In today’s episode we speak with Chris Chesher about how he views the emergence of robotics. He brings a new and interesting perspective as his approach mixes science and technology studies, media studies and ethnography in an effort to understand robotic technologies and everyday-life.
Dr Chris Chesher is Senior Lecturer in Digital Cultures working with cultures of contemporary robotics, in association with the Center for Social Robotics at the Australian Center for Field Robotics, University of Sydney Australia. His background is in studies on Media, communications, and interdisciplinary studies. His research interests center around the disruptive effects of technology, such as robotics, on society.
In today’s episode we speak with Dmitry Grishin about Grishin Robotics, his global investment company dedicated to helping robotics startups distribute already working products to the mass market.
Dmitry Grishin Dmitry Grishin is co-founder and chairman of the Mail.Ru Group, the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world and one of the biggest in Europe. He joined the company in 2001 after graduating from the Faculty of Robotics and Complex Automation at Moscow State Technical University.
This background led him to believe that personal robotics, with a market potential estimated to be over $18 billion in 2015 (ABI Research), is ready to become mainstream and poised for massive growth, similar to the internet industry in the past decade. To help drive mass-market penetration of new robotics products, Grishin founded Grishin Robotics in 2012 with an initial personal investment of $25 million. His firm, located in New York, funds start-up companies that are ready to ramp-up production of already proven robotic prototypes. Grishin recently announced their first investment in Double Robotics, a company that makes telepresence robots.
Grishin tells us about the changes that are need in the robotics culture to start developing successful startups, including building simple robots that are need-driven rather than technology-driven and emphasize user experience.
In today’s episode we speak with Stephen Gorevan from Honeybee Robotics about how he and Chris Chapman started the company and how his childhood dream of working for NASA got them into space robotics. The interview, which was recorded before the landing of Curiosity on Mars, gives us all the details about the equipment they built for the Mars Science Laboratory, including the Sample Manipulation System (SMS) and the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) which will enable the mission to explore and analyze the Martian environment. We also hear about their latest developments in small scale satellites called Cubesats.
Stephen Gorevan co-founded Honeybee Robotics in 1983 and currently serves as the company’s Chairman. He is principally responsible for guiding the company’s direction toward the application of advanced robotic and automation techniques to new applications in the aerospace sector. His responsibilities include new technology development, company and engineering management, design and systems engineering. Gorevan has over 25 years of experience in leading advanced robotics and automation design, development, and implementation efforts for NASA, defense and industry. He currently serves as a Co-Investigator on the science teams for the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Mars Science Laboratory SAM instrument and is a member of the Venus Science Definition Team.
In today’s episode we speak with Rodney Brooks at the offices of Rethink Robotics about their first product Baxter, his ambition to revolutionize manufacturing and latest tips for young entrepreneurs.
Rodney Brooks Rodney Brooks built his career as Professor in robotics and former Director (1997 – 2007) of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and then the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). In the 1980s, he revolutionized the field of robotics by introducing the idea that the world is its own best model, and that to be robust, robots should react to their environment (behavior-based robotics) rather than rely on complex models of the world. From this research in behavior-based robotics, Brooks then studied human-robot interactions with former graduate students, now well known researchers, such as Cynthia Breazeal and Maja Mataric. He is also a Founder, former Board Member (1990 – 2011) and former CTO (1990 – 2008) of iRobot.
In 2008, Brooks founded Rethink Robotics, a Boston-based company aimed at revolutionizing manufacturing and reducing offshoring by making low-cost robots that can easily be taught to help with different tasks on the work-floor by everyday employees. Their first product “Baxter” has five cameras and two arms, each with 7 degrees of freedom, a payload of 5 kg and equipped with interchangeable manipulators.
In this interview, Brooks tells us about his vision for manufacturing and the design decisions that were taken to address challenges such as vision, manipulation, and human-robot interactions. Businesses will need to “rethink” their idea of automation before embracing adaptable, compliant and human-like robots rather than typical assembly-line super-performers.
In today’s episode we speak with Mark Tilden, about the history before WowWee‘s RoboSapien and FemiSapien and about his belief that bottom up BEAM robotics (which stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics) is essential in creating low cost, competent, robust and flexible robots.
Mark Tilden Mark Tilden is a true robotics lover, having built thousands of robots of all shapes and sizes in the last few decades. During the first part of his career he pioneered BEAM robotics, a philosophy of building robots based on simple analog circuits and control instead of highly-complex systems, leading to low-cost and efficient systems. His bio-inspired bots manage to walk, crawl, roll or shake in complex environments using only a few transistors and basic sensors.
After working at the University of Waterloo in Canada and subsequently at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Tilden’s research eventually evolved into toy design when he was hired as a consultant for WowWee robotics in Hong Kong. His RoboSapien humanoid robot was controlled using only 28 transistors, and has sold in the millions. We covered his work at WowWee in a previous version of the podcast about Robot Toys.
In this episode, Tilden gives us an intriguing glimpse into the future. He is currently working on taking the basic BEAM technology in his toy robots and adapting them to perform useful tasks. Using flexible robots, rather than many dedicated systems, is a powerful concept but it also brings with it some tough requirements ranging from look and feel to battery life and safety. He sums up the requirements nicely when saying “your robot has to perform its task quietly, elegantly and in conjunction with you”.
And if you are into picking things apart and building new things, the BEAM technology and RoboSapien and FemiSapien are definitely your thing. They are actually meant to be disassembled and the components are all labeled and documented so that you can use them for many things.