Wish Team Wrecks Luck! Battlebots 2016

I am happy to announce I’ll be back at Battlebots with Team Wrecks for the 2016 competition, I look forward to all the fun! More »

Robogames 2015

Robogames 2015 photos have also been added to the gallery page! Hop on over and check it out! More »

Battlebots 2015

The gallery from Team Wrecks trip to Battlebots 2015 is up! More »

Usagi Heavyweight

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Awesome article from New Scientist on how robotics is improving the world!

Article by Helen Knight

Read the Full Article Here

“ROBOTS need help navigating their surroundings and sophisticated location systems to keep track of their position. Now the same technologies are being adapted to help blind people navigate indoor and outdoor spaces independently.

One such system, being developed by Edwige Pissaloux and colleagues at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, consists of a pair of glasses equipped with cameras and sensors like those used in robot exploration. The system, unveiled at a talk at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this month, produces a 3D map of the wearer’s environment and their position within it that is constantly updated and displayed in a simplified form on a handheld electronic Braille device. It could eventually allow blind people to make their way, unaided, wherever they want to go, says Pissaloux. “Navigation for me means not only being able to move around by avoiding nearby obstacles, but also to understand how the space is socially organised – for example, where you are in relation to the pharmacy, library or intersection,” she says.

Two cameras on either side of the glasses generate a 3D image of the scene. A processor analyses the image, picking out the edges of walls or objects, which it uses to create a 3D map. The system’s collection of accelerometers and gyroscopes – like those used in robots to monitor their position – keeps track of the user’s location and speed. This information is combined with the image to determine the user’s position in relation to other objects.

The system generates almost 10 maps per second which are transmitted to the handheld Braille device to be displayed as a dynamic tactile map. The Braille pad consists of an 8-centimetre-square grid of 64 taxels – pins with a shape memory alloy spring in the middle. When heat is applied to the springs, they expand, raising the pins to represent boundaries. The Braille version of the map is updated fast enough for a visually-impaired wearer to pass through an area at walking speed, says Pissaloux. Seth Teller, who develops assistive technologies at MIT, calls the work exciting and ambitious.

This is not the only robotics project to be re-purposed. Software that predicts how far a robot has travelled based on information from its on-board sensors is being modified to track a person’s movements based on their stride length. The low-cost system, being developed by Eelke Folmer and Kostas Bekris at the University of Nevada in Reno would help blind people navigate around buildings using just a smartphone.

The new system uses freely available 2D digital indoor maps and the smartphone’s built-in accelerometer and compass. Directions are provided using synthetic speech. To help the smartphone calibrate and adjust to a user’s individual stride length, the user must initially use touch to detect the landmarks in their environment, such as corridor intersections, doors and elevators. The system will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in St Paul, Minnesota, in May.

David Ross at the Atlanta Vision Loss Center in Decatur, Georgia, says that the sensing problems faced by robots and blind people are similar but there are big differences. “Sensing systems developed for mobile robots may have some application, but must be adapted considerably to suit a wide variety of human needs and situations,” he says.”

SuperMoon 2012

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Supermoon of 2012 taken with my Apple iPhone 4s through a 4″ telesccope.

 

More photos Added to Neil Girling’s flickr from RoboGames 2012

SONY DSC

If you’re only going to see one album from RoboGames 2012, make sure it’s Neil Girling’s flickr.  Below is just a sample of what you’ll see in this amazing photographer’s portfolio. Be sure to visit his site at TheBlight.net.

 

Not Robotics, but it’s still of huge importance!

BeautyBaryon

Beauty Baryon on LiveScience.com by Clara Moskowitz

 

 

A never-before-seen subatomic particle has popped into existence inside the world’s largest atom smasher, bringing physicists a step closer to unraveling the mystery of how matter is put together in the universe.

After crashing particles together about 530 trillion times, scientists working on the CMS experiment at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) saw unmistakable evidence for a new type of “beauty baryon.”

Baryons are particles made of three quarks (the building blocks of the protons and neutrons that populate the nuclei of atoms). Beauty baryons are baryons that contain at least one beauty quark (also known as a bottom quark). The new specimen is a particular type of excited beauty baryon called Xi(b)*, pronounced “csai–bee-star.”

The discovery was announced Friday (April 27) in a paper released by the CMS collaboration (CMS stands for Compact Muon Solenoid, one of a handful of detectors built into the 17-mile, or 27-kilometer, underground loop of the LHC machine).

“It’s very rewarding,”Vincenzo Chiochia, a University of Zurich physicist working on the CMS experiment, told LiveScience. “We work for projects that run for several years — from conception to data taking, it can take more than 10 years — so when you actually come up with a discovery, and you know this particle collider is among the few that can produce it, it’s extremely exciting.”

It’s just the second new particle to be discovered at the atom smasher, which opened at the CERN physics laboratory in Geneva in 2008. [Wacky Physics: The Coolest Little Particles in Nature]

The Xi(b)* particle had been predicted by a physics theory called quantum chromodynamics, which predicts how quarks bind together to form heavy particles, but had never before been observed.

“It was expected to be more or less where it was found,” Chiochia said. “Not all of those heavy states have been discovered, so you have to look for all those particles. It may well be that the theory is not complete. In this particular case it was expected, but we have to keep looking for things that are unexpected.”

And the researchers hope that with a little more time on the LHC, even more of these unseen particles will be found.

Exotic bits of matter like Xi(b)* are very unstable, and only exist for fractions of a second. They burst into being out of the abundance of energy released when two protons slam into each other head on inside the collider. Almost immediately, though, they decay into other particles, and some of these things are what physicists see inside the detectors.

The CMS researchers analyzed the results of trillions of collisions to find the signatures of the descendants of Xi(b)*.

“The collisions produce an enormous amount of tracks,” Chiochia said. “To join the dots and find exactly which particle comes from which decay is actually not easy. What makes me confident is that if we can find this complicated chain of reactions at the LHC, then we must be in a really good position to find [other] heavy particles.”

In addition to the other missing particles predicted by quantum chromodynamics, the LHC researchers are eagerly chasing another elusive quarry — the Higgs boson. This rumored particle is thought to explain why all particles have mass. Many scientists at CMS and one of the LHC’s other experiments, ATLAS, say the particle is in their sights, and they hope to be able to claim a discovery of the Higgs boson by the end of this year.

RoboGames 2012 Photos from Neil Girling @ TheBlight.net

RSvDXTR

More WONDERFUL Photography of RoboGames 2012 from Neil Girling from TheBlight.net. THANK YOU NEIL!

 

RoboGames 2012 Videos & Photos

The Photos & Videos from RoboGames 2012 I have are up and available on the RoboGames 2012 Videos Page and in the Photo Gallery. Feel free to browse!

Final Brackets for RoboGames 2012

RoboGames 2012

combots

It’s that time again! RoboGames 2012 is just about to come underway! This year, I’m going to be doing things a little differently; I often get requests during the event from the few builders that don’t make it out, to let them know who’s fighting whom, how the tree is developing, and pictures/videos of certain fights, which I usually deal with individually. This year I am going to be uploading the trees and schedules as I get them directly onto this site! If you want a specific fight video taped or taken pictures of, please feel free to E-mail me, [email protected]; or text me and I will upload it as the fight ends. Thanks!

Baby Bunny at RoboGames

Baby Bunny will be making a celebrity appearance at RoboGames 2012. At the request of Zachary Lytle, it will be available for you to fight other robots in it’s weight class. For more information, contact Zachary!

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Hello Fellow Botters!

Now that we’ve finally managed to get stable webhosting, we will delve quickly and fully into getting this website up and functional. Please bear with us during this transitional period.