Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

November 30th, 2012

Robots: The Wambots Team - Transcript

In today’s episode, we speak with Thomas Bräunl from the University of Western Australia about the MAGIC 2010 Challenge, the Wambot team and work done at the Robotics & Automation Lab.

Thomas Bräunl
Thomas Bräunl is Professor at the University of Western Australia and leader of the Robotics & Automation Lab. He tells us about the first MAGIC Challenge (Multi Autonomous Ground-Robotics International Challenge) that took place in 2010 in Adelaide, South Australia. MAGIC is a 1.6 million dollar prize competition for autonomous mobile robots funded by the primary research organizations for Tank and Defense research in the USA and Australia-TARDEC and DSTO. The goal of the competition is to create multi-robot teams that can execute an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in a dynamic urban environment. Tasks include mapping a 500 m x 500 m area in under 3.5 hours and identifying targets of interest. Bräunl tells us what it takes to make a robot for your first participation in a robotics competition, lessons learned from their 4th place and other work done in the lab on underwater robotics and the “not so Grand Challenge”.


Calum Meiklejohn
Calum is a mechatronics student working towards his final year project. He tells us about his work on the new UWA Wambot robot including an upgrade in software that now uses ROS (Robot Operating System) to coordinate sensors for SLAM (Simultaneous localization and Mapping). Their final aim is to have a swarm of these cooperate to build maps of an environment.

 

Holiday Robots
Like last year, we ask you to submit videos or audio related to robotics and the holidays! Content can be fictional, scientific or business oriented. We’ll be posting the material on our dedicated YouTube channel and select segments will be featured in the episodes until the end of the year. To submit material, simply go to www.robotspodcast.com/christmas or send us your material by email to christmas@robotspodcast.com. To get in the spirit, check out the videos from previous years via the link above or on our YouTube channel. Some of these videos gathered millions of views!

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June 29th, 2012

Robots: Knowledge Engineering

In this episode, we talk to Mary-Anne Williams, knowledge engineer and roboticist from the University of Technology in Sydney Australia (UTS). Her work focuses on cognitive models of decision making and behaviour in complex and dynamic environments, including applications in mobile robotics.

Mary-Anne Williams

Mary Anne Williams and the PR2

Mary-Anne Williams is the director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research laboratory at UTS, where researchers are investigating the process of innovation and the role of the law, as well as IT, in the adoption of innovative and entrepreneurial practice.

Mary-Anne has a passion for innovation, science, technology and engineering. She is coach of the Robot Soccer team UTS Unleashed! and the 3D simulation team the Karachi Koalas and has lead seven robot soccer teams to outstanding success at the International Robot Soccer World Cup. She is Program Chair of the International Conference in Social Robotics this year, and works with her research team at UTS to engineer knowledge; together they explore robot learning, social robotics, human-robot interaction, robots in society, robot-robot collaboration, and bio-inspired robot cognition.

In this interview, she talks about her work, her involvement with the International Conference in Social Robotics and the PR2 robot.

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November 4th, 2011

Robots: Made in Brazil

In today’s show, we take you all the way to Brazil. Marcelo Becker from the University of São Paulo (USP) talks to us about how mobile robots are going to help change agriculture, manufacturing and driving in his country. We then speak with Marcel de Sena Dall’Agnol a student at USP about the excellent robotics competition they organized at SEMATRON, which is a mechatronics conference organized by USP undergraduates.

Marcelo Becker

Marcelo Becker is Professor at the University of São Paulo, one of the top universities in Brazil. He directs the Mobile Robotics Lab that aims towards real-world applications with potential positive impact. His projects focus on agricultural mobile robots, educational robots, intelligent warehouses forklifts, quadrotors and autonomous cars with partner FIAT. More broadly, Becker discusses the growing interest for robotics in Brazil, public perception and the future of the field.

Before joining USP, Becker was Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUC Minas) where he was also the co-head of the Mechatronics Engineering Department and of the Robotics and Automation Group (GEAR). He also was visiting Professor at the Autonomous System Lab (ASL) at the EPFL in 2006.

Marcel de Sena Dall’Agnol

Marcel is a third year student in EECS at the University of Sao Paolo. This year he was one of the organizers of SEMATRON VII, a week-long series of activities directed towards students in Mechatronic Engineering in São Carlos and nearby cities. During the week, students at the University of São Paulo have their lessons suspended in order to fully participate in the event which offers lectures, courses, a cultural activity and technical visits to companies. The event is one of the largest of the kind in Brazil, with around 500 participants. Internationally renowned companies such as FIAT, National Instruments, Embraer and Petrobrás have sponsored the event in past editions.

In this interview, we will be talking about one of the main attractions, the robotics competition. During the one-day event, students gather around robotic kits made by local company PNCA. The kits let students build robots from scratch and come with an easy-to-use programming interface. The task this year, inspired from the Fukushima disaster, was to retrieve victims from a nuclear power plant while avoiding hazards.

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May 21st, 2010

Robots: The Nao Humanoid

Today’s episode was recorded at ICRA in Anchorage Alaska, one of the major conferences in robotics with a 1575 head count and 857 papers. At the robot exhibit, we met with the Vice President in Engineering of French-based company Aldebaran, Luc Degaudenzi and with his colleague Cédric Vaudel who is the Sales Manager for North America. Aldebaran makes the Nao humanoid robot which has been seen at Robocup, showing off his soccer skills. We also talk with Nao in our first ever interview of a robot! Nao will be presenting himself and his version of Star Wars.

Nao

Listen in to our podcast where Nao will present himself and tell us a story in our first interview ever with a robot!

Nao has four microphones fitted into his head and a voice recognition and analysis system. He can also express himself by reading out any file stored locally in his storage space or captured from a web site of RSS flow. Nao sees by means of two CMOS 640 x 480 cameras, which can capture up to 30 images per second. He can react to touch by means of a capacitive sensor placed on the top of his head. Finally, Nao can communicate through infrared senders/receivers or also by logging on to your local network via Wi-Fi.

Luc Degaudenzi

Luc Degaudenzi is director of research and development at Aldebaran Robotics where he manages a crowd of around 40 people working on electronics, mechatronics and fun software for the Nao robot. Before working at Aldebaran, Degaudenzi worked in the mobile phone sector as technical and program director at Matra, Alcatel and Sony Ericsson. He’ll be telling us about the Nao platform, its possibilities and its first kicks at Robocup.

Cédric Vaudel

Cédric Vaudel is North America Sales Manager at Aldebaran Robotics.

After working for IBM for several years, he decided to take part in the robolution. Now, he coordinates business priorities and strategy deployment of Aldebaran Robotics in the whole region of America. He’ll be telling us about the origins of the name Nao and where he thinks the Humanoid market will be going in the future!

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Latest News:

For more information on this episode’s news, including a video of ABB’s robot drummer as well as details on the promising echolocation device for robots and the 4 nanometer robot, visit the Robots Forum.

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April 10th, 2009

Robots: The Race to the Moon

In this episode, we take-off for the moon with Prof. William “Red” Whittaker who is the director of the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon University in the US. Strong of his victory at the Darpa Urban Challenge and its autonomous cars, Red is now pursuing an endeavor which seems even more out of reach. His team is currently working on sending a privately funded robot to the moon, and then having the robot travel on its surface and transmit video, images and data back to the Earth. The first team to reach the moon will be awarded a juicy $20 million Google Lunar X Prize.

William “Red” Whittaker

Prof. William “Red” Whittaker, who simply goes by the name “Red”, is the Fredkin Professor of Robotics, Director of the Field Robotics Center, and founder of the National Robotics Engineering Consortium, all at Carnegie Mellon University . He is also the Chief Scientist of RedZone Robotics.

Red has been a driving force in field robotics, bringing robots out of the lab and into natural environments such as mines, volcano interiors, farms, nuclear facilities, hazardous waste sites and now outer space. One of his best known robots is an autonomous car capable of navigating in urban environments and even traffic. The car drove his TARTAN racing team to victory in the 2007 Darpa Urban Challenge.

In this episode he presents his new endeavor: developing a lunar robot named “RED Rover”, capable of reaching the moon, traveling on its surface and transmitting data to Earth. He’ll be competing against many different teams from around the world to be the first to win the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize.



Survey – Google Lunar X Prize

Do you think a privately-funded team will land a robot on the moon and win the Google Lunar X-Prize by 2014?

Yes
No

View results

The Google Lunar X-Prize is the latest competition sponsored by the X Prize foundation who’s aim is to promote private-sector involvement in science that has been traditionally sponsored by large governments. The goal of this contest is to build a robot that can “safely land on the moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth.” Sponsored by Google this time around, the first successful privately-funded team will win a prize of $20 million! The challenge is tough however and the deadline short, with the full prize only available until the end of 2012 and a final deadline of 2014 for a reduced prize. What do you think, will the teams be able to accomplish this daunting task? Take a look at the teams and then vote!



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Latest News:

Visit the Robots Forum for more information, discussion and videos on this week’s news, including Adam, the robot scientist, silent UAVs and Honda’s new brain machine interface!

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