August 9th, 2013

Robots: Drone Journalism - Transcript

In this episode, we speak with Matthew Schroyer, founder of DroneJournalism.org, co-founder of Drones for Good, and developer of the “Drones for Schools” program which teaches students to design, fabricate and program unmanned aerial systems to monitor the environment.

Matthew Schroyer
Matthew Schroyer has a Master’s in journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he works on the National Science Foundation grant EnLiST, which offers entrepreneurial leadership training and professional development for K-12 STEM teachers. At EnLiST he uses drones to motivate students to pursue STEM careers.

Driven by the maker movement, safety concerns for journalists, and the promise of cutting edge information, Schroyer founded the Professional Society of Drone Journalists (PSDJ). His drones are used for the common good and a clear code of ethics was written to avoid privacy and safety concerns. Along the same lines, Schroyer cofounded Drones for Good, which aims to show the positive side of drone technology through public engagement and the advancement of positive drone projects.

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July 26th, 2013

Robots: Outdoor Autonomous Systems

In this episode, we speak with Jonathan Roberts, research director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the CSIRO ICT Centre in Brisbane Australia. Roberts leads a team of more than 45 scientists and engineers in wide variety of robotics and automation projects that feature flying, ground and underwater robots.

Jonathan Roberts
Jonathan Roberts is research director of Autonomous Systems Lab at CSIRO ICT Centre in Brisbane Outside CSIRO. His laboratory is developing automation technologies for applications in environmental monitoring, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and for the energy sector. With research in field robotics and wireless sensor networks, his laboratory has produced new techniques for the autonomous control of machines, 3D perception and localisation, and for the setup and operation of large scale outdoor wireless sensor networks. These techniques are combined to produce novel solutions for industry.

In today’s episode we will touch on the following topics:

  • UAV Outback Challenge – an Australian UAV competition that features delivery and search and rescue missions.
  • Telepresence Robot – to help connect school kids and visitors in regional areas to the National Museum of Australia.
  • The Stealth Robot – for observing animals in their natural habitat.
  • StarBug AUV – an inexpensive, miniature autonomous underwater vehicle ideal for data collection and ecosystem surveys.
  • Robot Helicopter – an unmanned automatic helicopter designed to remotely inspect dangerous or hard to get to infrastructure such as powerlines, buildings and bridges.
  • Hexapod Robot – a multi-legged robot that can be used for monitoring and mapping uneven and unstructured terrain which can be difficult to navigate with wheeled robots.
  • Redirecting Manufacturing – a discussion on the future of manufacturing.

Jonathan Roberts is also Deputy Director of the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA), Video Editor for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine and a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Field Robotics.

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July 12th, 2013

Robots: Mining Automation

In today’s episode we speak with Martin Adams from the University of Chile about using robots in the mining industry. Mining is a dangerous job that would strongly benefit from robotic helpers. To drive this effort, the mining industry funded the Advanced Mining Technology Centre (AMTC). As the principal investigator there, Adams explores the use of robotic technologies such as mapping and SLAM that would be essential in mining automation. He also tells us why he chose to do robotics in South America.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams is the principle investigator in the industrially sponsored Advanced Mining Technology Centre (AMTC). He is also Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Chile. In, 1988, he obtained his first degree in Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, U.K and continued to study for a D.Phil. at the Robotics Research Group, University of Oxford, which he received in 1992. He continued his research in autonomous robot navigation as a project leader and part time lecturer at the Institute of Robotics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland. From 1996 to 2000, he served as a senior research scientist in robotics and control, in the field of semiconductor assembly automation, at the European Semiconductor Equipment Centre (ESEC), Switzerland. From 2000 to 2010, he was Associate Professor at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

His research work focuses on autonomous robot navigation, sensing, sensor data interpretation and control, and he has published many technical papers in these fields. He has been the principle investigator and leader of many robotics projects, coordinating researchers from local industries and local and overseas universities and has served as associate editor on various journal and conference editorial boards.

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June 28th, 2013

Robots: Robotics Business Review

In this episode we meet with Tom Green, editor in chief of the Robotics Business Review, to discuss current trends in robotics. Robotics Business Review is a global robotics news and information resource headquartered in metro Boston (USA).

Green shares his view on how the focus within the robotics community differs in different parts of the world, and what impact public funding has on this. According to him, it is not technology but people that hold development up at the moment. We also hear about some success stories, that show how robotics make a difference in people’s lives.

Tom Green
Tom Green is the Editor in chief of the Robotics Business Review, a global robotics news and information resource headquartered in metro Boston (USA). 

Formerly, Green worked as print/online writer and video producer for the MITRE Corporation, an R&D facility specializing in computer engineering, avionics, robotics, RADAR, marine engineering, satellite communications, systems engineering and deep-space information systems for the U.S. federal government, NATO, World Radiocommunication Conferences and civilian projects worldwide (2000-2009). In 2010, Green published an Amazon best-selling history of the computer revolution: “Bright Boys: The Making of Information Technology 1938-1958″. He was also online editor/writer for Millipore/Merck Corporation; website developer and editor for JAZD Business Publications; and TV program developer for Gostelradio.

He is also an Emmy-nominated, award-winning writer, producer and playwrighter who utilizes online editorial and video content to report on and produce programs on science, technology and engineering. Green wrote and produced the forum-based TV pilot “Lifelines” for a local Boston network. His stage plays have been produced at Boston’s Next Move Theater and then reproduced as radio plays for National Public Radio.

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June 14th, 2013

Robots: The OpenROV Project

In the episode, we speak with Eric Stackpole and David Lang from the OpenROV project about their challenge in developing Eric’s idea to find an easy way to explore a cave that was rumored to contain a sunken treasure near his home.

OpenROV (OPEN-source Remotely Operated Vehicle) is a telerobotic submarine built to make underwater exploration and education affordable. We will hear of their learning curve to turn a fun idea into a funded kick-starter project, on a shoestring budget and how they inspired the community to develop the project further. This has united the imagination of DYI beginners, amateurs, professional engineers and scientists from over 50 countries, with far more applications than were original conceded, from pollution monitoring to species identification in the Antarctica.

Eric Stackpole
Eric Stackpole is a Co-Founder of OpenROV and the original designer of the robot. He currently works part-time for NASA at the Ames Research Center and is finishing his masters thesis in mechatronics at Santa Clara University. Eric has always been an enthusiast of  exploration technology, from building a telerobot to attend classes in college to lugging ham radios up mountains during backpacking trips.

David Lang
David Lang is a Co-Founder of OpenROV. He also writes the Zero to Maker column for the MAKE blog, where he chronicles his crash-course into the maker world. Prior to underwater robots, David managed OCSC Sailing in Berkeley where he helped hundreds of students learn to sail and led sailing adventures around the world.

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