Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

The MS DanceR

The Dance Partner Robot, MS DanceR (Mobile Smart Dance Robot) was founded by Kazuhiro Kosuge and ZhiDong Wang at the Tohuku University of Japan, Department of Bioengineering and Robotics. As the name implies, this robot is specialized in ballroom dancing. The dance partner robot (female) has been installed with an omni-directional base in order to enable it to carry out basic dance steps. The MS DanceR has been recognized as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2005.

With human-robot interaction as the base foundation of this concoction, MS DanceR uses the Body Force Sensor (force/torque sensor) to realize the human force and “react” accordingly. The ballroom dancing robotic system has been chosen as an application to research on by the Tohuku University due to the complexities involved in the implementation and the various considerations that have to be taken into account. This research has generated new dimensions to the field of human-robot interaction.

The robot plays the role of the female dancer. Normally, in ballroom dancing the lead would be the male and the female counterpart would have to react to each step appropriately. Hence, the robot senses the steps through physical interaction with the human, anticipates and estimates the step and generates the corresponding output step.

The control systems consist of the Omni-directional base, Body Force Sensor, Body Frame, Controller and Batteries. The Omni directional base allows multidirectional orientation of the robot. The Body Force Sensors are situated in various places in the robot such that it can detect pressure applied to its arms and back so that it can constantly anticipate it’s human partner’s next step. It is also equipped with memory that contains five basic steps required to dance the Waltz.

Rajalakshmi Raghavan (U036804N)
http://www.ieee-icit.info/figs/12.pdf
http://www.ieee-ras.org/news/robots.php?news=archive#16

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Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle For Deep Sea Exploration

The first humans to venture into deep sea exploration were Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh in 1960.They were the first humans to touch the bottom of Challenger Deep, a underwater trench with a depth of 10924m. After that no one, man or machine has scaled such depths.Researchers at the Deep Submergence Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Johns Hopkins University have been developing a vehicle called Hybrid Remotely Operated Vehicle(HROV) that will enable scientists to perform photography,biological sampling and topographical mapping of the world’s deepest underwater trench, the Challenger Deep.

The Hybrid vehicle can either be controlled form the surface of the water by a controller or it can be programmed to do a variety of tasks autonomously.The HROV will be using a micro-cable that will enable the vehicle to go deeper without the drag of heavier cables. The HROV can also run for 36 hours on batteries only.

The HROV’s first scientific mission is planned for 2008 and one of the first missions for the HROV is to obtain data from the Mariannas Trench that will enable scientists to learn more about the mantle how much the mantle is interacting with respect to the oceanic lithosphere.

The HROV will be able to withstand pressure from 11000m of water with the help of a state of the art ceramic material. It is highly dangerous to send humans to such depths for fear of implosions.

The HROV is a very advance robot and it will greatly help us understand the life and geography of the deep oceans.

References:

(1)http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3373511.stm

(2)http://www.whoi.edu/sbl/liteSite.do?litesiteid=1810

Prakash S/O Yanaprakasam

U036229B

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Third generation security robot

ROBART III is the third generation security robots with addition of threat-response capability to the detection and assessment features, which has drawn tremendous military interest in Law Enforcement and Operations Other Than War. There are three subsystems employed on ROBART III according to their purpose and functionalities: (1) mobility and navigation; (2) threat detection and assessment; (3) non-lethal response; and (4) high level control. Each of these will be briefly discussed below.

1. Mobility And Navigation
ROBART III is designed only for indoor operation on relatively smooth planar floor surfaces. Differential steering is employed with a single passive caster in the rear of the platform directly behind the battery compartment. The left and right drive wheels are 8-inch wheelchair snow tires (see Figure 1) driven by a pair of 12-volt motors.

2 Threat Detection And Assessment
The initial detection is accomplished by a 360-degree staring array of eight passive-infrared (PIR) motion detectors arranged as a collar ring just below the head. The head could detect any alarm zone and a black-and-white video surveillance camera would survey the scene. Subsequent motion is detected with a reconfigurable video line digitizer. There are additional head-mounted security sensors support the intelligent security assessment algorithm in rejecting nuisance alarms

3 Non-Lethal Response
The non-lethal-response weapon chosen for incorporation on ROBART III consists of a pneumatically powered dart gun capable of firing a variety of 3/16-inch diameter projectiles, including tranquilizing darts. A rotating-barrel arrangement (Figure 2) is incorporated to allow for multiple firings (six) with minimal mechanical complexity.

4 High Level Control
The seven low-level microprocessor-based controllers installed on ROBART III will be interfaced via a high-speed multi-drop RS-232 interface as slaves to a master 68HC11 controller.

In summary, ROBART III incorporates a non-lethal response capability into a body of robotic mobility, navigation, and threat detection and assessment techniques. The system will be able to confront intruders with a laser-sighted six-barrel tranquilizer dart gun, remotely controlled by a human operator. The system simplifies the operator’s difficult coordination task of simultaneously controlling vehicle movement and attitude, pointing the camera, and aiming and firing the weapon. This will be accomplished by onboard intelligence which uses the inputs of various sensors including video motion detection to detect intruders, filter out false alarms, and automatically track a moving target.

U037130N, Li Chao

Reference: http://www.nosc.mil/robots/land/robart/spie96.html

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Parallel Link Robot — Fanuc F-200iB

The F-200iB robot has been developed by FANUC Robotics North America, Inc. It is a parallel link, servo-driven robot with six degrees of freedom, and it is made to be used in a variety of manufacturing and automotive assembly processes. F-200iB is not only powerful and compact, but also has extreme rigidity and exceptional repeatability. Hence, it can be used for material removal, compact robot welding, vehicle lift and locate, pedestal welding, part loading, tool/part manipulation and flexible/convertible fixturing.

Parallel link robots are less affected by most of factors that reduce accuracy, because they have a closed, truss-like structure in which the end-effector is connected to the base by six independent kinematic legs that operate in unison. Moreover, the low deformation of the legs makes the F-200iB better for drilling, milling, and holecutting in harder materials like steel, aluminum, and gray iron.

The F-200iB is available in single- or dual-arm configurations. The dual-arm configuration adds a second, independently controlled, robotic arm to the same rail. The robot can load and unload the engine blocks and manipulate them precisely, by using a simulated horizontal-spindle machine center. It is very dexterous, since it can move both blocks through a series of complex motions as it exchanges a finished block for a raw block inside the machine center during the machine load/unload cycle.
In conclusion, F-200iB is an ideal solution for large material handling applications with heavy payloads.
U037157M Yi Jinzhou
References:
Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Cleanroom Robots



Basic Description

The LR Mate 200iB and M-6iB are the latest generation FANUC cleanroom robots.The LR Mate 200iB and M-6iB are six-axis, modular construction, AC electric servo-driven robots. They are optimized for operation in sensitive, contamination-controlled environments and occupy minimal floor space. Designed for superior performance in manufacturing and lab applications, both robots provide high throughput, industry-leading reliability, and sophisticated motion control for gentle part handling. Unlike “canister” form factor robots, the LR Mate 200iB and M-6iB can move along three-dimensional curved paths and approach any position from virtually any direction. Both models and their predecessors have an installed base in the tens of thousands.
The Solutions for:
1. Material handling
2. Machine tending
3. Assembly
4. Clean injection mold extraction
5. Dispensing

Industries served
1. Semiconductor
2. Magnetic media (hard drives, audio/videotapes)
3. Optical media (CDs, DVDs)
4. Laboratory automation
5. Medical devices
11.Pharmaceuticals
12.Clean plastics

http://www.fanucrobotics.com/24,1369,Robots+by+Application.html

—By U036546A Wu Lihua

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Reflecting Intelligence


For ages, the buzz word has been on abaout innovation, technology and the collaboration of these two to reflect intelligence in every walk of life. With IT software on one side and medicine on the other as the only 2 way streamlining processes that the student community flocks to, what is the one commonality that can still bridge the gap?, I wonder.

I have the answer right here: Medical Robots, their invention and continued contribution.

The first ever ‘heart bypass surgery’ was performed by 2-ft.-long robotic hands at Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus. The metallic limbs enter the patient’s body through the narrow gaps between the ribs, cutting holes no bigger than a nickel.

However, this robot, a Da Vinci model as they call it, made by Intuitive Surgical of Mountain View, Calif. does not have a mind of its own. It stays controlled by professional doctors who use a console that looks very similar to that of a video gaming board says Dr. Randall Wolf.

Now George Mylonas of Imperial College London has developed motion compensation software that should allow the robotic surgeon to compensate for the motion of the beating heart, and operate on the organ without stopping it first.

Robotic surgeons may seem like science fiction, but they have become a regular feature at operation theatres especially North America. Prostate cancer surgery is benefiting immensely from robotic surgeons, since the robots are more precise in nerve-sparing, allowing men to retain important functions of elimination control and sexual performance that can easily be lost when performed by a human surgeon.

In conclusion, to remove some biased opinions if there are, I wish to remind the people who read this blog that the brains behind each of the inventions are still human. However, it does a lot of good to put it all into one robot whose efficiency, speed, and output overdo the capability of the whole human race.

Call it artificial intelligence. Call it virtual human. Call it what you want. I call it evolution of a new kind.

Balasubramanian Prasanna
[U0405872]
u0405872@nus.edu.sg

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/

http://www.machinebrain.com/General_Robotics/Medical_Robots/

http://www.ai.mit.edu/research/abstracts/abstracts2000/medrobots.shtml

Picture Source:

http://www.whatsnextnetwork.com/

http://www.news.uns.purdue.edu

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Disneyland enjoys robotic revolution


Any discussion of entertainment robots has to include Disney. They have been doing entertainment robots as long as anyone and they do them quite well. With dancing bears and singing pirates Disney’s imagineers have created thousands of robots. The robot shown in the picture is used since August, 2003. It is a robot dinosaur named Lucky. He walks on his two back legs and pulls a very large cart of “silk flowers”. Really the cart is full of batteries. Even Disney has not figured-out the battery issue that plagues mobile robots. This was the only way they could get enough battery life for the robot to spend a meaningful amount of time wandering the amusement part.

In recent years, Disneyland Park has also improved on their robot team by importing one of the world’s most advanced humanoid robots – ASIMO, produced by Honda. Comparing to the old dinosaur robot, ASIMO is much more intelligent as it can perform tasks including walking forward and backward, climbing and descending a flight of stairs and taking direction from a person.

This is the robot designed for homes usage in future. It has two arms and two hands, which makes tasks such as reaching for and grasping objects, switching lights on and off, or opening and closing doors much easier compare to previous versions. And it has improved on the battery problem as power supply can last longer. We can expect widely application of similar robots in Disneyland while robots will be designed in those popular figures and identities.

referrence:
http://www.learnaboutrobots.com/entertainment.htm

by Yang Kai, U036508R

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Vision-based mobile robot for autonomous exploration





Recently, most mobile robots have to use laser sensor to perceive their surrounding environment. It is true that laser is quite accurate for the robots to measure the distance to the objects so that they can navigate and map the dynamic environments. However, when the object is very large, laser sensor could not detect the whole object.

Stereo vision can solve the problem that laser sensor has by capturing the image data and measuring the distance to the object at the same time. The image data can be used for localization and recognition of object and people. The reasons for not using the stereo vision are: the computers were not fast enough to process the data; the algorithms to make the computer vision work were not developed.

Now, the faster development in computer vision has made it possible to construct the visually guided mobile robots. For instance, Rob Sim and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia, Canada, have developed such a robot that can estimate its location and map the environment. Last summer, Rob has demonstrated that his robot can autonomously explore a large office-like environment and correctly identify the position as well as construct the occupancy grid map.

On the top are the sample image of the office and occupancy grid map. We can see that the occupancy grid map constructed from the robot’s exploration with grid resolution 0.01m by 0.01m per pixel can accurately captures the topology of the environment. The cluttered regions are corresponding to the office chairs and other furniture.

Reference:
http://www.cs.duke.edu/researchers/artificial_intelligence/papers/Sim06.pdf

Liu PengYin U037121E

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

Nuvo

39cm in height and 2.5Kg in weight, Nuvo is a small and light home-use-type humanoid robot aimed being marketed as a daily life companion. With 15 degrees of freedom (6 for each leg, 1 for each shoulder and 1 for the head), this small robot can dance, talk, play music, tell time, click pictures and even shake your hand.

Nuvo is also equipped with joint angle sensors, rate gyro sensor and acceleration sensors to allow ZMP calculation and proper balancing. The infra-red sensors give feedback of the surroundings and saves the robot from banging into dead-ends. It is capable of walking at a speed of 3 metres a minute, can balance over a variety of terrains and can even stand up from a fallen position.

Nuvo’s features don’t just stop at walking, but it is also programmed to respond to a variety of voice commands from its owner. If you ask Nuvo to shake your hand it will walk over to you, and reach out its hand for you to shake. If you want it to move forward, you simply tell it to do so and it responses by walking forward with smooth human-like motion. You can also ask Nuvo to give you the time, play your favourite music or even take pictures for you with it’s built in camera.

The Nuvo robot has been branded as a ‘home robot’, not only capable of entertaining you, but also of keeping an eye on your home when you are out, or even as a mobile baby monitor, by relaying pictures to your mobile phone on command via the internet using the IEEE802.11b wireless lan. It is has also been labeled as a home companion of sorts, offering a degree of verbal communication back to its owner through the pre-programmed female voice built in, as well as responding to commands in a similar way to a dog or a cat.



Post by: Nitin Batra U048708Y

Posted by: robotnews | April 6, 2007

ASTRO, The Satellite Repairing Robot

ASTRO is a satellite repairing robot which is launched by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project). ASTRO is formed by a pair of satellite and it is designed such that they can patch up other satellite without the guidance of human being. ASTRO relies on its integrated GPS and laser sensor to do its repairing task. Once ASTRO is docked with the targeted ailing satellite, ASTRO will use a 10-foot robotic arm to fill the satellite with fuel and make repairs. Besides that, another mission of ASTRO other than repairing the satellite is providing an orbital boost to the satellite as to allow the recon satellites to maintain position longer.

The introduction of this robotic satellite repairing system eases the job of satellite repairing. However, this robotic system is still under testing. If this system is proved to be stable, there is not needed for astronauts to risk their life in repairing satellite or even spacecraft anymore. ASTRO don’t need any interaction with human unless there’s a problem with the sensors, passive detection systems, and computer software requiring mission control to intervene.

In my opinion, by improving this satellite repairing robot and minimize its size, astronauts can even carrying them on the spacecraft and use this repairing robot when necessary.

Reference
[1]http://www.japan.engadget.com/2007/03/09/autonomous-repair-robots-launched-into-space/
[2]http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/robots/astro-becomes-first-robotic-satellite-repair-man-243532.php

Yong See Wei U048661X

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