Sunday, 26 February 2017

Robots at the Science Museum

The Science Museum has a fantastic Exhibition on Robots running between 8th February till 3rd September 2017 - well worth a look.

Science Museum's video of highlights



Collections of photos from the exhibition.

Automaton


Figure 1
Figures 1 and 2 are of the James Cox and John Joseph Merlin 1773 The Silver Swan usually found at The Bowes Museum .
Figure 2





Figure 3
Figure 3 is the intricate Automaton Spider (c1604)


A couple of Movie Stars
Figure 4: Replica of 'Maria' Metropolis 1927

Figure 5: Endoskeleton from the Terminator 2: Judgement Bay, 1992



Humanoids


Figure 6: Eric the Robot - http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/plan_your_visit/exhibitions/eric 




The heads
Figure 7: The eyes follow you when you are queuing


Figure 8: Inkha, 2002


Figure 9: First head of Cog, 1999 http://www.ai.mit.edu/projects/humanoid-robotics-group/cog/overview.html


Figure 10: Lucy 2001-2006 by Steve Grand 






Companions
Figure 11: Trumpet Playing Robot, Toyota, 2004




Figure 12: YuMi Collaborative robot, ABB 2015


Figure 13: Baxter Collaborative Robot, ReThink Robots, 2015



Educational Robots
Figure 14: Kaspar, University of Hertfordshire, 2005


Figure 15: Zeno R25, 2013





Figure 16: iCub, Italian Institute of Technology, 2004










All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

Ubtech Alpha 2 is alive and dancing

Alpha2 is the next stage on from the more readily available Ubtech Alpha 1s, funded through a recent crowd sourcing project. At the moment all I have done is the set it up with an iPad and tried out a few voice commands. It does dance on the slightly creepy command "Dance for me", personally, I am not sure of it saying "master".

So far it looks good and there is plenty to investigate. 





All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Cozmo - Wall-E has a rival

I suspect someone from Anki was watching Wall-E (not the first to notice that see verge article http://www.theverge.com/2016/6/27/12007772/anki-cozmo-robot-ai-toy-wall-e-pixar) when they designed Cozmo it sounds, looks a bit like and has cuteness of Wall-E; but resembles the little cleaning robot M-O (which it is hard not to like); all crossed with a cute bulldozer. That is two ‘cutes’ in one sentence – this is a robot has this in abundance. From saying your name, to excitedly tapping the blocks, to victory dances when it wins a game. This is a smart little robot full of a lot of features that are revealed over the days you play with it.


The video from the manufacturer, Anki, above gives some idea of the technical aspects of it.

Anki have already produced an open-source SDK https://developer.anki.com/en-gb that is Python-based.

Powering up Cozmo for the first time and connecting to the App is relatively easy and quickly you are into playing with it (I am trying not to say him or her). 





It is not, at the time of writing, available in the UK; I ordered mine from amazom.com and it arrived within two weeks. 



My personal view is Cozmo is worth the price (I paid $179.99 + shipping, etc), the Anki team behind have made this a small robot that packs in a lot of user experience. You want to play with it, and hear it say your name or watch it win or lose in a game with you. I am looking forward to trying to program it - but maybe first I will just go and have another game of tapping the blocks, or through AR watch it picking up the blocks from its perspective, or...

SDK
Installation guide - http://cozmosdk.anki.com/docs/initial.html


All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Robot insect for the home - Antbo

Robot insect for the home, Antbo, started as a crowdfunded project (see the video below) (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/antbo-an-insect-robot-anyone-can-build-steam-diy#/) from the DFRobot Robotics. 

This is post is not really a fully review, just some initial thoughts, as I haven't spent enough time playing with it; but what I have seen so far does interest me.



The price during the crowdsource was around the $59-$69 which because of the range of sensors and features does seem reasonable. The screenshot below is taken from the funding website discussing some of the features.




An intriguing point in the literature is the self-learning - using 30 neuron neural network – I would love to have more details of this one.

At the moment I have been controlling it through the iPad app which gives a variety of modes - directly driving; setting it on patrol (first picture below); drawing a path on screen for it to follow (third picture below) and even voice command. All of which it is good for the price point.







DFRobots have developed their own app based programming interface WhenDo (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whendo/id1001086940?mt=8) see below , I have only had a brief play with it but seems well featured with functions.



There is a way to connect it to Scratch, this is something I am looking forward to finding out more of and playing with.

One of the things I am always skeptical about from promotional materials, is the build time of projects, the robot "in under an hour" kind of thing; in this case it was true it is quick to build.  I had a problem with it not powering up at first, this helpful website came in useful: https://www.dfrobot.com/wiki/index.php/Antbo_SKU:ROB0140 . The problem was one of the connectors needed to be bent to improve the connection.

So based on what I have seen so far, I am glad I bought it (in fact it was two of them) and will enjoy playing with it/them. 

Something I would be interested in is hearing comments from others who have one (or more) of these. What have you found out?



All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

Gesture controlled python robot unicorn (or is it a rhino)

In the previous two post I built and played with a robot unicorn from  Do it Kits https://doitkits.com/product/robot-unicorn/ . In the first...