LERN: Carnegie Mellon Team Wins 5th International RoboCup Championship

The CMDragons are five-time world champions of RoboCup. This year's team (from left to right): Steven Klee, Richard Wang, Juan Pablo Mendoza, Manuela Veloso, Joydeep Biswas and Danny Zhu. Not pictured: Philip Cooksey. (Photo credit: CMU)

More than 170 teams came out for this year’s RoboCup, which took place in Heifi, China. The event included a variety of challenges, including a robot rescue contest and soccer competitions for robots of various sizes. Highlights included a big win for the Carnegie Mellon University team CMDragons. The team played a shut out game against MRL, a team from ... Read More »

Create Smooth Motion with V-Rollers

Use these V-Rollers to create smooth motion along a channel. (Photo credit: ServoCity.com)

Put your project in motion with V-Rollers. These carefully crafted parts allow you to smoothly move a tube through an Actobotics channel. The V-Rollers come in three varieties: aluminum screw-set, Delrin with bearings, and the press-fit Delrin. The contoured shape of the V-rollers allows them to self-center when running on along a tube or shaft of an appropriate diameter. The ... Read More »

Creating Smooth Motion with V-Rollers

Use these V-Rollers to create smooth motion along a channel. (Photo credit: ServoCity.com)

Put your project in motion with V-Rollers. These carefully crafted parts allow you to smoothly move a tube through an Actobotics channel. The V-Rollers come in three varieties: aluminum screw-set, Delrin with bearings, and the press-fit Delrin. The contoured shape of the V-rollers allows them to self-center when running on along a tube or shaft of an appropriate diameter. The ... Read More »

Pololu Dual MC33926 Motor Driver for Raspberry Pi

The GPIO pin mappings on this add-on board can be customized. (Photo credit: Pololu.)

Adding a pair of brushed DC motors to a Raspberry Pi B+, A+, or Pi 2 is easy with this add-on board from Pololu. The board comes fully assembled, so all you need to do is connect it to a Pi as a HAT (Hardware Attached on Top)! Two Freescale MC33926 motor drivers operate from 5 V to 28 V and can ... Read More »

LERN: Improving Object Recognition for Robots

The proposed SLAM-aware object recognition system is able to localize and recognize several objects in the scene, aggregating detection evidence across multiple views. The annotations are actual predictions proposed by the system. (Photo credit: Courtesy of the researchers.)

John Leonard’s group in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering specializes in SLAM, or simultaneous localization and mapping, the technique whereby mobile autonomous robots map their environments and determine their locations. Last week, at the Robotics Science and Systems conference, members of Leonard’s group presented a new paper demonstrating how SLAM can be used to improve object-recognition systems, which will ... Read More »

LERN: Bacteria-Controlled Robot Brain in Development

Waren Ruder used a mathematical model to demonstrate that bacteria can control the behavior of an inanimate device like a robot. (Photo credit: Virginia Tech.)

Virginia Tech scientists are working on a robotic system that may one day be controlled by living bacteria. Currently, the researchers are using a mathematical model based on the behavior of bacteria to control the robot. “Basically we were trying to find out from the mathematical model if we could build a living microbiome on a nonliving host and control ... Read More »

LERN: Robot Hotel Opens in Japan

The hotel does not advise leaving valuables in the care of the dinosaur robot conceirge. (Photo credit: Huis Ten Bosch.)

A new hotel opening in Japan has robot clerks at the front desk. Called the Henn-na Hotel, the novel business is located just outside of Nagasaki’s Huis Ten Bosch, an eco-friendly theme park modeled after the Netherlands. The hotel’s robots, which include a Nao, a humanoid, and a dinosaur in a bow tie and cap, can check you in and ... Read More »

A Tracked Metal Chassis for Tough Terrain

The All Metal Robot Tracks Development Platform is designed to work with an Arduino. (Photo credit: SainSmart.)

Interested in building a tracked robot that can handle tough terrian? Check out Sain Smart’s all metal tracked chassis. Weighing in at 768 grams, this chassis can carry up to 8Kg. The small but sturdy chassis measures 200 mm x 150 mm x 90 mm. The kit includes a stainless steel platform, 6 bogie wheels and the necessary screws, and ... Read More »

Turn Your Spark into a Robot with the PhoBot

Use the PhoBot to turn your Spark into a robot. (Photo credit: Adafruit.)

Turning your Spark into a robot is much easier with PhoBot. Made by Simon Monk, the board acts as a motorshield for the Spark Core or Particle Photon. Using a TB6612 dual H-bridge, the PhoBot can control one stepper motor or two brushed DC motors with 4.5-13VDC power and about 1A current draw per motor. In addition, two open drain ... Read More »

LERN: Law Must Catch Up with Rise of Robotics

While many advanced robots work at a distance, far off in space, increasingly, robotics and artificial intelligence are impacting our daily lives. One legal scholar believes its time for the law to consider the implications. (Photo credit: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center.)

A new article calls for the law to catch up with robotic technology. Ryan Calo, assistant professor in the University of Washington School of Law, says it’s time laws reflect the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence. “Technology has not stood still. The same private institutions that developed the Internet, from the armed forces to search engines, have initiated a ... Read More »

ZX Distance and Gesture Sensor

Detect simple gestures and find the ZX coordinates of objects in your robot's path! (Photo credit: Sparkfun)

This little infrared emitter and detector combo can be used a few different ways, when hooked up to an Arduino. Each of the IR emitters are housed in copper tubes, so the detector (located in the center of the board), should only pick up infrared light after it’s bounced off an object. Not surprisingly, it can detect whether an object ... Read More »

LERN: Jumping Robot Avoids Damage Using 3D-Printed Housing

The image on the left shows how the rigid top fractures on landing. The top made of nine layers of differing flexibility (shown right) remains intact. (Photo credit: Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego/Harvard University.)

A new, 3D printed robot features an interesting body with a rigid core and a soft exterior. The rigid layers make for a better interface with the device’s electronics and power supply. The soft layers allow it to jump up to 2.5 feet high without sustaining damage. “We believe that bringing together soft and rigid materials will help create a ... Read More »

Advanced Bristlebot Kit

Advanced Bristlebot

Science Buddies’ Advanced Bristlebot Kit is great for kids who want to learn about breadboarding. Users can build the adorable bot in one of two ways: as a light seeking robot, or a solar powered robot. Then they can take it apart and build the other version, as all of the components can be easily reassembled. Cds photoresistors are used ... Read More »