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Monday, March 30, 2009

Security Standards for Servicerobots

Swedish Standards Institute, SIS, has recently announced to invite the Swedish robotics community to define and influence the development of global security standars for servicerobots. Step first will be to focus on security standards for service robots for personal services, the next step will be to focus on security standards för health and caring robots.

According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), a service robot is a robot which operates semi or fully autonomously to perform services useful to the well being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations. Service robots are in use in military applications, in private homes and in society.

In Japan, professional service robots are emerging for applications such as security, patrolling shopping malls and for reception-type applications, especially as robots for hire. In addition, surgery, telecommunications, and robotics have combined to enable remote surgical systems.

Monitoring activity in this area is important, including progress in the development of standards in general—such as those that the Object Management Group is promoting.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society has established the Service Robots Technical Committee as a forum for exchange of information related to the design and development of service robots.

RoSta - Robot Standards and Reference Architecture is the main international contact point for robot standards and reference architectures in service robotics. The main objectives of RoSta are:
- Action plan for a standard defining activity
- Action plan for a community driven open-source activity
- Gaining international recognition as a standardizing community

Friday, March 20, 2009

Robot camera starts next visual revolution

GigaPan Systems was established in 2008 as a commercial spin-off of a successful collaboration between researchers at NASA and Carnegie Mellon University that developed the breakthrough GigaPan System for creating high-resolution panoramic images. GigaPan Systems was founded to bring this powerful, high-resolution imaging capability to a broad audience.

A unique robotic camera mount, the GigaPan Epic works with most point and shoot cameras to create multi-gigapixel panoramas. The GigaPan Epic makes it easy to capture incredibly detailed images and works seamlessly with the GigaPan Stitcher and The Epic allows your camera to take tens, hundreds, or even thousands of photos. These images are combined into a single gigapixel panorama by the GigaPan Stitcher. You can then view, share, and explore the incredible detail of your panoramas at

Osaka robot PLEN in trouble

The aircraft parts manufacturer Systec Akazawa Co., a key player in the Osaka robot scene and maker of the PLEN desktop hobby robot, is set to declare bankruptcy with liabilities of about 700 million yen ($7.4 million), according to Nikkei Net, which cited a sharp decline in orders.
In 2006, the company introduced PLEN, a $2,600 Bluetooth-controlled hobby bot that could rollerskate and skateboard.
Akazawa's collapse will hit the Osaka robot scene hard and the risk is very high that other robot ventures will get in trouble as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Invitation: Robot Ethics Survey

As robots leave highly structured environments -- laboratories, factories, and mines -- they will interact with us in new ways and greatly increase in number. Robot toys and appliances in the home, therapeutic and care robots in nursing homes, and robot weapons on the battlefield all may raise ethical issues. This survey is about the ethics of designing and using various kinds of robots. The survey focuses on existing technologies and note where a scenario speculates on a future technology. The survey consists of 9 questions and should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. You will be asked to give your answer to the question in form of a reason.

Peter Danielson
NERD leader GELS ARCH Project
W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics
Univ of Brit. Columbia
227 - 6356 Agric. Rd. Vancouver, Canada

Social Robot Research

Neighborhood Networks is a long-term research project that combines community arts, participatory design, informal learning, and engineering to articulate and discover how communities use emerging technologies, specifically robotics. Through interviews, participant observation, generative workshops, and participatory design, the Neighborhood Networks project focuses on working with neighborhood groups that are organized for local representation and collective action. Our interest is how these neighborhood groups use or might use emerging technologies as a means to publicly address their concerns.

The Neighborhood Networks project is directed by Carl DiSalvo at The Georgia Institute of Technology and Illah Nourbakhsh at Carnegie Mellon University.

The University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out of School Environments (UPCLOSE) is partner in the Neighborhood Networks program, providing guidance and support in the community outreach, program development, and evaluation. The project is funded by a generous grant from Intel Research.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Female Fashion Robot

The Japanese government has spent $2 million developing a female "fashion" robot that was shown of by AIST research lab near Tokyo. The HRP-4C Gynoid robot will be presented at the fashion show in the Japanese capital starting March 23.

HRP-4C is powered by 30 motors and is designed to walk and look like a human woman. the robot can perform a variety of facial expressions such as surprise. Reports say AIST will sell 4C body frames for $200,000 apiece.

Humanoid Robots - Free Online Access

IN-TECH was established in 2004 to provide free online access to high quality, up-to-date scientific content covering fields of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Manufacturing and Operations Research. At present In-Tech publish four scientific journals and more than 40 books per year. Here are two examples covering Humanoid Robots:

Journal of Humanoids

Humanoid Robots Edited by: Ben ChoiISBN 978-953-7619-44-2hard, 388 pages, January 2009 Publisher: InTech Education and Publishing doi
Download the Full Text of this Book (0 Bytes) FREE

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

IEEE Opens Robotics Lab in Second Life

IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, has opened a two-sim island in Second Life. The virtual world is a cross between a simulated real world corporate campus with workshop spaces that look like Italian villas, and a metaverse center with "information pods" and meetings spaces for enterprise use. The first branch of IEEE to put down roots is the Robotics and Automation Society, who according to IEEE's official Second Life site, will "Provide tutorials on how to create and program robots in Second Life."

direct SLURL to IEEE islands at this link.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Robotdalen Scientific Award 2009

The Robotdalen Scientific Award 2009 is an international competition for young scientists, with € 20 000 in prize money. The purpose is to encourage young, innovative people all over the world in all aspects of robotics, to find new and untried approaches for the future. The international research award is for graduate and postgraduate students worldwide, who have completed or are about to complete their degree. The award promotes groundbreaking ideas and exceptional talent.
The Robotdalen Scientific Award is co-administered by IEEE instrumentation & Measurement Society and supported by the EU Information Society Technologies, Cognitive Systems and Robotics Unit.
If you or colleagues in your network are interested in submission please notice Deadline for submissions to the Robotdalen Scientific Award 2009 is May 31, 2009. The winner of the Robotdalen Scientific Award 2009 will be announced on Robotdalen Day in Sweden on September 9, 2009. For more information send an e-mail to

Robot Ethics

At the Institute of the Future researchers are thinking about probalility and impact of technology trends on society and people. Among many issues advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, coupled with the ever-growing pervasiveness of semi-autonomous machines is watched. Robotics have thrown a spotlight on what some say will be an inevitable clash between the rights of machines versus those of humans.

IFTF: Advanced robotics will lead to a clash of ethics, legal challenges Signtific
Boston Globe, With robotic bugs, larger ethical questions
Roboethics site -
Science Magazine Special Issue: A Robotic Future

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mobile Robot for Elderly Care

A new solution for elderly care is the synergetic combination of an embodied mobile robotic companion in an ambient assited living environment that supports carers, both family members and therapists, in their daily tasks. The CompanionAble Project started January 1, 2008 and coordinated by The University of Reading, UK. The project is aimed to provide the synergy of Robotics and Ambient Intelligence technologies and their semantic integration for a care-giver's assistive environment. This will support the cognitive stimulation and therapy management of the care-recipient. This is mediated by a robotic companion (mobile facilitation) working collaboratively with a smart home environment (stationary facilitation).

German MetraLabs GmbH is responsible for the design and implementation of the Robot Companion Scenario. MetraLabs is the leader of WP6 and also contributes to the robot specification (requirements engineering, standards, robot technologies), the architecture and the verification of the robot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Healthcare Robotics 2009

The 6th annual RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition taking place April 15-16, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts features a dedicated ‘RoboMedicus’ track and sessions focused on Healthcare Robotics and Healthcare Automation to identify business opportunities in this important and growing market.

Robotics technology is now being applied to many different areas of healthcare, including physical therapy and rehabilitation. With traditional physical therapy, many therapists often work with one patient, to support their limbs and help them move. It is now possible to use robotic technology to perform the same rehabilitative tasks using less people while providing a more consistent and lengthy training regimen, while tracking patient's progress with great precision. The result is a better level of care at reduced cost for the service provider.

Telepresence: Working-There, without Going-There
The invention of the telephone transformed life in the 20th century by enabling us to talk-there without going there. Telepresence, an emerging set of diverse technologies that make it possible to work-there, without going there, is poised to transform the 21st century. The commercialization of telepresence systems, however, has not kept pace with advancements in the technology. In this session John Merchant, President, RPU Technology will speak about opportunities telepresence in diverse fields including corporate communication, exploration and transportation, as well as how telepresence systems can be monetized.

User Acceptance of Service Robots

Robot guru Joe Engelberger proposed in 1997 that “robotic technology will not cope with bathing, toileting and dressing. Intimate action will still require human caregivers, be they loving relatives or home care professionals such as the Visiting Nurse Association. For the most part, the mobile, sensate, twoarmed, articulate robot will make possible independent self-care by a cognitive but physically handicapped elderly person. The nursing home would become a remote eventuality of last resort.” (1)

In 2004 Japanese nursing homes started experimenting with using robots to help care for the elderly. One of the most labor-intensive nursing home tasks is bathing frail residents. For this job, Sanyo Electric hade introduced a robot bathtub. Costing about $50,000, it closes around a patient who is seated in a wheelchair. The wash and rinse cycles operate automatically. A nurse's aide takes care of washing hair and toweling the resident off.

In 2006 Swedish researchers started studying the public opinion in Sweden towards service robots, both as a general domestic worker, and as a support for people with special needs. The result from two studies shows that that the design of the tasks for a robot servant might be less straightforward than suggested by Engelberger. Some of the commonly presumed tasks were not interesting to the majority of the informants, such as drink serving, or cooking.

The expectations on service robots from users are quite high, although not necessarily in terms of task complexity, but in terms of cooperative behaviour and trust. Safety issues are important, but to disabled users the concept of safety includes a large amount of recovery from failures. This becomes even more important when more autonomous intelligent service robots are constructed. Paper.

(1) Joe Engelberger. (1997). A project proposal. Service Robots, Personal Communication (Engelberger and Christensen).

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Human Robot Interaction Survey

As integral survey in WP3 "Robotic- CWE interfaces and evaluation of impacts" of the FP6 project ROBOT@CWE is publishing an online questionnaire. The purpose of this survey is to gain first valuable insights on how humanoid robots are experienced.

The survey is also a part of my thesis entitled "Validation of an Evaluation Framework for Human-Robot Interaction. The impact of Usability, Social Acceptance, User Experience and Societal Impact on Collaboration with humanoid Robots".
To participate please click on the according link below or copy it into your web browser.
English Survey:
French Survey:
Spanish Survey:
German Survey:

Monday, March 02, 2009

CMU Startups make Robot Toys

Bossa Nova Concept

Two new robotics toy startups, both Carnegie Mellon University spinouts, are tooling away in Pittsburgh on the next generation of high-tech toys. Interbots and Bossa Nova Concepts are developing family-friendly, emotive robots that they hope to unveil commercially within two years.

Internships through CMU offer students practical experience and help to channel potential new hires Bossa Nova’s way. Pittsburgh seed funding has been really critical in putting in place all the pieces of the business. Bossa Nova got its start in 2005 and has completed development of a fascinating, funny toy with lifelike movements and self-balancing motion. BN is presently developing a manufacturing plan with the help of a post-doctorate fellow at The Robotics Institute.

Interbots spun out of academic research conducted at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center The ETC is a 2-year Master's Degree Program that brings students from artistic and technical backgrounds together to work on innovative projects.

The main component of the Interbots Platform is a performance robot, a custom-built animatronic figure with a wide degree of physical expression through body language and internal color-changing lighting.