Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ROS Electric Emys

The new version of the ROS (Robot Operating System) is now available.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Open Hardware Summit Promos

I Heart Engineering is a proud sponsor of the Open Hardware Summit which is now just over two weeks away. Tickets are available and each ticket includes food and a goodie bag filled with fabulous tchotchkes.

Here are the stickers that I Heart Engineering will be contributing the bag of swag. For more info on the Open Source Hardware logo click here.

I Heart Robotics is the blogging division of I Heart Engineering.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Stock: Tools and more

Things have been busy at I Heart Engineering as we begin planning to move to new office space. Regularly scheduled posting should resume shortly. In the meantime, here are some new products that are now in stock.

The ATX Bench Power Supply Kit from Altissimo Tech helps convert your old ATX computer power supply into a bench top power supply for powering all of your experiments. The kit is assembled with easy to solder through hole components.

The are now many more tools in stock, if anything is missing or you are looking for something in particular let us know.

The DAP-01 Pentalobe Driver may be the highest quality 5 pointed driver on the market. Perfect for changing the batteries on your cellphone. While I have heard claims that Torx provides improved torque transfer and Secure Torx helps ensure proper tools alignment for automated assembly, does anyone know of any advantage for pentalobe screws other than being spiteful?

The SL-12 Inspection Loupe provides 10x magnification with high quality glass optics and an integrated measurement scale. The clear sides provide bright illumination and make it perfect for inspecting circuit boards.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

TurtleBot: Laser cut Hokuyo Laser Mounts

The custom heat sink for the UTM-30LX should be in soon.

Logo or no logo? Your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PR2 SE Now on Sale

Willow Garage has a new robot out, the PR2 SE (Starter Edition?) provides a useful subset of the features provided by the PR2 with an updated set of sensors for budget conscious researchers. Now available for under $200,000 for qualified researchers.

We are waiting to find out if the PR SE can be upgraded to a full PR2, and if this means that the
PR2 will have it's sensor suite upgraded as well in the near future.

The PR2 SE can be upgraded to a full PR2 for $100k, so the capabilities can be expanded as research budgets allow. As for the sensors, according to Willow Garage, "The details of sensor suite upgrade have not been fully spec'd yet. That said, the PR2 will always have the same or more capable set of sensors than the PR2 SE." This is great news and hopefully this will provide an entry point for smaller labs to work on personal robotics.

Buy one now, so I can buy one on eBay in 10-20 years to fold my laundry.

Downlink: Input and control

These image sensors are designed for robotics from the beginning, The hexagonal arrangement and log response seem especially interesting.

The Nyko Zoom looks like it will help improve the kinect for some robotics applications by decreasing the minimum sensing distance and increasing the field of view.

From the people who brought us the Novint Falcon haptic input device is this beautiful piece of vaporware. I really hope this becomes real.

This input device from Razer seems interesting, but more useful for use while sitting at a desk. It however is a shipping product.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Laser Burn Removal

A laser cutting service, like our friends at Ponoko, is a great way to get parts manufactured for your robot. However the parts may need a little cleanup before your robot is ready to star in a video.

The biggest cosmetic problem is cleaning up the scorch marks where the laser burned through the material. Since the material being cut is MDF, which is mostly wood and glue, it would make sense that the brown gunk would be rosin.

If it is rosin, that means we can clean it up the same way we remove rosin based flux from our circuit boards. Testing shows that a paper towel dampened with 91% isopropyl alcohol works great at cleaning things up without damaging the melamine coating. If you have streaks after wiping it with alcohol, a glass cleaner like Windex can help remove the streaks. Update: If it is not clear this does not work on every material, and it definitely does not work on acrylic, partly because burnt acrylic isn't rosin and partly because alcohol will fog acrylic. Thanks William! Post your tips in the comments.

After you get the parts cleaned up you may want to add some logos and graphics to make your robot stand out in a crowd.

The TurtleBot is open source hardware so all the files needed to laser cut your own are available. You can also buy parts or a complete robot at the I Heart Engineering store, or if you want to save money building a TurtleBot you can always do it the hard way.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Downlink: Robot Reality and more

Downlink is our new category dedicated to random useful robotics links from around the web.

We believe that not only will augmented reality be useful for robots, but it will be more useful for robots than it is for humans. From Beyond the Beyond we have a few interesting links about rebuilding reality to suit robots. This post on a robot readable world is very interesting, as this design fiction on domestic robots. Something like this combined with a feature based SLAM and AR Wallpaper may be useful for making this fiction into reality.

Sponsorships are now available for the Open Hardware Summit.

If your robot keeps resetting or having strange problems only when it tries to drive several motors at once, you might want to read up on the discharge rating for batteries. Unexpected problems may occur when a real battery no longer operates as an ideal battery.

Free AI Robotics course at Stanford being offered online this fall.

New mini Robo-One size robot hands.

Here is a great video featuring Garratt and the Bilibots, which sounds like a pretty good name for an electro-country band.

Mmmm, PR2 baked cookies.

Some of you may want to sharpen your grant writing pencil for some of the $70 million in funding available as part of the National Robotics Initiative. That is $70 for every robot Foxconn plans to deploy in the next 3 years.

I am buying an airline ticket if they build a Zaku statue. Also, an excellent new humanoid robot from RT Corp.


"calibrate multiple RGBD cameras"

Special thanks to Radu and rest of the PCL team for their hard work making some our work abstractly easier.

If you haven't seen the 'Robots for Humanity' video it is pretty awesome, though I'm not sure I would let a robot shave me.

However, this video is just amazing.

Also, round 3 of the ROS Documentation Contest is closing soon, so send in your entry for awesome robotics t-shirts. Previous winners can be found here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Arduino Labs and ADK robot videos

Arduino Labs seems like an exciting project to help improve the software for the Arduino, I am particularly excited about the processing tools for the Arduino ADK. Which should make programming some of these robots a bit easier.