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Saturday, February 27, 2010

$32 Million for a Robot Mule

U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Tactical Technology Office and the U.S. Marine Corps have awarded Boston Dynamics with a 30-month, $32-million contract last week to deliver a prototype of a robot mule called LS3 - Legged Squad Support Systems. LS3 is a dynamic robot designed to go anywhere soldiers and marines go on foot. Each LS3 will carry up to 400 lbs of gear and enough fuel for missions covering 20 miles and lasting 24 hours. LS3 will not need a driver, because it will automatically follow a leader using computer vision or travel to designated locations using sensing and GPS. The development of LS3 will take 30 months, with first walk out scheduled for 2012.

Boston Dynamics will also collaborate with including engineers and scientists from AAI Corp., aircraft-maker Bell Helicopter, Carnegie Mellon's National Robotics Engineering Center, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and motion-control systems provider Woodward HRT to develop the LS3's hydraulics, propulsion and guidance systems.

Boston Dynamics, founded in 1992, scored a breakthrough in 2003 when DARPA began funding the development of BigDog, a 75-kilogram mechanical workhorse and the LS3's predecessor.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Israel Robotics

Israel is one of the leading robotics nations in the world based on a strong commitment and high investment in science and technology.

Robotics Research
The 1988 founded
Paul Ivanier Center for Robotics Research and Production Management at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev is an interdisciplinary framework for the advancement of research and education in the design and applications of robotics, automated production, artificial intelligence, and production management tools.
It has an active participation of approximately 60 faculty members primarily from the departments of Industrial Engineering and Management, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science.

The Control and Robotics Laboratory (CRL) at the Israel Institute of Technology, Technion, is leading research and teaching in the fields of control systems including application of linear and adaptive control, neural and fuzzy control, state estimation and tracking, mobile robots, machine vision and visual tracking, control of robotic vehicles and manipulators, robot learning and reinforcement learning.

Industrial Robotics
Kadima based I-Scan Robotics is an international leader in robotised solutions for float glass cold end equipment. I-Scan's systems are implemented in leading glass companies in North and South America, Europe, China and the Middle East.

Shafir Systems, based in Kfar Sabais, is the leading manufacturer of computerized systems. The company develops automation systems for the metal and automobile industry, assembly lines and stations for seat accessories, packing system for shims with computer vision.

Defense & Security Robotics
Israel is moving quickly into an era of military robotics by developing an army of unmanned vehicles for ground, air and sea missions. According to Giora Katz, vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., one of Israel's leading weapons manufacturers, one-third of Israel's military machines will be unmanned in 10 to 15 years.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is a globally recognized leader in development and production of military and commercial aerospace and defense systems. It´s MALAT Division spearheads the design and manufacture of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS's).

G-NIUS, an equal share joint company of IAI and Elbit Systems, develops and manufacture Autonomous Unmanned Ground Systems (UGS's). Operationally deployed by the Israeli Army the Guardium UGV™ transform the effectiveness of perimeter security and represents a breakthrough in combat applications such as force protection, route proving, combat logistics support and more.

Steadicopter Ltd. develops, manufactures and markets automated helicopter systems based on unique mathematical models and algorithms developed by Mr. Kalisch. The Company develops highly sophisticated software that enhances performance quality and navigational control of aerial vehicles using a wide variety of off-the-shelf sensors and existing helicopter platforms.

Aeronautics Ltd manufactures and supplies state of the art Unmanned Systems, integrating surveillance equipment and network information technologies in a range of unmanned systems including land, surface and air robots.

Service Robotics
Maytronics Ltd. provides computerized underwater swimming pool cleaning equipment. The company is specialized in automated electronic pool cleaning technology for private and commercial pools, and is the developer of the Dolphin series of robot cleaners.

Aquatron Robotic Systems Ltd. (formerly Tematech Ltd.) is known as the world leader of manufacturing and distribution of Robotic Swimming Pool Cleaners. Aquatron's line of products include well-known brands as Aquabot Bravo and Aquabot Viva for private residential swimming pools, as well as, Ultramax and Magnum for commercial swimming pools.

Friendly Robotics is an international manufacturer and supplier of consumer robots, such as robotic mowers, vacuum cleaners, and wet floor cleaners. Consumer robots are a new family of intelligent and mobile appliances, which are capable of performing useful tasks in and around the house.

Assistive & Medical Robotics

Argo Medical Technologies Ltd. develops and markets walk restoration devices for people with lower limb disabilities. The company's flagship ReWalk™ is a wearable, motorized quasi robotic suit that offers an ambulation alternative to wheelchair users, enabling paralyzed people to stand, walk and even climb stairs.

Robotics Events 2010
ICR 2010 - 3rd Israeli Conference on Robotics. 10 Nov 2010 - 12 Nov 2010, Herzlia, Israel.
The Israeli Conference on Robotics (ICR) is a bi-annual meeting, intended to provide a forum for Israeli and foreign researchers and engineers from industry and academia to discuss and exchange ideas on contemporary topics in robotics and automation. It is also intended to encourage local and international collaborations, and foster a viable robotics industry in Israel.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Living with Robots

Japanese Honda has launched a new video called "Living with Robots" promoting robotics and its research efforts to develop humanoid robot ASIMO.

The video includes visionary statements of Honda´s Yasuhisa Arai, Director, Cief Operationg Officer, Honda R&D Fundamental Research Center and Executive Chief Engineer Masato Hirose.

Other researchers making robotics comments are Wendel Wallach, Chair,. Technology & Ethics Research Group, Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, Carol A. Otis, P.T., Ph.D. Professor, Dept. of Physical Therapy, Arcadia University, V.A. Subramanian, M.D. Chairman, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital and Robin R. Murphy, Ph.D. Director, Center for Robot Assisted Search & Rescue, Texas A&M University.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Open Robotics

Willow Garage invites proposals from research organizations interested in using the open and robust PR2 robot platform designed from the ground up for software developers and researchers to accelerate robotics research, drive open source robotics development, and contribute to the open source robotics community. Approximately ten PR2s will be made available to research organizations that will make rigorous and creative use of the robot in existing or planned research projects.

By making the PR2 platforms available to researchers and developers, Willow Garage's will
enable scientific breakthroughs in personal robotics, expand the open source robotics community
develop reusable components and tools and explore new applications for personal robots.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

30 Million Euro for French Robotics

Robotics in France is considered as part of the sciences of information and most of the French robotics researchers are members of academic teams in engineering and information sciences.

Most robotics research in France is conducted by generic research laboratories from CNRS, INRIA, and universities, but also by domain oriented organizations such as CEA (Nuclear), CEMAGREF (Agriculture), CNES (Space), IFREMER (Underwater), INSERM (Health), ONERA (Aeronautics). 

About 800 researchers including 400 PhD students conduct public robotics research in France. About 100 PhD theses are supported every year in the diverse domains related to robotics.

Appr. 30 MEuros of the public funding was dedicated to academic and industrial research in Robotics in 2009. 

Fire Fighting Robots against Pirate Attacks

The increased number of attacks in the Gulf of Aden off the African shore has forced several countries, including Russia, to send warships to patrol the troubled waters.

The Centre of Fire Robots Technology in Petrozavodsk, northern Russia, has modified a fire fighting robot to fend off attacks by pirates. It can ‘wash away pirates along with their weapons’ and even sink their boats.

A total of 12 robotized security fire robot are needed to protect a ship. Security fire robot SFR-LSD-S40U in Marine Modification, with discharge 40 l/s, at the range of 70 m under discharge 0.8 MPa, it is supplied with round-the-clock observation and moving sensors. The system of TV-observation allows determining of moving units and their coordinates in the adjacent water area.

The water cannon is powerful enough to wash away boarding pirates and even sink their motorboats.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Robot@CWE Project finished

On the 11th of December the final review meeting of the EU-funded FP6 project ROBOT@CWE: Advanced robotic systems in collaborative working environments (Contract No 34002) took place in Paris.

The prime objective of this project was to establish a concept for, and develop prototypes of, a collaborative working environment, conceived such as to include robots and, by so doing, to improve productivity and safety. In the ROBOT@CWE project a robot is seen as a working agent that can simply be "plugged" in a collaborative working environment (CWE) related to a given application context. As the robot connects a given CWE (similarly to any working agent), it inquires the tasks that have been assigned to it by a supervisor or another human/robot working agent. During the review meeting two live demonstrators with the HRP-2 and the HOAP-3 humanoid robot were presented as a concrete proof of a successful integration of the knowledge and the software components that have been developed all along the three years of the project. The project emphasized on the challenging issues in robotics, e.g. physical collocated collaboration, remote teleoperation, collaboration where the robot is "sandwiched" between two users, and learning techniques for skill transfer.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Emotion savvy Health Care Robot

At the Research Centre for Computers, communication and Social Innovation (RECCSI) at La Trobe University in Melborne, Australia, scientists and researchers from La Trobe University Melbourne and Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Informatics in Japan develop emotionally intelligent computer systems. The research centre was launched in March 2009 in collaboration with NEC Corporation (NEC) and Kyoto University. The first project is an emotionally intelligent health care robot.

US$ 1,6 Million for BattleBot Competition Winner

The MAGIC 2010 international robotics competition, the first of its kind in the world, has been established to attract academia and industry teams to develop fully autonomous robots for military, commercial and civilian emergency applications.

Twelve of the world’s most technologically-savvy universities and several innovative companies have teamed up and are now finalists in an international robotics competition with a U.S. $1.6 million prize.

In addition to the prize money, winning teams will have a unique opportunity to work with American and Australian military organizations to develop the advanced robots that will work alongside – and instead of – Soldiers on future battlefields.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

US National Robotics Week 2010

The first annual National Robotics Week will be held from April 10-18, recognizing robotics technology as a pillar of 21st century American innovation, highlighting its growing importance in a wide variety of application areas, and emphasizing its ability to inspire technology education. National Robotics Week is the result of a 2009 effort by leading universities and companies to create a “national roadmap” for robotics technology, which was initially unveiled at a May 2009 briefing by academic and industry leaders to the Congressional Caucus on Robotics. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), co-chair of the caucus, and other members have submitted a formal resolution asking Congress to support the designation of the second full week in April as National Robotics Week.During National Robotics Week, numerous public events and activities will be held in cities across the country.
The effort is organized by iRobot Corp. and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

€ 5,6M for Robot Learning

RoboEarth, a project led by TU Eindhoven, is intended to ensure that robots in industry and healthcare can learn from each other and thereby acquire new actions much faster. To this end a worldwide database will be set up from which newly learned actions can be downloaded. In the project, which has a budget of 5.6 million Euros, six European partners will be working together for the next four years.
The team will be making six demos, which will demonstrate the use of RoboEarth; the six include a robot that can offer patients in hospital a drink, and a system that will show how the knowledge gained by robot A can improve the performance of robot B.

Robotic Suit for patients with spinal cord injuries

Researchers from the Biomedical Engineering departments of the University of Twente and TU Delft will join forces to develop a new robotic suit, which is technically known as an exoskeleton. The suit is intended to help people with spinal injuries, for example, to walk again. The legs of the robotic suit receive signals from the patient’s brain, which are relayed by a specially developed helmet. A prototype suit should be ready in three years’ time.
The Mindwalker project is supported by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, whose goals include accessible IT. The project is being coordinated by Space Applications Services NV.