Category Archives: Robotics


Urbi Open Source Contest 2010

A few months ago, Gostai decided to open their Urbi operating system for robots with an A-GPL license. To stimulate the community of programmers using Urbi for robotics or in other domains, Gostai is holding an open contest based on Urbi open source. The project does not have to focus on robotics. Topics can be anything (ie – video games or complex systems) as long as participants use the Urbi open source in the project. Software tools will be provided for free use during the contest (ends December 15, 2010).

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Robotics Summit Virtual Conference and Exposition

The Robotics Summit Virtual Conference and Exposition Series, Autonomy, Navigation, and Mobility Solutions, is available on demand and at no charge. Robotics systems should increasingly be able to move or perform tasks responding to both environmental and internal stimuli without human intervention. This increase in autonomy equates to reduced costs, greater application flexibility and increased functionality.

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Designing Next-Generation Robots Webinar

TechOnLine announced the Designing Next-Generation Robots webinar. The robotics webcast will take place March 29, 2010 at 10:00 am (17:00 Greenwich Mean Time and 1:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time). The webinar will explore the technologies behind next-generation robots. A panel of industry and academic experts will discuss the latest developments in software, hardware, and materials that are bringing robotic systems to life.

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National Instruments LabVIEW Robotics 2009

National Instruments introduced the LabVIEW Robotics 2009 development platform for designing robotic and autonomous control systems. NI LabVIEW Robotics 2009 features an extensive robotics library with connectivity to standard robotic sensors and actuators, foundational algorithms for intelligent operations and perception, and motion functions for robots and autonomous vehicles.

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MassTLC Summit: The Future of Robotics

The Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) will hold a Future of Robotics Summit on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. Attendees will hear from leading robotic research institutions about the latest research coming down the pipeline and opportunities for partnership and commercialization. The research briefing will culminate with a presentation on technology transfer opportunities and tours of MIT’s Robotics Labs.

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IAR Embedded Workbench for LEGO MINDSTORMS

IAR Systems announced IAR Embedded Workbench for LEGO MINDSTORMS. The free version of IAR Embedded Workbench compiler and debugger can be use for programming the NXT Intelligent Brick in the LEGO MINDSTORMS robotic building system. It is a completely integrated C/C++ development environment that includes a project manager, editor, build tools and IAR C-SPY debugger for use with the Atmel AT91 used in the Intelligent Brick. The special 128k version of IAR Embedded Workbench also includes ready-made project files and examples for LEGO MINDSTORMS.

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Actin Robotics Toolkit 2.0

Energid Technologies Corporation recently upgraded Actin, which is software for controlling and simulating robots. Actin 2.0 will enable new robotic designs across industries and support development from conception through productization and fielding. The Actin 2.0 toolkit provides advanced algorithms and software for controlling even the most complex robots, including those with 100 or more degrees of freedom. With only a CAD model, a roboticist can create a powerful control system and immediately test it in simulation. The software supports fixed and mobile robots with any number of moving parts and virtually any kind of articulation. Actin 2.0 optimizes robot motion for strength, improves accuracy, reduces joint torque, recovers from hardware errors, avoids joint limits, and avoids collisions.

The simulation tools in Actin provide revolutionary capability. Exchangeable actuator models include friction, flexibility, power consumption, and torque and speed limits. Articulation dynamics are physically accurate and available through algorithms tailored for fast application to different families of robots. Impact dynamics use multiple contact models, configurable surface properties, and fast and accurate impact detection and response. Actin 2.0 gives the roboticist the tool to answer important questions about new designs before building hardware, all with just a push of a button.

Actin 2.0 also features cross-platform support. Control, simulation, 3D visualization, and networking execute on desktops and embedded systems, with Windows and Linux. Both the Actin C++ toolkit and the Actin 3D viewer work across platforms.

More info: Energid Technologies

Birds-of-a-Feather Discussions at RoboDevelopment Conference

The RoboDevelopment Conference & Exposition is international technical design and development event for personal, service, and mobile robotics industry. The event will take place November 18-19, 2008 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. This year’s RoboDevelopment Expo features Birds-of-a-Feather Discussions. The discussions provide an opportunity for conference attendees to break into smaller peer groups to discuss some of the most important topics in robotics and robotics technology. Discussions are open to attendees that have registered for the conference program pass and will take place on Tuesday, November 18 at 12:00pm in the Expo Hall. Topic experts from Velodyne Lidar, Microsoft, Willow Garage, and Inspired Energy will be on hand to moderate and steer the discussions.

Sensors, Sensing and Robot Vision
Moderator: Bruce Hall, President, Velodyne Lidar
Commercial robotic applications require a vast range of sensors and vision systems to detect information about the physical world and navigate through it. Specialized devices have been developed to meet various sensing and vision needs such as location, orientation, displacement, velocity, acceleration and force. This discussion will focus on sensors and vision technology, including overcoming difficulties and newly available enabling technology.

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio
Moderator: Kyle Johns, Principal Software Design Engineer, Microsoft
Join your peers to discuss the latest developments involving Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, a Windows-based software development kit (SDK). This powerful SDK can be used to design, develop and test robotics applications for a variety of hardware platforms. It includes a lightweight REST-style, service-oriented runtime, a set of visual authoring and simulation tools, as well as tutorials and sample code. The Developer Studio, which is well supported by both Microsoft and a large development community, has been widely adopted by hobbyist, academic and commercial developers.

Linux and Open Source Solutions
Moderator: Steve Cousins, President and CEO, Willow Garage
Many robots are controlled by microcontrollers, but an increasing number of robotics systems are employing Linux to take advantage of multitasking, built-in networking, communication libraries, device drivers and other capabilities. In addition to Linux operating systems, many other open source solutions are available for developing robots and robotic technology including robot control software, matrix libraries, toolkits and simulation software.

Batteries and Power Technology
Moderator: Dave Baggaley, Sales & Marketing Director, Inspired Energy
Attend the Batteries and Power Technology discussion to hear about power technology and have your questions answered. Power is the lifeblood of any robotic system and leading gating factor to widespread use of robotic systems. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of types and styles of batteries available for use in robots, and advanced battery systems are continually being released.

More info: RoboDevelopment Conference

RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition 2008

The RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition will be held April 8-10, 2008 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition is the only robotics event that enables decision-makers from business, government and academia to easily grasp the potential opportunities arising from emerging robotics technologies. From developing new products, services and markets to enhancing existing ones, RoboBusiness Conference & Exposition addresses critical sales, marketing and partnering strategies.

The RoboBusiness conference program will feature more than 35 sessions presented in nine tracks on April 8 and 9, 2008. The theme for the 2008 RoboBusiness event is ‘Achieving Autonomy.’ In addition, the event will feature two full days of dedicated healthcare robotics sessions under the heading ‘RoboMedicus.’

RoboBusiness Conference Tracks

Business Development and Investment Track

  • Global Partnering Opportunities
  • Research Advances and Commercialization Prospects
  • Investment Opportunities and Funding Trends
  • Market Sizing and Growth

Technology and Standards Track

  • Navigation and Control Solutions
  • Sensors and Sensor-Based Systems
  • Power Systems
  • Robot Kits, Research Robots and Development Platforms
  • COTS Robotics
  • Motors and Motor Controllers
  • Motion Controllers, Servos and Stepper Drives
  • Computer Vision and Mapping Products

Applications and Products Track

  • Emerging Markets for Industrial Robots
  • Product Availability and Distribution Opportunities
  • Products and Services for the Consumer, Commercial Civil and Government Markets
  • Robotics Suppliers and Manufacturers

Robotics Workforce Development Track

  • Locating and Keeping a Skilled Workforce
  • Curriculum Development
  • Framework for Workforce Development
  • Integrating Work and Learning

RoboMedicus (Healthcare Robotics)

  • Hospital/Pharmacy Automation
  • Surgical Robotics
  • Assistive Technology
  • Rehabilitation Technology
  • Telepresence Systems

Security and Defense Track

  • New Technologies for Military Robotics
  • Search, Rescue and Recovery
  • Mobile Surveillance
  • Tactical Operations
  • Military Logistics, Operations, Transportations and Other Non-traditional Uses

First Responder Robotics Track

  • Law Enforcement and Public Safety
  • Search, Rescue and Recovery
  • Explosive Ordinance Disposal
  • Unmanned Vehicles
  • HAZMAT Operations
  • Law Enforcement and Public Safety Robotics

Intelligent Transportation and Field Robotics Track

  • Teleoperation
  • Autonomous Transportation
  • Warehousing

Consumer Robotics Track

  • Intelligent Toys
  • Entertainment Robots
  • House Care / Lawn Care
  • Assistive Technology
  • Educational Robotics

On April 10, conference attendees will have the unique opportunity to attend two local robotics site visits at The National Robotics Engineering Center and Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. The site visits are hosted by the Technology Collaborative and Carnegie Mellon University.

Additional program features and special events include an Expo floor showcasing over 75 companies, opening night Networking Reception on April 8, sponsored by iRobot and Foster-Miller, ‘Open Door’ Keynote by iRobot CEO, Colin Angle, and the Robot Hall of Fame cocktail reception and induction ceremony sponsored by CMU’s Robotics Hall of Fame, honoring the world’s greatest achievements in industrial and entertainment robots, as well as robots from science fiction and popular culture.

More info: RoboBusiness

Screencast: Driving a Robot from Windows Mobile with Microsoft Robotics Studio

Check out Olivier Bloch’s webcast on using Microsoft Robotics Studio to build a service that runs on a Windows Mobile phone. The screencast shows how to use Robotics Studio to remotely drive a robot (connected via Bluetooth) from a Windows Mobile device.

The screencast covers:

  • Creating a simple service with Visual Studio 2005
  • Using Microsoft Visual programming language to create the application
  • Generating the compact framework project
  • Deploying on Windows Mobile
  • Driving the robot

More info: Driving a Robot from my Windows Mobile device using Robotics Studio