Five robots are racing around a room in Osaka, Japan, in what organizers call the world’s first robot marathon. The robots, entered by companies and universities, will complete a 26.2-mile marathon course by making 423 circuits of a track in a room in Osaka, CNET reports. Robots that fall over will have to get back up on their own, but human pit crews can recharge batteries, according to CNET. Toughness rather than speed will determine a winner among the foot-tall robots, the report says. The event, dubbed Robomarafull, is organized by robot maker Vstone and local government officials.
Build. Connect. Share. Bug Labs is a high-tech start up in New York City (www.buglabs.net). We’ve created the BUG. The BUG is a collection of easy-to-use, open source hardware modules, each capable of producing one or more Web services. These modules snap together physically and the services connect together logically to enable users to easily build, program and share innovative devices and applications. With BUG, businesses take advantage of a complete, integrated device development environment, enabling them to produce a proof-of-concept with a rich ecosystem of hardware, software and web services. Imagine being able to ramp from prototype to production faster and more affordably than ever before.
You are an experienced Test Engineer with proven experience testing and debugging API’s and Applications. You know some Java. You’re familiar with Linux. You have a deep understanding of the software development life cycle and can describe issues encountered and resolved. You see the value in and, equally important, understand the QA process, cycle, and tools. You aren’t afraid to tackle tasks out of your skill set, in fact you thrive when given the opportunity. You will help define and own project functionality and quality. You are technically inclined, curious, a strong problem solver, highly organized and detail-oriented, and have strong communication skills. You also have a sense of humor and people enjoy being around you.
BUG is a unique and evolving product – and it might just be the type of thing you do for fun. In addition to helping create a quality product you can be proud of, you will also help shape our functionality and direction. You will encounter new problems everyday, you will be hacking, and you will be working closely with our development team.
Some Responsibilities you will have :
You will own Software Development Kit testing projects
Develop and execute test sets for our Eclipse-based SDK
Testing activities in Java API’s, OSGi framework and BUG Hardware
Collaborate with product management and engineering teams to develop a comprehensive set of tests
Work with users to reproduce defects and log proper defect reports, collaborate with engineers to validate and get’em fixed
Analyze failed tests and manage defects using the defect reporting tool
Work with open source communities and external individuals to identify and classify external defects
MAKE Magazine takes a look at Sony’s history of suing makers, hackers and innovators. Over the last decade Sony has been targeting legitimate innovation, hobbyists, and competition. From picking on people who want to program their robot dogs to dance to suing people who want to run their own software on something they bought. Sony has made so many mistakes with technology choices (Memory Stick, Magic Gate, UMD!), perhaps they’ll end themselves soon enough, but until then MAKE is keeping score on Sony’s all our war on tinkerers.
Rarely does building a treehouse require welding, grinding, painting, riveting, bending, crimping, plumbing, brazing, laser cutting, sound design, printed circuit board fabrication, thousands of lines of C code, distributed network protocols, sewing and embroidery.
The RULAV is a hexagonal capsule, 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) high, atop a tripod 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) high, for an overall height of about 15 feet (4.6 meters). It is about 6.5 feet (2 meters) across at its widest point. The frame is welded mild steel with riveted aluminum skin. It contains nearly 800 LEDs forming dozens of numeric displays spread across 14 control panels, each with an acrylic face laser-cut and etched with labels such as “Lunar Distance” and “Hydraulic Pressure”. The pilot controls the rocket using a joystick and panels full of working switches, knobs and buttons. Underneath the capsule are three “thrusters” that shoot plumes of water and compressed air under the control of the pilot’s joystick, simulating real positioning thrusters. Takeoff and docking sequences are augmented by a paint-shaker that simulates the vibration of a rocket engine. Sound effects complete the illusion, with a powered subwoofer that gives the rocket a satisfying rumble.
Fritzing is an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software and website in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, developing a tool that allows users to document their prototypes, share them with others, teach electronics in a classroom, and to create a pcb layout for professional manufacturing.
Last September, work began on a new particle accelerator in the small Russian town of Dubna, just outside of Moscow, slated for completion in 2016. Dubbed NIKA, it is intended to complement Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider — which aims to discover more subatomic particles, most notably the Higgs boson — to investigate the process by which such particles first appeared by recreating the conditions of the Big Bang.
With so many eyes on the LHC these days, most news outlets missed that announcement. Even less well-known is the fact that that back in the late 1980s, the USSR started building what would have been the largest particle accelerator in the world in a town called Protvino.
The proton accelerator was known by its Russian acronym, UNK, and was the brainchild of scientists at Russia’s Institute for High Energy Physics.
While some progress had been made by 1996, the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent economic difficulties put the kibosh on the collider, thanks to funding cuts.
Today, the site is largely deserted, and it costs Russia roughly 80 million rubles ($2.7 million) a year to keep it pumped dry of ground water. It has also become something of a “tourist spot” for self-proclaimed urban explorers. That’s where this impressive collection of photographs were taken, a striking testament to what might have been.
“Belly Buster” Hand-Crank Audio Drill – The CIA used the “Belly Buster” drill during the late 1950s and early 1960s to drill holes into masonry in order to implant listening devices. After assembly, the base of the drill was held firmly against the stomach, while the handle was cranked manually. The kit came with several drill bits and accessories.
Whenever James Bond needed a nifty device to snap a surreptitious surveillance picture or escape the gilded clutches of Auric Goldfinger, he could count on the ingenious minds in the Secret Service’s Q Division to devise a solution. Real-world Bonds working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, and its precursor the Office of Strategic Services, could turn to the Office of Research and Development for similar tradecraft tools.
From mosquito drones to couture cameras, the CIA had its agents’ needs covered. Some of these devices are now displayed in the CIA’s museum, located at the agency’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters.
This video is both convoluted and funny (all those bots running into each other), but it demonstrates a cool idea. The purpose of the experiment is to quantify the coupling and uncoupling of stochastic robot systems, and create a mathematical model. It’s a neat approach to modeling such a system, and one I haven’t seen before. It also demonstrates, albeit in a simple way, one of my favorite robotics concepts: stochastic assembly. I’ve written about stochastic robots before:
Each of the little blocks represents a piece of “programmable” (or “smart”) matter. Very similar to the way complete DNA exists in every cell of your body, each of these blocks is programmed with the final shape — the ultimate goal of the assembly process. This is where the “robotic” comes in: each block is a robot, or at least a robotic element — it is programmed to perform a certain task (i.e. to assemble into a specific shape).
The blocks are placed in a “stochastic” environment: a tank of water (or air), for example, with random turbulent currents swirling around inside it. The blocks ride these currents into proximity with one another, and if they a) detect an adjacent block in the right orientation and, b) determine it is beneficial to the final construction, they connect to one another to form a subshape.
What I like most about the concept is that it closely mirrors the process of stem cells and DNA to build a final organism. Further, I think that the idea of self-assembly is critical to the future of robotics and technology — think space craft which assemble themselves in orbit, or nano-bots that enter the bloodstream and assemble into a stent or perhaps even a pacemaker. As Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum puts it:
One application for these types of robots might be in the medical field, where building a robot inside someone’s body could prove to be much more effective than building one outside. All you have to do is inject a bunch of little modules into the bloodstream, they’d randomly whirl about and run into each other and grab on where appropriate, and in a little bit you’d have your robot. You could even program the modules not to assemble themselves until they reached a certain place in the body, and while such precision might take a while (or a whole bunch of injections), the potential is there for extremely precise treatments and repairs.
So what’s up with the word “stochastic” — why not just call them “random”?
Well, firstly: in engineering and science, the word stochastic is generally used to imply a non-deterministic system. In a deterministic robot system, for example, a robot would go from A to B to C. In a non-deterministic (stochastic) system, the robot could start at A, and then go to B or C, and from there it could go back to A, or to B or C (depending on the last decision made). The starting point is the same, but the outcome can be different each time. Designing a system for these conditions means that you have to sort of assume all states are possible at once, though the possibility is often weighted by probability.
Secondly, and more importantly: nobody is going to give you a grant to build and study “random robots” — not nearly impressive-sounding enough.
Very thin copper—called “Electro-Sheet”—is bonded to a plastic laminate panel. On this copper sheet you print the wiring circuit you want with an ink that resists acid. Then you etch away the unwanted metal, leaving the pattern intact. This type of circuit is far superior to wires. It is accurate, compact and stable. Next you snap-fasten tube sockets and other parts in place and dip-solder the connections. To make a hundred electrical connections this way takes only a few seconds.
With printed wiring and other devices—such as transistors—electronic experts are concocting match-box-size hearing aids, vest pocket radios, more compact TV sets and portable electronic “brains.” They are speeding up the production of precision instruments vital in the operation of aircraft and control of guided missiles.