January 22nd, 2016

Robots: 200th Episode Special

In this episode, we celebrate our 200th episode! That’s over 6000 minutes of robot goodness and nearly 8 years releasing interviews with your favorite roboticists. The podcast is all volunteer run, a special thanks to everyone on the team who’s made this possible! And thanks to all of you for listening-in all these years.

To celebrate, our president Audrow Nash has invited a team of old-timers from the podcast team, and one of our favorite recurring guests, Rodney Brooks from Rethink Robotics.

The panel is composed of Sabine Hauert, Markus Waibel, and Peter Dürr, all co-founders of the podcast, and Per Sjöborg who’s been part of the team for many years now. They discuss their favorite episodes, what area in robotics is most interesting, their best memories, and lessons learned.

Rodney Brooks tells us about latest developments at Rethink Robotics, including their new robot Sawyer, and the Baxter Research Robot. He also tells us about the importance of science communication in a field that is prone to hype and disinformation.
 

Rodney Brooks
Rodney_BrooksA mathematics undergraduate in his native Australia, Rodney received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford in 1981. From 1984 to 2010, he was on the MIT faculty, and completed his service as a Professor of Robotics. He was also the founding Director of the Institute’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and served in that role until 2007. In 1990, he co-founded iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT), where he served variously as CTO, Chairman and board member until 2011. Rodney has been honored by election to the National Academy of Engineering, and has been elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of Computing Machinery, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the now the founder, chairman, and CTO of Rethink Robotics.
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January 9th, 2016

Robots: Microrobots for Harvesting Crystals - Transcript

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Simone Schürle, advisor and co-founder of MagnebotiX, about using small robots to harvest crystals. These crystals can be used to infer atomic structure. An example application is in drug development to see if protein binding has occurred.

Below is a video that demonstrates the technology discussed in the interview.

Simone Schürle

SimoneSchurleSimone graduated in 2009 from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, with a diploma (German equivalent to M.S.) in Industrial Engineering and Management. During her studies, she specialised in Micro/Nano Systems and Material Science and was enrolled in two international student projects abroad. She was researching at University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in the field of Biomedical Engineering and at the University of Kyoto, Japan, in the field of carbon nanotube based nano sensors which was sponsored by the Heinrich Hertz fellowship and a German state funding. She subsequently joined the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, directed by Prof. Brad Nelson, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where she focused on magnetic manipulation techniques for wireless microrobot control in biomedical applications. She was awarded with a Swiss National Foundation fellowship to pursue her postdoctoral studies and joined the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in June 2014. Simone is now interested in applying microrobotic control strategies in cancer treatment, specifically in locally enhancing nanoparticle transport.

 

 
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December 27th, 2015

Robots: Construction Drilling

In this episode Audrow Nash interviews Konrad Fagertun, Chief Operating Officer of nLink in Norway. They speak about a mobile robotic platform for the construction industry. The problem that they’ve chosen to solve is drilling holes in the ceiling. For a shopping mall, 400,000 holes may have to be drilled — by hand. This is a task Fagertun says “no one likes” so nLink built a robot to automate it. Fagertun discusses their robotic platform, how they chose their application, and the future plans of nLink.



Konrad Fagertun

KonradKonrad has been involved with technology startups since 2006 and holds a masters degree from NTNU School of Entrepreneurship (and Boston University), with a cybernetics technology background. As one of the founders, and Chief Operating Officer, he focuses on business development, partner relations and sales in nLink’s quest to revolutionize the construction industry.

 
 


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December 11th, 2015

Robots: Multi-Agent Systems and Human-Swarm Interaction

In this episode, Andrew Vaziri interviews Magnus Egerstedt, Professor at Georiga Tech, about his research in swarm robotics and multi-agent systems. They discuss privacy and security concerns, as well as research into interfaces designed to enable a single operator to control large swarms of robots.

The video below shows some of the strategies used by Magnus’ lab.

Magnus Egerstedt

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Magnus Egerstedt is Schlumberger Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he serves as Associate Chair for Research. He received an MSc in Engineering Physics and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, and a BSc in Philosophy from Stockholm University. He was then a Postdoctoral Scholar at Harvard University. Dr. Egerstedt is the director of the Georgia Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (GRITS Lab), a Fellow of the IEEE, and a recipient of a number of research and teaching awards, including the Ragazzini Award from A2C2.

 
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November 28th, 2015

Robots: Marine Robotics Systems - Transcript

Multi Session SLAM Sirus AUV Plateform In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Stefan Williams of the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Marine Systems Group. They discuss the future of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), and a recent expedition where they used multi-session SLAM to map the famous Antikythera Shipwreck (circa 60-80 B.C.), one of the richest ancient wrecks ever discovered. It is located under 55m of water on the NE coast of the island of Antikythera. The site is famous for the first Analog Computer known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared device designed to calculate and display celestial information, including phases of the sun and a luni-solar calendar.

The ACFR leads Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) AUV Facility. IMOS is a nationally coordinated program designed to establish and maintain the research infrastructure required to support Australia’s marine science research. The IMOS AUV facility generates physical and biological observations of benthic variables that cannot be cost-effectively obtained by other means.

Stefan Williams
Stefan Williams is a Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. He is a member of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics where he leads the Marine Robotics group. He is also the head of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System AUV Facility. His research interests include Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping in unstructured underwater environments, autonomous navigation and control and classification and clustering of large volumes of data collected by robotic systems. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2002 and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science with first class honours in 1997 at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

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