Aldebaran NAO Robot Developer Program Generates Strong Response (Video)

Response to the Aldebaran NAO Robot Developer Program has been quite strong, much stronger actually than anyone predicted. And, we have to say that the caliber of the applicants is extremely high. We're definitely impressed.

As of earlier today, the program is still accepting qualified participants. If you're interested, and think you're up to the most exciting robot initiative we've seen in years, then review the requirements and put in for a possible invitation to join the program.

Here's the Nao Developer Program video created by the guru's at Aldebaran:

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1st Kondo Land Robot Competition: Tic Tak (Video)

Servos are invariably the most expensive component in robot design. Of course, as you increase the number of degrees of freedom, which typically requires one or more servos for each additional degree, the total robot cost quickly skyrockets. At the same time, you want to optimize the robot's performance and ability.

Leave it to Azusa Amino, a champion ROBO-ONE competitor and designer of the delightful Toko Toko Maru humanoid robot, to come up with a hexapod robot design called “Tic-Tak” (Tic Tac) that only requires six servo motors yet was able to capture 3rd  place in the 1st Kondo Land Robot Contest, an extremely challenging steeplechase/obstacle course that defeated almost all of the competitors.

Amino is very active with robotics at the hobby, professional, and academic level. He's traveled all over the world demonstrating his robot creations, including participating in ROBO-ONE Gran Prix exhibitions in Hong Kong and South America.

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Kleekbots – Control Lego Mindstorms Robots with the iPhone (Video)

Wouldn't it be cool to be able to control your LEGO Mindstorms robot creations using the iPhone, from across the room, or across the planet, and to see what the robot sees?

Kleekbots is scheduled to release their implementation as a commercially available product early in 2011. The product plans include one-click sharing, free robot build instructions, live video streaming, and it works on the desktop as well. You can sign up to be updated with the latest release schedules and information via their website.

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Using the Kinect with Willow Garage ROS as a Master/Slave Robot Control (Video)

Taylor Veltrop explains and demonstrates his Master/Slave implementation of the Kinect with the Willow Garage ROS system to control a Kondo KHR-1HV humanoid robot, including a few surprises.

The contest description says:

“We invite you to combine an RGB-D sensor (e.g. Kinect, PSDK5.0) with ROS to produce something new, interesting, and fun. It could be anything, from a novel robot control interface to a data-driven art project to pure computer vision. Bonus points if it's also useful (see below). We're offering $8K in prizes. We encourage participants to share, and our rules and judging will reward participants who act in the spirit of collaboration.”

Pretty sweet with $8K in prizes.

Related links:

Official Taylor Veltrop website

ROS 3D Contest Wiki

Taylor's Contest Entry

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ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Robot Project Shows Practical Results (Video)

The ROBO-ONE initiative usually draws a lot of attention because of it's robot battles in the ring. After all, who wouldn't be excited by a couple of robotic humanoids trying to knock each other out, sometimes completely out of the ring. But, the movement is much more than just entertainment. The organizers and participants, some of whom are top design engineers in their day jobs, are also dedicated to applying robotics to public service applications. They are strong believers in the concept that humanoid robots will eventually play a critical role by assisting seniors, enhancing medical care, teaching children and people of any age, preparing and serving meals, and much more.

This weekend, a group of ROBO-ONE robot builders gathered at the 3rd Humanoid Helper Robot Project event in Yokohama to test their creations in a real-world home environment doing practical tasks. Considering the fact that these are essentially hobbyists funding their work out of their own pockets, the results were extremely encouraging. These are not major universities or research facilities with major backing or government funding. This is totally a grass-roots initiative.

Here's a good example: Doka Harumi demonstrating a few of the useful tasks it can already perform.

Doka Harumi has an operator located in another part of the building that can only sense what the robot sees and hears via sensors on the robots body. As the project progresses, more and more autonomous control will be implemented in the robot itself.

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Taylor Veltrop: Willow Garage ROS + XBox Kinect = Robot Master/Slave Control (Video)

Taylor Veltrop, pretty much working on his own in a suburb of Tokyo, has accomplished very professional and noteworthy work in humanoid robotics including integrating the Willow Garage ROS system and the Roboard with a Kondo KHR-1HV; publishing detailed information enabling others to replicate and improve on his work in an Open Source fashion; and making tons of previously obscure information, like Kondo UART configurations, clear and easy to understand and work with. If that wasn't enough, he's also a high level LEGO Mindstorms robot designer, and recently qualified as an official participant in the Aldebaran NAO Robot Developer Program.

We caught up with Taylor at the ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Robot Project event on Saturday and asked him about his latest project implementing the Willow Garage ROS system with Kinect to act as a Master/Slave control for his humanoid robot:

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DARwin-OP Humanoid Robot Demonstrations (Video)

Michael Overstreet uploaded the first videos of the formal DARwin-OP humanoid robot demonstrations taking place at the 2010 IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robotics in Nashville today.

The first demonstration features the robots advanced vision recognition systems:

And, the second demonstration shows off the robots mobility, object recognition/tracking, and other skills critical for competitions like RoboCup:

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Walky: Humanoid Robot Control via iPad (Video)

The Sugiura Brothers posted the latest video showing the implementation of Walky, a method for operating bipedal robots using simple, intuitive gestures on the iPad.

Much like word processors and layout programs use a WYSIWYG user interface, Walky implements a WYDIWYG (What You Do Is What You Get) approach. It's so straight forward that even novice users that have never operated a robot before can feel comfortable with the interface in just a few minutes of practice.

Here's what they had to say about the project:

We propose an operating method for bipedal robots by using two-fingered gestures on a multi-touch surface. We focus on finger gestures that people represent the human with moving fingers, such as walking, running, kicking and turning. These bipedal gestures are natural and intuitive enough for the end-users to control the humanoid robots. The system captures those finger gestures on a multi-touch display as the direct operation method. The capturing method is easy and simple, but robust enough for the entertainment applications. We show an example application with our proposed method, and demonstration at the international exhibition. We conclude with the results of observation and future implementation of our method.

Robotic Life Project -
Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University -

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NAO Humanoid Robot Developer Program by Invitation Only

Aldebaran Robotics, world famous for the NAO humanoid robot, has opened their NAO Developer Program and is looking for the worlds best developers to become insiders in this exciting new robotics community. Participation is by 'invitation only' via developer members that include the top online robot blogs and forums selected by the Aldebaran management.

Robots Dreams has three NAO Developer Program Invitations to hand out (see below). This is a rare opportunity, not to be taken lightly. Please make sure that you are familiar with the program requirements, commitments, and opportunities before contacting us for one of the invitations.

101013 NAO Robot Press Confernece230

According to the official NAO Developer Program posting, Aldebaran is looking for participants that fit the following profile:

  • Participate in a privileged international community of pioneer developers!
  • Each candidate must pass a programming test to ensure the highest level of skills.
  • Only 200 of the best developers from around the world will be selected to participate.
    • The “Happy Few” Developer Program members:
      have excellent programming skills
      are motivated by creativity
      are visionary
      are entrepreneurs
      enjoy challenges
  • The NAO Developer Program relies on a collaborative effort:
  • Together with Aldebaran Robotics you will develop your NAO’s personality and behaviors.
  • Exchange developments with the community!
  • Share developments that are integrated into NAO through behavior channels by theme (examples include entertainment, gaming, humor,…you can even create your own channels by personality style).
  • Sell your behavior applications to Aldebaran Robotics clients using the online NaoStore!

What will you receive and what are the benefits?

  1. Access to the latest developments and innovations in humanoid robotics technology as it is advanced by the community. Access to the code, SDK, dedicated website, and prototypes from Aldebaran Robotics.
  2. A NAO robot. Keep in mind that NAO isn't available to the general public, but that is a stated goal of the company, so this is a chance to be a part of that exciting initiative.
  3. The complete suite of software specifically designed for NAO development including NaoQi, Choregraphe, SDK, high level modules and low level access to NAO's sensors and actuators, Telepathe (collects data from NAO's sensors), and NAOsim (3D simulator).
  4. Access to the NAO Developer Program website supporting the international community of 200 top developers that qualify for the program including code versioning tools, wiki, bug tracker, collaborative workspace, data repository, and more.
  5. Privileged access to important Aldebaran Robotics source code.
  6. Early access to the NAOstore to share and sell applications to other developers and customers.

As we mentioned above, this is a fantastic opportunity, and involves a serious commitment. In order to participate you need to get an invitation from a developer member, like Robots Dreams, pass pre-screening by Aldebaran Robotics, and there is a program fee of 3600 Euros entry fee that includes the robot and all the other material and support defined by the program.

If you're up to the challege, and want to be a part of this exciting select community, contact us at Robots Dreams NAO Developer Program Invitation.

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