Robotics
Top 5 pieces of Robotics news from the past week

It’s been an undeniably monumental year in the year of Robotics. Yet, it’s understandable when you can’t keep up-to-date the nuances of every week which creeps by. So, we’ve decided to create a post that concocts all of the most popular and important robotics news from the past week. This will allow you to keep up to date with the top stories the web. This post will span from the an interview with Terry Fong Director of Intelligent Robotics Group and project manager of NASA Human Exploration Telerobotic, to Etienne Burdet integrating neuroscience and robotics to develop assistive devices for sufferers of a stroke.

1. Neuroscience meets robotics in stroke rehab

Stroke is the leading cause of severe physical impairment in the developed world. After a stroke, most patients are brought to the hospital for therapy to get them mobile and discharged quickly; little training is performed with the upper limbs. However, we believe that this is vitally important for daily living and there is a real need for a home-based rehabilitation system. We’ve integrated robotic tools with a computer game interface to create a touchscreen table that responds to objects fitted with sensors that are placed on it. Patients are encouraged to repeat movements with these objects by interacting with a game on the table. For example, a patient might be asked to simulate an everyday task using our tools, such as opening a lid. We can then examine their performance and encourage them to repeat or change their movements. The tasks can be adapted to patients’ capabilities and an affirmative system provides incentives to improve; we encourage the patient to independently solve a problem. Our system is affordable, comprehensive and easy to use…

Highlight: The prospect of changing the lives of those with a neurologically-caused upper limb deficit is something absolutely extraordinary.  The example offered talks about how the research could aid infants with cerebral palsy, and they’ve developed toys with sensors that measure how the child moves and encourages them to use both hands to the point where the brain does this naturally, unprompted.

Read on here.

2. Beer-Pouring Robot Programmed to Anticipate Human Actions

A robot in Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab has learned to foresee human action in order to step in and offer a helping hand, or more accurately, roll in and offer a helping claw.Understanding when and where to pour a beer or knowing when to offer assistance opening a refrigerator door can be difficult for a robot because of the many variables it encounters while assessing the situation. A team from Cornell has created a solution…

Read on here

Highlight: Ashutosh Saxena , Cornell professor of computer science and co-author of a new study, talks about the robot’s education and eventual autonomy. ”We extract the general principles of how people behave. Drinking coffee is a big activity, but there are several parts to it.” . Consider how the robot builds a “vocabulary” constructed of the most minute details, and it can then recognise a plethora of human activities, specific to the variety action a human takes part in.

“The future would be to figure out how the robot plans its action. Right now we are almost hard-coding the responses, but there should be a way for the robot to learn how to respond.” Saxena adds – not as trivial as the headline suggests.

3. Robotics students construct hands-free lawnmower

Students in the robotics program at LeCroy Career Technical Center aren’t always working together on the same project, but their instructors make sure they are always working on something and moving forward in their education. An automated lawnmower, also known as “The Ardumower,” is a project one group of students completed before school dismissed for the summer last week…

Read on here

Highlight: Here’s something DIY which will save some Summer’s days; this project, The Ardumower, will no doubt have an impact on Suburban communities nationwide. Though it still requires some development in terms of intelligence, this is something that’s achievable. “This is the fourth thing now that will work on its own,” LeCroy said of machines students have built since the robotics program relocated to the center nearly a year ago. “(It’s) all controlled and built by students.

4. NASA interview with Terry Fong: Intelligent Robotics Group

I recently spoke to Terry Fong, Director of Intelligent Robotics Group and project manager of NASA Human Exploration Telerobotics. Fong stresses that human/robot collaboration in future projects will necessitate a team approach. Physical interactions must be monitored with collision detection algorithms and sensors, activity coordination and conveyance of information will be critical. So Human Robot Interaction (HRI) methods need be employed. An entire conference exisits for HRI. The Human-Robotic Systems Project includes four robots with four very different missions. These K10 robots are basically the same except for some payload differences…

Read on here

Highlight: Talking about higher level communication, such as Data Distribution Service, being used between his “fleet of robots within operation is very exciting, and Fong has said, “Getting four complex robots with very different designs to use a common data system was challenging. The Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems [DDS] standard supports very flexible service parameters. We found that we could adapt the middleware to the unique needs of each robotic system.”

5. Robotics Play Increasing Role In Senior Care

Decades ago, the idea of robots playing a role in our daily lives seemed like something out of the Jetson’s – something entirely unrealistic. However, each year brings more advancements in robotic technology for all aspects of life, and senior living is no exception. While robots will likely never fully replace the care and compassion offered by elder care providers and skilled nursing professionals, they may make the caregiving job a bit easier. According to new research, many caregivers are willing to accept a little mechanical help, to an extent…

Read on here

Highlight: The fact that these machines are being tailored to aid and reduce physical demands, something that will in-turn be massively beneficial for the healthcare industry. It now depends on whether they can craft and develop a machine which is acceptable for those using it, something that Tracy Mitzner and the Georgia Institute of Technology are surely capable of.

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