Nao Climb Spiral Stair Autonomously

It’s always wonderful to see a humanoid conquering stairs, especially autonomously. It’s not easy on larger robots but more possible with the nao. It’s all preprogrammed without feedback with ASIMO and HUBO.

It would be wonderful to see this work on larger robots. Humanoids are built to conquer the human-centric world but seem to struggle with what we deem trivial like climbing stairs.


Source – robots dreams

Kitchen Robots for Singapore

Placing robots in the kitchen to improve productivity but does it improve the taste? What we see in the video are machines but there are many examples of how robots can be used in restaurant.

Deboning Chicken for Hainanese Chicken Rice?

Hainanese chicken rice is a national delight here on the little red dot. There could be thousands of stalls selling chicken rice here and each stall selling up to 100 or more chickens a day. Each chicken is cut up into pieces before it is place on a plate of rice to be serve. This challenge of deboning the chicken (after it has been cooked) has been posed to engineers on the item without much result. It’s possible technically but it’s not easy to beat the chef with his mega chopper.

Gary McMurray, chief of the Georgia Tech, is getting robots to debone uncooked chicken. It’s not an easy task. “Each bird is unique in its size and shape, so we have developed the sensing and actuation needed to allow an automated deboning system to adapt to the individual bird, as opposed to forcing the bird to conform to the machine.” The team revealed a prototype version of the robot last year, but has since improved the speed and, in a recent demonstration, was able to debone a bird in seconds. Impressive!!

Source – The Verge

Rethink Robotics

Today’s manufacturing robots are big and stiff, unsafe for people to be around, engineered to be precise and repeatable, not adaptable. Normal workers can’t touch them… What if ordinary people could touch robots? What if ordinary people got to interact with them and use them?

– Rod Brooks, Remaking Manufacturing with Robots

Rethink Robotics

Placing the human in proximity to a robot might slow down a robot while it performs its task. I am curious to find out how this can be achieved in reality. Are these robots inherently safe, where even safety is considered from a hardware perspective.

Robots are typical position controlled but there is a move to force control or impedence control where forces with the human, the environment and the object are consider. This means the robot is becoming more like us as it’s possible for a human to work blindfolded feeling our way and figuring out the objects and the environment around us just by touch. There are a few companies that are working and selling these types of robots.

Meka Robotics is one company that has developed a human safe force controlled robot that can be used for such applications. Barrett Technology’s WAM arm is another such arm is highly dexterous, naturally backdrivable. It’s being used in the DARPA’s ARM Challenge. The other arm is the KUKA’s LWR arm has a 1:1 Mass-Payload ratio with a 7kg payload. This ensures that the robot is safe as compared to a typical industrial robot. The LWR is on sale but there is a great interest in the arm from the industry. These technologies don’t come cheap but it’s the way robotics should go. It would be good to see more adopter of the technologies in the real world outside of the laboratories.

Festo’s New Robotic Hand – Exohand

Festo has been developing beautiful robots of late and it’s still amazing me the way that the develop robots with an understanding of biological systems. It not only gives robots the ability to mimic biological systems but gives us an understanding of how our anatomy works.

The Exohand won second place during the Hermes Award at this year’s Hannover Messe industrial fair. It’s a fair that showcases the latest and most innovative products.

The ExoHand has eight double-acting pneumatic actuators that act as the muscles of the hand, with eight linear potentiometers acting as displacement sensors, and 16 pressure sensors provide feedback about the positions, angles, and forces of fingers. This provides a means for haptic force feedback for the human operator while remotely manipulating the arm.

Festo has developed other systems worth looking at, e.g. the PowerGripper that models after a bird’s beak and a robotic arm that is inspired by the elephant trunk. They also have a flying robot that look at the flight of bird with the Robotino XT, their mobile platform used for education and research. I am sure there will be many more interesting projects in the pipeline.

Source –

Musical Robot at Google I/O

Shimi is a musical robot creation by Tovbot. The robot allows you to dock your android phone and has high quality speakers to produce high fidelity sound. It’s your personal DJ, with the ability to face you wherever you are located to direct the sound towards you. It has the ability to give you alerts from your favorite social media platform if musics is not playing.

This robot is planned for launch at CES 2013. Hang in there if you want Shimi but for the time being, a sonos or Google Nexus Q might suffice!!


Source – IEEE Spectrum

Humanlike Tactile Sensors

Syntouch LLC created the BioTac, tactile sensors for robotic fingers, that is able to detect vibration, temperature and force. It’s liken to our own finger.

Researchers at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering have developed a robot capable of identifying materials better than human. That’s good news for the community. The sensors have been mounted on the BarrettHand and the Shadow Hand. It’s possible to mount the finger to other forms of grippers as well.

Researchers from TUM have done a similar sensor that can be mounted on the entire body of a robot to provide similar feedback. These sensors will certainly be useful for manipulation and sensing the environment around the robot.


Robot patented by Samsung

This is the first i have seen of a patent of an entire robot by samsung.

 The filings have a robot more directly mimicking a human walk and adjusting the scale to get the appropriate speed without the unnatural, perpetually bent gait of certain peers. To safely get from point A to point B, any path is chopped up into a series of walking motions, and the robot constantly checks against its center of gravity to stay upright as it walks uphill or down.

Source – Engadget

Before You Die – The Last Moment Robot?

We want to be near our family on our death bed, to see them for the last time before we leave this world. But for those who do not have friends and family in the vicinity, this might be a good alternative, a robot who comforts you while you lie there.

This last moment robot strokes your arm and utters supposedly calming statements to you once it detects that you are about to pass away.

The actual set-up is an art installation by Dan Chen, with the  increasing number of elderly living alone in their later years, this idea might not be funny at all. You can see the Last Moment Robot in action in the video below.

This is what the robot says to you.

Hi Susie, I am the last moment robot.
I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on earth.
i am sorry that (pause) your family and friends can’t be with you right now, but don’t be afraid. I am here to comfort you. (pause)
you are not alone, you are with me. (pause)
Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are  gone.  (pause)
Time of death 11:56