The RoboMaster S1 is DJI’s advanced new educational robot that opens the door to limitless learning and entertainment. Develop programming skills, get familiar with AI technology, and enjoy thrilling FPV driving with games and competition. From young learners to tech enthusiasts, get ready to discover endless possibilities with the RoboMaster S1.
We’ve seen robots that can walk, trot, run, and even do backflips, but now a student team is working on a rover robot prototype that hops about like a springbok. Designed and built by students from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich, the SpaceBok being tested at ESA’s ESTEC technical center in the Netherlands is designed to travel in lunar gravity by controlled bounds into space where all four legs leave the ground.
When the Apollo 11 mission landed on the Moon, one of the tasks given to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was to practice how to move about on the Moon under one-sixth of Earth gravity. Though both astronauts had already trained under simulated lunar gravity, there was no substitute for the real thing, so as part of the two and a half hours of the first-ever Moonwalk, the two men spent a surprising amount of time gamboling about the Sea of Tranquility like a couple of toddlers.
The astronauts found that conventional walking in a pressure suit wasn’t very practical in lunar gravity where one could jump 3 ft (1 m) high with ease. Instead, they learned that they could get around very well by adopting a loping gait or hopping with both feet together like a kangaroo.
According to the Swiss team, the SpaceBok could jump up to 2 m (6.6 ft) vertically on the Moon, which means it could move with surprising speed – a bit like a galloping horse, or a springbok in a hurry. However, when a quadruped runner takes on a gait where all four legs break contact with the ground, stability becomes a real issue as it is now, essentially, a tiny spacecraft on a tiny ballistic trajectory. It is now in the realm of dynamic walking. That’s essentially when walking becomes controlled falling down.
“Instead of static walking, where at least three legs stay on the ground at all times, dynamic walking allows for gaits with full flight phases during which all legs stay off the ground,” says project leader Hendrik Kolvenbach. “Animals make use of dynamic gaits due to their efficiency, but until recently, the computational power and algorithms required for control made it challenging to realize them on robots. For the lower gravity environments of the Moon, Mars or asteroids, jumping off the ground like this turns out to be a very efficient way to get around.”
Like its terrestrial African counterpart, SpaceBok uses legs with incorporated springs that act as energy storage units to absorb the impact of each landing, then reuses the force for the next jump. In addition, it’s equipped with something a springbok doesn’t have – a reaction wheel that allows itself to orient itself the same way a satellite does.
So far, the team has managed to get the SpaceBok to make repetitive jumps to heights of up to 4.3 ft (1.3 m) under simulated lunar gravity. They’ve also set up test facilities that mimic the extremely low gravity of asteroids, where the robot would spend much more time in flight.
To do this, they used ESA’s Orbital Robotics Bench for Integrated Technology (ORBIT) at the agency’s Orbital Robotics and Guidance Navigation and Control Laboratory. Described as the flattest floor in the Netherlands, it’s an epoxy surface measuring 15.7 by 29.5 ft (4.8 by 9 m) and bordered by flat walls. The team took SpaceBok and mounted it on its side on a free-floating platform, so it could jump from wall to wall, which acted as the floors. As it floated across, it used its reaction wheel to pivot so it always landed feet “up.”
“The testing went sufficiently well that we even used SpaceBok to play a live-action game of Pong, the video game classic,” says, Kolvenbach.
Later tests will place SpaceBok in environments that will include obstacles, hilly terrain, and realistic soil, which will then be followed by outdoor testing.
The video below shows SpaceBok hopping about.
You’ve probably already seen, or even participated in, the Bottle Cap Challenge. It’s the viral challenge of the week where people try to unscrew a bottle cap with a 360-degree kick.
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) didn’t want to be left out. So it got in on the fun using its RoboRaise robot that can mirror a user’s motions and follow non-verbal commands by monitoring arm muscles.
There is a slight twist, however. As you can see in the video below, RoboRaise, which is a Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics, doesn’t have feet and can’t perform a 360-degree kick. RoboRaise takes its cues from MIT’s Joseph DelPreto, who is wearing small sensors on his right arm. Following his lead, RoboRaise uses its soft gripper to unscrew the bottle cap from the stand, successfully completing the Bottle Cap Challenge.
DelPreto said he could envision RoboRaise being used in manufacturing and construction settings, or even as an assistant around the house. Here is a little bit about how RoboRaise works. For more in-depth details, check out this MIT News article.
“The project builds off [an] existing system that allows users to instantly correct robot mistakes with brainwaves and hand gestures, now enabling continuous motion in a more collaborative way. “We aim to develop human-robot interaction where the robot adapts to the human, rather than the other way around. This way the robot becomes an intelligent tool for physical work,” says MIT Professor and CSAIL Director Daniela Rus.
“EMG signals can be tricky to work with: They’re often very noisy, and it can be difficult to predict exactly how a limb is moving based on muscle activity. Even if you can estimate how a person is moving, how you want the robot itself to respond may be unclear.
“RoboRaise gets around this by putting the human in control. The team’s system uses noninvasive, on-body sensors that detect the firing of neurons as you tense or relax muscles. Using wearables also gets around problems of occlusions or ambient noise, which can complicate tasks involving vision or speech.
“RoboRaise’s algorithm then processes biceps activity to estimate how the person’s arm is moving so the robot can roughly mimic it, and the person can slightly tense or relax their arm to move the robot up or down. If a user needs the robot to move farther away from their own position or hold a pose for a while, they can just gesture up or down for finer control; a neural network detects these gestures at any time based on biceps and triceps activity.
“A new user can start using the system very quickly, with minimal calibration. After putting on the sensors, they just need to tense and relax their arm a few times then lift a light weight to a few heights. The neural network that detects gestures is only trained on data from previous users.”
Will other robots get in on the Bottle Cap Challenge? If so, they better hurry up as it won’t be long before the internet is onto the next viral challenge.
Last Friday, legendary MIT computer scientist Fernando “Corby” Corbató passed away at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. He was 93.
The Oakland-born researcher was responsible for several pivotal advances in the computer science space, most notably the password, which he invented during his pioneering work in computer time sharing.
Corbató led the development of the Computer Time-Sharing System (CTSS), which is regarded as one of the world’s first operating systems. This allowed multiple people to use a computer at the same time, accelerating the pace in which programmers worked. It’s also credited as the first computer system to use passwords.
For the first time, this allowed developers working on shared computing systems to have their own private accounts, where they could store and protect their work.
CTSS also pioneered an early version of email, instant messaging, and word processing. Programmers could write code with a text editor called QED, which was the predecessor of ed, vi, and vim. Ken Thompson, who later designed Google’s Go programming language, also contributed to the development of QED, adding the ability to select and edit text with regular expressions.
Following his work with CTSS, Corbató started work on another effort called Multics, which had an enormous influence on the computers of today. It partially inspired Unix, and was used by Dennis Ritchie, who, along with Brian Kernighan, developed the C programming language, which remains widely in use today.
Corbató’s work also inspired MIT to launch Project MAC, which was the precursor to the Laboratory for Computer Science, and would later merge with the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab to create the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
The MIT CSAIL is now home to 600 researchers, and is responsible for some of the most impressive advancements in artificial intelligence.
Corbató was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and was an alumni of the California Institute of Technology, as well as MIT. He’s survived by his wife, Emily Corbató; his daughters Carolyn and Nancy; his stepsons David and Jason Gish; his brother Charles; and five grandchildren.
Amazon is still working on a mobile home robot, according to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. It’s also planning to add a high-end Echo to its lineup of Alexa devices.
We first heard about Amazon’s plans to build a wheeled home robot in April last year. The project is reportedly codenamed “Vesta” (after the Roman goddess of the hearth), and rumors suggest it’s a sort of “mobile Alexa” that’s able to follow users around their homes.
Today’s report doesn’t add significantly to this picture, but it seems Amazon is still keen to build the mobile device. It was apparently slated to launch this year but wasn’t ready for mass-production. Engineers have reportedly been pulled from other projects to work on Vesta, and Gurman reports that prototypes are “waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras.” They can also be summoned using voice commands.
This (admittedly vague) description is actually pretty close to some existing products. A startup named Temi sells a “personal robot” with similar functionality, for example. Temi the robot is waist-high, has a built-in screen for displaying information, and can be controlled using Alexa. With a starting price of $1,999, though, it’s not really targeted at consumers, but more at companies that want to use the bot as a guide in their shops and offices.
Along with its mystery robot, Amazon is also reportedly working on a high-end Echo device that’s due to be released next year. Bloomberg says the cylindrical speaker is wider than existing Echo products in order to fit in extra speaker components, and it could launch alongside a high-fidelity version of Amazon’s music streaming service.
As is always the case with such reports, these products might never actually see the light of day. A mobile home robot is a particularly difficult sell. Over the past year, a number of companies offering home robots have collapsed, including Anki, the makers of the cute and caterpillar-tracked Vector bot, and Jibo Inc, the company behind the social bot Jibo.
Ia adalah sebuah pertandingan menggunakan permainan video. Secara umumnya dianjurkan oleh badan profesional dan melibatkan perlawanan di antara para pemain, mereka yang profesional dalam bidang E-Sukan.
Adakah E-Sukan beri kebaikkan kepada kanak-kanak, remaja mahupun belia. Ia perlu kajian dan perbincangan mendalam. Ini akan cuba dikupas seketika nanti.
Ada beberapa info mengenai E-Sukan yang membuka mata.
- E-Sukan merupakan sebuah industri sukan yang paling pantas pertumbuhannya dengan sejumlah 148 juta peminat dan pemain di seluruh dunia, hadiah pertandingan dan tajaan berjumlah jutaan ringgit.
- Pertandingan E-Sukan secara langsung (live) mempunyai penonton yang sangat ramai, sejumlah 380 juta penonton mengikuti pertandingan-pertandingan E-Sukan pada tahun 2017.
- Syarikat-syarikat berkaitan E-Sukan menjana keuntungan berjumlah 320 juta dolar Amerika pada tahun 2015, dijangka meningkat kepada 1.5 bilion dolar Amerika menjelang tahun 2020.
Sejarah E-Sukan bermula pada 1972 di Stanford University yang menarik 10,000 penyertaan, dengan permainan Spacewar sebagai platform pertandingan.
Sejak itu ribuan pertandingan diadakan sehingga ke tahap liga profesional dan melibatkan kerjasama badan induk sukan dunia.
Ada perdebatan mengenai kewajaran istilah ‘sukan’ untuk E-Sukan, kerana E-Sukan tidak menggambarkan penggunaan fizikal seperti aktiviti sukan lainnya, namun istilah ‘sukan’ tetap digunakan kerana E-Sukan dikatakan memerlukan perancangan strategi, pengurusan masa dan kemahiran taktikal.
Perkembangan pantas E-Sukan mendorong kerajaan mengetengahkan cadangan sebuah modul pelajaran E-Sukan untuk menghasilkan para penggiat dan profesional yang berkaitan dengan industri E-Sukan.
Apa yang menimbulkan persoalan dan kerisauan ialah kewajaran langkah tersebut dilaksanakan memandangkan E-Sukan belum mendapat sambutan dan penerimaan sepenuhnya masyarakat khususnya ibubapa yang memandang serius pengaruh permainan video kepada anak-anak dan remaja yang meningkat dewasa.
Kerisauan ibubapa terarah kepada pengaruh permainan video terhadap sikap dan tingkah laku anak-anak disamping kesan kepada pengurusan masa dan implikasi kepada prestasi pelajaran mereka.
Ini yang perlu dijadikan fokus.
Sukan atau E-Sukan sendiri seharusnya tidak menjadikan pemainnya lalai sehingga mendorong meninggalkan tugas-tugas khususnya terhadap agama serta tugas lain yang melibatkan pengurusan masa dan akademik.
Perlu ditegaskan bahawa E-Sukan seharusnya terhindar dari pertandingan atau permainan yang melibatkan kedua-dua jantina, dengan cara membuka jalan hawa nafsu, syahwat dan keruntuhan akhlak serta yang mendorong rangsangan seksual dan menggalakkan kejatuhan moral.
Dari aspek industri E-Sukan pula, amat diperlukan kandungan (content) yang selari dengan acuan serta latarbelakang budaya adab ketimuran Islam. Pereka grafik, pengaturcara, penerbit, pengarah projek bahkan penganjur pertandingan E-Sukan juga perlu memikirkan kandungan permainan yang menjurus kepada nilai positif.
Pandangan terhadap E-Sukan sepatutnya ke arah membentuk sebuah sistem industri yang memberi kebaikkan kepada semua yang terlibat, membantu membangunkan sebuah tamadun selari syariah Islam serta terhindar dari gejala buruk yang merosakkan.
Yudi Kurniawan Budi
7 Februari 2018, Cyberjaya