Archive for the ‘Robot News’ Category
MANOI the hockey player was on Daily Planet, the science news broadcast on Discovery Channel (Canada) on November 3rd, 2010! Check out the clip below!
On December 17th, MANOI made its TV-screen ‘debut’ to gazillions of viewers in Canada! Daily Planet, a news style of a show for DIY’ers and scientists, featured MANOI’s holiday Xtravaganza warmup in the PlanetYou clip!
You can see the clip online by clicking here. It’s after the iPhone App part. ^_^
It was pretty awesome to see MANOI on TV, and a great way to ring out the year. WOOT!
The actual version of MANOI’s Holiday Xtravaganza will be posted soon
The WCRS (Western Canadian Robotics Society) is most likely one of the most advanced hobby robotics club out there.
On Saturday at 9:00pm (EST) they had a gathering on the game Second Life. Second Life is an online 3D “game”, like the Sims, but with real people. Personally, as an RPG, I don’t really like it that much. However, as an online meeting place for clubs, I think it is an AMAZING idea!
There were a few people there, Craig (I think he runs/is one of the runners of the WCRS), Jon Hylands (he helped me get to Stanford!), Adam (???), Dan (from the SAIT). There might have been more, however I forget…
We had some fun with our avatars…
^ Dan dressed up as an i, Robot from the movie
^ Dan dressed up as a Robosapien hahahahaha
This was Craig’s avatar… SO AWESOME!
SL has a VoIP aspect of it too, so you can actually talk to people. We all introduced ourselves, it was pretty neat to see the variety of people there, even though it was a tiny group!
One of the things that was discussed was the building of the Island, and a group. They’re going to be creating virtual “offices” on their island. So, for instance, RobotGrrl.com’s office could have a banner on the outside of it, and perhaps a YouTube video playing in a loop too. We tested out playing YouTube videos, and it works amazingly well. Here you can see my video (with my real arm) inside of a non-real world.
How cool is that?!
Craig then gave me a teleportation link to visit the Museum of Robotics,
This place is pretty cool! I still haven’t looked at all of it. Something that I will have to do later! It also gave my avatar a free t-shirt. However, at that point, my avatar started to spin in a circle for some reason, and it couldn’t stop. I had to close SL…
Hopefully they will have more meetings in the future, I can’t wait to join in on them (and make a virtual office). Usually they send out a group notice on their message list, so if you want to subscribe to it, click here!
WOOHOO! I have many blog posts lined up!
Friday: Pololu Shipment
Sunday: Party Button Brainstorming
Keep looking forward to that! I will also make a post about FIRST sometime soon.
There was a pretty awesome TV special a few nights ago- Rodney’s Robot Revolution. It was on “The Nature of Things”. Here’s the summary they give on their site:
As former head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Professor Brooks is once again going to test his robot-building mettle with what has become the most challenging project of his entire career: to build a robot for the Pentagon capable of playing an ancient Chinese board game of GO against a human opponent. Brooks has only five months to build it from scratch, making his challenge that much more outrageous.
The premise of the show surrounded Rodney Brook’s project for the government- to build a social robot that will play go…. in nine months! (For some reason the CBC website says 5 months, but I clearly heard 9 months, three or four times).
I think he did have some students help- at least he did with the hand part that needed to pick up the pieces. The hand consisted of two fingers, with special force sensing resistors on them. The fingers was pretty good at first- it worked often. Afterwards, they placed a cover on the two fingers with bumps on it so that the piece would remain grasped until placed onto the board. It didn’t work often- it couldn’t pick up the pieces.
The other main parts of the robot was the computer vision. It used two off the shelf logitech cameras as eyes, and it had a few more stationary cameras around to get different views of the board. The eyes were mounted on a metal part that served as a face, which could move. At one point, the robot almost fell off the table because the movements were too quick, and not fluid.
The only part that seemed a little wonky was when they mentioned that robotics is a competitive industry. The jist of the message was that other places like Google, Sony, and Honda are competing with MIT’s robotics. I kind of laughed at that… as MIT is a university, not a company. They weren’t just comparing an apple with an orange, they were comparing an apple with a pineapple. Either way, Sony’s Aibo robot is a distant past, and Asimo has sort of been around for a long time- just evolving and improving! As for Google… errrrr. I thought we were talking about physical robots here? Lol! I think what they meant to portray was that there are other places that are R&D’ing robotics.
The part that I found quite interesting was that even though each of the “sections” of the robot worked okay- like the hand, the computer vision, the algorithms, they weren’t combined to work with each other very well. What I mean by that is… there was too much focus on creating the basics perfectly, instead of just building a simple model first, and improving on it with milestones. If it would have been done this way, there would have been something to demonstrate at the end that would work. It’s better to have something that works, even though it doesn’t meet the requirements, than something that meets the requirements but doesn’t work.
First start off with giving the robot the piece, and start off with all the cameras stationary. The robot can still be sociable even if the cameras aren’t in the eyes (for some reason, this seems to be a common misjudgment). Once that stage is working, make a hand that will have to move the piece. Then make it pick up the piece. After that works, then go on to moving the cameras, and finish up by adding a sociable touch.
It’s almost like the difference between the old macbookpros and the new ones. The old ones were created by putting pieces together, the new ones are created by taking material away. My suggested method is like taking all the possible difficulties away, one by one. If you only put pieces together, you’ll miss out on many opportunities to improve and optimize the robot. Additionally, there were no backup plans. If the robot didn’t have a pebble, it wouldn’t go back to pick another one up. It happens all the time in games between humans… the pieces are small and glossy, seriously!
9 months (or even 5 months) is a lot of time- especially when you have all the resources, and people that are eager to help out.
If I would have built the robot, I would have used an octopus-like suction cup to pick up one of the pieces. The location of the cameras would have been different… and the base would be bigger so it wouldn’t tip over. Plus, my method would have been different, as discussed above.
There’s another neat TV show soon, Five Years on Mars! National Geographic channel, Sunday Nov 2!
Don’t forget about Daily Planet too… my fav TV show that’s on at 7pm each weekday (Discovery Channel)
Custom Styrobots are really fun to make… and they cost the same price ($20). A friend wanted a yellow Styrobot, with green hair with a comb in it, two combs on the cup, and a poem. It was pretty fun to make! Despite the rotation of the pics being messed up… here are some pictures!
The poem on the back is ‘The Road not Taken’ by Robert Frost. It’s a pretty good poem Here are morrrre pictures!
Great eh! There will be 3 NEW Styrobots appearing in my store very soon They’re all Hallowe’en themed.
In my opinion, Battygoo is really cute ^_^ as are the other ones! Asside from that… MANOI is aliiiive! I’m currently in the middle of making a program to set its home position.
So keep an eye out… the Styrobots will be poppin’ into the shop very soon =D
BubbleBoy did not win, nor PLACE in crabfu’s ‘Most Characterful’ competition.
I don’t understand how it didn’t…
My source and schematics are even open!!
This extremely sucks as I wanted to win so badly as I don’t have the money to buy a serial servo controller Fudge!!
Will MANOI forever be in a box? Talk about unethical treatment to a robot…
(You wouldn’t keep a cat in a box* for a month would you?! why would a robot be any different?!)
I guess I poured too much creativity and florescent pink and lime green paint into it >:( Grr! Either that, or it doesn’t even count as a robot since it doesn’t show its wires.
Although it is only “one contest” it was only an EXTREMELY GIGANTICOR SUPER DUPER CONTEST that I really wanted to win so I can work on my other robot so I can win other contests so I can pay for parts to keep researching robotics!!!!
^_^ =D ^_^ =D ^_^ =D ^_^ =D ^_^ =D ^_^ =D
See ya later to all of the people that read this! A big thanks to everyone that helped donate over $1000! It helped a lot. The rest of the costs were covered by a reserved education savings account thing. This is going to be amazing! And I’m going to the JPL! Feel free to email me when I’m gone! I’m not sure if I will reply, but if I do it will be from RobotGrrl ~at~:) rocketmail.com.
I hope to come back with many project ideas and a better outlook on AI (artificial intelligence) for NLP (natural language processing), CV (computer vision), and HCI (human-computer interaction)! I’d want to explore it with Arduino, too.
In 3.5 weeks, get ready for lots of blog posts! Funnily enough, this blog post is #666. xD