Sunday, May 28, 2017

Product Reviews

The Rapid Pace Of Artificial Intelligence

Trying To Keep Up! In January 2016 Europe’s reigning GO champion, Fan Hui was defeated by Deep Mind’s AlphaGo program. Based on strategy and intuitive thinking, each move of the black or white stones of the 2500-year-old game of GO leads to a possible 250 moves. Every …

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The Worker Robots

Will robots take over the world? How many times have you heard this? From magazines to books, whenever we talk about robots this notion pops up. True- when Martin Ford titled his book, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, he might have expected this kind of hyperbole, but Ford had something entirely different on his mind.

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Coming Soon: Superintelligence

In Daniel Wilson’s book, Robopocalypse, Archos is the supremely intelligent sentient being unwittingly unleashed upon the world. He is self-aware, self- improving and bent on his own self-preservation and destroying humankind.

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A Super Rover For Planet Earth

Undoubtedly two of the most admired robots on this planet, or any other, are the Mars Rovers Opportunity and Spirit. Primarily telepresence robots, the Mars Rovers are rugged six wheel machines that remotely execute instructions wirelessly received from Earth. They truly are the ultimate in "outdoor" robots.

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Arduino For the Parallax Boe-Bot

The Arduino controller has been the hottest item in the world of embedded controllers for hobbyists over the last few years. This article is a review of Parallax's new Arduino Board of Education (BOE) Shield for their Boe-Bot robot. With this shield you can now control the Boe-Bot with an Arduino! Note: “Shield” is the name given to daughter cards that plug into an Arduino controller board.

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KumoTek KT-X Family of Humanoids

KumoTek Robotics entered the humanoid robotics market in the spring of 2007 with the introduction of the 17 degree of freedom and multi-purpose KT-X Superbot, developed in collaboration with Vstone Corporation of Japan. Vstone is well known for their leading role as the brains and muscle behind Team Osaka, the 5 time consecutive champions of the International RoboCup.

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The World Models RoboPhilo

Humanoids! No matter what your personal area of interest within the robotics hobby is, there is something about humanoids that really grabs your attention. Maybe it comes from our infatuation with the famous Robinson's robot in Lost in Space, or perhaps you imagined Rosie helping around your house as she did on The Jetsons. No matter where your infatuation with these lifelike robots comes from, companies like The World Models make the humanoid robot as commonplace and easy to obtain as a DVD player.

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Parallax’s Red Hot Scribbler 2 Robot

Parallax's new, bright red, S2 is designed to be a worthy successor to their original blue Scribbler Robot. Powered by Parallax's Propeller chip, a multicore processor ideal for robotics, the open source and user hackable S2 should have everyone from beginners to experienced users excited and experimenting right out of the box.

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MINDS-i Lunar Rover 3-in-1 Kit

If you are looking for a mobile, outdoor platform for your next robot project, or perhaps a chassis for use in a RoboMagellan or similar robotics competition, you need to check this platform out. The MINDS-i Rover is all new and we find it to be of significant value.

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Robotis DARwIn-OP Raises The Bar

We caught up with Professor Dennis Hong, director of RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) at Virginia Tech and asked him to describe the latest iteration of this awesome humanoid. As always, Dennis spoke quickly and articulately, delivering a massive amount of information in a short amount of time with the greatest of ease, something his students love him for, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Here’s the inside scoop!

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DF RobotShop Arduino-complete, affordable and expandable

The DFRobotShop Rover is an Arduino-complete robot that is a collaborative development between RobotShop and DF Robot. It’s only $90; an attractive price for the delivered functionality. Everything but the batteries and USB cable are included in the kit. The kit is built from many “standard” parts packaged into the kit; a lot easier than trying to buy all the parts individually. The metal side mounts and the large circuit board are custom made for the Rover.

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PARROT AR Drone – RTF Quadrotor for new and advanced pilots/research organizations

Quadrotors, you say. I cringe. I fly a Trex 450 Pro (but am lightyears behind Alan Szabo Jr.). For better or worse I have actually designed and machined my own heli designs and blades. That’s already a fulltime hobby. I didn’t think I had the time to tune, tweak, code, research “+” or ”x” configurations, etc. for a quadrotor. In our mechatronics course 10 years ago we hacked ultrasonic range finders from old Polaroid cameras, custom built our H-bridges, and hacked a digital compass from a family van for our 8 digital input and 5 analog input autonomous differential drive robot hockey player run by our MIT HandyBoard.

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BOTBUILDER – BoxBot A robot for “cowboys”!

The BoxBot is a straightforward, easy-to-assemble robot kit that includes an open-source microcontroller, development environment and programming language. This kit is the creation of Steve Carpenter, a robotics enthusiast at BotBuilder—a United Kingdom-based supplier of robot kits and components.

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