Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

December 27th, 2015

Robots: Construction Drilling

In this episode Audrow Nash interviews Konrad Fagertun, Chief Operating Officer of nLink in Norway. They speak about a mobile robotic platform for the construction industry. The problem that they’ve chosen to solve is drilling holes in the ceiling. For a shopping mall, 400,000 holes may have to be drilled — by hand. This is a task Fagertun says “no one likes” so nLink built a robot to automate it. Fagertun discusses their robotic platform, how they chose their application, and the future plans of nLink.

Konrad Fagertun

KonradKonrad has been involved with technology startups since 2006 and holds a masters degree from NTNU School of Entrepreneurship (and Boston University), with a cybernetics technology background. As one of the founders, and Chief Operating Officer, he focuses on business development, partner relations and sales in nLink’s quest to revolutionize the construction industry.



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February 6th, 2015

Robots: Mobile Robots and Virtual Worlds

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Professor Riccardo Cassinis from the University of Brescia in Italy about using robotics in education. Cassinis speaks about having children, from primary school through university, access and control robots remotely to learn subjects such as programming, geography, and foreign languages.

Riccardo Cassinis

CassinisRRiccardo Cassinis graduated in 1977 at the Politecnico di Milano  in Electrical Engineering, where he continued to work until 1987  as a Fellow, Assistant Professor, and Research Associate. Currently at the University of Brescia, he is the Director of the Advanced Robotics Laboratory and an Associate Professor of Advanced Computer Programming and of Robotics. His current research interests aim at taking advantage of Internet technologies for building autonomous robots for surveillance and environmental data collection.


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November 15th, 2014

Robots: Finding Objects Using RFID - Transcript

In this episode, Sabine Hauert speaks with Travis Deyle, about his IROS-nominated work on RFID tags, his blog Hizook, and the career path that brought him from academia, to founding his own start-up, and finally working for Google[x].

For his PhD at Georgia Tech with Dr. Charles C. Kemp, Deyle helped robots find household objects by tagging them with small Band-Aid-like Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) labels. The tags allowed robots to precisely identify tagged objects. Once identified, the robots would follow a series of simple behaviors to navigate up to the objects and orient towards them.

Compared to vision and lasers, RFID can detect objects that are hidden while providing precise information and identification. This could allow a robot to find a bottle of medication in a cupboard, and make sure it’s the correct medication, before bringing it to a person. Furthermore, the technology can scale to large numbers of objects, and be used to map their location in the environment.

In the future, such tags augmented with better energy, sensing and computation capabilities could form the basis of the Internet of Things and provide a smart environment for robots to interact with.


Travis Deyle
tdeyle-242x300Travis Deyle earned a PhD in Fall 2011 from Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). His PhD with Dr. Charles C. Kemp at the at Healthcare Robotics Lab was entitled, “Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) for Robot Perception and Mobile Manipulation.”

After his PhD, Deyle worked with Dr. Matt Reynolds as a postdoc researcher at Duke University where he focused on a software-defined radio receiver to decode (in real-time) the high-speed biotelemetry signals reflected by a custom neuro-telemetry chip. This system was designed to capture high-fidelity neural signals from a dragonfly in flight — aka, a “cyborg dragonfly”.

He then co-founded the successful company an online auction site dedicated exclusively to women’s designer clothes and accessories.

Deyle currently works at Google[x] where he was part of the team that made the “smart contact lense” to measure tear glucose levels which was recently licensed to Novartis.

He also founded the well know blog, a robotics website for academic and professional roboticists.

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June 29th, 2012

Robots: Knowledge Engineering

In this episode, we talk to Mary-Anne Williams, knowledge engineer and roboticist from the University of Technology in Sydney Australia (UTS). Her work focuses on cognitive models of decision making and behaviour in complex and dynamic environments, including applications in mobile robotics.

Mary-Anne Williams

Mary Anne Williams and the PR2

Mary-Anne Williams is the director of the Innovation and Enterprise Research laboratory at UTS, where researchers are investigating the process of innovation and the role of the law, as well as IT, in the adoption of innovative and entrepreneurial practice.

Mary-Anne has a passion for innovation, science, technology and engineering. She is coach of the Robot Soccer team UTS Unleashed! and the 3D simulation team the Karachi Koalas and has lead seven robot soccer teams to outstanding success at the International Robot Soccer World Cup. She is Program Chair of the International Conference in Social Robotics this year, and works with her research team at UTS to engineer knowledge; together they explore robot learning, social robotics, human-robot interaction, robots in society, robot-robot collaboration, and bio-inspired robot cognition.

In this interview, she talks about her work, her involvement with the International Conference in Social Robotics and the PR2 robot.


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June 1st, 2012

Robots: Robotic Fish and Mannequins

In today’s episode we talk to Maarja Kruusmaa about robotic fish and the robotic mannequin they are developing at, alongside with Diana Saarva, the COO of

Maarja Kruusmaa

Professor Maarja Kruusmaa is the head of the TUT Center for Biorobotics in Estonia and the R&D Director of She accomplished her PhD in 2002 in Computer Engineering in Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, before becoming professor in 2008 at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia.

She is now involved in the FILOSE, robotic fish locomotion and sensing project, whose team attempts to build robots that mimic how fish react and adapt to the water flow around them. In the first part of the interview Professor Kruusmaa talks about why they are using a novel, soft and compliant body approach for robotic fish rather than the more common linked chain. She describes how this embodiment helps reduce the computational load and how it allows them to make a simpler and cheaper robot that is more reliable than a more rigid version would be. We also hear about opportunities that come from sensing and adapting to the flow and the advantages of robotic fish compared to conventional UAVs, before talking about possible applications, such as underwater archeology.

Professor Kruusmaa is the R&D Director of since 2009, working alongside COO Diana Saarva. They have created a virtual fitting room which enables users to virtually try on clothes before buying them, with the help of shape-shifting robotic mannequins which can grow from slim to muscular in just a few moments. This allows buyers to enter their measurements and see what clothes would look like on them. robotic mannequin

In the second part of the interview, Professor Kruusmaa and Diana Saarva talk about the idea. It is particularly interesting to hear about how they developed the cooperation between the technology/research side and the entrepreneurs/business side.

Diana Saarva

Diana Saarva and the mannequin

Diana Saarva joined in September 2009, and became the COO in 2011. She is responsible for supervising and coordinating all client operations and developing new business development.


Thanks David!

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