This summer brings us the new Visual Components Essentials which is set to replace the current lineup of factory design and simulation products. The workflow has been completely redesigned with speed and simplicity in mind, complemented by new features such as automatic 2D drawing and bill of materials generation, new export formats and more. The software aims to be a complete tool not only from an engineering standpoint but also for marketing and sales purposes, being able to generate accurate and meaningful presentations.
There are a lot of changes under the hood as well, the simulation engine takes advantage of the latest hardware technologies for an increased level of realism, while the new open architecture and API make it easy for developers to create custom applications based on the Visual Components engine.
Until recently robot programming was characterized by three different, typically very distinctively deployed programming techniques: teach pendant programming, graphical offline programming and textual programming.
Teach pendant programming is the simplest method, performed online directly at the location of the physical robot. By means of buttons and joysticks, a user can move the real robot into different states of its joints and/or pose of its end-effector. The user can record such poses one after another and then select different modes to connect these poses into a continuous robot motion trajectory (path).
EasyEDA is a free online tool for drawing circuit schematics, designing PCB layouts and generating fabrication files. An integrated fabrication service allows users to print their PCBs, effectively supporting the entire workflow of designing a new electronics board. Vast libraries of components and models are available, additionally open source models can be loaded and customized. The integrated SPICE circuit simulator allows for quickly analyzing the circuit and generating reports.
The smart and cute Little Robot Friends are searching for your attention on Kickstarter with more sensors, new features and even more cuteness. The robots are compatible with Arduino and can be easily customized from iOS and Android mobile apps. They are highly interactive and are ideal for STEM education being instantly appealing to kids who can learn about electronics and programming simply by playing and having fun.
The new Little Robot Friends | Image credit: Aesthetec Studio
The cute electronic characters were created by Canadian company Aesthetec Studio and the first generation hit the market in 2014. Along the revised Curvy, Spikey and Ghosty comes Crafty — a new character geared towards rapid prototyping of new robots.
Intel Galileo boards are adding some unique features to the ever-expanding Arduino hardware universe. On-board connectivity and versatility for certain usage scenarios represent, in my opinion, key aspects of these boards. This article focuses on how to install a Debian Linux distribution on the Intel Galileo Gen 2, as well as an analysis of the board’s performance as a mini computer stacked up against a Raspberry Pi 2 used for reference.
Earlier this week Sharp announced pricing and launch date for their unique humanoid-shaped robotic smartphone called RoBoHoN. The robot can be pre-ordered and will be on sale from May, 26 this year for a price of 198,000 Yen, equivalent to about 1,800 US Dollars. It will be available at first only Japan through a regional carrier, however the company has plans to bring it to other markets as well. Introduced in Fall 2015 at CEATEC in Japan the robot was present at numerous fairs including this year’s MWC.
RoBoHoN | Image credit: Sharp
RoBoHoN was developed in partnership with Professor Tomotaka Takahashi at the University of Tokyo, and reflects his vision in most aspects. The robot aims to be more than just an expensive communication gadget but rather to provide companionship for its owner, having a feature set that allows it to perform some fairly advanced tasks.
I dare to say that we are living history in the making. Yesterday, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, SpaceX launched a resupply mission to the International Space Station. There was however a secondary purpose, while the Dragon CRS-8 spacecraft has the mission to deliver its 3.2 Ton cargo and inflatable habitat – another premiere – to the ISS on Sunday, the Falcon 9 first stage rocket had to be retrieved in one piece soon after, by propulsion landing it on their “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship at sea. It was a complete success and a remarkable achievement, further supporting the concept of reusable rockets and bringing all of us one step closer to consumer space travel. Watch the webcast replay in case you missed it, or read more about the CRS-8 mission.