"Ladybird" autonomous robot to help out down on the farm

Agricultural robots are beginning to come into their own.  This article on the “Ladybird” robot explains how one type of machine is being developed to help farmers conduct a host of operations on many types of crops.  This “bug” won’t eat the insects, but will collect various kinds of data to help determine the problems and how to control them.  See below for the link to the article and for links to other information on related robotics projects.

'Ladybird' is an autonomous farm robot capable of conducting mobile monitoring of a variet...


“Ladybirds are happily welcomed by gardeners into their yards, knowing that they will consume the most prolific plant pests like white flies, mites, and aphids. Imagine, then, how useful an autonomous, solar-powered, intelligent robotic ladybird could be on a farm. Enter the University of Sydney’s “Ladybird,” not actually an eater of insect pests, but a robot capable of conducting mobile farm reconnaissance, mapping, classification, and detection of problems for a variety of different crops. ..” Continue Reading “Ladybird” autonomous robot to help out down on the farm
Section: Robotics
Tags: Agriculture, Autonomous, Farming, Robotics, Robots, University of Sydney
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“Ladybird” autonomous robot to help out down on the farm
Colin Jeffrey
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:22:08 GMT


The end of the week is here and its time to look back and see some of the stories about robotics from the past few days. Here are the links to the items that showed up on the RobotNext feeds over the past few days. Enjoy.

"I am looking for (a) floor cleaning robot(s)." Robot Reviewshttp://bit.ly/1iItmi2

"First animatronic robots speaking any world language appearing in Astana." AKIpress News Agency – http://bit.ly/1iItIFn

"Haslett High School robotics team takes top 'bot' in the world." Lansing State Journal | lansingstatejournal.comhttp://on.lsj.com/1iIuimr

"Sphero Robot Maker Orbotix Raises $15.5 Million." Re/codehttp://on.recode.net/1pYzjLs

"Fear not the 'bot? As robots take jobs, experts ask if humans will keep up." Crain's Detroit Businesshttp://bit.ly/1pYzQ0a

"Interact, Program & Play w/Romo, Your iOS Robot Companion" – Mac Observer Dealshttp://bit.ly/1pYALO4

"Wearable Robots on the Rise to Help Paraplegics Walk." ABC News | WTKA-AM http://bit.ly/1pYBEGf

"Everything You Need to Know About Terrifying, Wonderful Robotic Snakes." Mother Joneshttp://bit.ly/1pYCa7a

"Mysterious robotic plane hits 500 days in space; what's it doing?" http://bit.ly/1pYCjYk

"Robotic Automation: Another Moore's Law?" Innovation Insights | Wired.comhttp://wrd.cm/1pYCzGU

"Robotic harvesters may be the future." The Growerhttp://bit.ly/1pYCMK1

"Robotic rock stars shine at festival." Stripes Central | Stripeshttp://1.usa.gov/1pYDqqU


Smart cars and robot surgeons could be headed our way

By Flckr user jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Robotics may open the way to new jobs that we cannot imagine right now.  Yes, it is unsettling to realize that robots may take our current jobs, but we must be prepared to accept that new careers and work will be generated by this dramatic change.

Will self-driving cars take us to our jobs of the future? When we were kids, we dreamed of becoming doctors, lawyers, astronauts. Now the future generation has a new group of jobs to choose from thanks to advancements in technology. "Telesurgeons will …

Smart cars and robot surgeons could be headed our way
Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:12:00 GMT

Paralyzed Patients Use Thoughts to Direct Robotic Arms

Personal assistance robots may have just become much more user friendly. According to Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues in a recent research project, two patients in a clinical trial were able to directly control robotic arms by using their thoughts.

Dr. Hochberg related in a paper published in the May 17 issue of Nature, “Using an investigational neural interface system — called BrainGate – two quadriplegics in a clinical trial were able to direct robotic arms to touch and grab foam balls.”

One of the patients was even able to grab a bottle of coffee and drink through a straw by controlling a heavy-duty arm, the researchers reported . The patient had not been able to do that by herself in nearly 15 years.

It seems to me that this may open the whole field of robotics to the idea of controlling machines with thoughts. Think of a robotic vacuum cleaner that you could direct to a spot that it missed during its cleaning runs. Even better a robotic exoskeleton that a paralyzed patient could direct to allow them to walk around and carry out fundamental tasks. This is merely the logical extension of the outcome of this research.

Imagine the freedom that mobility-impaired people would gain with the full development of this technology. Truly amazing stuff!


Robotic Arms Allow Paralyzed Patients to Grasp Objects
By Elizabeth Lopatto on May 16, 2012

Two people paralyzed by strokes were able to control robotic arms by using their thoughts, a medical advance that may lead to more-sophisticated prosthetic limbs. One patient, a 58-year-old woman, used a robot arm
Stroke Victims Control Robotic Arm With Thoughts Wall Street Journal
Paralyzed woman gets robotic arm she controls with her mind msnbc.com
Paralysis victims use brain signals to control robotic arm USA TODAY
Science NewsTechnology ReviewPopular Science
all 21 news articles »

Robotic Arms Allow Paralyzed Patients to Grasp Objects – BusinessWeek
Wed, 16 May 2012 17:26:18 GMT

Space Robots May Service Satellites

weather-satellite_w553_h725Two companies are building robots to service dying satellites and keep them functioning in orbit. The question with the idea is whether or not this process would save money over the current practice of abandoning and/or replacing the dead satellites. At this time, it just does not seem financially feasible to have robots repair or refuel satellites even though the technology certainly is at the level needed to carryout these operations.


Photo Credit: NASA

Robotic droids prepared to extend lives of satellites
Orbiting our planet is a vast multitude of satellites, some long dead and some still carrying out their mission. Once a satellite breaks down it's nearly impossible to fix it due to the massive costs of sending a specialized crew of astronauts to get
and more »

Robotic droids prepared to extend lives of satellites – Examiner.com
Tue, 15 May 2012 16:17:55 GMT

Robots Make a Difference in Science and Technology Education


Photo Credit: Nic McPhee http://flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/

The question of how to help American students succeed in high tech subjects continues to be on the forefront of public discussion nationwide. One of the answers is occurring on a regular basis in communities across the country. Robotics intrigues students in a way that only a few topics can. In a recent era, space exploration held this fascination for young people and inspired a generation to take on science and engineering. Now, it appears robotics is at center stage for many students. The photo above is from a robotics competition held at the University of North Dakota. In this contest, the robots are programmed to act as sumo wrestlers. The robots push each other until one is shoved out of the ring.

Robotics classes are becoming more common in schools and robotics competitions are sweeping the nation. There are many types of competitions with acronyms such as FIRST or BEST. Take the following article in the San Antonio Express News about the local BEST competition. Students spent six weeks building robots to undertake a complex task centered around the theme of Bugs! Forrest Mims III, an amateur scientist who writes a column in the San Antonio Express News, states that robotics may be the key to improving education, especially in science and technology. You can read the full article at the link below.

The educational performance of US students has fallen dramatically in recent decades. Parents and educators can help reverse the tide by involving their students in robotics and science fairs. See www.sabest.org for details about BEST.

Robots help teens learn about science
San Antonio Express
Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:29:04 GMT

Robots That Can Be Controlled From Orbit

Photo Credit:  NASA

Robots have long been the pathfinders for the exploration of space.  Surveyor landers went to the surface of the Moon to test out the surface before men walked on it.  Mars has been host to a number of robotic explorers paving the way for future human landings there.  Even when people finally get to orbit the Red Planet, they will probably want to send out robotic probes to test out the expected landing sites first.  This technology might even find its way to planets or moons outside our solar system.  To do this, the astronauts will need to control the robots from orbit.  This is the purpose of a new rover being developed by the European Space Agency.  Read the article at the link below for more details.

Experts with the European Space Agency (ESA) announce the creation of a new rover, which is meant to act as a testbed for a new remote-control technology. Astronauts in low-Earth orbit (LEO) will control the machine through specialized, exoskeleton-like …

Controlling Robots on Exoplanets from Orbit – Softpedia
Wed, 06 Jul 2011 18:33:31 GMT

Robots Taking Over Typical Human Roles in the Job Market


Photo Credit:  The U.S. Army's photostream

Two stories this week caught my attention. Both are among examples of robots moving into jobs that were once the sole province of humans. As the photo above suggests, sometimes we are being dragged into this future where robots replace humans in routine work.  Robotic bellhops are now replacing their human counterparts for at least some functions.  In the case of this new hotel, the robot is there to check luggage for early arrivals when the rooms are not ready.  Meanwhile, in Australia, robot miners are due to start work in some mines.  In this situation, the typical miner may find that their job does not end. Instead the miner may move to an office where they control their robotic counterparts down in the shafts.  The robot miners are being brought in to address a labor shortage and to increase productivity of the mines in the face of increase demand.

Still, humans are facing a situation in which robots will be taking over many work functions where the tasks are routine, monotonous, dangerous, or require precise repetition.  That is certainly the case in these two stories.

So, what does this mean?  Will women and men face unemployment because of robots?  This does not have to be the case.  One key here is that humans will always be needed to do what only humans can do.  The other key is education.  This means learning to operate, maintain, design, and build the robotic workers.  People will have to upgrade their skills though high tech learning.  One must also remember that humans have the creativity and intelligence that robots do not have at the current time.  For me, it is an open question as to whether or not robots will ever equal the creativity and flexibility of a human brain, even if machines become “intelligent”.

Follow the links in the story links below to find out more about these robots.  And be sure to let me know what you think about this issue of robots replacing human jobs.


Trendy, New NYC Hotel with a Robotic Bellhop

Meet the luggage robot. It's the first of several high-tech, sleek amenities guests encounter at the Yotel, a new hotel that aims to provide a trendy stay at an affordable price. Purple lighting, throbbing music in the elevators and
Examiner AP

At new NYC hotel, a robot handles the luggage | The Associated
The Associated Press
Wed, 22 Jun 2011 20:15:24 GMT

Robots for Australia Mines Could Replace Humans

PERTH (Reuters) – Some Australian mine workers may soon find themselves trading in their steel-toed boots for a headset and computer mouse, as mining companies automate to help plug labour shortages and ramp up output to feed Asia's voracious demand for …

More robots for Australia mines may plug labour crunch – Reuters UK
Wed, 22 Jun 2011 19:19:37 GMT

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Robot Uses Bernoulli’s Principle to Crawl Up Walls

The drive to develop robots that can traverse any type of surface, including vertical ones, has taken many approaches.  As far as climbing walls, robots have relied on adhesives, magnets, and other types of gripper mechanisms.  Now comes air.  That’s right, air, but rapidly moving air that creates a suction force.  The robot can climb walls, even over surfaces with a gap, using this non-contact gripping method. You can see the robot in action at the video link that follows the summary.  Read the rest of the story at the link below to PhysOrg.com.

Image credit: University of Canterbury. (PhysOrg.com)

Robot uses supersonic air jets to climb on walls and ceilings (w/ video)
In this clip from the video below, the robot crawls up a wall using a non-contact vacuum grip, due to Bernoulli's principle.  Instead of using sticky footpads to climb on walls and ceilings,
Video: Robot's Supersonic Air Jets Allow it to Climb Just About Any Surface 

Robot uses supersonic air jets to climb on walls and ceilings (w/ video) – PhysOrg.com
Tue, 24 May 2011 21:45:43 GMT

RobotCity Workshop – Where You Can Make Your Own (Robot) Friends

Robotcity workshop-thumb-407x387-177649   

Photo Credit:  RobotCity Workshop

RobotCity Workshop may well be the only store of its kind in the country, a visionary shop with the slogan "Make your own friends."  Education has been a central part of this establishment's mission for years, as they have worked with school students to build robotics projects.  Now, they are doing the same for adults.

With a retail outlet in the front of the store, and a workshop on the premises, anyone can learn how to build a robot.  Of course, there are other projects available too. 

The shop carries all types of robots.  They range from personal robots, cleaning robots, security robots, and other categories of robots as well.  In addition, the RobotCity Workshop offers hobby kits for all ages and abilities, electronic parts, and, of course, the hardware to hold it all together.  Everything for the robot builder is available here.

This may very well be the prototype for robotics stores.  Providing not only the materials and means to built the machines, but also the educational experience to enable everyone to learn about robotics.  After all, for those of us that believe the robotics revolution is here to stay, this is the kind of place that needs to be in every city.

Make sure to go to the Chicago Now website and read their story on this groundbreaking and unique store.

via www.chicagonow.com