Robotics Education Journal


In April, two 7-meter maritime surface drones will return to California after an 8-month trip testing technology destined to replace the buoys that in recent years have looked for signs of El Niño. Manufacturer Saildrone, based in Alameda, CA, developed the drones in close collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C. Each drone carries a suite of 15 instruments measuring wind speed, air temperature, sunshine, sea-surface temperature, wave heights, carbon dioxide, oxygen, salinity and ocean currents up to 100 meters deep (via a sonar-like Doppler profiler).


Robotics Football began in 2011 as a senior design project for engineering students at Notre Dame in Indiana. It has since grown into an annual midwestern tournament involving six universities. Notre Dame’s Fighting Ibots team is shown in a competition with a team from Purdue University, which has been their top in-state rivals. In this latest competition, Notre Dame acknowledged that Purdue fielded “really quick” robots, which are a challenge on defense. Notre Dame featured its new, reengineered center robot, which better aligns the quarterback and center players for more precise play in a scrimmage.


Boston Dynamics has become famous owing to its robotic dogs, humanoids and payload carrying vehicles. In a new twist, the company shows a robot that can navigate office and warehouse doors. After a technician gives the “Go” command, SpotMini autonomously grasps a door handle and opens a heavy warehouse door with ease.


As reported by C4ISRNET, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis offered some comments on Feb. 17 on the nature of combat and on the role of AI. As for the “fundamental” nature of comment, Mattis commented that “It’s equipment, technology, courage, competence, integration of capabilities, fear, cowardice — all these things mixed together into a very fundamentally unpredictable fundamental nature of war,” Mattis explained... “The fundamental nature of war is almost like H20, ok? You know what it is.”
In response to a question on the impact of AI on the nature of war might be, C4ISRNET reported that Mattis responded: “I’m certainly questioning my original premise that the fundamental nature of war will not change. You’ve got to question that now. I just don’t have the answers yet.” He continued: “The character of war changes all the time. An old dead German [Carl von Clausewitz] called it a ‘chameleon.’ He said it changes to adapt to its time, to the technology, to the terrain, all these things.”


The UAS PILOTS CODE (UASPC) offers recommendations to advance flight and ground safety, airmanship, and professionalism. It presents a set of recommended practices—a vision of excellence—to help UAS pilots interpret and apply standards and regulations, and to confront the real world challenges to avoid mishaps. It is designed to help UAS pilots develop standard operating procedures, effective risk management, safety management systems, and to encourage UAS pilots to consider themselves aviators and participants in the broader aviation community.


As stated by Walter O’Brien, CEO of Scorpion Computer Services, whose AI system runs and protects the Army’s UAV operations: “Now I have an AI protecting the data center, and now the enemy would have to have an AI to attack my AI, and now it’s which AI is smarter…”


As we head into Drone symposium season, sUAS News is pleased to announce that we will be presenting the sixth annual SUSB Expo. Way back in 2013, few believed that there was a commercial interest for drones. We knew better and launched a live event where industry professionals and our readers can network and discuss the business of drones.


TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) has released a draft document titled, "Managing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the Vicinity of Airports" that provides guidance for airport operators and managers to manage UAS operations and related activities in and around airports.


The Armed Forces have pursued R&D for years on unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) that can semi-autonomously carry payloads of supplies across rough terrain in both combat and search and rescue environments. The common challenge is active teleoperation (remote control) of the robot UGVs. Traditional “heads down” operation of tablet menus to control UGVs is tiring and reduces situational awareness. A solution is an intuitive soldier-machine interface named MINOTAUR that has been developed by Charles River Analytics and partner, 5D Robotics.


One of the charmers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas (CES) was a new robot from Aeolus that can not only clean floors but also accomplish the legendary mission of household robots: it can fetch a beverage from your refrigerator and hand it to you. Aeolus is a global company with offices in San Francisco and Taipei City, and it has formidable credentials – over 100 engineers on staff and decades of experience, including “conceiving and managing the historic Watson AI project.”
“This is the first multi-functional robot that can act like a human being,” said Alexander Huang, Global chief executive of Aeolus Robotics. “Right now it’s like a child, but we will continue to grow its capability so that it grows from a child to an adult. The more people that use the robot, the stronger it becomes.”


As recently announced by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, “AUVSI's Startup Showdown is back for the third year and is better than ever! The Startup Showdown is your opportunity to present your new innovations to investors and the unmanned systems community.” Please note that the deadline for enrolling is Friday, January 26!


The IEEE recently published three standards for consideration in the development of ethically sound automated systems employing artificial intelligence (AI). Given the rapidly emerging presence of AI in the Internet of Things (IoT) and across the board, these principles offer timely, relevant guidance to those designing automated systems and related applications.


It was reported by that two recently publicized computer chip hardware vulnerabilities are causing grave security concerns to corporations, educational institutions, online associations of all types and even governments, across the board. These vulnerabilities are said to give hackers opportunities to access confidential information from “virtually all modern computing devices, ranging from computers to smartphones to cloud infrastructure.”


The “world’s first smart policing robot” was launched on December 29 in Hyderabad, India. Named “Smart Robo Cop,” the humanoid was developed by Indian firm H-Bots Robotics and assembled from parts sourced within India. Designed to work with city security systems, it is expected to be deployed by July 2018. Smart Robo Cop can recognize and interact with people.


In an update titled “CES2018: Olympic Robots to Visit Vegas,” Tom Green of Asian Robotics Review recently reported that a leading Korean robotics firm, Future Robot Co., Ltd., will exhibit at Tech East South Hall 2, in booth 25330 at CES in Vegas, January 9- 12, 2018. There, attendees can meet Future Robot’s fascinating “Family” of service robots. As Tom notes, “There’s something in the company’s product lineup for home/personal use; something for malls, airports and department stores; and even a tabletop machine for retail sales.” The service robot shown, the meeter/greeter FURo-D, features an avatar or personality named “Amelia”, after the famous aviator Amelia Earhart. It’s operating system is Windows 7, 64Bit.


Although conventional wisdom trends toward a negative view of the impact robots and artificial intelligence (AI) will have on human employment, there is a robust contrarian viewpoint brimming with optimism for a job-rich future. NREF has compiled a representative sampling of articles and presentations that portray the landscape of opinion, today. We recommend this collection to our site visitors.

12/13/2017 reported that the FT 300 Force Torque Sensor mounted on a Universal Robots arm has enabled the automation of the grueling glass polishing process at the Saint-Gobain factory in France, creating a safer workplace and increasing productivity. The traditional glass polishing approach had caused repetitive movement health issues, but this problem was solved by the addition of the sensor & robot arm combination, which took over polishing tasks. The combination paid for itself within one year and instead of replacing workers, reportedly expanded employee work opportunities.


MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), with Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, have created powerful hydraulic muscles that are an example of biomimetic “soft robots” that mimic designs that occur in nature. In this instance we see a similarity to the biomechanical functionality of spiders; Arachnids use pressure differential to extend and retract their legs. The efficiency and power of these soft robotic muscles is considered to be a breakthrough.


This paper by William G. Lovell presents a design framework for robots that entails use of 6-axis arms, i.e., arms with six degrees of freedom (DoF). These arms move end effectors from A to B and are distinguished by their individual payloads, which make the arms unique. In this paper, Lovell, CEO and Senior Engineer at c-Link Systems, proposes a design construct called the “Omni Chassis.” This type of vehicle can carry different payloads (different functioning end effectors) on a 6-wheeled or tracked mobile body.


The Silver Swan was designed and built by James Cox in London in the early 1770’s. The beauty and precision of this exquisite 18th century robot represents the craftsmanship, artistry and engineering skills of both an accomplished jeweler, and that of a clock maker, and this robot plays music as well. Could anyone with today’s technology produce anything close to this engineering masterpiece that is also robotic art?


Our friends at Robot Village are offering approximately 150 primo robot domain names for sale! We advise interested viewers to be proactive as these domain names are available for purchase at this time.


Designed for use in malls, airports, fairs, hospitals and homes, the AkinSoft-designed humanoids will be able to recognize faces, hear, speak, smell and access the internet. Named “Ada GH5”, the new robot will be assembled at the AkinSoft factory, said AkinSoft Board Chairman Özgür Akın.


Our friends at the Central Valley Business Times (CVBT) have posted a telling video on the trend toward job automation. “Think your job cannot be automated? Take a look at the disappearing jobs of lumberjacks in the Oregon mountains.” That sets the scene for a video from Retro Report and Quartz kindly posted by the CVBT.


The H-860 high speed linear motor hexapod is a 6-axis system with 6 degrees of freedom that is a key technology for image stabilization systems in drones and cameras. Produced by Physik Instrumente (PI), the system is also used in a variety of applications that mimic or neutralize vibration with extreme nano resolution, which the device can be programmed to precisely duplicate.


“The Robots are Here” is a half hour presentation by Sarah Bergbreiter, Singularity University, recently presented at the SingularityU South Africa Summit.