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Posts Tagged ‘robot’

Open-Source ROV Slashing Cost Of Underwater Exploration


NASA engineer Eric Stackpole may be changing the face of ocean exploration with his open-source submarine made from inexpensive parts. The New York Times’ Brian Lam had a very nice post on the Bits Blog (and some extra details at another site he runs, Scuttlefish) about this $750 machine that’s rated to 100 meters, which is “below the range that divers can easily reach for long periods of time.”

That price tag is really something special, especially compared to the $10,000 professional ROV “Scout” from Videoray, which the Bits Blog post says can be used to a depth of only 76 meters. And it’s certainly a big chunk off of the expensive deep sea exploration devices like the Alvin, which explored the Titanic wreck site to the tune of $55,000 a day (and that’s 1986 dollars!).

Mr. Stackpole can’t afford exotic alloys or custom technology for his little sub. … The depth sensor they plan to use is commonly found in a scuba diver’s computer. High definition video camera is scavenged from a cheap Web-camera that people use to video chat. The most expensive part inside is the computer, a little Linux computer called a BeagleBone that costs $89. Still, the team thinks they can get costs down by buying parts in bulk.

Also, a quick shout out: Stackpole’s OpenROV is yet another cool project to come out of TechShop in San Francisco.

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Builders and Testers of The MakerBot Replicator

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A pride of ten mighty MakerBot Replicators have been striding about the country since mid January. And my, have they been busy:

But there remains a public debut that we at MakerBot are even more excited about: the shipping launch of pre-sale MakerBots out to our most eager and enthusiastic MakerBot Operators so far. A sprinkle of hundreds and hundreds of new and veteran Operators across six continents1 who have seen what our new machines can do and are eager to invite The Replicator into their homes, schools, and businesses.

To make this tremendous boost of productivity possible, the entire MakerBot team has been leveling up. We’ve been adding staff, training and encouraging each other, and turning our Brooklyn facilities inside out to accomodate all of the new moving parts necessary to make our Replicator launch the smoothest MakerBot BotLaunch of all time.

I’d like to introduce you to a team of real heroes — the men and women working full-tilt to make the launch of The MakerBot Replicator as a fully-assembled kit a reality. A team that germinated from Colin’s one-man Fully-Assembled Thing-O-Matic operation a year ago into a deeply-integrated Productor/BotBuilder/Tester commando task force today. A task force laboring deep in the belly of the BotCave like a team of tough-as-nails sandhogs moving the earth under Manhattan.

Our machines have the word “Brooklyn” laser-etched into the back left corner, just above the unique MakerBot serial number: a real point of pride for our Brooklyn-based company. If you have ever had any question as to why that word is there, here’s your answer: our robots are assembled, tested, and shipped by a crew of remarkable humans, right here in Brooklyn, New York.

Watch Annelise’s video and then check out this slideshow for more portraits of some of the heroes of MakerBot.

  1. Antarctica, we have our eye on you. []
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Robotic Hand v3.0 by armjunkie

Robotic Hand v3.0 by armjunkie

Robotic Hand v3.0 by armjunkie

Thingiverse citizen armjunkie has shared version 3.0 of his seriously amazing robotic hand.  As with the prior version, the entire model is detailed and intricate.  Each joint in each finger is tensioned using dental rubber bands and controlled with fishing line.  In true Thingiverse spirit, armjunkie responded to a comment providing even more detail about how the behavior of the hand’s opening and closing motions can be customized by the number and placement of those same dental rubber bands.

One of the things I particularly about this model is the split photo above showing his designs1 alongside the reality.  There is just something extremely satisfying about getting to see a design completely come to life exactly as you have planned. 2   Such intricate designs portend great things for the possibilities of creating plastic automata, puppets, and prostheses.

Error - could not find Thing 14986.
  1. In Google Sketchup? []
  2. In this, I can only envy armjunkie []
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MakerBot in TheNextWeb’s Ultimate Robot Gift Guide!

TheNextWeb knows that no robot gift guide would be complete without including MakerBot. Just posted yesterday, their Ultimate Robot Gift Guide features the Thing-O-Matic, alongside some awesome gifts like this Robot Tea Infuser and these Recycled Robot Ornaments. Don’t forget – Thing-O-Matic kits, and fully-assembled models, are $100 off through the holiday season, so get yours now!

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GrabCAD MakerBot Challenge: Final 12 hours!

Above is just a quick screenshot of some of the latest robot mascots to roll in to the GrabCAD challenge. With over 75 entries so far — and enough correspondence suggesting another thirty or so robots soon to debut — the competition is no longer just heating up, it is passing through a state change.

If you are still putting the final touches on your entry, make sure to check the entry deadline time and requirements carefully. With this many incredible entries, there is no chance GrabCAD will be extending the deadline. And it would be a terrible tragedy for this entry window to close with your (robotic) baby tapping its fore-limb against the porthole of the GrabCAD MakerBot Challenge airship.

 

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Bre Pettis Bioloid Head by Skimbal – in Action!

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The apotheosis of the Bre-scan mashup has finally arrived, thanks to a collaboration between Michael Curry (Skimbal), Michael Overstreet (I-Bioloid), & Luis E. Rodriguez (Luis). While much of the magic here is indeed below the neck, it is remarkable how well Curry’s implementation of the head “reads” dramatically and brings the whole robot together. I thought it worth posting again to share this video. I’m looking forward to seeing Boomer/Bre Bot in more detail at World Maker Faire 2011.

I learned two things from this video. One, the head scan really sells me on the robot as a character. Two, I am really scared of my boss now.

Curry writes in his Thingiverse release: “Bre Pettis’ head adapted to match the Bioloid bracket system and artfully grafted onto a new, superior, robot body. I for one welcome our new robotic CEO…”

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MakerBot Seeks Cute Robot Mascot — Win a Thing-O-Matic at our GrabCAD Challenge!

We really want — really need — a 3D printable cute robot mascot.1 So when we heard that GrabCAD wanted to collaborate with us, we took this opportunity to create a challenge on their site and put up a brand new MakerBot Thing-O-Matic kit as stakes for the engineer who blows our minds and warm our hearts.

The concept of the robot is wide open so feel free to enter creatures of all shapes and styles. Inspired by the lunchbox on wheels that rolled around on the Death Star in Star Wars? Great! You’re a fan of humanoid robots like the B9 from Lost in Space? Super! All shapes of robots’ designs are expected to participate. The winning entry will become the lead MakerBot Robot Mascot. It is very likely that most, if not all entries will be filmed for MakerBot.TV videos. The finalists will have their robots 3D printed on a MakerBot at MakerBot HQ and sent to them.

You may submit as many robots as you like, just don’t wait around! This competition ends on September 28th.

The inspiration for this challenge is Tony Buser’s “BOB” robot. We saw this and all we could think of was “MORE!”, especially considering the popularity of robot models in the Thingiverse, on GrabCAD’s Library, and elsewhere in the Internet kingdom.

Bob is built from a toolset of robot parts that include joints for arms and ears. This toolset gives you a nice set of components that you can use to make your robot design have pose-able parts. The toolset also includes the MakerBot M logo design to make it easy to badge the robot with it. Using the toolset is not required, but we wanted to make the functioning side as easy as possible for people to express their robo-creativity, so some of the components are offered up front for optional use in this challenge.

We’re doing this with GrabCAD, a great community and platform for engineers to collaborate and get hired to make things. Head on over to GrabCAD to read the rules and requirements, and get started with our challenge. We hope that you will post your projects on Thingiverse as well as GrabCAD so that both communities can benefit from your creativity!

  1. Yeah, we said “cute.” []
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Ancient Inspiration for Modern Robots

Karakuri is the ancient Japanese practice of creating incredibly intricate automata using weights, pulleys, and wires.  The video above features some of these robots rowing boats, shooting arrows, turning somersaults, and practicing calligraphy.  Think back to the amusement park rides of the 1960′s – with the exception of a recorded song, those little robots were also completely operated by weights, pulleys, and wires too.

The amazing thing about 3D printing is it enables everyone to create works every bit as intricate and complicated as these little robots.  Now anyone can focus on purpose and design rather than technique.  If a handcrafted robot can select an arrow, draw it back on a bowstring, and fire accurately at a target – there’s no reason you couldn’t do the same thing using 3D printed plastic parts too.  The real question isn’t whether we could reproduce these kinds of actions using 3D printed parts, but rather what could we create with printed parts that would have been difficult or even impossible using these ancient means?

Via Make

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Heart-Shaped Candy Dish by Bradley

"Do you enjoy warm candy?"

"Do you enjoy warm candy?"

This just looks like an instant classic to me.  There are just a few things that people always like to print – MakerBot coins, bottle openers, Pink Panther women, heart-shaped boxes, to name a few.  Bradley’s Heart-Shaped Candy Dish looks like a real contender to me.  It’s simple, pretty, and functional.

Although, I just can’t help but think of a robot asking me, “Do you like warm candy?123

Error - could not find Thing 8594.
  1. Because, you see, the plastic and automated build platform would be kind warm. []
  2. I kinda lied.  I was really thinking of a Dalek asking me “DO YOU LIKE WARM CANDY?” but I didn’t want to go there. []
  3. Um, I guess I just did. []
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Did you say… Robot Film Festival?!?!

Robot Film Festival in New York!

Robot Film Festival in New York!

You may remember Heather Knight from her awesome Botacon talk entitled, “Robotic Touch: Capacitive Sensing to Understand Human Body Language.”  Well, she’s organized a film festival!  Wait for it…  a film festival…  about ROBOTS!1

The Robot Film Festival was founded by roboticist Heather Knight of Marilyn Monrobot to inject a sense of playfulness into traditional science and engineering and explore new frontiers for robotics before the technology is even possible.

The event itself is a two-day festival July 9-10 taking place at Three Legged Dog theater in lower Manhattan.  In addition to the juried film screenings, there will be a live performances, cocktail and coffee mixers throughout AND a red carpet award ceremony with interactive installations and uniquely designed ‘botsker’ awards.  Don’t forget your party shoes (or wheels)!

Please submit your outstanding, dazzling, hilarious or thought-provoking short film.  JUST ONE REQUIREMENT: please feature a robot as one of the main characters as or framing devices of the narrative. Films should be less than 8 minutes long.

Deadline: June 5, 2011!

Follow us on twitter for the latest details: @robotfilmfest

  1. Yeah, I know the title of the post was kind of a spoiler… []
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