Archive for the 'Robotics' Category

Stair Climbing Wheelchair

Japanese Researchers Develop Robotic Wheelchair That Can Climb Stairs.

Popular Science (10/17, Boyle) reports, “Wheels are the most efficient way to get around, but they can’t take you everywhere.” A “new robotic wheelchair designed in Japan can go almost anywhere, however–it can swivel its axles up and down to climb up stairs, onto curbs or over obstacles.” Popular Science explains, “All the user has to do is move a joystick to point it in the desired direction, and the robo-chair figures out what to do. Sensors on its feet detect the distance to nearby obstacles and determine their size. The chair will stabilize itself in the best position to hoist one of its front wheels, like a rider straddling a horse.”

Reposted from the 10/17/12 ASEE First Bell.

IEEE Xplore Digital Library Enhancements

This week, the first IEEE documents in HTML became available in IEEE Xplore.

These first HTML articles mark the beginning of weekly additions of thousands of HTML-formatted documents to IEEE Xplore. By the end of 2012, you will see nearly 200,000 articles in this new format.

IEEE Xplore subscribers will automatically have access to the HTML versions of documents, as per existing subscription terms.

The dynamic new design redefines how IEEE publications are displayed online. Presenting cutting-edge IEEE articles from select publications in an elegant, state of the art, HTML layout provides a richer and more interactive research experience that allows you to:

  • Scan and interpret articles in under 60 seconds using “Quick Preview”
  • Navigate between sections of long articles with intuitive floating navigation
  • Effortlessly explore text, figures, equations, and multimedia files
  • Quickly view and copy mathematical equations, expressions, and formulas
  • Enhance your research with recommendations of related articles

The collection of articles available in HTML will build rapidly over the next several months, with a current focus on all IEEE journal content from 2001 to present. You will also start to see conference papers from 2001 and later in the new format by the end of this year. Magazine and Standards will follow in 2013, with over 2 million HTML articles available by the end of 2014.

Other new features also added to IEEE Xplore this month:

  • Share IEEE Xplore documents on social media sites
    Social media buttons now appear on all abstract pages so you can easily share links to IEEE Xplore articles through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Filter to only show content included in your subscription
    IEEE has expanded the popular search filter that allows users to “show only content in my subscription” to all IEEE Xplore subscriptions. You can find this filter on the search results page and in Advanced Search.
  • View a history for Top 100 Documents Downloaded by month
    Browse the most popular search terms and top downloaded documents by month plus see an archive of top downloaded documents from previous months.
  • Coming Soon: Save documents to Project Folders
    My Projects allows users to create personal project folders within IEEE Xplore to help organize documents by project or topic. Save documents to an unlimited number of folders, personalize with project descriptions, and add notes and tags to individual articles as you save them to projects. Sign in with your personal IEEE Account to access this feature.

University of Virginia readers may access IEEE Xplore from the Library’s Research Portal Page.

Lethal Autonomous Robots and Responsibility

Science, Technology, and Society Program
Spring 2012 Colloquium Series
Date:  Thursday Feb. 23,  2012
Time:  3:30 – 5:00 p.m
Location:  Rodman Room, Thornton Hall, University of Virginia

In the second STS colloquium talk of 2012 Merel Noorman, a postdoc at the STS department, will present her current research on autonomous military robots and responsibility. One of the primary ethical concerns about future military robots is that these technologies will further obfuscate the distribution of responsibility, as they become more complex and increasingly capable of autonomous operation. Who will be held responsible when these robots make life and death decisions? In her talk, Merel will take a closer look at the discourse on autonomous military robots in order to explore how we can best address such concerns.

Exoskeletal Legs

Students At UC Berkeley Build Exoskeletal Legs That Allow Paraplegic To Walk.

Popular Science (8/31, Vlahos) reports that student engineers at University Of California At Berkeley’s Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory “built a machine that” allowed a paraplegic student “to stand up and walk across the commencement stage” in May. Until now, the exoskeletons developed in Berkeley’s Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory “have been elaborately engineered test pieces.” For the current project, director Homayoon “Kazerooni challenged the students to invent the Honda of exoskeletons, a bare-bones device that would cost $15,000 or less, not $100,000 or more.” Popular Science reports, “With the goal of developing an exoskeleton that costs close to what a powered wheelchair does, the students were forced to adopt a minimalist approach.” Currently, they are “working on a new exoskeleton, one that is even more streamlined and affordable than the” model used in May.

Reposted from the 8/31/11 issue of First Bell.

Autonomous Quadcopters Work Together To Build Structures

Clay Dillow writes in Popular Science (1/19), “Whenever a new video emerges from UPenn’s GRASP lab (that’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception), it’s usually awesome, and this one is no exception.” The video features a team of autonomous quad-rotor helicopters “working from a preset algorithm…constructing a cubic tower structure using specially designed parts that snap together via magnets when placed in the proper arrangement.” The quadcopters “can even judge the quality of their own construction, checking to make sure a piece is properly in place before moving on to the next segment.” Considering potential uses, Dillow writes, “Beyond the obvious applications in automated construction processes, swarms of construction ‘bots could be launched from naval vessels to autonomously construct shelters in disaster-stricken areas or to set up a forward operating base before live troops arrive in a combat zone.”

Reposted from the 1/20/11 ASEE First Bell

Robot Lifeguard

Robotic Lifeguard To Begin Patrolling US Beaches.

Popular Science (6/25, Calderin) reported, “This summer, EMILY (for EMergency Integrated Lifesaving lanYard) began patrolling Malibu’s dangerous Zuma Beach and will watch over about 25 more by December.” The autonomous robot, which is capable of achieving 28 mph in the water, uses sonar to “scan for the underwater movements associated with swimmers in distress.” It also has a “camera and speakers [to] let an onshore lifeguard calm the person and instruct him to wait for human help or to hold on as EMILY ferries him back.”

Reposted from ASEE First Bell for May 28, 2010

Humanoid Robot

Students Unveil Full-Sized, Walking Humanoid Robot.

Popular Science (4/27, Ngo) reports, “A group of undergraduate and graduate students at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) have unveiled” the Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence (CHARLI), “which they are calling the first full-sized, walking, untethered, humanoid robot, complete with four moving limbs and a head, to be built in the United States.” Dennis Hong, an associate professor who is leading the research, explained that “the environment we live in is designed for humans.” Therefore, the researchers “focused on making a humanoid robot with motor skills that can handle human tasks.” Popular Science noted, “There are two version of CHARLI in development: CHARLI-L, for Lightweight, and CHARLI-H, for Heavy.” The former “will debut in Singapore’s RoboCup tournament later this year.”

Reposted from April 28, 2010 ASEE First Bell

I Love My Robot!

Some Roomba Owners Become Emotionally Attached, Study Finds.

The AP (3/3) reports, “A new study shows how deeply some Roomba owners become attached to the robotic vacuum and suggests there’s a measure of public readiness to accept robots in the house – even flawed ones.” Beki Grinter, an associate professor at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and one of the researchers involved, said, “They’re more willing to work with a robot that does have issues because they really, really like it.” Grinter added, “It sort of begins to address more concerns: If we can design things that are somewhat emotionally engaging, it doesn’t have to be as reliable.” The article details the phases of the research and lists some of the specific findings.

Reposted from the March 3, 2010 ASEE First Bell.

Picky about Trash

Robot Sorts Plastic Recyclables From Trash.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) (3/2, Demetriou) reported on a “device, created by Mitsubishi Electric Engineering Corp and Osaka University researchers, [that] identifies different plastic materials among rubbish and sorts them into piles.” The robot “uses five laser beams and sensors to detect a range of different plastics for recycling purposes.” Plastic recycling in Japan is comparatively limited, and the new device “aims to boost plastic recycling levels by identifying six different types of plastics that can be recycled and sorted from general rubbish collections.”

Reposted from the March 3, 2010 ASEE First Bell.

A Robot for My Co-Pilot

In-Dash Robot Uses Facial Expressions To Communicate With Driver

The Wired (11/17, Squatriglia) “Autopia” blog reported, “Audi and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology envision a future where robots riding shotgun make us happier, safer drivers and create a ‘symbiotic relationship’ between car and driver.”  The robot, called Affective Intelligent Driving Agent, or Aida, “would analyze our driving habits, keeping track of frequent routes and destinations to provide real-time traffic info, and make friendly suggestions along the way,” as well as “give gentle reminders to buckle up, watch our speed or slow down for that school bus up ahead.”  The robot “uses a small laser video projector to convey facial expressions and other information.”  Having “human-like motion” and the ability to express emotions, researchers say, “makes it easier to convey information,” since “reading a facial expression is instantaneous.”  The researchers “plan to build a driving simulator for a controlled study” by next year, and “real-world tests will follow in 2011.”

Reposted from the November 18, 2009 ASEE First Bell briefing.

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