Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

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.

Links:

| More

Related episodes:

January 14th, 2011

Robots: Harvest Automation

In today’s episode we look at a new market in robotics with huge potential, agriculture. With us, Joe Jones, co-founder of Harvest Automation and father of the Roomba.

In addition, you might have noted that we’re starting the new year with an upgrade to our website. Our partner, robots.net, will now provide us with news. You can access each episode’s news items, along with many others, via the website’s new NEWS tab, which replaces the former Forum. We think that this will increase both the quality and accessibility of our news content, and look forward to your comments in the improved comments section under each post.

Joseph Jones

Joe Jones is a robotics visionary with 24 years in the field. As proof, he was the first employee of iRobot, where he invented the Roomba that has sold over 3 million units. He also spent 9 years in robotic research at the MIT AI Lab, authored three books on robotics, and holds 15 patents. Today we have him on our show to talk about Harvest Automation, company that he co-founded with a team of robotics experts and ex-iRobot employees. Tapping into the huge agriculture market, Harvest will start by deploying thousands of robots to nurse potted plants. To give you an idea, here’s a short video.

The nice thing with agriculture robots is that incremental improvements to the robot can open a huge range of new applications. With that in mind, Harvest hopes to eventually deploy robots in real fields, doing all the large-scale dirty work challenging today’s farmers.

Finally, Jones also gives us a glimpse at the market and some of his secrets to bridge the gap between academia and business.

Links:


Latest News:
For the latest news from CES, have a look at our new NEWS tab.

| More

Related episodes:

January 29th, 2010

Robots: Quadrotors

Today’s show is centered around robots in the air, and more specifically on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of the quadrotor variety. We chat with Joshua Portlock from Cyber Technology about their portfolio of different-sized UAVs with special emphasis on the CyberQuad, a four-rotor helicopter with advanced autonomous capabilities. Near the end of the show we also start what will hopefully be an animated debate on what exactly is the definition of a Robot, so join in the discussion!

Joshua Portlock

Joshua Portlock is the project manager of the CyberQuad project at Cyber Technology out of Perth, Australia. Portlock tells us about his company’s fleet of UAVs and their increasingly broad range of applications in the civil market. He then gets into the nitty gritty on his own creation, the CyberQuad, a four-rotor autonomous aircraft that’s the final result of years of research started while he was still an engineering student at the Curtin University of Technology.




The CyberQuad is a highly-optimized quadrotor that uses ducted fans to increase the efficiency of the drivetrain and provide protection from obstacles. Recently featured in Wired magazine, the platform can fly and hover in constrained environments and has already been used to visually survey oil platforms, bridges or search for bushfires in the Australian outback before they go out of control.




What is a Robot?

Have you ever wondered what a robot really is? Over coffee the other day we were trying to find a sleek and simple one size fits all definition for all the robots we’ve covered on the show from molecular robots to smart houses, humanoids or flying crawling and jumping robots. However, for every definition we came up with there was a counter example that either didn’t fit the definition or did although it wasn’t really what we think of as a robot! For example, the definition “A robot is a machine with inputs and outputs” was not satisfying because a calculator fits that definition although it is not a robot. Therefore, every episode from now on will explore a new or modified definition and submit it to the “counter-example” test until we are satisfied with the result. We’ll be asking our friends, colleagues and you our listeners for your best answer to the question “What is a robot?”. If you think that you have a good answer, email us your short definition at info@robotspodcast.com with your phone number so that we can call you and ask you directly on the air!

Links:


Latest News:

For more information on the future of the Spirit Mars Rover, the plans for a fuel-cell powered exoskeleton and Korea’s Mahru-Z robot, visit the Robots Forum.

View and post comments on this episode in the forum

| More

Related episodes:

December 18th, 2009

Robots: Weight-Loss Coach

Take the 5-minute survey to help us improve ROBOTS!

With the holiday season ahead of us and Christmas dinners already started, many of us are starting to feel the pinch at our waistlines and are planning some ambitious weight-loss goals as New Year’s resolutions. To help with those resolutions, today’s show will focus on robotic help for losing weight! We speak with Cory Kidd from Intuitive Automata about his robotic weight-loss coach that can help you take those pounds off and keep them off, and may take your Roomba‘s place as your new robotic best friend.

We’ll also be holding a Christmas contest for a chance to win two kits to build tiny hyperactive bug-like robots offered by Didel SA. For a chance to win, just tell us “who created the giant 6-legged robot” featured in one of our episodes this year at contest@robotspodcast.com.

Cory Kidd

Photo: Sam Ogden

Cory Kidd is a recent Ph.D graduate from the Personal Robotics Group at MIT’s Media Lab, where he studied human-robot social interaction and the use of robotic interfaces to help people lose weight. He tells us about how his prototype robotic weight-loss coach drastically improved the chance of success of weight loss, as well as his new company Intuitive Automata that will be commercializing the product.

During his Ph.D studies Kidd designed Autom, a sociable robot who’s sole purpose is to help you keep track of your diet, stay motivated and achieve your personal weight-loss goals. Autom is embedded with learning algorithms that adapt to your personality and your progress, as well as years of research in human-machine interaction to help you connect with the robot and take it seriously when it recommends your daily diet!

Kidd tells us about how people react to inanimate objects as soon as you put a set of eyes on them and which aspects of embodiment are important in creating a true bond between a human and a robot which ultimately aids the robot in succeeding in its task. He also speaks about a study he conducted using a prototype version of Autom and how it performed compared to traditional weight-loss techniques such as pen-and-paper or a virtual avatar on a computer screen.




Introducing Autom™ from Erica Young on Vimeo.

Contest

Don’t miss our Christmas contest for a chance to win two robot Kits offered by Didel SA.


With the first kit, you’ll make a tiny “Bimo” robot that runs around like a hyperactive bug using two motors. The kit contains a radio controller and all the electronic components which you’ll need to build your robot. You’ll need your own soldering iron so make sure you have that handy. Once you’ve built your robot, you can reprogram its microcontroller if you’re unhappy with its original behavior.

In the second kit, you’ll be designing legs for a vibrating robot called the Milpat Veloce. Think out of the box and you might be strapping all types of slippery or hairy surfaces under the robot for maximum speed, climbing or hopping.

Two win these two kits just answer to the following question by email at contest@robotspodcast.com. We’ll be randomly picking a contestant with the correct answer on the 1st of January.

Links:


Latest News:

For more information on today’s ROBOTS news, including Festo’s CyberKite’, Arimaz’s MyDeskFriend Pingo and the TETRA Micromouse visit the Robots forum!

View and post comments on this episode in the forum

| More

Related episodes:

September 11th, 2009

Robots: Celebrating Invention

In this episode we have an exclusive interview with Dean Kamen, considered by some as the greatest inventor alive. He’s the father of the insulin pump, the Segway and the new Luke Arm prosthesis for amputees. To encourage creativity and to break the stereotypes attributed to scientists, Kamen created FIRST which is attracting kids from around the world to robotics competitions. Finally, in the spirit of invention, we want to know what you think is the best invention of all times. We’ll be giving away our favorite invention, some of Switzerland’s finest chocolate, to what we think is the most creative response. Be sure to post your thoughts in the forum!

Dean Kamen

robotics picture of great inventorDean Kamen is an inventor who changes lives. As a starting point for most of his ideas, there is a clear belief that some things just SHOULD exist. That’s why he didn’t even wait to finish college to invent the first wearable infusion pump, which rapidly gained acceptance from such diverse medical specialties as chemotherapy, neonatology and endocrinology. Based on this idea he created a company that went on to invent the first insulin pump for diabetics. After selling this company to Baxter International Corporation, he formed DEKA. Take the first two letters of his first and last name and you get the company facade for his crazy ideas.

Products rolling out of DEKA include the iBOT, an all-terrain electric wheelchair whose technology paved the way for the Segway, the Luke Arm prosthesis and systems to bring clean water and energy to people in need.

However, not only is Kamen inventing, he is also passionate about creating inventors through FIRST which is a framework for robotic competitions reaching 196’000 kids around the world from age 6 to high-school. The 17’594 teams participating are split into four categories with the Robotics Competition, Tech Challenge, two LEGO Leagues, and a league for young kids. Through these competitions, Kamen hopes to put the spotlight on scientists, turning them into public heroes and breaking stereotypes.

In this interview, Kamen tells us what a good idea is, talks about FIRST, and presents the technical details of his newest invention, the Luke Arm.

Win Swiss Chocolate!

In the spirit of creativity and invention, we’re wondering what you, our audience thinks is the world’s greatest invention! Let us know in the forum, for your chance to win a huge box of luxurious Swiss chocolate from one of Lausanne, Switzerland’s finest hand-crafted luxury chocolate makers, Blondel chocolate. Feel free to be creative, and add a picture or YouTube video to convince us that your favorite invention is definitely the best. And if any of you are inventors yourselves, the forum’s a great place to show us what you’re made of!

Links:


Latest News:

As always, more information can be found in the Robots forums, this week including PlasmoBot, Korea’s Robotland and the latest on Pleo.
View and post comments on this episode in the forum

| More

Related episodes: