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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Research Centre on Automation and Robotics in Spain

Thanks to an agreement between the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) a new Joint Scientific and Technologic Research Centre has been created.

The main objective of the new centre, named “Centro de Automática y Robotica” is to perform applied research with the purpose of producing results useful to the society of the 21st Century. With the synergies created and the critical mass achieved, the centre aims at positioning itself as a reference organization. Due to both human and technical resources of the institutions that combine their efforts together, the centre posseses an excellent potential. The activities of the centre will be centred on control and system integration, artificial perception and robotics.

The Centre will occupy an area of over 8000 squared meters located nearby Madrid, and will employ around 300 staff researchers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy New Robotics Year 2010!

"There is only one condition in which we can imagine managers not needing subordinates, and masters not needing slaves. This would be if every machine could work by itself, at the word of command or by intelligent anticipation."
- Aristotle, from his justification of slavery in Politics

Happy New Robotics Year 2010!

Despite economic and climate crisis - Robotics will be hot in 2010+. More than 20.000+ robotics researchers and developers all over the world are doing their best to find out how to understand human intelligence, how to develop intelligent machines, how to learn from natur, how to invent new robots. This work will continue and accelerate in new robotics research programmes and projects.

2010 will be an exciting year for the global robotics community with the launch of brand new products and service for knowledge sharing, networking and futurizing. You all are invited to join and become part of the new Global Robotics Research Community.

Hope to see you soon at

My best wishes for a New Robotics Year 2010!

Wolfgang Heller


Saturday, December 19, 2009

$ 3,5 Million for Robotics Curriculum

Researchers and curriculum developers from Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) and Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) are beginning a five-year, $3.5 million National Science Foundation study to discover how effective robotics and engineering design are at teaching eighth grade physical science content, and at increasing students’ interest and engagement in science, math and engineering.

“Robots are good at increasing students’ engagement in science and engineering, but there’s no solid evidence to tell us what they actually learn from robotics. Do the students learn science and math, or are they just having fun,” said Marion Usselman, senior research scientist and associate director at CEISMC.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Robot with gentle touch

US company Pressure Profile Systems, PPS, develops tactile pressure sensors which give robots the sensitivity for delicate motions and actions. PPS worked with Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan to embed high performance tactile sensors into the hands of their famous human symbiotic robot, Twendy-One. The robot can pick up a loaf of bread without crushing it, serve toast, and even crack an egg. This dexerity and "gentle touch" can be attributed to the 241 RoboTouch sensors integrated into each of Twendy-One's hands.

The video clip below shows the benefits of RoboTouch technology.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gostai wins Microsoft ACES 2009 Award

French Gostai wins the ACES 2009 Microsoft ICT Academic Enterprise Awards Europe. This prize awards a successful company spin out from academics research, ENSTA Paristech Cognitive Robotics Lab in the case of Gostai.

The core technology is URBI, the Universal Real-time Behavior Interface which is a powerful parallel script engine coupled with the UObject component architecture, usable to control hardware and software components in a flexible and portable way.

The cognitive robotics researchers at ENSTA ParisTech are working on perception and machine learning to endow robots with capabilities to work autonomously and in interaction with humans. One of the main research topic is the problem of grounding symbols in perception in the framework of developmental robotics. We are also working on mobile robot navigation and Human-Robot interaction.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rescue and Security Robots 2010+

The Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI, one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the defence and security area, has recently started a foresight project aimed to assess socialy changes caused by implementing robot systems in public rescue and security operations in the coming decades. I cooperation with the Department of Philosophy and the History of Technology at the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, in Stockholm, researchers are asking questions about opportunities and risks with robot systems in society.
How are todays society systems influenced by the development of technical system with a higher degree of autonomy?
Will new vulnerabilities emerge by transfering important society tasks to robots?
What kind of new important society functions and activities may occur due to technical robotics innovations?
Will increased use of robots change the responsibility conditions for incidents and accidents?
Will the possibilities for control and democratic influence be affected by transfering important society functions from humans to robots?

Some very important questions. Please visit my Robotland Forum and join an open discussion about "Risks and Opportunities with future robots".

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Korean-Swedish Robotics Cooperation

Researchers at Umeå University, Sweden and South Korea’s oldest university Sungkyunkwan are cooperating to develop robots that can see. The methods will have applications which can be used with everything from forest machinery to health care in the future. Within a period of 5 to 10 years, robots will become an important part of our day-to-day life according to prof. Anton Shiriaev head of the Robotics and Control Lab, Umea University.
The research at the RCL is focused on the development of mathematical models for real-world systems, from heavy-lifting hydraulic cranes to the fluid flow within the human brain and the subsequent use of such models for sensing, visualization, prediction and control of important variables within these systems.
The Swedish-Korean Cooperation started in 2007 thanks to grants, in particular from The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) and from the Kempe Foundation.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

US President supports Robotics Educational Programs

Robotics Education has advanced as an important tool for science and techology education in the U.S and get public support by president Barack Obama. In his speech at the National Academy of Science Annual Meeting on April 27, 2009 he said: "I want us to think about new creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it's science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent — to be makers of things, not just consumers of things."

On Nov 23 when launching the Educate to Innovate Campaign he expressed his believe "that robotics can inspire young people to pursue science and engineering."

This is great support for robotics educational programs such as First Lego League, and robot platforms such as iRobot Create, Lego Mindstorm, VEX Robotics, Modular Robotics.

SPARK is an educational robotics web portal that was started by iRobot that supports Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education in American schools. The webportal features links to curricula and activities for students in kindergarten through college. SPARK includes information on a variety of robotics platforms as well as articles demonstrating how educators around the United States are utilizing robotics to teach students.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Robot Exhibiton 2009 in Japan

Highlights from the International Robot Exhibition 2009, Nov. 25-28 at Tokyo Big Site.

Source: Japan Times

Despite fast robotic development in Japan the leading robot engineer Prof. Tomomasa Sato of the University of Tokyo and chairman of the Japan Robot Association warned earlier this year that it still could take decades until practical humanoid robots are ready for the market. Mr. Sato called for the development of a standardized robotmodel based on an open-source operating system in order to kick-start the mass production of humanoid robots. Only when a standardised robot model is created and shared by tens of thousands of scientists and innovators across the globe, will the development of practical robots begin to be met.