Game of Drones Call for Combat Pilots @ Bay Area Maker Faire

Game of Drones Combat Arena Maker Faire San Mateo Game of Drones San Francisco CA Meetup

Game of Drones - the fantastic aerial combat competition where multicopters take to the air and try to knock each other out of the sky - is currently accepting pilot and team applications for the May 15th competition that will take place at the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo.

Even if your courage isn’t up for it, you’ll want to put it on your ‘must-see’ list when you attend Maker Faire next month.

Via: Game of Drones Combat Arena @ Maker Faire San Mateo - Game of Drones (San Francisco, CA) - Meetup #robotsdreams
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Queensland University of Technology Offers Free Online Robotics Courses

QUT Open online learning

More and more universities are offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) where anyone, anywhere in the world, can benefit from exactly the same courseware and resources as local students. Of course, they have to have relatively high speed internet access. Typically these courses are free, though some require a minimal charge.

For example, Queensland University of Technology in Australia will be offering two information rich courses in robotics early in 2015. Introduction to Robotics covers the world of robots along with the necessary underlying mathematics and algorithms, while Robotic Vision  explores computer vision in robot designs and applications. Instructor for both courses will be Professor Peter Corke.  

Via: QUT - Open online learning #robotsdreams
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Japan ‘Robots in the Home’ Guru to Headline at Innorobo 2015

110923 Lady Ada at RT 001 jpg Flickr Photo Sharing

Fascinated by robots as a young child, Yuki Nakagawa, founder and CEO of RT Corp, has been involved in Japanese humanoid robotics and robots in the home for almost her entire career. Her life’s mission is to improve and enhance people’s quality of life through the use of robot technologies.

This July she’ll be sharing her unique observations, insights, know-how, and vision for the future at Innorobo 2015 in Lyon, France. It’s a rare opportunity to meet and interact with a Japanese expert in the field to gain insight into why Japan has earned a high reputation for human/robot interaction and co-working, and to talk about what the future may hold. 

Innorobo conferences Innorobo

Via: Innorobo conferences | Innorobo and RT Corp. #robotsdreams
More information at Robots Dreams

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Robotic Beer Brewing System – Bierre

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Robots Can’t Bring You A Beer, But They Can Brew It!

Beer brewing can be fun, and is something that is easily accomplished at home. However, like many complex processes, brewing beer that tastes good and has consistent quality requires an attention to detail that is often challenging for hobby beer brewers.

Thankfully, affordable technology exists to assist home brewers in their quest for tasty beer on a repeatable, predictable basis. Utilizing off the shelf components along with

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smartphones that almost everyone carries around in their pockets these days, Leo Innovations LLC successfully designed and launched Bieree: Smartphone Beer Brewing System.

Constructive Feedback Yields Results-

Driven by their passion for beer brewing, the founders at Leo Innovations spent years experimenting and refining their approach. Their initial attempts, though successful at producing quality beer, met with some criticism. The main complaint was that the system was too automated, too robotic. It produced the beer with a minimum of interaction from operators - as if it was on autopilot, so users felt isolated from the process.

Responding to this valuable feedback, the developers came up with the latest Bieree version expanding its user programability and data display/collection. Not only can users set parameters like temperatures and times, they can also expand the system to include other types of sensors or controls.

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What’s Inside?

The Bieree beer brewing system has five basic elements. The heart of the system is a Bluetooth enabled micro controller with two power FETs. Fluid is pumped through the system using dual food grade coffee machine pumps. A temperature probe monitors operating temperatures, which are extremely critical for brewing. Devices are switched on or off using a power relay.

Users control the system using custom software applications available on both Android and iPhone/iOS platforms. Using the app of their choice, users setup the controller to measure temperatures, turn pumps on to circulate water through the different brewing vessels, and control refrigerated cooling. Communication between the smartphone and the Bierre process controller is via Bluetooth.

Successful Kickstarter Project-

Setting modest, yet achievable, goals, the company introduced Bieree to the world via a Kickstarter project in the summer of 2014. The project attracted 57 backers, primarily through word of mouth among beer brewing hobbyists, and exceeded it’s project funding goal of $6,000.

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The People That Made It Happen-

Leo Innovations was founded by Leonardo Estevez who was born in Uruguay, became a naturalized US citizen, and holds both a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. He is committed to helping students to develop STEM based products that improve users quality of life.

Using open source hardware and software developed by Leo, Sam Dalong, the Leo Innovations project lead and designer, produced the Bierre kit. Sam holds a Masters degree in mathematics, and like Leo, has a strong interest in STEM development and motivating users.

Related links:

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SmartWatch Wannabe’s Continue to Focus in the Wrong Direction


Swatch, according to the latest reports/rumors from Bloomberg Business plans to release their answer to the long awaited Apple Watch before this summer, perhaps even beating Apple’s design to market.

Unfortunately, as far as we can tell from the limited information already available, Swatch, like most of the other smart watch wannabes trying to capitalize on all the energy, buzz, and hype around the sector, is focusing on the “watch” side of the equation without a significant differentiating play on the ‘smart’ side.

Before Apple did a complete reboot of cellphones and revolutionized the market, a phone was just a phone, though many of them had a few additional features, like a calendar or camera duct taped on. Apple, or more specifically Steve Jobs, shifted the focus to the total customer experience at a deep kinesthetic gut level and built a complete eco and economic system around the device. While we still refer to our smartphones as a ‘phone’, the actual use of those devices has totally minimized their phone functionality. 

Smart watches will follow the same evolutionary path, without a doubt. My Nike+ FuelBand, for example, has become a totally integrated part of my day to day existence. Of course I still use it to check the time occasionally, but the way that it allows me to track, monitor, and expand my physical health and exercise has become invaluable. 

While companies, and tech reporters, continue to promote the latest smart watch offering as a serious competitor to the Apple Watch, the ones we’ve seen so far amount to just digital watches with some additional features. There’s nothing really compelling about them that would make you want to run out and get one right away.

I’m guessing, and hoping, that in a few months Apple will change all of that and deliver a smart watch that will totally change the way that we think about and utilize watch form factor devices in our daily lives.

Via: Swatch Plans Smartwatch to Compete With Apple Watch’s Debut - Bloomberg Business #robotsdreams
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XYZ Printing Shows 3D Printed DIY Robots at CES – Kits to Hit the Market Later This Year

DIY robot

XYZ Printing has quickly developed a strong reputation for their low cost, high performance, 3D printer line, but most people aren’t aware that they also have a robotics division - XYZ Robot that develops and markets both service and personal robot products.

In the past, their robot division has primarily focused on their service robot line, offering a mobile remote telepresence type robot platform that can be used for auto-mapping, research, surveillance, and other similar applications. However, at CES 2015 the company unveiled an innovative strategy to combine the strong points of both divisions by offering a series of humanoid robots that feature body shells that can be printed using XYZ Printing devices.

While the company hasn’t released exact availability and pricing information yet, the robots are expected to come in two different configurations - Advanced and Intermediate. According to information circulated at CES, the lower end Intermediate robot configuration will sell for just under US$300. We’re speculating that the Advanced configuration will be closer to US$800-$1,000 since it utilizes 18 DYNAMIXEL AX-12A servo motors that typically retail for around US$45 each.

The kits will include the necessary servos, controller, AC adapter, internal frame, software and other parts. The users are expected to print their own body shells. Here’s what we know about the specifications for the two kits so far:

DIY robot 1

Hopefully the company will make some, if not all, of the 3D printed shell design data available for downloading and modification to help users kickstart their robots.

 DIY robot shells

Via: DIY robot

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New Physics iBook Set to Inspire Students and Their Parents

Yellow Cab iBook

I just finished reading (exploring) Eduardo Galvani’s latest iBook, The Yellow Cab of the Universe: Mr. Albert’s Brain, and I have to say that it’s an absolutely compelling purchase/read for anyone with even the slightest interest in Physics. Here’s what I wrote as a 5-Star review on the iBook Store:

Brings physics to life and makes it engaging

Physics springs from real life - it’s the sum total of our struggle as human beings to make sense of the physical world around us and to solve real world problems. If you what to build a bridge, design a car, aim a cannon, fly a plane, or do almost anything physical, you need to understand the fundamentals of physics.

Unfortunately all too many textbooks and classes teach physics in a dry, pedantic way that sometimes suffocates students interest in one of the worlds most important topics of study.

Eduardo Galvani not only puts the ‘life’ back into physics, he makes it totally engaging and inspirint. This iBook not only teaches physics, it encourages the reader to interact and experiment  with the principles cover in each section.

Through the use of color, dynamic images, sound, motion, physical interaction, interactive quizzes, and videos, Galvani brings the full power of the iBook format to bear and creates a learning experience that is difficult to put down.

I highly recommend this iBook to anyone with an interest in physics, no matter what your age, gender, nationality, or experience level.

If you’re a physics fan but are still a bit skeptical, then download the sample chapter from the iBook Store. And, if you don’t already have an iPad or Mac computer handy - beg, borrow, or steal one so that you can experience this iBook. It’s that good.

Via: iTunes - Books - The Yellow Cab of the Universe by Eduardo Galvani & James Griffiths

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Robot PET Dog Drives Real Dogs Crazy – (Video)

Robot PET Dog Drives Real Dogs Crazy  YouTube

The new ROBOTIS PLAY600 PETs robot kit includes a cute bird that only took a few minutes to assemble, but provided lots of fun and excitement for our two dogs.

The kit allows very young learners to get involved in building simple robots even before they are old enough to start learning how to program. ROBOTIS expects to release the kit for sale in February.

Total assembly time for this robot was about 10 minutes. The kit includes all the parts and plans for two other, slightly more complex, animal type robots that move.

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Via: Robot PET Dog Drives Real Dogs Crazy - YouTube

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