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Robots rawk at NIWeek August 17, 2011

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Check out the some of the awesome robots featured in the Robotics Pavilion at 2011 NIWeek:

SuperDroid Robots showed off the SD6 robot, a super-rugged, treaded UGV that was developed jointly with NI.

Dr. Hong brought the latest and greatest from RoMeLa, showing off their full-size humanoid robot, CHARLI:

I got a picture with CHARLI and Dr. Hong as well:

You can download many of the presentations from the Robotics Summit from the NIWeek Community:

And that’s not everything. Check out Brian Powell’s recap of all-things-robotic at NIWeek on the LabVIEW Field Journal blog:

LabVIEW Robotics at NIWeek 2011

Up Close and Personal with the Predator UAV June 23, 2010

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I’ve said several times over that military robots often get a bad rep, when in fact, they are helping save time, effort and ultimately, lives.

Consider Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): these robots can serve as the military eyes and ears in the sky, helping provide strategic surveillance information about identified and possible threats. They can fly undetected at extreme heights and see things humans cannot, using a variety of sensors like thermal cameras to detect things unseen to the naked eye.

These drones aren’t just spying on enemy territory. They can help protect U.S. borders as well. The Predator drone, for instance, is now being commissioned by the U.S. Customs Border Patrol to provide remote surveillance of the Texas border.

This video provides an excellent description of how these UAVs actually work. I was most impressed with the amount of redundancy these remotely-operated vehicles must have. Take a look and learn:

A recent news update reports that the border drone flights have been temporarily suspended due to a communications fault experienced during a recent test flight. It just goes to show how extremely cautious we must be when sending out unmanned vehicles to wander around in our atmosphere.

More information about robotic border patrol here.

See how NI technologies are also used on-board unmanned aerial vehicles like the Global Hawk.

MiNI Hubo Walks: Part 2 of series April 9, 2010

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Karl Muecke, one of our newest engineers on the LabVIEW Robotics development team, picked up MiNI Hubo the other day and decided it was time walk.

Using his background in humanoid locomotion and some VI libraries he developed for DARwIn back in grad school at Virginia Tech, Karl was able to get MiNI Hubo walking in less than two days.

Here’s MiNI Hubo’s first steps, at Karl’s desk:

Humanoid robots battle in Japanese competition March 26, 2010

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I spotted this video in an internal email going around at NI. A Japanese robot wrestling competition was covered by the nightly news in China. Looks like the NI logo made it onto the big screen, although I’m not sure how (or if) NI technologies were used in the competition. LabVIEW has been used to program many humanoid robots before though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these robots are powered by the NI software.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I bet RoMeLa’s DARWIN humanoid robot would have been a formidable opponent in this robot battle. I’ve seen some serious karate moves from him in the past.

Feedback control at its finest: Innovations from UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab October 19, 2009

Posted by emiliekopp in industry robot spotlight, labview robot projects.
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I found this cool video (below), provided by IEEE Spectrum Online the other day. Josh Romero, it’s narrator, must have experienced the robot revolution at this year’s NIWeek, as much of the video footage is taken from the Day 3 keynote. Here’s the full, extended version of Dr. Bewley’s talk about the work being done at the UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab.

10943-switchblade

This small treaded robot can climb stairs with ease and balance itself on a point.

Josh brings up a good point in his video: automatic feedback control can be the difference between simple, ordinary robots and incredibly sophisticated dynamic systems. Take Switchblade, for example. The robot performs low-level control on a dedicated, embedded processor (in this case, a 2M gate FPGA on a SingleBoardRIO) to automatically balance itself on a point. There is an additional, real-time processor that performs additional tasks like maneuvering up a flight of stairs. With it being so small and having such a wide spectrum of mobility, it puts search-and-rescue robots like the PackBot to shame. See you at the top of the stairs, PackBot!

Ok, I take that back. Let’s avoid “shaming” PackBot. Please don’t shoot me, PackBot.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Stay tuned for a closer look at how Switchblade works in a future post.

A quick update to the Blind Driver Challenge vehicle October 14, 2009

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Here’s a technical case study that provides some additional information on how the Virginia Tech team built the blind driver vehicle I mentioned in a previous blog post.

In addition, I wanted to share this video I found of 16-year-old Addie Hagen getting prepped to take a first stab at driving a car. It’s short and simple, with little video editing. But watching it truly demonstrates the impact this project can have on a person who thought something like driving a car would never be possible in her lifetime.

I am famous like David Hasselhoff April 17, 2009

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I found this the other day and about fell out of my chair.

Back in Fall 2008, I attended the RoboDevelopment Conference and Expo (where the epic Man vs. Machine Rubix Cube face off was caught on video). I delivered a technical presentation there called “Defining a Common Architecture for Robotics Systems.” Fancy title, huh? I thought so. You can view a webcast of my presentation from NI’s website if anyone’s interested.

So, I was in NI’s booth, showing off some of our robots, and I started talking to a German journalist (in English of course). He had a nice video camera. He interviewed me talking about, well, I can’t remember, robot stuff I guess. Five months later, I stumbled upon this:

Fast forward to ~1:05 and you’ll see a familiar face. But holy crap, it’s all dubbed in German, so I have no idea what I’m saying. I have absolutely no idea why Britney Spears is mentioned the video title and write-up. Should I be worried?

My friend Silke, from NI Germany, said “the publishing site, Stern, is a very famous and popular German magazine on politics, economics, popular sciences, and lifestyle. Maybe comparable to Newsweek or the Spectator. Emily: You are a famous star now (“Stern” means “star” in German)!”

So apparently, I’m huge in Germany. David Hasselhoff, eat your heart out.