If you enjoy looking at papers, it looks like some of the results of the RGB-D workshop at RSS are now online, While all the Kinect hacks have been fun, there have also been some serious advances made by the research community in the last year. Perhaps most importantly, it looks like realtime 3D SLAM will be available on commodity hardware soon.
Today, we decided to test an idea for customizing a TurtleBot with a logo. It looks like you can use a regular silkscreen setup with enamel paint without it or the paint thinner destroying the screen. Mixing in a little paint thinner in with the paint would probably help improve image quality and a positioning jig is required to place the image accurately once the screen is covered in paint.
There will be a free screening of the Bots High documentary, produced by Joey Daoud, on October 6th. If you are interested in finding a screening near you or hosting one, there is more information available here.
We are pleased to announce that we have more things for you to buy!
The OLLO Bug kit offers several robot bug designs that you can build. The bugs can be driven by remote control or can autonomously follow lines. A great robot starter kit for designing walking mechanisms and now in stock at the I Heart Engineering store. Great for someone you know ages 10 and up, or maybe even for yourself.
I don't know if you have noticed the weather on the internets recently, but it's looking partly cloudy with a chance of being hacked. So today would be an excellent day to make sure your robot has a password and it's patches are up to date. You may also be interested our previous ranting on this matter.
Also, we are still accepting entries for round two of the ROS Documentation Contest. Entries for round two will be accepted until June 30th.
IEEE Spectrum has a nice article on NSF funding for "wasteful" robotics projects. I suspect the critics, of NSF funding for research on laundry folding robots, failed to ask the person who folds their laundry what they think. They also failed to consider the matter seriously.
I think almost everyone who folds their own clothes can agree that laundry folding is a technological development that is almost as important as robotic beverage delivery. I for one hope to buy a used PR2 on eBay one day, and I expect by the time that I can afford a used PR2 it will be capable of much more than laundry related QoLT tasks.
Can you watch that video and not think that this research is important and worth funding? Which would you rather have, a job building robots that fold laundry or a job folding laundry?
Perhaps Senator Tom Coburn is simply wasting time and taxpayers money trying to stop us from having robot friends that can help us with the laundry. Well it's a good thing there is not a problem with unemployment that the senator's time could be better spent working on.
As predicted, Analog Devices has updated their iSensor® product line with the new ADIS16407, a 10 degree of freedom inertial sensor. While this sensor is nearly out of the price range of hobbyists, the increased accuracy and precision could be useful for many research grade robots and sUAS.
The sensors ten degrees of freedom come from the accelerometer (3 DoF), Gyros (3 DoF), Magnetometer (3 DoF), and pressure sensor (1 DoF). It also comes with an integrated temperature drift compensation.
Information on other similar sensors we have previously covered can be found here, here and here.
This video shows an important step towards making 3D video conferencing work. The point cloud compression system uses Octomap and can detect spacial changes in real-time which allows only changes to be sent between key frames.
However, there will probably need to be additional work done to support compression of streaming 3D data from moving robots. Most likely the compression system will need to integrate with the localization system to achieve disambiguation between static points, changes in the known environment over time and new data available that becomes available as there are changes in visibility.
If you are looking forward to experiencing the new Unity interface in Ubuntu 11.04 or thinking about switching back to FreeBSD after experiencing the new Unity interface, ROS Diamondback is now available for FreeBSD and Ubuntu Natty Narwhal. More information is available here.