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Cyborg Fly Controls Mobile Robot Through Obstacle Course August 31, 2010

Posted by emiliekopp in labview robot projects.
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Erico Guizzo, editor of the IEEE Spectrum Automaton Blog, recently featured a cyborg fly application from Chauncey Graetzel and his colleagues at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems. Essentially, Swiss researchers have devised a closed-loop system that uses a tethered fly to control a robot and perform obstacle avoidance. How is this possible? Check out Erico’s post to get a good breakdown of the system.

I should mention this application was a finalist in the Robotics category for the 2010 Graphical System Design Achievement Awards. This is an annual paper contest that recognizes amazing feats and innovative applications built using National Instruments hardware and software.

Dr. Graetzel and his team needed a control system that was super fast and super flexible. They used NI CompactRIO as an interface to an LED-based visual stimulus arena at temporal and spatial resolutions that allowed them to efficiently stimulate the fly’s visual system. LabVIEW software was used to record these signals and provide the real-time execution for stimulus generation.

Here’s what Dr. Graetzel had to say about using NI tools for his project:

LabVIEW and CompactRIO provided an ideal solution for building a control loop that incorporates a living insect and allows us to perform a variety of experiments. CompactRIO acquires and generates signals for a multitude of industry standards and extends custom-made research tools. In addition, we achieved major efficiency gains with the ability to distribute our application between a PC, the real-time controller, and the FPGA without having to learn several programming and design languages. The range of available add-on products and interfaces also offered great potential for future extensions and adaptations.

Here’s a video of the mobile robot successfully avoiding obstacles using the feedback from the fly (which is tethered inside the LED cylinder array):

Watch more videos and read Dr. Graetzel’s submission to the Robotics category in the Graphical System Design Achievement Awards contest here:

Designing a Robotic Device to Study Flying Insects Using LabVIEW and CompactRIO

NI Develops Cybernetic Leadership Team in Preparation for Longterm Future April 1, 2010

Posted by emiliekopp in robot fun.
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Check out the latest news release I found on our site this morning:

NI LabVIEW Robotics Helps Implement Founder’s 100-Year Plan – Literally

April 1, 2010 – Austin, Texas – National Instruments is known for providing design, control and test solutions to engineers around the world. Additionally, NI is known for creating easy-to-use graphical programming for domain experts in every industry from robotics to green to medical. And stakeholders know NI for its long-term planning. The company’s lasting view, known as the “100-year plan,” looks decades into the future to ensure the needs of these stakeholders are given appropriate consideration. To fully execute on this initiative, the management team chose to create a plan that will actually be around for all 100 years. Today the company is unveiling robotic clones of founders Dr. James Truchard and Jeff Kodosky.

Introduced by NI CEO and cofounder, Dr. James Truchard, the 100-year plan balances the long-term NI vision with short-term goals and defines which company philosophies, ethics, values and principles are necessary to guide the company’s growth through future generations. Powered by LabVIEW Robotics, the JT-76 and the JK-86, respectively, are ready for anything that comes their way, be it design challenges that threaten cost overruns or intergalactic overlords seeking to enslave the human race.

Read more from the news release here.

Needless to say, the entire company is buzzing with this latest news. Will the rest of the leadership team also be migrated to robot clones? Will the robots be programmed for good or evil? Are the cyborgs’ artificial intelligence VIs open source and will they be shared on the LabVIEW Robotics Code Exchange? And does anyone else think the cyborgs have a striking resemblance to MiNI-Hubo?

I, for one, welcome our NI robot overlords.