RoboCup German Open 2017, Day 1

Livestream: RoboCup German Open SPL – Fr, 5. Mai 2017 – live aus Magdeburg

produziert vom StreamTeam der HTWK Leipzig
https://streamteam.htwk-leipzig.de

Meccanoid XL 2.0 Review

This article has been automatically translated from German to English

Some weeks ago, I received the Meccanoid XL 2.0 as a review copy. Unfortunately, it was only a few weeks later that I found time to commit myself more closely with this new humanoid robot from Meccano. Even though I got the Meccanoid free of charge, this is a neutral report. Here are my first impressions after the assembly and the first hours of the „programming“.

The Meccanoid XL 2.0 is the successor of Meccanoid G15KS and its smaller G15 version. Even the G15 has received a successor with the Meccanoid 2.0 (excluding XL). The number of parts has been reduced slightly compared to its predecessor, and the previously existing building instructions for a dinosaur are missing on the robot now. There’s a new „Meccasaur“ Dino robot now as a separate product. Also accounted for, is the ability to control the robot through a Smartphone by controlling the movements in front of the camera. This option was apparently completely removed from the app and is also no longer available for the G15 or G15KS. Newly added are over 3000 new gestures and language editions, as well as possibilities of speech recognition. The understood vocabulary of the robot was so significantly expanded compared to the previous version. The Meccanoid XL 2.0 has a size of 1,20 m, what makes him to be really impressive, and an absolute eye-catcher.

The Assembly was largely problem-free; however I must confess at this point that I am a newbie in Meccano. The instructions could have been given in better quality, so it was difficult to identify building steps and the corresponding correct holes for the screws in some places. You should take special consideration on the cable guide, because this is neglected in the building instructions’ manual. Here planning and thinking is required, whereby the degree of difficulty is rather aimed at advanced hobbyists. Even the assembly time of 5-6 hours proves to me that this is not a robot Kit for beginners. The specified minimum age of 10 years here, in my opinion, is somewhat young. Certainly, children need assistance by an adult when reassembling.

The parts are different from what Meccano usually offers, not made of metal but of plastic. Meccano has already received criticism online for the plastic parts, but they did not disturb me. The motors of the robot parts made of iron would be more overworked than with new plastic model.

Unfortunately many of the components are very specialized, creating one’s customized building is complicated. The hope here is that a few days ago on the Meccano Facebook page, there was posted a video, belonging to a new „Meccano mega builds“ series. This series presented alternate building possibilities in combination with other Meccano sets. Also present is a video for a new „Mecca spider“, a robot spider based on the Meccanoid and the 25 in 1 4 x 4 off-roader set. Unfortunately, I have promised instructions in the video not yet on the Meccano site, but I have already informed the support team. Please more of such alternative models are for the meccanoid set!

The Meccanoid can be adjusted to different types of „Programming“. Movement can be recorded by the movement of the limb and play back by the push of a button. This is not of course the correct programming, but it can very quickly store movements, which can then be retrieved. This „programming mode“ is suitable for everyone who shuns the correct programming. Another mode is the recording of motion sequences with the Meccanoid app (for Android and iOS). In the app is a virtual robot available whose movements can be transferred to the real Meccanoid. This method also provides no proper programming, it also only records movements. Correct programming, however, is possible with the „drag and drop – programming“ in the app. Here simple programs can be put together, which is similar to how a flow chart is built. It can be used on events (inputs) such as time, engine movement, button pressure, etc be it responsive and affiliated movements, speech, LED color change and other operations will be launched. Here we can also easily learn how to program operations and programming constructions (loops, conditions). Since the Meccanoid contains no additional sensors, the possibilities here unfortunately are somewhat limited. The app offers an interactive tutorial with an English language edition and German subtitles. Appealing to children here is the ‚Coach Meccanoid‘ virtual robot that gradually step by step guides them on using the app.

Is the Meccanoid good for use in the classroom? No. With a construction period of 5-6 hours, the building period will take too long for teaching. The learning processes through movement of the robot offers no learning effect. The use of the built-in voice control and dialog function (which did not want to work with me in German), is based on volume which is not suitable for a class room. Drag- and -drop programming is certainly suitable for the classroom, unfortunately there is the lack of tasks set or instructions for the teaching of Meccano. The introduction to simple programming sequences can be taught with some adequate preparation. Additional advanced features give hope that the  Meccano can provide a download portal for „open source programming“. Here you will find sample projects and libraries to control the meccanoid by third-party hardware.

As far as my impression of the Meccano Meccanoid XL 2.0, should you have questions or suggestions, you would like to use the comment function. Pictures and videos of the set up will be available here soon.

Neato Botvac™ Connected Series Now Supports Google Home

Newark, CA—March 16, 2017—Neato Robotics, leaders in smart robots for the home, today announces an integration with the Google Assistant on Google Home, available across its Botvac Connected series.

“The explosion of artificial intelligence has enabled more sophisticated voice control and we are happy to bring this revolutionary technology to customers. At the heart of Neato’s brand is – and always has been – technology leadership through innovation — the Google Assistant integration further cements our commitment to innovation in the smart home,” said Giacomo Marini, Chairman and CEO of Neato Robotics.

The Google Assistant on your Google Home can answer questions, play music, manage tasks and control devices in your home like Neato connected robot vacuums. When you’re at home you can just say, “Ok Google, tell Neato robot to start cleaning” for a completely hands-free clean. This integration allows customers to check battery level, locate their robot vacuum with the FindMe function, and schedule a cleaning cycle, all through the power of voice. Neato offers the widest range of choices to operate your robot vacuum from anywhere. Customers can choose how to interact with their robot via the Neato App, Amazon Alexa Skill, Neato Chatbot for Facebook, and now, the Google Assistant. This further extends Neato’s vision of SmartLife™ —using technology that integrates seamlessly with your lifestyle to make life simpler and smarter.

Since the release of its first connected robot vacuum, Neato has continued to innovate in the smart connected home. This new integration further expands technical capabilities and ensures that Neato is fully integrated into the smart connected home.

All Neato robots use the company’s patented Neato LaserSmart™ technology that combines laser scanning, continuous room mapping and real time object detection to plan the most efficient course to clean a home. This means the Neato robot alters its navigation instantly when a new obstacle enters its path. It navigates intelligently even in the dark, moves from room to room, and knows when to return to its base for recharging — and then automatically goes back to where it left off to finish the job. The Neato robots’ iconic D-shape design and CornerClever® technology allows it to clean close to walls and deep into corners where dirt and dust often hide. With one of the largest brushes and dirt bins on the market, Neato robots cover more square footage and pick up more debris than other robot vacuums.

Availability

The Google Assistant on Google Home integration is available today in the US. It is supported by all Neato connected robot vacuums including Botvac D3 Connected, Botvac D5 Connected and Botvac Connected. In addition, the Amazon Alexa skill will be available soon in the US, UK and Germany and will be supported by all Neato connected robot vacuums including Botvac D3 Connected, Botvac D5 Connected and Botvac Connected.

About Neato

Neato Robotics designs robots for the home to improve people’s lives, allowing them to spend less time doing household chores and more time on the things they love. Neato drives innovation with intelligent laser navigation, smart home connectivity, and superior cleaning technologies. For more information, visit: www.neatorobotics.com.

iRobot Takes Next Step in the Connected Home with Clean Map™ Reports and Amazon Alexa Integration

Tell Roomba® vacuuming robot to clean via Amazon Alexa™, then learn more about the cleaning job in the iRobot HOME App

BEDFORD, Mass., March 15, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer home robotics, today announced updates to the iRobot HOME App that expand the value of connected Roomba vacuuming robots within the smart home. New Clean Map reports provide visual post-cleaning maps that display information about the robot’s cleaning performance, such as the dirtiest floor areas and total space cleaned, while the integration of Amazon Alexa™ voice activated control will make communicating with a Roomba vacuuming robot a breeze.

„iRobot is aggressively pursuing opportunities within the connected home to improve our customers‘ experience with our cleaning robots,“ said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. „The latest updates for the iRobot HOME App make cleaning with an iRobot Roomba vacuuming robot even more user friendly, with voice-activated commands, enhanced mapping features and useful post-cleaning reports. These are exciting next steps towards our vision of an ecosystem of home robots that work collaboratively and further enable the smart home.“

Combining adaptive navigation with visual localization, iRobot Roomba 900 Series vacuuming robots build a map of a home as they clean. Clean Map reports make these maps visible to customers in the iRobot HOME App after a cleaning job is complete, showing total area and duration a Roomba® 900 Series vacuum cleaned — for up to 30 cleaning jobs.  Leveraging Dirt Detect™ – an iRobot patented feature only found on Roomba vacuuming robots – Clean Map reports also provide users with information about where the robot encounters higher concentrations of dirt or debris, providing a more focused cleaning in those areas. With the addition of Clean Map reports, users can now have greater confidence in knowing the vacuuming is complete.

Clean Map reports can be viewed in the History tab of the iRobot HOME App. Once the map is opened, users can manipulate the map on the screen with their fingers, zooming and panning from room-to-room to see where Dirt Detect™ events occurred. The update to the iRobot HOME App also includes push notifications that will alert users on job status, including when the robot is finished cleaning.

With Amazon Alexa™, customers can start, stop and pause Roomba cleaning jobs with simple voice activated commands (e.g. „Alexa, ask Roomba to begin cleaning.“). The Alexa™ skill for Roomba vacuuming robots will be available to U.S. customers in Q2 2017 and is compatible with any connected Roomba vacuum, such as the Roomba 900 Series.

Available for Android and iOS devices, the iRobot HOME App gives users more control over their connected cleaning products, such as the Roomba 900 Series Vacuum Cleaners and Braava jet® Mopping Robot, with customized cleaning preferences, information about cleaning jobs, customized maintenance tips and direct access to customer support.

Availability

The latest update for iRobot HOME App is available for download beginning today worldwide for iOS and Android users. The Amazon Alexa skill for connected iRobot Roomba vacuums will be available to U.S. customers in Q2 2017.

Photos, videos and background can be found at: http://media.irobot.com/

Please join iRobot on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

About iRobot Corp.

iRobot designs and builds robots that empower people to do more. The company’s home robots help people find smarter ways to clean and accomplish more in their daily lives. iRobot’s portfolio of solutions feature proprietary technologies for the connected home and advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence. For more information about iRobot, please visit www.irobot.com.

For iRobot Investors

Certain statements made in this press release that are not based on historical information are forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements relating to iRobot Corporation’s expectations concerning management’s plans, objectives and strategies. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. iRobot undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by iRobot, see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, without limitation, our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

PLEN Cube: The Portable Personal Assistant Robot, from PLENGoer Robotics Inc., launched on Kickstarter

PLENGoer Robotics launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to bring PLEN Cube:
The Portable Personal Assistant Robot, to the world. PLEN Cube can be your
customizable, palm-­sized companion featuring a smart camera and automation skills.
Visit PLEN Cube’s Kickstarter page to pre-­order it, meet the developers, and learn more
about the product that is changing our lives.


PLEN Cube is a portable robot that can consolidate your devices and favorite web
services;; capture moments with a smart camera that tracks your face and motions;; and
complement your life with hands-­free voice activation, and customization options.
Natsuo Akazawa, CEO at PLENGoer Robotics, explains: “Think of PLEN Cube as your
right-­hand man (in robot form). We’ve packed a lot into this playful 3-­inch powerhouse:
a powerful processor, Full-­HD camera, display, microphone array and speakers, along
with cutting-­edge software in facial recognition, speech recognition, and more.“

 

A HANDS-­FREE CAMERA THAT FOLLOWS YOUR MOVEMENTS

No need for a cameraperson. Simply use voice commands to take a photo or video. PLEN Cube also uses computer vision technology, and can rotate 360 degrees to follow you wherever you go. Because PLEN Cube is wifi and bluetooth-­enabled, you can instantly share photos or videos on social media.

KEEPS YOU INFORMED

PLEN Cube aggregates all your day’s essential info including the weather, schedule, reminders, social media and more.Use the PLEN Cube mobile app to connect your services. PLEN Cube will keep you informed through its display, movements, sound, or notifications to your mobile device.

ALL YOUR SERVICES AND DEVICES IN ONE PLACE

With PLEN Cube, you can control all your favorite devices via Wifi, Bluetooth and infrared.You can also connect and consolidate your social media, including Facebook,Instagram, and Twitter.

CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR LIFE -­ FROM MORNING TO NIGHT

Anyone can customize the PLEN Cube using IFTTT, a web-­based automation service that allows you to create chains of actions with your favorite web services. PLEN Cube can do everything else a personal assistant bot can do, and also expands the number of triggers (inputs) and actions (outputs) you can use. Advanced developers can access our open API and take customization to the next level. We’ll also launch a community forum where users can share ideas and collaborate, and PLENGoer can provide further developer information.

Specs:

  • Size: 75mm x75mm x75mm / Weight: 500g (1.1 lbs).
  • Intel Joule 570x
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • 320×240 LCD – full color
  • Full HD Camera – with stop motion, panoramic, and face and actiontracking
  • Microphone x2 – to locate sound source
  • Electromagnetic field-based sensor – detects hand presence and motion.
  • Program different gestures to activate certain application actions
  • Speakers – full range drivers, woofers and tweeters from GoerTek, a leaderin the global miniature electro-acoustic industry
  • Infrared home appliance control – through a partnership with Crossdoor
  • Motors – for PLEN Cube’s expressive movement
  • Linux OS
  • Robot Operating System (ROS)
  • Voice recognition software (we’re currently evaluating the best option for this)

About PLENGoer Robotics Inc.

Founded in 2016, PLENGoer Robotics Inc. develops personal service robots to achieve a richer quality of life. With the robot development technology our parent PLEN Project Company has cultivated thus far, and production technology of GoerTek group, we aim to develop unprecedented and truly functional service robots. PLENGoer Robotics will be an innovation platform for service robots.
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/plengoer/

Kuri – A First-of-Its-Kind Home Robot Announced at 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Designed with personality, awareness, and mobility, Kuri enhances life at home and helps people connect

Mayfield Robotics , a Bosch startup out of Redwood City, CA, at CES proudly unveiled Kuri, an intelligent robot for the home. Kuri is designed with personality, awareness, and mobility, and adds a spark of life to any home. Priced at $699, Kuri is available for pre-order in the U.S. with a $100 deposit starting today at heykuri.com.

Kuri is built to connect with you and helps bring technology to life. Kuri can understand context and surroundings,recognize specific people, and respond to questions with facial expressions, head movements, and his unique lovable sounds. Like many adored robots in popular culture, his personality and ability to connect are his greatest attributes.

“For generations, people have dreamed of having their own personal robot in the home, and we’ve been focused on making that dream more of a reality,” said Sarah Osentoski, COO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics. “We’re proud to introduce Kuri to the world and can’t wait to see how he touches the lives of everyone, ranging from parents and children to early technology adopters.”

Behind his clean design, Kuri is powered by serious hardware & capabilities:

  • A built-in 1080p camera so you can check-in on the house or pets while you’re away;
  • A 4-Microphone array, powerful dual speakers, and wifi + Bluetooth connectivity, so he can play music, read the kids a bedtime story, or follow you around playing podcasts while you’re getting ready for work;
  • Various sensors for mapping and detecting edges and objects so he knows where he is, and so you don’t have to worry about him bumping into that chair you forgot to put away, or driving down stairs;
  • Easily programmable tasks and IFTTT capabilities to connect within modern smart homes
  • Hours of battery life, and when it’s time to refuel, he simply returns himself to his charging dock for a quick charging nap.

“While insanely cute on the outside, Kuri contains serious technologies on the inside that represent the latest developments in smartphones, gaming, and robotics,” said Kaijen Hsiao, CTO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics. “We hope Kuri introduces people — especially kids — to the power of technology and can inspire a new world of possibilities for their future.”

“I’m excited to finally share the work we’ve done,” said Mike Beebe, Mayfield Robotics’ CEO and co-founder. “We have an incredible team that’s focused on a single dream: home robots done right.”

Kuri is 20” tall, weighs about 14 lbs, and includes an app for iOS and Android for setup and controlcapabilities. Mayfield Robotics plans to ship the first Kuri robots for Holiday 2017.

###

About Mayfield Robotics

Mayfield Robotics is the maker of Kuri, a new kind of intelligent home robot. Born out of the Bosch Startup Platform, the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch North America Corporation. Founded in 2015 by Sarah Osentoski, Kaijen Hsiao and Mike Beebe, the company is based out of Redwood City, California. For more information, visit www.mayfieldrobotics.com, and to pre-order Kuri, visit www.heykuri.com.

Panasonic Demonstrates Desktop „Companion“ Robot

Panasonic announced it has developed a desktop „companion“ robot with human-like movements and communication skills. The robot, developed as a proof of concept, debuts at the Panasonic booth (#12908) at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. during Jan 5-8.

„This test project builds on Panasonic’s innovations in robotics including battery and power solutions, vision and sensing, navigation solutions and motion control in a new appealing design. This is Panasonic’s latest effort in demonstrating network services in a friendly package, and we are showing this robot at CES as a way of obtaining feedback on its features and functions,“ said Takahiro Iijima, Director, Panasonic Design Strategy Office in North America.

The robot is equipped with a Wi-Fi network function that accesses artificial intelligence-based natural language processing technology. This enables it to communicate in a clear, friendly way. The robot is able to access and use cloud data, and commute with those in other locations. Thanks to its embedded projector, the robot can be used for distance learning and other purposes. The robot is about the size of a standard kitchen countertop blender.

Panasonic has submitted patent or design registration applications in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Specifications (Based on test model; subject to change)

Product name Desktop companion robot
Dimensions Diameter: Up to 290 mm (9.5 inches)
Height: Up to 485 mm (1.5 feet)
Weight 3.7 kg (8.1 lbs)
Movement speed Max. 3.5 km/h (2.1 mph)
Battery Lithium ion battery
Capacity: 11.1 V 6600 mAh
Operable hours: Approx. 6 hours
Sensors 8 M pixel CMOS camera × 1, infrared sensors × 5
Motors Wheels: Pulse width modulation controlled DC motor × 4
Neck: Feedback controlled servo motor × 3
Projector WVGA+ (854 × 480 dots), 50 lumens
Language English
Processor & OS 1.2 GHz 64/32-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, UNIX OS
Wireless connectivity Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4GHz/5GHz)
Bluetooth: Version 5

The robot has a cover that looks like an egg shell, which the robot can open to reveal a built-in projector. The robot also moves back and forward, and up and down. Its features and dexterity–designed to mimic human movements–inspires people to interact with it and are made possible with Panasonic-developed servo control technology. The robot’s child-like voice adds to the realism. Its voice and embedded projector work together to deliver natural communication that builds a sense of attachment with its human owner.

WiSoccero, The Soccer Player Robot

WiSoccero is designed to take advantage of the exciting art of robotics by removing all the struggles involved and also adding a little more fun. It makes entering the world of Robotics as easy as possible. It begins by just playing with friends and travels to incredible areas like learning about robots and even developing amazing robotic projects.

WiSoccero is agile and versatile. Unlike traditional RC Cars, it can move in any direction without any hesitation. It employs a special wheel arrangement and omnidirectional wheels which gives it more freedom in maneuvering.In order to take advantage of this flexibility, the pack includes a customized DIY joystick kit that gives complete control of all its various features and capabilities over WiFi.

This soccer player robot is capable of kicking and passing the ball. It utilizes an electromechanical part (solenoid) and the necessary electrical drivers. This system is capable of kicking the ball with different level of force that can be controlled effortlessly.

WiSoccero needs to be powered by 3 Li-ion 18650 cylindrical rechargeable batteries (at least 2200 mAh in capacity) that under normal condition lasts for about 2 hours.

WiSoccero is based on ATmega2560 core and it has all standard Arduino Mega Headers. Also it’s equipped with WiLoader for WiFi programming and communication.

It also comes with a lot of great components for hobbyist and developers like three DC motor drivers, Gyroscope (for orientation setting), DIP switch, buzzer, two LED Strings, two configurable buttons, power and protection circuit, two rocker switches for turning circuit and motors on/off separately, isolated voltage booster circuit and power transistors  for kicker mechanism.

WiSoccero is truly developer friendly. Thanks to its Arduino compatible headers and component placement, its possible to use any Arduino Mega shield such as distance sensor shield for obstacle avoidance, camera shields for autonomous operations and much more. Also you can use all these amazing shields while playing soccer. It’s truly fun!

WiSoccero Kickstarter campaign starts on February 8 for a period of 30 days by PetuniaTech. It offers special discount for the first day only. The final products will be available on June 2017. Click here to view more on WiSoccero Kickstarter campaign.

MeArm Pi by Mime Industries now on Kickstarter

Mime Industries launched their latest product on Kickstarter; a Raspberry Pi powered robot arm kit that’s simple enough for kids to build.

Ben Pirt from Mime Industries said “we believe in helping children to have fun whilst learning about technology and the MeArm Pi is completely designed around that goal”. Based on the original MeArm, which was launched on Kickstarter in 2014, this version has seen a complete re-working in order to make it much simpler for children to build.

The kit integrates smoothly with the Raspberry Pi, the ubiquitous educational computing platform, using a HAT (a plug-on board that fits on the computer) with on-board joysticks for control. Because of the large ecosystem of programming language support for the Raspberry Pi it is also possible to program the movements of the arm using a wide range of popular programming languages.

Mime Industries enables people to learn through play and exploration of technology. Their groundbreaking build-it-yourself kits have inspired children and adults to break through their own barriers and learn to build and code whilst having fun. Their products are simple to build and can be easily understood. Meaning you can use them to learn whilst playing, adding your own imagination to make something great.

Link to the Kickstarter Page