Robots Resources for the Masses.

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Thursday, February 08, 2001

February 6, 2001
ActivMedia Research, LLC ( - Today Mobile Robotics are where personal computers were in the early 1980s, poised for proliferation, with more than 1600% growth in units and nearly 2500% growth in dollars expected over the next five years. Sales are expected to soar from $665 million in 2000 to more than $17 billion in the same time frame. Technologies are such that decades of labor in artificial intelligence, sensing, navigation, communications and response are beginning to bear fruit in the form of practical mobile robots.

Scientific American: Technology and Business: Enter Robots, Slowly : September 1999 ENTER ROBOTS, SLOWLY
Faster computing means some technological
hurdles are falling
The autonomous robots of science fiction have thus far failed to whir into everyday life: they are too clumsy and expensive for the home, hobbyists aside, and can be tolerated only for the most repetitive tasks in industry. But major development projects are making progress in some of the most difficult areas, thanks to cheaper computing and radio links. "We will begin to see robots more often," says roboticist Takeo Kanade of Carnegie Mellon University.

Scientific American: News In Brief: The Smallest Robot Ever: February 5, 2001 ENGINEERING
The Smallest Robot Ever

Image: Randy Montoya/Sandia National Laboratory
Imagine a remote-controlled swarm of roach-sized tanks storming into a building through the pipes and vents. Armed with the proper sensors, cameras and communication devices, these tiny tanks could seek out chemical weapons, mines or bombs planted in hard-to-reach places. They could also detect survivors after an accident, or track human movements.
It's a vision that could become reality thanks to the work of Ed Heller and colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories. The group recently unveiled what may be the world's smallest robot, which they say "turns on a dime and parks on a nickel" (see image). The new mini-robot is the latest in a series from Sandia. To make it even smaller than its predecessors, the scientists used a new technique to package the electronics, a different wheel design and a change in the body material.

Mes données sont stockées en 3D Accueil -> Techno
Mes données sont stockées en 3D
par Eric Lecluyse
mis en ligne le 5 février 2001
Créée par Lucent, la société InPhase Technologies compte développer la prometteuse technologie du stockage holographique des données : les informations sont "imprimées" par des lasers dans un cristal de quelques centimètres de côté.
Étudié depuis des années en labo, le stockage holographique (HDS : holographic data storage) se rapproche, doucement, de la concrétisation commerciale. Créée par Lucent et également financée par Imation (spécialiste américain du stockage de données) et trois capital-risqueurs, la société InPhase Technologies compte en effet développer cette technologie révolutionnaire, qui permettrait de stocker plusieurs dizaines de giga-octets (soit 3 fois plus qu’un disque dur standard) dans quelques centimètres cubes à peine. Dès la première génération, le transfert de données entre ce système de stockage et l’ordinateur pourrait atteindre plusieurs dizaines de méga-octets par seconde, soit l’équivalent des disques durs haut de gamme actuels qui utilisent plusieurs têtes de lecture pour atteindre ce score.

Wednesday, February 07, 2001

E4 : Engineering
From Design Engineering, 02 February 2001
In recent years, huge advances have been made in the design of androids. Most research has been directed at movement, specifically, walking using two legs.
However, as we all know, there's a lot more to humans than our ability to walk around, and, while Honda's P3 (and more recently ASIMO) clearly represent the cutting edge of research, plenty of experts are addressing other, more esoteric areas of robot design.

Monday, February 05, 2001

ZZZ online | Number 65 Many expect the coming age of robotics to provide us with super-intelligent, sentient robots, capable of making our beds and mixing our drinks. Others, such as Mark Tilden and Solarbotics, believe that such an age will never come, and instead work to simplify the production and function of robots.
Tilden’s designs use no computers and only a small amount of electronics. These minimalist robots rely on solar power to keep them moving. Any “intelligence” these robots develop is gained from interacting with the world around them, rather than analyzing and mapping it. The idea of creating these robots is to mimic the behaviour and learning patterns of wild animals, through a process known as evolutionary biology. AI intelligence has so far lacked the basic animal instinct needed to survive outside a laboratory, because they can’t adapt to an unprogrammed world.

ZZZ online | Number 59 German company called microTEC is manufacturing micro submarines which hull is only 650µm in the diameter and their total length is 4mm. Such submarines became reality after the development of technology called RMPD (Rapid Micro Product Development). It uses a specific, focused UV laser polymerization technique to directly cure various advanced materials at micron levels of detail. By laser exposure structuring and by gradually overlaying several hardened layers of materials, a three-dimensional device can be created in various levels of complexity. For the production of the micro sub, the process had to be capable of integrating different materials into smallest space possible.
The main objective of this submarine is to travel into the human body sending some important data to the researchers. The vessel is driven by external magnetic field, which interacts with mini magnets that are fitted into 10µm in diameter drive shaft. The drive shaft rotates as well as 600µm in diameter marine propeller affixed to it.

FEED | Digital Culture - Simple Minds Day 1
The robots arrive in the mail, two small Ziploc bags full of electronic parts. I tell myself that they will be more impressive when assembled. Still, they are clearly not the domestic robots of my dreams. After reading the instruction manual, my worst suspicions are confirmed. These creatures will not be able to wash my windows or mix my drinks. I am not to leave small children in their care nor will they walk the dog. Instead, like some sort of loopy New Agers, they are guided by three imperatives: "Go to the light! Avoid the darkness! Let nothing stand in your way!" That is to say that the manual promises only that my completed robots will be light-seeking and obstacle-avoiding and won't require batteries. Researchers from the University of California are developing 'smart dust'; tiny electronic devices designed to capture large amounts of information about their surroundings while literally floating on air. This ‘dust’ will be designed to perform functions such as monitor the environment for light, sound, temperature, chemical composition, and a wide range of other information. This data could then be beamed back to a remote base station.
The smart dust concept involves packing advanced sensors, tiny computers, and wireless communicators onto minuscule 'motes' of silicon, which will be able to drift on the wind. These motes are made using the same photolithography techniques used to make computer chips. They are made with sensors that can be programmed to look for specific information, a computer that can store the information and sort out which data is worth reporting, and a communicator that enables the mote to be 'interrogated' by the base unit. Their power source is currently dependent on solar cells, but they may be fitted with lithium batteries in the future, so they can function at night.
At the moment, the smallest prototype mote is 62 cubic millimeters. However, by July in 2001, the researchers expect to reduce its size to only 1 cubic millimeter. A problem they are faced with is the power requirements of the sensors, computer, and transmitter. The motes need to be able to run on ultra low power. [...]

Scientists working for NASA continue inventing strange and unusual mechanisms. The device I want to describe this week is called mesicopter. The name resembles the word "helicopter" and in fact a mesicopter is a kind of helicopter, but a very small one. The prefix "mesi" implies a design of intermediate scale, between microscopic systems and more conventionally-sized devices. Hence the meso-scale systems are the systems on the scale of one to ten centimeters.
Take a look at the photo, the mesicopter is no exclusion. It is much smaller than any helicopter ever created, but at the same time it is still visible with the naked eye, so it exactly fits into the size range. Each rotor of this mesicopter is only 1.5 cm in diameter and the total weight of the whole device is 3 g. The mesicopter pictured below can lift itself and fly for 30 minutes. With reduced endurance the device would be capable of lifting a 1 g payload. I took this information from a very outdated PDF file, so I think more advanced mesicopters with increased endurance and payload capability are available now.
The main goal of the mesicopters will be collecting various data using very small imaging sensors (CCD and CMOS), MEMS temperature and pressure sensors, and other miniature science payloads currently under development. Then this data will be transmitted to the base using an optical communication system. This was the only possible choice. When using radio frequencies the antenna size is constrained by t

Test screens plastics for use in efficient LEDs Test screens plastics for use in efficient LEDs
By R. Colin Johnson
EE Times
(01/30/01, 11:54 a.m. EST)
SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah researchers have devised a test that lets engineers screen potential polymer materials to predict their efficiency as light-emitting diodes before they are fabricated into plastic LEDs. The test could speed high-efficiency plastic LED development, enable brighter LEDs and lengthen the battery life of portable devices using them.