Archive for the ‘Pose estimation of a quadrotor with off-board sensors’ Category

Robots and dinosaurs

11/04/2013 1 comment

After giving up the idea of cloning dinosaurus, Clive Palmer built a Jurassic Pak with 117 animatronic dinosaurs at the Palmer Coolum Resort at north of Brisbane.


Palmer started his collection by putting two animatronic behemoths. Those are Tyrannosaurus rex called Jeff and an Omeisaurus named Bones.

The creatures in the park will soar up to 6m and have a weight over a ton. That’s not all, they’ll be able to move their tails and blink.


robot park

dinos park



05/04/2013 2 comments

Festo is a German automation company. But beyond industrial automation they also do a lot of research in the field of robotics. While they have some nice parts of humanoid designs, the most interesting designs are their designs based on the locomotion of animals. They base their designs on animals because evolution has “developed” animals in an energy deficient environment. Thus, development based on animals will lead to lightweight and energy efficient designs.

Their first robotic animal experiment was in 2006. They made a robotic fish that could swim.

They continued in the same line in 2007 when they made a manta ray that would swim. They also made a flying version of it.

They continue their aquatic designs with a jelly fish.

Festo Aqua Jelly

Festo Aqua Jelly

And they also build a flying version of it. Which is my personal favourite project of theirs.

In 2009 they build a penguin. Again both in swimming and in flying version.

Festo Aqua Pengiun

Festo Aqua Penguin

In 2010 they stop with their aquatic based designs and make an elephant trunk like arm what they call their Bionic Handling Assistant.

In 2011, they make a robot based on a real flying animal, their smartbird. The wings not only go up and down, but also twist at specific angles.

2012 brings a gripper based on the head of a bird. Because of its design, a very light gripper with a large stroke and force can be achieved.

Festo Powergripper

Festo Powergripper

And this year they released a dragonfly like robot. The Bionicopter. The Bionicopter has 13 degrees of freedom, so this is really a nice example of miniaturisation as all sensors, actuators and control components have to be put in a very small space.

I think they have a very nice research and development atmosphere at Festo and wouldn’t mind working for such a company.


Festo :

Is the innovation in technology for everyone?

23/03/2013 3 comments

The evolution of the technology is very fast! Lots of new robotic things have been found, that can make you life easer. But the question is, is this innovation applicable to everybody?!          Has ‘every man’ in the world an advantage of it? Or moreover, has ‘every man’ in the world the possibility to use the new invented/innovated machines?

To explain my point of view, I’ll give you an example.

Here you can see ‘a grasrobot’. The robot is equipped with a lithium-ion battery, a rain sensor and a star shaped blade. It’s a user friendly robot and easy to program. The cutting height of the robot can be set, depending on the hight of the grass. In addition, due to auto programming, it is possible only to mow the grass if it is necessary.


Well, that sounds great!

If I ask you the question, would you buy a grasrobot? Then probably your answer will be; ‘yes, why not!’

Only until the moment you become aware of the price!

The price of a grasrobot is around 1250 Euro.

If I ask you now the same question, you will be less satisfied to say yes.

My point of view is that the engineers and the scientist should also be aware of this. Yes, a rich man has the possibility to buy every new thing, doesn’t matter how expensive it is. But what about the middle class people? Do you think that he’ll buy this grasmachine? He also wants to try it, but maybe has no possibility to buy it.                                                                In this way, in my point of view, rich people will become richer and the middle class people will become ‘arm’.

What is your opinion about it?


The grasrobot

The grasrobot 2

Elderly care

17/03/2013 7 comments

In Japan, the problem of a growing elderly population is a lot worse than here. Because of that, there is a lot more research in assisting the elderly.

Twendy One is a robot that aims to help elderly people remain at home longer. By aiding them in tasks they can not do by themselves any more, the autonomy of these people can be greatly improved.

An other example of an assisting robot is Robovie II. This robot helps you doing grocery shopping

These robots can help the elderly stay at home longer. But it might also remove a part of the human contact they otherwise would have.

Do you think staying independent for longer outweighs the potential of decreasing the human contact people could have?

The three laws of robotics

13/03/2013 7 comments

Isaac Asimov, a writer invented “The three laws of robotics” to write some science fiction stories.

The three laws of robotics are;

1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;

2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;

3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law;

The Zeroth Law: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

Do you think that these laws are all true nowadays? What is your opinion about them?



Isaac Asimov

ik, robot, Asimov



03/03/2013 4 comments

While it looks that personal robots are far off, they are invading our homes today.

I think, a vacuum robot is the most successful kind of robot today. You can find the from around 150 Euro up to 900 Euro.

There are a lot of manufacturers, but 2 noteworthy models are the Roomba and the Neato.

Picture of the Roomba and the Neato

Roomba (left) and Neato (Right) (Image curtsey of

The Roomba uses a simple random path based on foraging techniques of insects. It passes several times over the same area which may be sub-optimal for timing, but that might not be a problem if you are not around while it cleans. It has sensors to detect dirt so it can clean does areas more thorough.

The Neato uses a laser range finder for planning an optimal path. This way, every place is only cleaned once.

Both robots (the more advanced versions anyway) have scheduling options so they can start when you are not at home and have recharging stations they automatically will return to after cleaning.

They are not the most complex robots, but they seem to do what they were designed for and are rapidly gaining popularity. A few years ago, you had to look for them directly on the manufacturers website to get them. Now you can find them in stores like the Fnac and the Colruyt.

For the moment they are not a complete replacement of vacuuming by hand, but they can decrease the number of times you have to do it manually, and increase the general cleanliness of your house by vacuuming more often then you would do yourself.

The nanorobot

27/02/2013 5 comments

Robots are not only present at centimeter or millimeter scale, they are also present at nano scale!

Havard medical school in Boston developed cancer-killing nanorobots. The nanorobot is made of DNA and it seeks out for cancer cells in your body. After detecting a cancer cell it injects its payload of DNA-altering molecules,wherby the cancer is self-destruct.


It is called ‘nanorobot’ because it is capable of doing some robotic tasks. The robot has a barrel shape, each barrel is about 35 nanometers in diameter. It contains different sites at the inside for attaching some molecules. On the outer site it has two aptamers, short nucleotide strands with special sequences for recognizing molecules on the target cell. Once the correct target is reached, the aptamers spring open, to release the payload.

For an illustrated explanation of how nanorobots(in general) work, see the video below.

However, the nanorobots are not ready to enter the human body, because the researchers are not sure about how the robot itself will be cleaned after doing his tasks. If this kind of problems are solved, then it is possible that this kind of robots become real in therapeutics.

Now the researchers are beginning to thing to test such kind of robots on mice. Do you think that this is a good idea? Suppose that the mouse body react on a negative way on it, can they then sacrifice mice lives?

Havard develops cancer killing nanorobots

dna robot could kill cancer cells

nanorobot moedigt kankercel aan tot zelfmoord