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Virtual Machine with ROS Hydro Medusa Pre-Installed

It’s now our tradition to issue virtual machines with ROS pre-installed. We have already done it for ROS Fuerte and for ROS Groovy. Today it is ROS Hydro’s turn. We have chosen to stick with Ubunutu 12.04. (Precise). This is because 12.04 is an LTS version, which means Long-Term Support ...
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A Robotic Elevator using Lego & Arduino – Part 4

Part 1: Mechanical Design Basics. Part 2: Balancing the Elevator. Part 3: Electronics (optocoupler, H-Bridge, and more). Part 4 (current): Software to control the Arduino. In this last part, we will be describing the Arduino software that controls our Lego elevator. But, let’s first define the desired behavior. As we ...
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Make Robots that Maximize Their Future Options

One of the challenges that thinkers have been facing for decades is defining intelligence. Without such a definition, it’s hard to measure intelligence or to make truly intelligent robots. In his TED talk (see Video below), Alex Wissner-Gross introduces an equation that is supposed to provide a concrete, yet general ...
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A Robotic Elevator using Lego & Arduino – Part 3

Part 1: Mechanical Design Basics. Part 2: Balancing the Elevator. Part 3 (current): Electronics (optocoupler, H-Bridge, and more). Part 4: Software to control the Arduino. In the first two parts of this series, we have introduced the mechanics of our Lego-based elevator and we discussed how to balance it to ...
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Free Online Course on Control of Mobile Robots

Wanna learn how to make mobile robots? This free online course entitled “Control of Mobile Robots” is for you (see Video 1). The tutor is Dr. Magnus Egerstedt, a Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. For 7 weeks, he will be introducing concepts from control theory, ...
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Hijack AR Drones using SkyJack

Wana play a trick to your friends? Use SkyJack a software that takes over the control software of AR Drones. It analyzes raw Wifi data packets to perform the drone hijacking. The video below by Samy Kamkar gives more details about how it works. The code is freely downloadable from ...
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A Robotic Elevator using Lego & Arduino – Part2

Part 1: Mechanical Design Basics. Part 2 (current): Balancing the Elevator. Part 3: Electronics (optocoupler, H-Bridge, and more). Part 4: Software to control the Arduino. In the first part of this series, we introduced the core structure of our elevator. But, we aren’t done yet with the mechanics. As shown ...
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A Robotic Elevator using Lego & Arduino – Part1

Part 1 (current): Mechanical Design Basics. Part 2: Balancing the Elevator. Part 3: Electronics (optocoupler, H-Bridge, and more) Part 4: Software to control the Arduino Recently, we scavenged an old Lego Mindstorms 1.5 set. It’s fully functional, but the RCX 1.5 Lego software is obsolete and does not run on ...
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Sensor Scanner for Android: List and Watch your Smartphone Sensors

It is no scoop that Smartphones are attractive for robotics. They gather in a small case a display, wireless for communication, computing capabilities, and a bunch of sensors. That’s cool! But, you might be using a secondhand device, and you don't know what sensors are available, or you may want ...
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NPR TED Radio Hour on Robotics

There are many cool programs broadcasted by the National Public Radio (NPR). One among our favorites is the TED Radio Hour. Every episode discusses a specific topic and provides excerpts of related TED talks. This summer, NPR rebrodcasted an episode on robotics and ethics, a subject related to our post: ...
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ROS Naming and Namespaces

In this tutorial, we will be talking about ROS namespaces which allow to combine nodes in ways unplanned by developers. This is actually what all ROS is about: allow building systems by connecting nodes, often developed by third parties according to your needs. This is possible thanks to a flexible ...
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Yes to Robotics! No to Killer Robots!

Most TED talks if not all are thought provoking. The one given by moral philosopher Peter Singer on effective altruism (see Video 1) at TED 2013 Longbeach (CA) is no exception. This talk is actually a call for action. We don’t need to be billionaires to help others around the ...
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A Robotic Dock for Your Smartphone

The idea of using a robotic dock for iPhone and iPod is not new. Back in 2009, a robot hobbyist has developed a humanoid robot named Robochan which head was an iPhone 3GS (see Video 1). The iPhone acted as a screen that displays different facial expressions. It also plays ...
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Ready to Use Virtualized ROS Groovy

UPDATE: You might want to use a more recent version of ROS: Hydro Medusa (released on September 2013). See the corresponding post: Virtual Machine with ROS Hydro Medusa Pre-Installed. Install procedure unchanged. ROS Groovy was released on December the 31st, 2012. For those of you who just want to quickly ...
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Your First ROS based System

Many newcomers to ROS don’t know where to start. Indeed, ROS is not an application, but it is rather a robotics middleware. That is an infrastructure to run robotic software. It provides plenty of tools, libraries and packages to ease developing, managing and reusing code. In this post, we’ll go ...
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Smart Robots: Shape Matters

When designing a robot, choosing the right shape can have tremendous impact on the robot controller. This idea has been pushed to the extreme with the HexBug Nano. It has no sensors and even no controller at all! Still its behavior is really realistic and robust as shown in Video ...
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