Monday, April 23, 2012

ROS Fuerte Released

Available here.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

ROS Updates

ROS Fuerte RC3 is now available. This would be a great time to test to see if your robot works with the new version of ROS. Bug reports and patches are greatly appreciated.

Also, if you haven't signed up for ROSCon, there is still time to register.
You may also want to check out the list of sponsors for ROSCon, we will see you there!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ROS Fuerte Release Candidate 2

Minor changes available here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

ROS Fuerte Release Candidate 1

Available here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

National Robotics Week

It's time again for National Robotics Week! A great chance to check out robotics events near you. Previous coverage of past years can be found here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

An art movement for roboticists?

The New Aesthetic strikes me as important and interesting. As someone who has uploaded videos of fruit with circles around them, seeing Timo Arnall's montage of videos from computer vision research projects assembled as art is somewhat strange. It's like finding out your debug messages are actually works of art.

It makes me wonder if our debug messages couldn't be a little clearer through collaboration with artists.

While dedicating time to work with artists might be viewed as a distraction, I believe there are some potential benefits. Robotics and computer vision researchers may want to think about adding funding for an artist to their next grant proposal to help the public understanding what robots do. Videos like the one above can help explain the research to the innumerate which helps ensure public support for future funding. They can also help make the technology more compatible with humans.

Looking at the above example, one wonder if things like QR Codes could have been more beautiful to look at if we had more input from artists, instead of seeing them exploit error correction to insert art.

Also, in many ways it seems like the artists could use some help from scientists and engineers as they try to help society deal with the results of our work, without having to understand what a Haar wavelet transform is or how it works

The New Aesthetic is also nice because it means that the robot safety products are not just a great tool for keeping your robotics lab safe, but apparently they are also art. Now that I think about it, perhaps we should offer cryptographically signed and numbered copies.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New Packaging

Over at I Heart Engineering we have upgraded some of our product packaging. Here are some of the design concepts.

These stickers are important, because this means we can make packaging for selling quantity one of prototype designs. This in line with our philosophy of lowering the cost of failure. Fail early, fail often, succeed occasionally.

Below are the chosen designs, color for the inkjet and bw for the laser printer.

In addition to safer shipping, it is now much easier to find things in the stock area.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Springtime Fun

A fun easter video from the TurtleBots at ClearPath Robotics

Progress in Telerobotics

A few years ago I thought that the age of telerobotics would have arrived when someone gave a Google tech talk using one, and where the subject of the talk was not robotics related.

Well, that has now happened.

The telerobot is made by Anybots, and there's one obvious noteworthy point: the robot just isn't expressive enough.  Without more capacity for expression, the robot becomes just an uninteresting prop on the stage.  It does have a display, but it's way too small to see the speaker's face.

For telerobots like this the screen needs to be of a similar size to a tablet computer, with face detection used to crop and scale the image in such a way that it's of similar dimensions to a human head.  Then I think the experience for users, or for an audience, would be more interesting.

But of course this is just the start, so I expect that in time those ergonomic modifications will come.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reset It!™ for Android

This looks like it could be useful.