Mayflower Autonomous Ship Launches

PLYMOUTH, England, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ocean research non-profit ProMare and IBM (NYSE:IBM) have announced the completion and launch of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) – an AI and solar powered marine research vessel which will traverse oceans gathering vital environmental data.

Following two years of design, construction and training of its AI models, the new fully-autonomous trimaran was today lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England ahead of its official launch tomorrow.

Designed to provide a safe, flexible and cost-effective way of gathering data about the ocean, the new-generation Mayflower promises to transform oceanography by working in tandem with scientists and other autonomous vessels to help understand critical issues such as global warming, micro-plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation. ProMare is co-ordinating the scientific studies working with IBM Research and a number of leading scientific organizations.

MAS features an AI Captain built by ProMare and IBM developers which gives MAS the ability to sense, think and make decisions at sea with no human captain or onboard crew. The new class of marine AI is underpinned by IBM’s latest advanced edge computing systems, automation software, computer vision technology and Red Hat Open Source software.

„Able to scan the horizon for possible hazards, make informed decisions and change its course based on a fusion of live data, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship has more in common with a modern bank than its 17th century namesake,“ said Andy Stanford-Clark, Chief Technology Officer, IBM UK & Ireland. „With its ability to keep running in the face of the most challenging conditions, this small ship is a microcosm for every aspiring 21st century business.“

To enable followers around the world to stay updated with MAS as it undertakes its various missions, IBM and ProMare have today launched a new interactive web portal. Built by IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Services, the MAS400 portal is designed to provide real-time updates about the ship’s location, environmental conditions and data from its various research projects. Live weather data will be streamed from The Weather Company, as MAS is receiving forecast data and insight from the new IBM Weather Operations Center.

The portal even features a seven-armed, stowaway octopus chatbot called Artie, who claims to be hitching a ride on the ship. Powered by IBM Watson Assistant technology and created in partnership with European start-up Chatbotbay, Artie has been trained to provide information about MAS and its adventures in a lively, and accessible format.

„MAS400.com is one of the most advanced ocean mission web portals ever built,“ says Fredrik Soreide, Scientific Director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project and Board Member of ProMare. „Protecting the ocean depends on our ability to engage the public in important matters affecting its health. This MAS400 portal is designed to do exactly that and tell people where the ship is, what speed it’s travelling at, what conditions it’s operating in and what science we are conducting. Users can even help Artie the Octopus fish out surgical masks, cigarette butts and other increasingly common forms of ocean litter from a virtual ocean of facts and data.“

MAS will spend the next six months in sea trials and undertake various research missions and voyages before attempting to cross the Atlantic in Spring 2021. MAS’s transatlantic voyage will be based on a similar route and pioneering spirit to the 1620 Mayflower which made the same crossing 400 years ago.

MAS Facts:

Name: Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS)
Organizations and
companies behind it:   
ProMare, IBM and a global consortium of partners 
Mission:MAS and other autonomous ships and drones working in tandem with human scientists to collect vital oceanographic data
Humans on board:0
Autonomy level5 (can operate independently with no human intervention)
Sensors on board:30+
AI Cameras on board:   6
Octopuses on board:1
Science projects:Marine mammals, micro plastics, sea level height & wave patterns, oceanographic and environmental data collection
Length:15M
Width:6.2M
Max speed:10 knots
Weight:5 tons/4535KG
Equipment capacity:    0.7 tons/700KG
Hull design:Trimaran (central hull with two outrigger wings)
Power:Solar-driven hybrid electric motor
Software:IBM Visual Insights computer vision technology, IBM edge systems, IBM Operational Decision Manager automation software, IBM Maximo asset management software, data from The Weather Company        
Hardware:IBM Power Systems AC922, 6 Jetson AGX Xavier, 2 Jetson Xavier NX, 4+ Intel-based computers, 4+ custom microprocessor systems
Navigation equipment:Precision GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), IMU (Inertial Measurement Units), radar, weather station, SATCOM, AIS
Live mission portal:https://mas400.com
More information:https://newsroom.ibm.com/then-and-now
B-roll:  https://newsroom.ibm.com/mayflower-b-roll
Images:https://newsroom.ibm.com/mayflower-images

The Crafty Robot launches the most accessible telepresence robot ever

London, England – July 21st 2020 The Crafty Robot today launches Smartipresence, a low cost telepresence robot that works with a smartphone, based on their Smartibot robotics platform. Created by product designer Ross Atkin, Smartipresence kits are available for pre-order on Kickstarter from £50 ($62).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rossatkin/smartipresence-cardboard-telepresence-robot

Smartipresence builds on top of the existing Smartibot app-connected cardboard robot platform, adding extra components to create a dedicated telepresence robot. Slide a phone into the cradle, put the robot online then send a loved one a link to the pilot webpage allowing them to appear on-screen just like a video call, except they have the additional ability to move themselves around. Using controls on the pilot page your friends and family members can drive forward, backwards, left and right and they can tilt the phone to look up or down.

Smartipresence comes as a kit combining cleverly designed cardboard parts with re-usable electronics, allowing owners to build their own telepresence robots by hacking battery operated toys, using LEGO, radio controlled vehicles or 3D printers.

“It’s awful not being able to visit loved ones right now and I wanted to make something to help” explained Ross Atkin. “I thought telepresence might be useful, but not the robots designed for corporate environments that cost thousands. I realised that the Smartibot kit already had most of the parts you’d need to make a really accessible telepresence robot that would work in people’s homes. So I designed the extra cardboard parts to make the experience as good as it could be, and worked with Altrubots to put together the software. It’s turned out great. It’s not quite as good as actually being somewhere but it’s a whole lot better than a video call.”

As Smartipresence is an expansion for the Smartibot the kit, it also includes everything from the previous set, including parts to make the A.I. bot, Unicorn and Teabot. The kit includes 10 hours of telepresence using Smartipresence service with additional 10 hour usage codes available at £5 each. There are no accounts and the system collects no personal information from users.

The telepresence system has been created in partnership with Altrubots, creators of the ‘RC Everywhere’ system used in publicly controllable robots that perform helpful functions like trash collection.

John Stewart, Altrubots software lead, said  “It’s amazing to be creating a world wide communication system that’s going to allow normal people to use robots to communicate, it’s the closest thing to Princess Lea coming out of the R2D2 that we’re going to get right now.”

Smartibot Technical Specs

Kit contentsHardware FeaturesSoftware Features
1 x Smartibot Circuit Board3 x DC Motors + Gearboxes1 x 4AA Battery Box1 x Cardboard Smartipresence Parts1 x Cardboard A.I. Bot Parts1 x Cardboard Unicorn Parts1 x Cardboard Teabot Parts2 x Glass Marbles2 x ScrewdriversStainless Steel Fixings Rubber BandsRobot can move forward and back, rotate and tilt the phone to look up or down
NRF 52 series ARM Cortex-M4F based Bluetooth system-on-chip
Espruino runtime
USB/Bluetooth programming
Smartipresence system comprising pilot webapp and robot iOS app and webapp
iOS and Android app for remote control mode and A.I. mode (YOLO A.I.)
Programmable with JavaScript or code blocks from a web browser using Espruino

Smartibot can be found on Kickstarter starting at £50 ($63) for a limited time.

Free Webinar on Robotic Good-to-Person ASRS Order Fulfillment System

BRISTOL, CONN. (PRWEB) JUNE 01, 2020

Conveyco Technologies a leading North American systems integrator, is providing a free 40-minute webinar demonstrating the latest robotic automated storage and retrieval system providing flexible labor and throughput rates, high density storage, and a rapid deployment.

The system’s flexibility allows the system to grow and contract based on actual and projected volume. In fact, additional Skypod autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can be leased to meet peak periods. Designed for reliability, every Skypod robot is centrally monitored 24/7/365 to assure peak performance and uptime.

The webinar details how the system is comprised of rack, totes, software, and the 3-axis Skypod AMR (autonomous mobile Robot). The Skypod robots navigate to the correct bin and then travels vertically up to 36’ to extract the tote and deliver it to the correct workstation.

“This is the most revolutionary material handling automated storage and retrieval system to be developed in decades,” said Ed Romaine former chairman of MHI’s automated storage and retrieval product section group. He continued, “The flexibility, density, reliability and overall simplicity of this hybrid AMR system makes this a no-brainer for ecommerce, omnichannel, micro-fulfillment centers, retail and D2C manufacturers.”

By watching the webinar, you will learn how this system provides a fast return on investment, performs at benchmark speeds and mitigates order fulfillment performance issues especially during peak activity times.

Please click here to watch the free webinar.

Conveyco Technologies has been providing world class performance enhancements for order fulfillment, distribution centers and warehouse operations for over 40 years. Solutions and systems include sortation, voice, pick-to-light, palletizing, AS/RS, automated case handling, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), robotic picking, dispensing, AGVs, WES, WMS and WCS software plus consulting and integration services.

Make A Robot Kit – Accessible yet Intelligent, MARK is where you start your AI education journey

Parents & educators worldwide understand the importance of equipping the next generation with vital skills of the future – robotics, coding & AI. However there is a lack of resources which make learning about artificial intelligence accessible, hands on & fun! So TinkerGen has developed a kit which provides a learning experience for kids and hobbyists.

Make A Robot Kit, aka MARK, is an artificial intelligence robot which allows learners to achieve an exciting range of applications, from interacting with pet animals to experimenting with how autonomous vehicles work

Supported with an abundant range of course materials, beginners start with a hands on assembly of their own robot, moving onto graphically coding their MARK to implement a self-driving car through street sign recognition & collision avoidance. As stated by MARK developer & TinkerGen course designer Dmitry Maslov, a main feature of MARK is, “making machine learning concepts and workflow more transparent, easier to understand and use for teachers and students.” 

An electromagnetic attachment allows sorting application which teaches kids the concept of automated logistics. While 5 pretrained model categories are included so many applications can be easily and quickly implemented, students will also be able to train their own image recognition models.

The pretrained model categories include:

  • road signs
  • domestic animals
  • zoo animals
  • common objects
  • Numbers

With slingshot and grabber attachments, and the ability to recognise almost any object, a whole new world of play is discovered. The whole family can get involved, multiple MARKS can battle in a sumo style fight, breeding productive competition, On the other hand, you could use MARK to feed, amuse and tease your pet with treats.

Features to Highlight:

  • Machine Vision Capability
  • Object & Image recognition
  • Self driving car application
  • Interactive with humans, pets, and the environment
  • Graphical programming support
  • Develops hands on robotics skills
  • Extendible & Customisable
    • Attachment points for accessories
    • Connection ports for extra input/output modules 

About TinkerGen: 

TinkerGen is a STEM Education company which grew from an open source hardware manufacturer in Shenzhen – Seeed Studio, so we know our tech, but we’re here to serve the education community. We make the process for educators convenient, so kids can quickly get to the fun mind expanding bits of tinkering and creating! We believe that helping kids to develop STEM skills is really beneficial for their future, and also a proven way to bridge the privilege gap that unfortunately exists in our society today.

Cubelets Robot Blocks

Cubelets® robot blocks by Modular Robotics are a fast and easy way to inspire kids to become better thinkers. Simply snap Cubelets together to easily create your own robots, no programming required. The behavior of your robot is determined by your construction. How your robot behaves emerges from what blocks you use and how you orient them.

Cubelets are unique in that you can code any Cubelet to do something new. Programming the various parts in parallel helps you learn about how systems work. It provides intuitions about how parts interact to become something bigger than themselves.

More on these interesting Cubelets and the modular robots you can build with them will follow soon on robots-blog.com as we have a kit in our hands and have just started to play with it!