May 30th, 2014

Robots: Russian Robotics

In this episode, Sabine speaks with Andrew Gryaznov, co-founder of Cubic Robotics and Roman Luchin, CEO of CyberTech Labs, about robotics in Russia. They provide us with an inside view on robotics education, innovations and startups in their country. The interview was done live at RoboForum in Moscow earlier this month. Roboforum is a cross disciplinary conference designed to unite the best minds in robotics, including scientists and designers, business people and governors as well as artists, engineers and popular science speakers worldwide.

Speakers at the conference included creator of Hubo, Jun-Ho Oh, iCub’s Giorgio Metta, creator of the Blind Robot Louis-Philippe Demer, Vladimir Konyshev of Neurobotics, Skolkovo’s Albert Yefimov, NanoSatisfi’s Chris Wake, Unbounded’s Melonee Wise, Valery Komissarova of Grishin, and many more.

Roman Luchin
rluchinRoman Luchin is Founder of TRIK and CEO of CyberTech Labs in Russia. He started as a researcher in a laboratory of theoretical cybernetics in Saint Petersburg State University, where he developed multi-agent control systems. Faced with two challenges in Russian robotics, young professionals and outdated approaches, he decided to devote himself to the improvement of STEM education through robotics and the creation of new educational tools. As a result, he developed a unified cybernetic platform for education, research, and robotics projects called TRIK. There is continuously growing community around TRIK, including universities, researchers, prototyping labs, and creative teams working to provide everyone with the opportunity to create modern intelligent robots that can “see”, “hear” and collaborate.

Andrew Gryaznov
gryaznov Andrew Gryaznov is Partner and Co-founder of Cubic Robotics in Russia. Cubic Robotics is developing a personal robot assistant for the home. The first prototype of the robot was completed in October 2012. It was a cardboard box connected to a smartphone based on an Android platform, with specialized software and a speaker. The robot was able turn a fan on and off, and adjust the lighting in a room. Andrew Gryaznov met the idea’s author, Yuri Burov, in Moscow in the summer of 2011. He was part of a team working on the creation of a telepresence robot, when Yuri Burov suggested that they create a home-helper robot, or robot butler, which could communicate, know the answers to thousands of questions and remotely control household objects.

Links:

| More

Related episodes:

May 17th, 2014

Robots: RoboRoach

In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Bill Reith, an engineer at Backyard Brains. The company develops RoboRoach, the world’s first commercially available “cyborg”, which was successfully backed on KickStarter. Using their kit, you can briefly control the left/right movement of a cockroach from a smart phone using microstimulation of the antenna nerves. The RoboRoach is one of the many tools that Backyard Brains uses to teach students about neuroscience. Aware of the ethical questions their work raises, the company has put out a set of Ethical Statements. To explore the ethics further, AJung Moon speaks with Prof. Oliver Bendel, at the School of Business in Basel.

Bill Reith
Bill Reith is Engineer at Backyard Brains were he works on RoboRoach. He also uses the companies products as an educator at Maker Fairs, university workshops, high school events, local bars, and TED talks.

Reith has a Bachelors degree in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan where he worked at the Neural Engineering Laboratory. He also worked at Maker Works, helping customers with their projects at Ann Arbor’s makerspace.

Oliver Bendel
OBE_WEB2Oliver Bendel is Professor of Information Systems and Ethics at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, where he is active in the areas of e-learning, knowledge management, social media, mobile business, avatars and agents, information ethics, and machine ethics (http://www.maschinenethik.net/). His current areas of focus in machine ethics are chat bots, medical and care robots, advanced driver assistance systems and the combination of machine ethics and animal ethics.

Links:

| More

May 2nd, 2014

Robots: Zero Tillage Robotics

In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Professor Peter Corke from Queensland University of Technology, about the fast-tracking research that will see robots planting, weeding, maintaining and harvesting crops. The AgBot is a light-weight, golf buggy-sized robot that has been specifically designed to reduce the environmental impact of weeding. It can navigate wheat farms of around 4000 hectares using low-cost sensors, targeting weeds with spray while they are still very young plants. The Chief Investigators are Peter Corke, Ben Upcroft, Gordon Wyeth and Salah Sukkarieh (ACFR) with Partner Investigator Andrew Bate from SwarmFarm.

Peter Corke
petercorke1-tnPeter Corke joined Queensland University of Technology at the start of 2010 and is known for his research in vision-based robot control, field robotics and wireless sensor networks. He received a B.Eng and M.Eng.Sc. degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, and a PhD in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, all from the University of Melbourne. Prior to QUT he was a senior principal research scientist at CSIRO where he founded the Autonomous Systems Laboratory, a 50-person team undertaking research in mining, ground, aerial and underwater robotics, as well as sensor networks. He subsequently led a major cross-organizational “capability platform” in wireless sensor networks.

Links:

| More

Related episodes:

April 19th, 2014

Robots: Schunk Manipulators

In this episode Per Sjoborg speaks with Henrik Schunk about his company’s work in gripping technology, modular robotics and dexterous manipulation. They then look at service robotics, which was the subject of this year’s SCHUNK Expert Days in Hausen, Germany.



Henrik A. Schunk
HenrikAfter his studies at the Technical Universities in Kaiserslautern and Dresden, Henrik A. Schunk joined the company SCHUNK GmbH & Co. As Managing Partner since 2001, he was initially responsible for the German Sales area, and then became the Head of the Business Developments worldwide.

Today, he is responsible in the management for the business area gripping systems, auto-mated solutions, and mobile gripping systems. Since July 2010, he is also the chairman of the European Robotics Association EUnited Robotics.

Links:

| More

April 4th, 2014

Robots: Termite-Inspired Construction

In this episode, we talk to Justin Werfel from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University about their latest paper published in Science on “Designing Collective Behavior in a Termite-Inspired Robot Construction Team”. This work was done with Kirstin Petersen and Radhika Nagpal, director of the Self-Organizing Systems Research Group.

Termites provide a beautiful example of how simple agents, using only local information, can build complex structures such as termite mounds. Taking inspiration from these swarm systems in nature, Werfel and colleagues have created TERMES robots that build three-dimensional structures without the need for any leader or prescribed roles. Such systems are typically scalable (i.e. you can add as many robots as you’d like) and robust to the failure of individual robots, making them ideal candidates for high-risk missions in space or disaster scenarios. The beetle-looking robots are able to carry and deposit blocks and navigate a structure. The challenge is to determine the simple rules the robots need to follow and that will give rise to the desired structure. To decide what rule to apply at a given time, the robots simply observe their local environment, checking if there is a block or not in front of them, and determining if they should add one as a result. This form of communication through the environment is called stigmergy and is an important concept in swarm systems. In the future, the authors hope to use their expertise to learn more about how termites are able to build their mounds.

Justin Werfel
justinJustin Werfel is a research scientist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. His research interests are in the understanding and design of complex and emergent systems. He is currently working on the development of robotic systems motivated by biological collectives, such as ant colonies, termites, and cellular slime molds, with Wyss faculty including Radhika Nagpal and Rob Wood. He completed his Ph.D. at MIT in 2006, developing algorithms to allow swarms of simple robots to autonomously build user-specified structures. His postdoctoral research at Harvard included further exploration of collective construction, work on the evolution of cooperative and altruistic behaviors at the New England Complex Systems Institute, and cancer modeling at Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital Boston.

Links:

| More

Related episodes: