UGV& Robots

Russia to present combat robot

Russia will showcase Platforma-M Combat Robot at an event in Kamchatka on July 26 marking Russian Naval Forces Day.

The robot is planned to provide fire support for an operation against simulated infiltrators during anti-terrorist drills, the press office of the Pacific Fleet reported.

The new robotic attack system together with special military units will show off its capabilities against a simulated enemy.

The Platform-M was first displayed last summer in Russian military drills in Kaliningrad. It is equipped with grenade launchers and Kalashnikov rifles. Along with the rifles and grenade launchers, the Platform-M also features optical-electronic and radio reconnaissance locators that allow it to function covertly at night.

The robot’s developer, Progress Scientific Research Technological Institute of Izhevsk was quoted as saying  in a report this month that the Platform-M can be used for gathering intelligence, for discovering and eliminating stationary and mobile targets, for firepower support, for patrolling and for guarding important sites.

In addition, a naval parade will be held in the event which will involve 15 warships and support vessels of the Kamchatka military force.

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Researchers will test 3D-printed, autonomous 'SmartCarts'.

A fleet of autonomous “SmartCarts”—high-tech, 3D-printed, low-speed electric vehicles—could one day zip around the University of Michigan’s North Campus, taking students, professors and staff to class, labs and offices while also serving as one of the first test beds for on-…

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This Talkative, Winking Robot Helps Dieters Lose Weight

This Talkative, Winking Robot Helps Dieters Lose Weight

A huge benefit of hiring a personal trainer, fitness coach or clinical nutritionist is knowing they are there to keep you accountable.

By talking about day-to-day progress and goals, clients are more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle. For those who can’t afford a trainer at the gym or a personal fitness coach, a robot named Autom with human-like expressions may be a welcomed alternative.


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Northrop Grumman Unveils Next-Gen Unmanned Ground Vehicle

Northrop Grumman Andros F6 Series

Northrop Grumman announced that its subsidiary REMOTEC has unveiled the Andros FX ™, a more capable and dexterous unmanned ground vehicle. The vehicle is designed to defeat a wide range of threats, including vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED).

According to World Defense Net, the features of the Andros FX™ are the four track pods that replace the traditional Andros articulators and a new arm design with more lift capacity and greater dexterity by adding roll joints that provide nine degrees of freedom. The unmanned ground vehicle also features updated system electronics, mobility improvements for increased speed and maneuverability, and a new touchscreen operator control unit with 3-D system graphics, advanced manipulator controls and improved user interface.

Walt Werner, director of Northrop Grumman’s REMOTEC said, “Bomb squads have told us what they need most are more capabilities to counter vehicle-borne IEDs.” In accordance to that, the Andros FX™’s operating system provides much greater information to the operator while easing user workload through more interactivity with intelligent payloads such as chemical and radiation sensors. Preset arm positions and the ability to “fly the gripper” make manipulation of objects much easier, faster and more accurate.

Increased cross-functional involvement early in the design phase results in a much lower lifecycle cost as well as a product that can be quickly adapted for a variety of missions, easily upgraded and expanded, and more efficiently maintained, Werner added.

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A jump for soft-bodied robots.

Traditional robots are made of components and rigid materials like you might see on an automotive assembly line – metal and hydraulic parts, harshly rigid, and extremely strong. But away from the assembly line, for robots to harmoniously assist humans in close–range tasks scientists are des…

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Giant Fighting Robots

Hello Geeky followers, and welcome to another We 3 Geeks blog. Geek Tom here, and in this blog I’m going to be talking about the recent news of what will be the first ever real-life Mech Battle.

American company Megabots Inc. has called a duel between their Megabot MK2 and the Japanese Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s Kuratas mech, for an as yet undecided date in 2016.Suidobashi have not only accepted the duel, but have upped the stakes, by not only calling the Megabot MK2 “Super American for just sticking big guns on it”, but also saying that they want to include melee combat in the duel, making it more than just a ‘pistols at dawn’ affair.

Putting all the bravado, PR and “this furthers the advancement of engineering accomplishment” to one side, this is AWESOME. For geeks everywhere, being able to hop into the pilot/driving seat of a large (we wouldn’t class these two in the ‘giant’ category!) robot or mech with the sole purpose fighting others is a dream come true. Heck, put the fighting to one side, just being able to ride around in one would be a dream come true.
I mean, what’s not to love about the idea of being at the controls of a heavy piece of machinery, with the power at your fingertips to defend or destroy innocent onlookers as they watch on in awe (or fear) of your capabilities and presence. All whilst potentially being flanked by an opponent, in their own arsenal of heavy hardware?

This isn’t something that has been missed by Hollywood either, as in recent years there have been films that have either incorporated or been solely about this premise.
While James Cameron’s Avatar was about the mentally controlled alien clone bodies and their interaction with said alien natives, the Navi, the human marines had at their disposal a bipedal mech, the Amplified Mobility Platform (or AMP), which is very reminiscent of the units from the old MechWarrior PC game series.

Meanwhile, Pacific Rim is focused on the gargantuan, (mostly) twin piloted Jaegers, humanoid mechs that were created to defend the planet from the monstrous Kaiju who are attacking from another dimension.
And while they’re not mechs per se, the Transformers movie franchise has reignited a brand which is all about an age-old war between 2 factions of giant alien robots, that just happen to be able to reconfigure their bodies into vehicles, beasts and even weapons.

But long before Hollywood took a real interest in the genre, we were given our first foray into real life fighting robots back in the 90’s, in the form of the BBC series Robot Wars, which pitted lots of small garage-built remote controlled robots against obstacle courses, each other and the series’ own “house” robots. While the contestants in the first few seasons were often little more than armoured remote control cars, in a variety of weird and wacky designs, the house robots would sport an array of weapons including flamethrowers, chainsaws, circle saws, ploughs, and vice like crushing pincers (some were even touted to be able to tow a car; Dead Metal and Sir Killalot).

As the series progressed, the complexity and sheer ingenuity of the contestants’ robots improved as more and more of them came with built in gimmicks. The most prolific of these gimmicks was the Self Righting Mechanism, often referred to as the “Srimech”, which would allow an upturned robot to flip itself the right way round mid-bout and be able to continue combat.
Chaos ensued every week, and at its peak some of the contestants even managed to show up the house robots, as well as exhibiting some true feats of combative robotic engineering.

And that’s what this all comes back to, combative robotic engineering.
On one side the Megabot MK2, a hydraulic heavy twin-piloted mech that gets its primary locomotion from a pair of caterpillar treads, and has a pair of high pressure paintball guns at the ends of its arms, which gives it a very MechWarrior vibe.
On the other side is the Kuratas, a sophisticated computerised operating system built into a centaur type mech, with wheels at the end of each of its four legs, a fully armoured single-man cockpit, and a plethora of customisable weapon options (including a big riot shield) at its disposal.
The big problem facing both of these units is that while today’s robotics tech is great for setting up manufacture plants, where each robot is specifically designed for one task and is generally bolted to the floor it sits on, it’s nowhere near the proper level and complexity to create fast mobile mechs that can be quickly adapted to different scenarios.

This battle, when it happens, isn’t going to be the fast high octane action portrayed by Hollywood, it’s going to be a hell of a lot slower, with a lot less action, where one strike can cause a malfunction. Kuratas is heavily reliant on its computers, and Megabot MK2 is only as fast as its hydraulic pressure and is reliant on its twin pilots being able to operate in unison.
Don’t mistake this as being dismissive. I’m really looking forward to what both combatants bring to the duel, and how well each operates in a combat situation, and what this could turn into, but I’m enough of a realist to know that this is real life and not a Hollywood green screen.

This is Geek Tom signing off, saying Stay Geeky!

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Sony’s next big thing is camera drones


Sony’s next big thing is camera drones


This article titled “Sony’s next big thing is camera drones” was written by Samuel Gibbs, for on Thursday 23rd July 2015 10.22 UTC

Sony is launching a company to produce camera drones in a partnership with the autonomous driving startup ZMP.

The new drone manufacturer, Aerosense, will use Sony’s imaging, sensing and networking technology from its smartphone range to create aerial surveillance and reconnaissance drones for businesses.

ZMP will provide the robotics expertise to make them fly. Sony will not sell drones but will lease them for “measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting”.


Drone users face jail if they ‘recklessly endanger an aircraft in flight’

Large civil drones capable of carrying high-powered photography and video equipment have proven useful in the movie and television industry, but their use in construction and other industries for surveying dangerous or difficult to reach areas is in its infancy.

Drones are expected to be one of the growth areas in electronics, as the sensors and technologies needed to sustain stable flight have become cheaper, making them a viable device for both business and consumer products.

The availability of basic consumer drones for less than £50 has caused issues around privacy and safety, with aircraft near-misses becoming an increasing concern.

Legislation over drone use has held back their development. In the UK drones with cameras must not be flown within 50m of a building or a person or within 150 metres of a built-up area and kept below 400 feet. The drone must always be flown within 500m of the pilot and within their line of sight.

In the US, where Amazon and other companies are attempting to develop drone technology for delivery services among other uses, rules governing drone flight are under revision by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

Medical supplies were successfully delivered to a remote clinic via drone in an FAA-approved trial last week.

Sony is hoping that its drone company will be ahead of the curve for industrial use, competing with Yamaha and others in Japan and companies such as Australian firm Flirtey on the global stage.

Drone firing handgun appears in video

First successful drone delivery made in the US © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Drone flights add international research element to health outreach.

The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech has received a Federal Aviation Administration Certificate of Authorization to conduct research flights on Friday, July 17, at a field hospital in Wise, Virginia. A Cirrus SR22 aircraft, one of the two types of drones that will be flown on…

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Wednesday Cable Ratings: 'Sharknado 3' & 'Duck Dynasty' Win Night, 'Suits', 'The Game', 'Catfish' & More

Wednesday Cable Ratings: ‘Sharknado 3′ & ‘Duck Dynasty’ Win Night, ‘Suits’, ‘The Game’, ‘Catfish’ & More

Duck Dynasty and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No tied as Wednesday’s highest rated cable originals, with both earning a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating. Duck Dynasty was up from last week’s 0.8 adults 18-49 rating while Sharknado 3 was down from Sharknado 2’s 1.3 adults 18-49 rating. Copa Del Oro came in second with a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating. The list below is long but you can use your browsers “find on page”…

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Ozobot Robotics Coding Reviews

Ozobot 1.0 – Two Pack (Crystal White & Titanium Black)


Ozobot is one of the world’s smallest programmable robots, measuring just over 1 inch in height & diameter. But don’t let its small size fool you. Ozobot is a powerful learning tool that teaches children the basics of coding & programming in fun, interactive ways. Its easy to understand color based coding language makes Ozobot the perfect choice for introducing young minds to concepts that will be vital to their success in the 21st century.


With structured STEM/STREAM lesson plans and workshops available for free on, teachers and parents can use Ozobot as a cutting edge educational tool that helps kids learn while playing.

Small enough to use on a desk or tablet and fits in your pocket, Ozobot goes wherever you do! Designed to learn, play and entertain, Ozobot brings a refreshingly new element into solitary gameplay and shines in a variety of social and interactive settings.

Download the free apps to build custom maps, challenge friends to games of strategy & luck, and program your Ozobot to dance to your favorite tunes!

Your Game Piece with Brains

With original Ozobot’s unique ability to read and detect changes in color, you can program it to move, play and dance through intuitive color code patterns. Each color pattern is associated to specific moves that Ozobot understands and performs.

You can simply control Ozobot with markers on regular paper, then advance with brainy activities, next master with fun app games. Ozobot engages children to be hands-on with robotics and programming while playing. Ozobot’s small size, intelligence and versatility make it the ultimate smart game piece that plays in both physical and digital worlds.

  • Ozobot is the world’s smallest smart robot that combines elements of physical and digital games to bring a whole new experience to solitary gaming and social game nights.
  • Racing, Arcade, Strategy, DIY, Puzzle, Dancing or Chance games, this tiny robot offers a new world of entertainment on both physical and digital.
  • Ozobot is a powerful tiny robot that expands STEM and computer science learning through a collection of game based activities and digital apps.


In Competition for Water Supremacy, RoboBoats Rule the Waves.

In a race for points, honor and cash, 16 teams—from the United States and as far away as Indonesia, Taiwan and South Korea—hit the water with custom-built autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) at the eighth annual RoboBoat Competition, held July 7-12 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The com…

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Robots under test for oil and gas rig duty

Robots under test for oil and gas rig duty

The ExoMars rover will be ESA’s field biologist on Mars. It will characterise the biological environment in preparation for further robotic missions and then human exploration. Credit: ESA – AOES Medialab A robot building on ESA’s ExoMars rover is bidding to win a place on oil and gas production rigs around the world, to work in remote and hazardous environments. This robot, developed by a team…

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Weekly Ratings Notes for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT & NBA TV: 'Rizzoli & Isles', 'Major Crimes', The Last Ship', 'Clipped' & More

Weekly Ratings Notes for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT & NBA TV: ‘Rizzoli & Isles’, ‘Major Crimes’, The Last Ship’, ‘Clipped’ & More

    via press note: Turner Broadcasting led basic cable in primetime and total day for the week of June 29, with #1 rankings in several key areas: TNT was basic cable’s most-watched network in primetime, with TBS and Adult Swim finishing in the Top 10. And Cartoon Network took the top spot in total day, with Top 10 rankings for Adult Swim and TNT. In key demos, Adult Swim was the winner with…

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3D-printed Robot is Hard at Heart, Soft on Outside.

Engineers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, have created the first robot with a 3D-printed body that transitions from a rigid core to a soft exterior. The robot is capable of more than 30 untethered jumps and is powered by a mix of butane and oxygen. Researchers…

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Mr. Robot’s Cyber Crime Expert Talks Accuracy, Hacking Misconceptions And What Other Shows Get Wrong

Mr. Robot is breaking the mold. Despite the typical trajectory of other cyber crime shows and movies, the rookie USA Network hacker drama has grabbed the attention of both critics and viewers who have exalted the show for its compelling story line and accurate portrayal of cyber security and crime.

Object recognition for robots.

John Leonard’s group in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering specializes in SLAM, or simultaneous localization and mapping, the technique whereby mobile autonomous robots map their environments and determine their locations. The proposed SLAM-aware object recognition system is able to l…

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