Greg Galitzine : Robotics
Greg Galitzine

January 2012

You are browsing the archive for January 2012.

Seabed Acquires Schilling ROV

January 31, 2012

Schilling Robotics has announced the expansion of their customer base with the addition of Norwegian deep-sea specialist Seabed AS, who took delivery of a new Schilling HD 23 ROV system. The HD 23 is a 150-horsepower, 4,000 meter-rated remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system designed for subsea applications including underwater inspection, repair, maintenance (IRM), drill support, and medium-duty construction.

The ROV was delivered in December 2011.

Tyler Schilling, chief executive officer for Schilling Robotics, expressed his satisfaction with Seabed’s choice to partner with his firm.

Robotic Pitchers and Catchers - A Sure Sign of Spring?

January 30, 2012

As baseball fans eagerly await the return of pitchers and catchers to spring training, it seems that researchers at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics at DLR (German Aerospace Center) have come up with a robot nicknamed Agile Justin that can throw a ball. Which, some baseball purists (among others) might point out, is about time, since last year the Institute created the ball-catching robot, Rollin’ Justin.

I mean, can it still be called catch if you’re playing alone?

According to information on DLR’s Web site, the technology necessary to mimic the human capacity for catching a thrown ball is not so basic.

Northrop, Navy Complete Autonomous Aerial Refueling Tests

January 27, 2012

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Navy successfully completed a series of autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) tests designed to demonstrate technology that will extend the operating range and flight duration of future carrier-based unmanned systems.

The tests, carried out using Calspan Corporation’s Variable Stability Learjet as a surrogate for the X-47B unmanned aircraft, and a K707 tanker provided by Omega Air Refueling proved the functionality of the hardware and software that will eventually enable the X-47B aircraft to demonstrate AAR in 2014.

The tests are part of ongoing work in the US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program, and are designed to prove out technology which will eventually lead to unmanned aircraft being able to stay aloft for longer periods of time.

According to Carl Johnson, vice president and UCAS-D program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector, “Future unmanned systems will need to use both refueling techniques if they plan to conduct longer range surveillance or strike missions from the carrier.”

Actor, Voice of TV's 'Lost in Space' Robot Dies at 85

January 27, 2012

Dick Tufeld, who was the voice of the robot on the 1960’s television series, “Lost in Space” (1965–1968), died this past week at his home in Los Angeles. Tufeld had a history of heart disease, and was said to have been in declining health. He was 85 years old.

Tufeld had a long and successful broadcast career, with announcing stints on TV shows like “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and commercial voiceovers for Gallo Wines as well as a radio career in the 1950’s that included credits on such shows as “Annie Oakley,” “Zorro,” “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends,” “The Fantastic Four,” and others.

Swiss Robot Maker Set to Launch SCORP

January 26, 2012

An item on sparked my interest today. As it turns out, Lausanne, Switzerland-based Novatiq is set to release a micro-unmanned ground vehicle, or MUGV, called SCORP. Classified as a “throwable” robot, the device is specially designed for front-line personnel engaged in antiterrorism, police, bomb squad and military activities.

Novatiq describes the 2.5 kg (5.5 lb.) SCORP as an “…advanced small, lightweight portable reconnaissance robot… that can be deployed and operated by a single person.”

Two Teams Emerge Victorious in SPHERES Challenge

January 25, 2012

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology played host to over 200 high-school students competing in the third annual NASA-sponsored  Zero Robotics SPHERES Challenge.

Two teams of students — one US-based and one European team — earned bragging rights as the winners of the SPHERES Challenge, which tasked them with programming a group of miniature satellites that are currently in orbit aboard the International Space Station. Alliance Rocket from the United States and Alliance CyberAvo from Europe were named the winners. Both winning efforts were in turn made up of three individual teams:

  • Alliance Rocket comprised Team Rocket, River Hill High School, Clarksville, MD; Storming Robots, Branchburg, NJ; and SPHEREZ of Influence, Rockledge High School/Brevard County, FL.

Chrysler Foundation Offers Grants to Support Youth Robotics

January 19, 2012

The Chrysler Foundation has been a supporter of youth robotics programs for the past 16 years, and today the company announced a series of grants totaling over $130,000. The grants, which range from $500 to $6,625, were awarded to teams of students participating in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and FLL (FIRST Lego League) competitions.

The Foundation, which is committed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, will award the grants to 22 teams from Arizona, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia. The funds will be used to offset costs associated with items such as registration fees, parts and materials and team apparel.

Lockheed Martin Acquires Avionics Specialist

January 18, 2012

Lockheed Martin has announced the acquisition of privately held Procerus Technologies, an Orem, Utah-based company specializing in avionics for micro unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Procerus was founded in 2004.

According to a press release hailing the acquisition, Procerus provides autopilot, targeting and payload technologies for micro UAS to domestic and international governments, as well as industry and academic institutions.

One example is the company’s Kestrel autopilot system (pictured), which is designed as a small and light, yet fully-featured micro autopilot system for surveillance and reconnaissance applications.

Students to Compete in Robotics Challenge

January 18, 2012

A group of high school students will compete in the third annual Zero Robotics SPHERES Challenge on Monday January 23rd. They will be operating under the aegis of some high-flying sponsors, namely NASA, DARPA, and MIT. (That’s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the acronym challenged.)

NASA will upload software developed by 27 teams of high school students onto Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES), which are bowling ball-sized spherical satellites aboard the International Space Station.

Defense Department Gets a Good Look at Argus One

January 17, 2012

 World Surveillance Group Inc., developer of the lighter-than-air Argus One UAV, announced the completion of initial demonstrations for the U.S. Department of Defense. The demonstration took place at the U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Test Site.

CyberKnife Robotic Surgery System Deployed in Mexican Hospital

January 17, 2012

Robotic and robotic-assisted surgery continues to make inroads into new and emerging markets. CHRISTUS MUGUERZA Hospital Alta Especialidad, located in Monterrey, Mexico, recently deployed the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, and has been treating patients since October 2011. In fact, the hospital has treated eight patients with malignant tumors or non-cancerous lesions in the brain, head, neck, and kidneys using the CyberKnife System.

According to Sunnyvale, CA-based Accuray - the creators of the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System - the solution offers cancer patients a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body.

TOSY Dancing Robot Can Cut A Rug

January 12, 2012

 Yes, this is the one. THIS is the robot Justin Bieber has been promoting in the Las Vegas desert.

If you pay attention to robots, or gadgets, or Canadian teen heartthrobs dating Selena Gomez, you know what I’m talking about.

TOSY Robotics, a Vietnamese high-tech toys manufacturer, used CES 2012 as the venue to announce its latest and greatest — a portable speaker that doubles as… wait for it… a dancing robot.

Mexico City to Host Robotic Soccer Championship

January 12, 2012

Ok, so it’s not exactly Lionel Messi cutting through the middle of a defense, or Cristiano Ronaldo showing off his ball control skills en route to scoring a goal, but the robotics community continues to make strides in Robo-Soccer. The RoboCup Federation and the Mexican Robotics Federation are well underway with plans for the upcoming RoboCup 2012 which will be held in Mexico City June 18-24 of this year.

While it may be a bit premature to issue such a warning, care should be taken not confuse it with another soccer competition taking place at around the same time — the UEFA Euro2012 Final.

Although the ultimate dream of the RoboCup organization is to have its humanoid robots (like the Aldebarran Nao 25, pictured, right) compete against and emerge victorious against a reigning human World Cup winning team, the group admits that such a result might be considered a “dream” which they hope to achieve by the middle of the 21st century at the earliest. Nevertheless, they believe that today’s RoboCup competitions will serve as a vehicle to further promote robotics and artificial intelligence, or AI, research.

NASA GRAIL Spacecraft Achieve Lunar Orbit

January 6, 2012

NASA announced that a pair of Lockheed Martin-developed robotic spacecraft had successfully achieved a lunar orbit earlier this week.

The so-called GRAIL mission spacecraft (for Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory) were designed with the goal of studying the gravitational forces of the Earth’s closest celestial neighbor.

Information on the project’s Web site explains the mission thusly:

As the two spacecraft fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity, caused both by visible features such as mountains and craters and by masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, they will move slightly toward and away from each other.