Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

May 1st, 2016

Robots: Evolutionary Approaches for Flying Robots

In this episode, Abate De Mey interviews Guido De Croon about Evolutionary Robotics and its use to design behaviors for flying robots. The DelFly UAV robot learns to fly through an open window when trapped inside a room thanks to a controller optimized using a Genetic Algorithm over several generations, similar to natural evolution. The controller is programmed using a Behavior Tree Framework, which is more intuitive and adaptable than the traditional Neural Network framework. This helps the user to manually adapt the controller to handle the differences between the simulation and the real world. They go on to discuss the challenges and benefits of using Evolutionary Robotics to learn robot behaviors.

Video of the Evolutionary Robotics strategy used to develop a controller for the DelFly robot:

Scheper, K. Y., Tijmons, S., de Visser, C. C., & de Croon, G. C. (2015). Behavior Trees for Evolutionary Robotics. Artificial life. Vol 21, issue 1.

Guido De Croon
Guido de Croon is Assistant Professor at the Micro Air Vehicle lab of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. His research interest lies with computationally efficient algorithms for robot autonomy, with a particular focus on computer vision and evolutionary robotics.
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October 2nd, 2015

Robots: Micro and Nano Robotics - Transcript

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Brad Nelson, Professor at ETH Zurich, about his research regarding micro and nano robotics. They discuss many of Nelson’s projects: retinal and heart surgery, crystal harvesting, and robots with simulated flagella for mobility.

The video below shows some of the research discussed during the interview.

 

Brad Nelson 

Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002, where his research focuses on microrobotics and nanorobotics. Fundamentally, he is interested in how to make tiny intelligent machines that are millimeters to nanometers in size.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota, worked as a computer vision researcher at Honeywell and a software engineer at Motorola, served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa, and then obtained a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota before moving to ETH.

 

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July 16th, 2010

Robots: Nanosystems

In today’s episode we’ll be looking at nanorobotics from the hardware side to the control. In particular, we’ll be talking to one of the most renowned world leaders in the field, Ari Requicha from the University of Southern California. Our second guest, Grégory Mermoud, is a senior PhD student at the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Lab at the EPFL, and a rising expert in the field of distributed nanosystems.

Ari Requicha

Ari Requicha is the founder of the Laboratory for Molecular Robotics (LMR) at the University of Southern California which is a an interdisciplinary center whose ultimate goal is to control the structure of matter at the molecular scale. For the past 20 years, his research has been aimed at pushing the limits of the infinitely small, by developing systems for manipulating and automatically assembling nanoscale objects using Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs). The ultimate goal is to design components such as nanosensors and nanoactuators for the nanoscale robots of the future.

However, a single nanorobot won’t be nearly enough to achieve any real-world application, such as monitoring your body for harmful bacteria. Therefor, Requicha is investigating algorithms for programming self-assembling and self-repairing distributed systems composed of large numbers of nanorobots.

In this interview, he gives us an expert’s overview of the field, from his perspective as editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology and tells us about the future of molecular manufacturing and nanorobots.

Grégory Mermoud

Grégory Mermoud is a PhD student at the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Lab at the EPFL, Switzerland. Mermoud’s research focuses on developing efficient and original methodologies for modeling and engineering self-organization and self-assembly of a broad range of systems from distributed robotics, micro/nanosystems, chemical systems, to intelligent agents.

During his interview, Grégory Mermoud gives us his views on the remaining challenges in the domain. Based on his ongoing research experience, he talks about which specific problems have to be studied in more depth in order to lead to potential breakthrough applications for nanorobotics.

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For more information on this the centipede microrobot and the autonomous helicopter navigation system, have a look at the Robots Podcast Forum!

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May 7th, 2010

Robots: 50 Years of Robotics (Part 2)

Welcome to the second part of our 50th episode special! To celebrate 50 episodes of Robots, we’re doing a review of some of the greatest advances in robotics during the last 50 years, and predictions on what we can hope to see in the next half century. In last week’s episode we covered embodied AI, robot toys, androids, underwater robots, education robots and brain-machine interfaces.

In today’s episode we speak with Jean-Christophe Zufferey on flying robots, Dan Kara on the robotics market, Kristinn Thórisson on AI, Andrea Thomaz on human robot interactions, Terry Fong on space robotics and Richard Jones on nano robots.

Finally, don’t forget to check out all the new features of our website including episode browsing by topic, interviewee and tag or leaving comments under our blog posts or in the forum.

Jean-Christophe Zufferey

Jean-Christophe Zufferey is a researcher at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he works on cutting-edge research in Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). His latest advances have led him to create the startup SenseFly that specializes in small and safe autonomous flying systems for applications such as environmental monitoring and aerial photography.

Dan Kara

Dan Kara is President of Robotics Trends and the Robotics Business Review, which are web-portals and research firms specialized in the robotics markets. He’ll be telling us about the past products which have marked the minds and the future developments that will be gathering the buck in the future.

Kristinn R. Thórisson

Kristinn Thórisson is Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science, Reykjavik University in Iceland.  Active in the field of Artificial Intelligence for a couple decades, Thórisson is pioneering new approaches such as constructivist AI which he hopes will bring us towards more adaptive and complex artificial systems.

Andrea Thomaz

Andrea Thomaz is professor at Georgia Tech and the director of the Socially Intelligent Machines Research Laboratory. Lately, she’s been seen with her new humanoid Simon and his expressive traits. We were able to catch her at this year’s ICRA conference for a little chat on the past and future of human robot interactions.

Terry Fong

Terry Fong is the Director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at the NASA Ames Research Center. As an expert in space robotics, he’ll be telling us about robots leaving the solar system to explore our universe and how humans and robots will work together towards this endeavor.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones is the author of the book Soft Machines: nanotechnology and life and a blog on the subject also named Soft Machines. From the University of Sheffield in the UK, where he is Professor of Physics, Jones has been looking at how to make nanoscale robots which can eventually be used in the body for medical applications.

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Latest News:

For more information on this episode’s news, including a video of Kumagai’s balancing BallIP robots, McGill’s rapid ice sculpture prototyping system, and Stanford’s perching UAV as well as more coverage from the ICRA 2010 conference, visit the Robots Forum.

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October 23rd, 2009

Robots: Slithering Creatures

In this episode we’ll be speaking about snake robots slithering through pipes, disaster areas and even your body. We first speak with expert Howie Choset from Carnegie Mellon University about the big-picture concerning these reptile-like machines. We then turn to Erik Kyrkjebø from SINTEF Applied Cybernetic in Norway for an in depth coverage of their pipe inspection snake robots.

Howie Choset

Howie Choset is an associate professor and the director of the BioRobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University where his research in path planning, motion planning and estimation have been used to control a range of snake-inspired robots. Choset tells us how snake robots can slither, slide, squeeze or climb into places that people, or even other types of robots can’t reach. He explains the basics of snake robot design and the mechanical challenges faced by robots that have so many degrees of freedom. He also talks about the multitude of different gaits a snake robot can use and how they are particularly suited for search and rescue, industrial inspection and even minimally-invasive surgery.

Choset and his robots are regularly featured in the media, such as the CNet report below:




Erik Kyrkjebø

Erik Kyrkjebø is Senior Researcher at the Applied Cybernetic departement at SINTEF in Norway which is the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia. SINTEF is focused on bridging the gap between academia and industry through very down to earth projects.

From the multi-robot coordination he studied during his PhD at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he’s now gone to multi-link snake robots. The resulting PiKo robot developed at SINTEF is intended for pipe inspection tasks and can move up and down vertical pipes and negotiate corners.



Kyrkjebø discusses the specific technical details and challenges regarding the autonomy and locomotion of his slithering machines including batteries, wet environments, sensors and control. He also presents another snake robot developed at SINTEF that can fight fire. This Anna Konda is propelled using water and at the same can use the water to calm the flames.

So, will we soon be seeing snake robots climb into our bathroom?

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Latest News:

For an excellent video explaining the workings of the Chembot as well as more information on Panasonic’s and Honda’s latest robotic creations, visit the Robots Forum!

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