Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

August 8th, 2014

Robots: Stiquito

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews James Conrad, professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, about the history of the autonomous walking robot, Stiquito. Stiquito is a small, inexpensive hexapod (i.e., six-legged) robot that has been used since 1992 by universities, high schools, and hobbyists. It is propelled by nitinol, an alloy actuator wire that expands and contracts, and roughly emulates the operation of a muscle. Nitinol contracts when heated and returns to its original size and shape when cooled. The robot can be outfitted with several sensors for more advanced behavior, such as obstacle avoidance, line following, and light tracking.

Jonathan Mills of Indiana University, developed Stiquito as an inexpensive vehicle for research. The robot became popular after the publication of Stiquito: Advanced Experiments with a Simple and Inexpensive Robot in 1997, which included a kit to build a Stiquito robot. Since then, two additional books have been published, and Stiquito has been used to introduce students to the concepts of analog electronics, digital electronics, computer control, and robotics. It has also been used for advanced topics such as subsumption architectures, artificial intelligence, and advanced computer architecture.

The video below shows an explanation and demo of Stiquito. You can find more videos about Stiquito here.

James Conrad
JamesConrad_2013James M. Conrad is professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has served as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas and as an instructor at North Carolina State University. He has also worked at IBM, Ericsson/Sony Ericsson, and BPM Technology. He has been elected to serve on the IEEE Board of Directors as Region 3 director for 2016-2017. He is the author of numerous books, book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers in the areas of embedded systems, robotics, parallel processing, and engineering education.

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October 4th, 2013

Robots: Getting Started in Robotics - Transcript

In this episode, Sabine Hauert talks with Erin Kennedy at the Open Hardware Summit at MIT. Kennedy is famously know as RobotGrrl, the self-made roboticist and proud maker of the RobotBrrd, Buddy 4000 and BotBait. Starting at age 13, she taught herself programming, electronics, pcb design and mechanical engineering. She’s been sharing her passion for robotics through her blog and weekly G+ Hangout or so called Robot Party that brings together robot enthusiasts to share their latest contraptions. She’s now bringing her work to the next level with robot kits commercialized through indiegogo last year and funded at 151%.

In the long term, Kennedy dreams of making robots creatures with their own personality and robo-culture.

Erin Kennedy
Erin Kennedy is a maker and app developer based in Montreal, Canada. For years she has been documenting her quest to build social robots. Her main robot, RoboBrrd is an animatronic character designed to help kids learn about robotics. Her work has been featured in her RoboBrrd build-a-long video series, on Instructables, at many Maker Fairs (Maker Faire NYC Editors Choice Award) and in main stream media including WIRED and Forbes. Erin also mentors a FIRST robotics competition teams since 2009.
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September 20th, 2013

Robots: Origami Robots - Transcript

In this episode Matthew Schroyer speaks with Nick Kohut, CEO of Dash Robotics, about their foldable hexapod robot and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign to get them into the hands of budding engineers, kids and hobbyists.

Dash is the result of years of research in fast prototyping of bioinspired robots at Ron Fearing’s Biomimietic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley (see Fearing Podcast or Hoover Podcast). The palm-sized origami robot is now available for the general public to build and program. The robot takes inspiration from insect locomotion by using compliant and light weight hardware to drive over difficult terrain without using any complex controllers (see Bob Full podcast). You can check out their Dragon crowdfunding campaign for a chance to get one of the first 1000 robots. The campaign ends on October 2nd.

Nick Kohut
Nick Kohut is the co-founder and CEO of Dash Robotics. He is also a postdoc at Stanford University in Mark Cutkosky’s Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Laboratory, working on a variable stiffness suspension element for humanoid robotics. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, in Ron Fearing’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab, developing small legged robots. His research focused on the development of an active tail to enable high speed turning. In the past, he also did research on centimeter scale robots, and using GPS and traffic information to improve fuel economy.

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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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August 24th, 2012

Robots: Robotics Festival - Transcript

In today’s episode we speak with Francesco Mondada, organizer of the Robotics Festival at EPFL that gathers over 15’000 visitors for hands-on workshops and demonstrations. We also walk you through the many exhibits showcasing multi-robot systems, flying robots, rehabilitation robots and robotic salamanders.

Francesco Mondada
Francesco Mondada is the director of the Miniature Mobile Robots Group at EPFL in Switzerland. We spoke with him last fall about his work in Educational Robotics. An expert in education, he received the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching last year. Some of his most popular robots used in schools and labs around the world include the Khepera, the S-bot and marXbot, the e-puck and more recently the Thymio and Thymio II. He also founded and was CEO of K-Team, a Swiss based company that develops, manufactures and markets mobile robots for use in advanced education and research. In this interview we catch his first impressions after the 5th edition of the Robotics Festival that took place at EPFL. A success from the very beginning, the Robotics Festival managed this year to draw 15’000 visitors in a single day of interactive workshops, demos, and robotic shows and featured demonstrations of Festo’s AirJelly.

Robotics Festival
The Robotics Festival aims to demystify engineering for the general public and especially kids. Of the 15’000 visitors, 1994 attended workshops where they learned to make robots, program and do electronics, while 6091 attended robotics shows. The rest walked around the many exhibits showcasing latest advances in robotics by research institutions and industry. In this episode, we take you to some of the demos:

Here are some of the robots mentioned.

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