Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

October 5th, 2012

Robots: Rethink Robotics - Transcript

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.

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March 9th, 2012

Robots: Dexterous Manipulation and Morphogenesis

The 5th edition of the SCHUNK Expert Days, organized by SCHUNK GmbH from February 29 – March 1, once again brought together renown roboticists, and culminated in enriching discussions and insights. In the course of the last editions, this exclusive convention has gathered 79 speakers from 14 countries worldwide, and has caught our attention due to its cutting edge focus on service robotics.
Today’s episode features two of this year’s key speakers, Bruno Siciliano and Rolf Pfeifer – we took advantage of the stimulating conference atmosphere to ask them more!

Bruno Siciliano

Bruno Siciliano is Professor of Control and Robotics, and Director of the PRISMA Lab in the Department of Computer and Systems Engineering at University of Naples Federico II. His research interests include force and visual control, human-robot interaction, cooperative manipulation and aerial robotics.
He has co-authored 7 books, 70 journal papers, 180 conference papers and book chapters. He has delivered 90 invited lectures and seminars at institutions worldwide, and he has been the recipient of several awards. He is a Fellow of IEEE, ASME and IFAC. He is Co-Editor of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics, and of the Springer Handbook of Robotics which received the PROSE Award for Excellence in Physical Sciences & Mathematics. His team is currently involved in six FP7 European projects. Professor Siciliano is the Past-President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.

Rolf Pfeifer

Rolf Pfeifer has been a professor of computer science at the Department of Informatics, University of Zurich, and director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory since 1987. His research interests are in the areas of embodiment, biorobotics, artificial evolution and morphogenesis, modular robotics, self-assembly and educational technology.
He worked as a visiting professor and research fellow at the Free University of Brussels, the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., the Neurosciences Institute (NSI) in San Diego, the Beijing Open Laboratory for Cognitive Science, the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, and was elected “21st Century COE Professor, Information Science and Technology” at the University of Tokyo. He was also a visiting professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, and he was appointed “Fellow of the School of Engineering” at the University of Tokyo. Currently, he is the Deputy Director of the NCCR Robotics, the “National Competence Center for Research in Robotics” in Switzerland.

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December 16th, 2011

Robots: Turning Robots into Products

In today’s episode we look at robots made by Adept Technology Inc. with Product Marketing Manager, Erin Rapacki. She tells us about what it takes to make robots a product.

Erin Rapacki

Erin Rapacki has had a dream career, setting foot in many top robotics companies, including DEKA, iRobot, Anybots and now Adept Technolog Inc. where she is Product Manager.

Adept has been around for 28 years and is mostly known for its robot arms. She tells us about the future of manufacturing and current developments in soft manipulators.

Beyond the industrial world, Adept has been building expertise in mobile robotics. Their main platform, the Adept MT series, is able to autonomously navigate in human environments. The idea is to provide partners with a platform that solves core navigation challenges and can be extended with specialized payload. Example applications include transporting samples in hospitals, providing telepresence for specialists, and industrial scenarios.

Finally, Rapacki develops on her recent article on the Automaton blog entitled Dear Reader, I Have News for You: Robots Are Boring. In particular, she discusses the media hype surrounding robotics and the need to give people respect for robotics by showing them useful “boring” systems. We’ll also be thinking about the need for researchers to ask real world questions and the potential for cloud robotics.

Holiday Robots

Like last year, we ask our listeners 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.

Check out our first submissions below or go to our YouTube Channel.

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July 15th, 2011

Robots: Demining and Defusing

In this episode we speak with Frédéric Guerne, director of Digger DTR, and with Paul Bosscher, chief robotics engineer at Harris Corp., about robots which assist us in demining land-mine fields and defusing IEDs.

Frederic Guerne

Frederic Guerne is passionate about building machines. An engineer by training, he spent several years building motors for Sonceboz SA. In 1994, he became ardently aware of land-mine problems. Convinced to help eradicate land-mines, he joined Prof. Nicoud at the EPFL, who was at the time working on state-of-the-art demining technologies. For two years, they worked on the detection of mines, until one day Frederic Guerne was contacted by the founder of the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action. This meeting led to the creation of Digger, which is now a major, non-profit demining company based in Switzerland. In our interview, we will talk about the process of demining, Digger’s D-2 and D-3 demining robots, and also about the challenges of running a non-profit based humanitarian company.

Paul Bosscher

Paul Bosscher is a chief robotics engineer at the Government Communication System Division at Harris Corp. in the USA. Dr. Bosscher received the B.S. degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, in 2001, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta, in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
Before joining Harris Corp., Dr. Bosscher was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ohio University, Athens.
In our interview, we talk about the unmanned ground vehicle he is currently developing together with his team at Harris Corp., with the goal of providing the intuitive dexterous manipulation capabilities necessary to surgically defeat IEDs remotely.

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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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