Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

May 18th, 2012

Robots: The Future of Robot Companions

In this interview recorded at the Robotdalen Robotics Innovation Challenge, Professor Paolo Dario talks to Per about 3 conceptual waves of innovation, starting with industrial robots, then adding artificial intelligence and finally the third wave, which is coming, where convergence between different fields of science and interdisciplinary teams become increasingly important.

Dario also gives his perspective on ethics and legal issues in robotics, and how robots can evolve based on ambient intelligence. Robots can basically take advantage of being a part of an interconnected system, where not all the intelligence is necessarily part of the robot itself.

Finally, Dario shares some learnings from his time as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, before telling us more about the FET project Robot companions for citizens.

Paolo Dario
Paolo Dario received his Dr. Eng. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 1977. He is currently a Professor of Biomedical Robotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa and teaches at the School of Engineering of the University of Pisa and at the Campus Biomedico University in Rome.

Prof. Dario was the founder of the Advanced Robotics Technologies and Systems Laboratory and is currently the Co-ordinator of the Center for the Research in Microengineering Laboratoryof the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, where he supervises a team of about 70 researchers and Ph.D. students. His main research interests are in the fields of medical robotics, bio-robotics, mechatronics and micro/nanoengineering, and specifically in sensors and actuators for the above applications, and in robotics for rehabilitation.

He is the coordinator of many national and European projects, the editor of two books on the subject of robotics, and the author of more than 200 scientific papers. Prof. Dario has served as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society in the years 2002-2003, and he is currently Co-Chair of the Technical Committees on Bio-robotics and of Robo-ethics of the same Society. Prof. Dario is an IEEE Fellow, a Fellow of the European Society on Medical and Biological Engineering, and a recipient of many honors and awards. He is also a member of the Board of the International Foundation of Robotics Research (IFRR). Right now Professor Dario works on the FET Flagship initiative Robot Companions for Citizens, with the goal to realize a unique and unforeseen multidisciplinary science and engineering program supporting a radically new approach towards machines and how we deploy them in our society.

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April 20th, 2012

Robots: Bringing them to Market

Following up on Episode 99, this episode features Steven Cousins and Roland Siegwart, whom we had the pleasure to meet at the SCHUNK Expert Days, organized by SCHUNK GmbH this spring. Our interviews bring to surface the dynamic interplay of academia and industry – we talk about the transition from the research lab to the market. Listen in and find out which robotic applications are bound to make great breakthroughs soon!

Steve Cousins

Steve Cousins is the President and CEO of Willow Garage. He earned his PhD in Computer Science at Stanford University, and has gained experience as a researcher and manager in both academic and industrial research labs. Prior to joining Willow Garage, Steve was the senior manager of the User-Focused Systems Research Group at the IBM Almaden Research Center, one of the top human-computer interaction research groups in the world. Earlier, Steve managed the Advanced Systems Development Laboratory at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Willow Garage is an unusual company set up to make robots help people. Human-scale “personal robots” will perform tasks in natural human environments, ranging from helping around the home to assisting in flexible manufacturing. Willow Garage’s role has been to help accelerate progress in this field. The PR2 robot combined with the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) enables researchers to more quickly explore applications of personal robots.

Roland Siegwart

Roland Siegwart is the Vice President of Research and Corporate Relations at ETH Zurich, and the director of the Autonomous Systems Lab. He received both his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering and his Doctoral Degree in 1989 from ETH Zurich. He then spent one year as postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. Back in Switzerland, he worked part time as R&D director at MECOS Traxler AG and as lecturer and deputy head at the Institute of Robotics, ETH Zürich. In 1996 he was appointed as professor for autonomous microsystems and robots at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where he served among others as member of the direction of the School of Engineering (2002-06) and funding chairman of the Space Center EPFL.
Roland Siegwart is a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences, IEEE Fellow and officer of the International Federation of Robotics Research (IFRR). He served as Vice President (2004/05) and AdCom Member (2007/10) of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, and was a member of the final decision body of the German Excellence Initiative. He is co-founder of multiple successful spin-off companies in robotics and related fields and board member of various Swiss institutions and foundations, including CSEM and inspire AG. He is a strong promoter of project based learning as a key asset in engineering education and sustainable industrial alliances for accelerating technology transfer and innovation.

Roland Siegwart’s research interests are in the design and control of robots and systems operating in complex and highly dynamical environments. His major goal is to find new ways to deal with uncertainties and enable the design of highly interactive and adaptive systems. Prominent application examples are walking quadrupeds, personal and service robots, planetary exploration robots, autonomous micro-aircrafts and driver assistant systems.

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June 17th, 2011

Robots: Schunk Manipulators

In this episode we speak with Henrik Schunk, Managing Partner of SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG and Chairman of EUnited Robotics.

Henrik Schunk

Henrik Schunk is managing partner of SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG, family run business out of Germany with over 1800 employees and presence in 50 countries. As such, he is responsible for the Business Unit Automation and the cross-divisional departments Sales, Marketing, Continuous Improvement and IT. SCHUNK is one of the leaders in clamping and gripping technology featuring more than 10’000 specialized products.

In this episode, we look at recent developments in gripping technology, challenges that still remain after over 70 years of development, and the need for task-adapted systems and high-end products including anthropomorphic robotic hands.

Henrik Schunk also discusses his hopes for service robotics as one of the main areas of development in automation. To drive the field forward, his company organizes the SCHUNK Expert Days that bring together some of the main actors in service robotics. He also presents his view on European Robotics as Chairman of EUnited Robotics.

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April 22nd, 2011

Robots: European Robotics (Part 1)

The European Robotics Forum, jointly organized by the European Robotics Technology Platform (EUROP) and the European Robotics Research Network (EURON), was hosted this year on April 6-8, in Västerås, Sweden by Robotdalen. Thanks to an invitation by EUnited Robotics, we got a chance to be there and talk to some of Europe’s major players in the field, from both industry and research.

Today’s episode is the first of a two part feature on the event, in which we talk to Jessica Karlsson from Robotdalen, Ola Svanström from ABB Robotics and Professor Moshe Shoham, founder of Mazor Robotics.

Jessica Karlsson

Jessica Karlsson is the Communications Manager for Robotdalen, the host of this year’s European Robotics Forum. Robotdalen represents a Swedish initiative aimed at enabling commercial success of new ideas and research in robotics. It is currently focused on three areas: field robotics, industrial robotics and technology for independent life. Jessica explains the vision of the initiative and gives some examples of success stories in each of their target domains.

Ola Svanström

Ola Svanström is the Head of Product Management for ABB Robotics, a leading supplier of industrial robot solutions. He talks to us about ABB‘s activities in the field of robotics, the current state of the robotics market and the importance of human-robot interaction research for future robotic applications.

Moshe Shoham

Professor Moshe Shoham is the head of the Robotics Laboratory at Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. His main research focus is on medical robots. He talks to us about two medical robotic systems. The first one, SpineAssist, is a robotic guidance system which enables surgeons to perform safer and more accurate spine surgeries. It is commercialized by Mazor Robotics, a company he founded and is currently CTO of. He then talks about ViRob, a micro-robot currently in development, that will be able to crawl into hard to access parts of the human body and deliver pharmaceutical payloads or drag a micro-catheter in a minimally invasive way.

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