JIBO

From JIBO's Indiegogo campaign:

Friendly, helpful and intelligent. From social robotics pioneer Dr. Cynthia Breazeal.

OpenFPV

From Tilman Griesel's posts on DIY Drones:

Open source project to make FPV(first person view) with the raspberry pi easy to use for every one.

OpenFPV is a project that uses latest technology to provide low latency, easy and well tested open source FPV flying. Based on single-board computers, HD cameras and IEEE 802.11. 

Current Features:

  • Recording
  • Web interface
  • Low-Latency H264 Streaming (≈120ms)
  • RESTful API
  • Customizable
  • Extendable
  • Installer (in progress)
  • Minimal bettery consumption

Roadmap:

  • Invite more people to join the development team
  • Complete the installer
  • More field tests with different setups
  • Create desktop applications for mac/win with HUD support
  • Add OculusVR support

Release is not available yet but you can follow the progress on DIY Drones or the OpenFPV homepage.

Quoc Le's Lectures on Deep Learning

Gaurav Trivedi has put together a landing page with all of Quoc Le’s recent lecture series and accompanying resources:

Dr. Quoc Le from the Google Brain project team (yes, the one that made headlines for creating a cat recognizer) presented a series of lectures at the Machine Learning Summer School (MLSS ’14) in Pittsburgh this week. This is my favorite lecture series from the event till now and I was glad to be able to attend them... (cont'd with all videos)

Parallella: $119 Parallel Computing Platform with 16-core Epiphany chip

Parallella Computer Specifications:

The Parallella platform is an open source, energy efficient, high performance, credit-card sized computer based on the Epiphany multicore chips developed by Adapteva. This affordable platform is designed for developing and implementing high performance, parallel processing applications developed to take advantage of the on-board Epiphany chip. The Epiphany 16 or 64 core chips consists of a scalable array of simple RISC processors programmable in C/C++ connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture... (cont'd)

A realtime raytracing example running on the 16-core Epiphany chip:

Raspberry Pi Model B+

From Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Founder:

This isn’t a “Raspberry Pi 2″, but rather the final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi. Today, I’m very pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability, at $35 – it’s still the same price, of what we’re calling the Raspberry Pi Model B+.

The Model B+ uses the same BCM2835 application processor as the Model B. It runs the same software, and still has 512MB RAM; but James and the team have made the following key improvements:

  • More GPIO. The GPIO header has grown to 40 pins, while retaining the same pinout for the first 26 pins as the Model B.
  • More USB. We now have 4 USB 2.0 ports, compared to 2 on the Model B, and better hotplug and overcurrent behaviour.
  • Micro SD. The old friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a much nicer push-push micro SD version.
  • Lower power consumption. By replacing linear regulators with switching ones we’ve reduced power consumption by between 0.5W and 1W.
  • Better audio. The audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply.
  • Neater form factor. We’ve aligned the USB connectors with the board edge, moved composite video onto the 3.5mm jack, and added four squarely-placed mounting holes... (cont'd)

Intro to Shape Memory Alloy Actuation Using Flexinol

From Jie Qi's projects page:

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are metals that change shape when heated up. They are wonderful actuators in that they are light, silent and can be "turned on" by simply running current through. The shape that they change to can also be set, though this process is a bit more tricky. Flexinol is a particular brand of nitinol, which is an SMA made of nickel and titanium, and is pre-set to contract about 10% of its original length when heated.

In my projects, I generally used the 0.006" to 0.01" diameter, High-Temp wires.

Since Flexinol draws a lot of current (about 300mA for the diameters I used), you need a strong power supply like a wall supply or a good lithium-ion battery. I've used from 3.7V up to 6V (any more and my Flexinol wires would start overheating). To turn the Flexinol on, I would simply short the ends of the wire to the power. For digital control, I used a standard MOSFET circuit which is a digital switch that can be turned on and off using a microcontroller... (cont'd)

BugJuggler: Project to build 70ft tall robot that juggles cars

Project Overview:

BugJuggler will use a diesel engine to generate hydraulic pressure. An operator located in the robot’s head will be able to control its motions using a haptic feedback interface connected to high-speed servo valves. Hydraulic accumulators - essentially storage batteries for hydraulic fluid - will allow for the rapid movement required for the robot to juggle cars or other large, heavy objects. 

The first stage of the BugJuggler project will be construction of a working 8ft tall single arm proof-of-principle juggler able to toss and catch a 250lb mass... (cont'd)

A Robot Valet Will Park Your Car at This German Airport

Last week, Düsseldorf airport (DUS) introduced robot valets to take the hassle out of parking for travelers. Travelers can leave their cars at the arrival level of the ParkingPLUS structure. As they leave, they confirm on a touch-screen that no one is in the car.

The robot valet, nicknamed "Ray," takes it from there. The robot measures the vehicle, picks it up with a forklift-like system, and takes it to the back area, where it will position it in one of the 249 parking spots reserved for automated valets.

The machine is capable of carrying standard cars weighing up to 3.31 tons. The robot valet is even connected to the airport's flight data system, and by checking customer trip data with the database, Ray knows when the customer will return for the vehicle. A traveler can note any itinerary changes in a parking app, which is available for iOS and Android.

Dissembling a 1980s Kuka Robot

Relaxing summertime viewing of a 80s era Kuka robot being taken apart and dissected (20 parts total).

Intel's 3-D Printed Robot "Jimmy"

From Wired:

Intel describes Jimmy as a research robot, but a less sophisticated version of the adorable droid will go on sale later this year for $1,600. The caveat is that you will have to 3D print your Jimmy. The 3D printing blueprints will be available without charge, but to construct the robot you will also need to purchase a kit from Intel that will contain all the parts of Jimmy that aren't printable, including motors and an Intel Edison processor.. (cont'd)

TravelByDrone

From travelbydrone.com:

We want to give you the chance to discover the world from the perspective of drones. The video footage of the area you are most interested in is as accessible as never before.

On this site, everyone can share YouTube videos and add the corresponding location. It will appear on the map with a pin where the video footage has been recorded. After submitting a request to share a video, a dedicated team will review the material before validating the request. As soon as the request has been validated, the shared video will be visible on the map... (Travel By Drone search page)

Blocky: A Graphic Programming Environment for ROS

From the robotics laboratory of Ben Gurion University:

The main goal of this project it to allow users with only basic background in programming to develop software for controlling robots using ROS, this by developing a graphical interface that is user-friendly and convenient for programing to ROS. Researchers or other users often encounter a problem when come to develop a robot, they lack extensive background in programming and most of the times comes from a slightly different backgrounds (such as mechanical engineering or electrical engineering) which requires them long-term learning or rely on other professionals. The graphical interface shown in this project suggests that a researcher or a user to control a robot in a simple and more intuitive way without having to spend weeks learning the principles of ROS and without having to learn to program at all.

This project product is a web-content, generic, open source, extensible and user-friendly program that helps in the development of a ROS based robot, while providing tools for correct developing... (cont'd)

iCEstick $25 FPGA Evaluation Kit

Features

  • USB thumb drive form factor
  • iCE40HX-1k on board
  • 2 x 6 position Digilent Pmod™ connector for other peripheral connections
  • FTDI 2232H USB device allows iCE device programming and UART interface to a PC
  • Vishay TFDU4101 IrDA transceiver
  • Five user LEDs
  • Discera 12 Mhz MEMS oscillator
  • Micron 32 Mbit N25Q32 SPI flash
  • USB connector provides the power supply
  • 16 LVCMOS/LVTTL (3.3 V) digital I/O connections on 0.1” through-hole connections

Available from Lattice for $24.99

Paraplegic in robotic suit kicks off World Cup

From BBC:

A paraplegic man has made the first kick of the World Cup using a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton... (cont'd)

Grantland has great story about the project here.

Response by Ray Kurzweil to the announcement of chatbot passing the Turing test

From Ray Kurzweil's blog:

In my 2004 book The Singularity Is Near, I anticipated that there would be premature announcements of this kind:

The Singularity Is Near, page 295 | Turing was carefully imprecise in setting the rules for his test, and significant literature has been devoted to the subtleties of establishing the exact procedures for determining how to assess when the Turing test has been passed. In 2002 I negotiated the rules for a Turing test wager with Mitch Kapor on the Long Now website... (cont'd)

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Featured Product

c-Link Systems, Inc. - M-18 Arm; MK3

c-Link Systems, Inc. - M-18 Arm; MK3

The iM18-Arm is a low cost industrial 4-6 DOF robotic arm. This arm is great for small shops and educators. Can be used to accomplish pick and place or machine load/unload. Teach motion analysis, gearing, drive systems and control systems. New features: • Stepper motors will now be 0.225° per step. • Closed loop stepper motor system, absolute position feedback. • Arm joints have limit and home switches • Universal end-effector mount • All arm joints use slew rings • Control pendent • LCD Display of machine status • So the arm can be a head above the rest an 8" riser is available • New Freescale Vybrid core processor • Intelligent dual channel stepper motor control card (Tower™ System based) • Optional Pneumatic valve control card • IP54 Electronics Enclosure • 6-Slot Tower™ System • Complete 3D STEP file supplied for motion analyses and modeling (For Educators) • Units are all aluminum construction with some non-metallic end-effectors