arm and utters supposedly calming statements to you once it detects that you are about to pass away.

The actual set-up is an art installation by Dan Chen, with the  increasing number of elderly living alone in their later years, this idea might not be funny at all. You can see the Last Moment Robot in action in the video below.

This is what the robot says to you.

Hi Susie, I am the last moment robot.
I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on earth.
i am sorry that (pause) your family and friends can’t be with you right now, but don’t be afraid. I am here to comfort you. (pause)
you are not alone, you are with me. (pause)
Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are  gone.  (pause)
Time of death 11:56

Hugvie – Hug your robot

Osaka University’s Professor Ishiguro is famed for creating life like robots. His latest creation is the Hugvie, a simplified version of the Telenoid. It’s an interesting that robotics applications can improve telecommunication through haptic interaction. The Hugvie is now selling at Vstone for US$60.

Source – Diginfo