In robotics and automation benefits of software simulation are apparent from early stages in the development life cycle of almost any product or system, and this is particularly true for industrial environments where equipment downtime periods are a key factor in the overall efficiency of a process. Today we take a look at RoboDK, a highly versatile development platform for industrial robot offline programming and simulation which supports over 200 industrial robots from leading manufacturers such as ABB, KUKA, Yaskawa, Adept and many more.
A bit of background, RoboDK is the commercial version of the perhaps better known RoKiSim robotic simulator developed at École de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) in Montreal, Canada by Ph.D. graduate Albert Nubiola. The software became pretty popular over its 3 years of existence so its creator founded RoboDK with the goal to create a more refined product for roboticists worldwide.
The first story of today is perhaps the most interesting thing I’ve seen lately. Researchers at MIT’s AeroAstro laboratory have presented an implementation of their new learning algorithm for optimizing control policies based on reinforcement learning effectively obtaining a robotic Ken Block. The starting point for the reinforcement learning algorithm is represented by a set of determined optimal control policies for drifting a remote control car. A set of simulation runs is performed after which the control model optimized by the algorithm is transferred to the physical car. In the demonstration below steady drifting is achieved quite rapidly and we can see how efficiently the algorithm compensates for external factors. Of course the end of the video is just as interesting.
Earlier this week Microsoft announced the public release of their Windows IoT Core embedded OS, currently supporting the Raspberry Pi 2 and Intel’s MinnowBoard Max development boards. When the project surfaced earlier this year Microsoft’s shift towards the Internet of Things became unequivocal. The new OS is fully integrated with the existing Windows development framework that is familiar and well established.
Windows 10 IoT Family | Photo: Microsoft
The Windows 10 IoT Core is scarcely featured compared not only to mainstream Linux distributions for embedded devices but to the rest of the Windows family as well. Let’s see what this all means.
This is another Sariel project, the boat called Purists’ Bane is built entirely with LEGO bricks apart from the nylon plastic 3D printed propellers that can be bought for a little over 7 Dollars. At the core of the boat lies the US $62 SBrick controller which interfaces with your mobile device via Bluetooth LE.
Be it purpose built controller boards, fully automated bottle openers or even a fully functional brewing machine these projects can make life easier by removing a lot of hassle involved in the beer drinking process.
Tesla Unveils Robotic Charger Prototype
Tesla never ceases to amaze, the robotic arm of the charger looks pretty much alive and not creepy at all.
Remote Controlled Robotic Avatar Demonstrates Fast and Accurate Response
Engineers at MIT have showcased a robot that very accurately duplicates human reflexes when controlled by a remote operator. The robot can perform fine arm movements and lightning quick strikes when required.
New Algorithms for More Dexterous Robotic Grippers
Another presentation from MIT researchers allows us to watch extrinsic dexterity methods implemented in control algorithms of a robotic gripper arm. The robot coordinates gripping with motion and external support to optimize grip.
As you may know already Suidobashi Heavy Industries accepted the challenge issued by Megabots on the condition that it will be only a melee combat with no weapons involved. Earlier this week the Megabots team issued another response in which they say they will want to fight in both ways and will further prepare and upgrade the robot for this purpose.
The Americans say that they are assembling a team of engineers and fabricators and will be launching another – hopefully more successful – Kickstarter campaign soon to raise the funds required for this massive purpose – both literally and figuratively. Read more about the challenge here.
The fifth generation of Aisoy1 comes with several new features and improvements while still retaining its very affordable price. Compared to the third generation introduced last year the new robot is powered by the Raspberry Pi 2 controller board, cloud support is introduced for a more refined experience while the Botmobile wheels and motors pack adds mobility to the robot.
Aisoy1 V5 with Botmobile add-on | Photo: Aisoy Robotics
Just like previous versions Aisoy1 V5 can be programmed in visual environments such as Scratch, Blockly and most standard IDEs and languages. The AIROS SDK is available for developers backed by a well-established community.
ReWalk Robotics introduced the sixth iteration of their well-known robotic exoskeleton aimed at enabling people with spinal cord injuries to walk on their feet again. The new ReWalk 6.0 features revised bracing to better distribute loads over the human body thus making it much easier and more comfortable to wear. The suit features a much sleeker design allowing it to be less intrusive and better integrate with the user’s lifestyle.
ReWalk 6.0 Exoskeleton | Photo: ReWalk Robotics
ReWalk suits are perhaps the most widely adopted and approved exoskeletons worldwide for medical and – very notably – for personal use as well, allowing people to quickly get back into the community and not just be bound to using these suits during rehabilitation sessions and such.