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X2-VelociRoACH Smashes Speed Record for Tiny Legged Robots

 − at 14:30, 25. May. 2015

For its size, this is by far the fastest legged robot in existence

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Graphene Overcomes Achilles' Heel of Artificial Muscles

 − at 22:00, 22. May. 2015

Researchers aim to create a biomimetic robot

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Make it Clap

 − at 19:48, 22. May. 2015

cheeky nandos

Turn up your speakers! Customer teethoflions posted this entertaining video of his HR-OS1 being cheeky. He made it clap.

We Make It Clap (sound is a must)

A video posted by Matt McNair (@teethoflions) on

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Video Friday: Deep-Learning Robots, DRC Practice, and Drone Pilot Competition

 − at 16:50, 22. May. 2015

This week's coolest robot videos are here

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Is Advanced AI + Robot Army = End of Human Race?

 − at 15:13, 21. May. 2015

In many post-apocalyptic stories, the impetus for the end of order and reason is a “robot uprising” – the idea that robots created by humans have gained sentience and want either their freedom, or to rule humans. The question is, could this really happen? Could the human race be enslaved or even wiped out by artificial intelligence? Could AI and a hypothetical robot army be our end-game?

Stephen Hawking believes that too much AI could be a stepping stone to our end. Although the famous scientist relies on artificial intelligence and robotics to help him deal with his disabilities, he still believes that “Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate.” Humans simply can’t compete with the quick abilities that AI have to learn and adapt, due to our biological restrictions and needs. Does this mean that robots would overtake us in intelligence? Hawking doesn’t make a prediction that would go that far.

The idea of artificial intelligence being a helpmate for humans has been around for at least a century. The top test for whether or not a robot, or other AI, is indistinguishable from a human (for example, able to hold a full, spontaneous conversation) is the Turing Test, which was developed by Alan Turing over 65 years ago. The idea that robots will be able to interact with us much in the same way that other humans do has been around for quite a while. While some people think this could be a less-than-friendly interaction, many others insist these robots can be used in areas where people are less likely to want to work, such as factories, or where cheaper labor is needed, such as daily health care. In a health care situation, these robots can also be soothing and helpful to their patients.

However, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is more forthright in his idea of the future. Wozniak muses, “Will we be the gods? Will we be the family pets? Or will we be ants that get stepped on? I don’t know about that, but when I got that thinking in my head about if I’m going to be treated in the future as a pet to these smart machines…well, I’m going to treat my own pet dog really nice.” He agrees with other technology thought leaders such as Hawking and Elon Musk that the future may not be the best place to be a human. Should we be thinking about ways to make our laptops happier?

SpaceX owner and technology innovator Elon Musk has some ideas about what could happen in the future, as well. Being friends with the CEO of Google, he’s had a first hand look at how quickly technology that the average person uses can evolve. Google’s AI is well known, with self-driving cars and a near-psychic search engine. A Tweet from Musk’s Twitter account in 2014 states “We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.” This sort of thinking is not new – robot overlords have been a recurring trope of science fiction stories since the 1960s. Should we be worried that growing use of robots is bringing this idea to fruition?

Finally, we look at the idea of the world’s most well-known computer guru, Bill Gates. Gates is no stranger to AI or robots, but although he believes robots are here to do good, he states that “I don’t understand why some people are not concerned” when it comes to the possibilities. No one is saying that robots should be a future worry, or that artificial intelligence is an area that should be avoided. But it’s important to consider these questions as we reach towards a future where robots outnumber humans. Should we put limitations on what robots can do? Should we put in “escape plans” and ways to control AI in case of emergency? Or should we trust our programming abilities and hope for the best?

No matter what your take on the debate, it’s important to note that the future is definitely going to include robotics and artificial intelligence. There may be no way to predict exactly how the interacts will pan out – whether we end up with friendly allies or angry enemies, but we can affect how this ends up. If we develop AI carefully and make sure to create our new helpmates with safeguards, the future may be one with happy robots and humans working simultaneously.

Robot Army

Thousands of Robotshop’s RB1 mascott waiting to put robotics at your service!






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 − at 16:00, 20. May. 2015


Want to control your Trossen Robotics PhantomX Hexapod with an iPod/iPad? User reneca has done just that. There seems to be a bit of lag on their camera, but the controls look spot-on. The project files are available on GitHub if you’re looking to try it out for yourself!

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Open Source Robotics Foundation Prepares for DRC Finals and Beyond

 − at 23:00, 18. May. 2015

OSRF is branching out to keep developing ROS and Gazebo

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The Best of Maker Faire Bay Area 2015

 − at 21:43, 18. May. 2015

Skating bug-bots, homemade roller coasters, and other oddities

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Real Robots Live is looking for input.

 − at 16:00, 18. May. 2015

Real Robots Live

Real Robots Live is a project in its infancy, looking for input before launching their crowdfunding campaign. It would be awesome to see the Trossen Robotics Community take a creative opportunity and give some feedback on this project. User lewisRRL states:

Hi guys,

Just wanted to make you all aware of a new project, and gather your ideas.
The project is called Real Robots Live and will make it possible to log onto a live robot over the internet and drive it around a remote arena.
You’ll have full control over the robot via the software and will be able to see the camera images that stream from the robot’s perspective. It’s a high res, low latency feed on the robots and around the arena.
Lots of these robots will be playing in the same arena – a real life online multiplayer game!
We want robots to be able to construct structures, destroy them using weapons and interact with the arena (opening doors,etc.).
Once online, we want to setup RealRobotsLiveTV so everyone can watch live events.

This is a call for ideas. This is a game with the real world as it’s engine. What would you like to see in this?

In 2-3 months we are aiming to crowdfund the project.


If you’d like to put your two cents in the hat, join the discussion!

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Valve's "Lighthouse" Tracking System May Be Big News for Robotics

 − at 00:46, 18. May. 2015

Valve Lighthouse Tracking Technology

While walking around the Bay Area Maker Faire this weekend, I stumbled across an amazing piece of technology: Valve's "Lighthouse" tracking system. Valve's demos were (supposedly) a major contributor to Oculus' fundraising efforts and ultimate sale to Facebook, and this device may have been a key piece of those demos. I'd heard rumors about this system for many months. It was designed for augmented and virtual reality -- namely, for head and controller tracking, where it needs to have some insane specifications for positional accuracy, angular accuracy, and especially(!!!) latency. Honestly, the rumors I'd heard downplayed its elegance. This solution is exceedingly simple, low-cost, light weight, and performant.  It's much (much!) better than the image processing techniques I've seen to date. Most importantly.... I think this technology could be a "big deal" for robotics too.  I had a chance to speak with Valve's Alan Yates about how the Lighthouse system works; I didn't get all the specifications, but I did get some interesting information -- so read on!

read more

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