We don’t hear often about Russians in the robotics field. But, when they show up, they are impressive. About two years ago, we came across the Tesh-Drive, an amphibious off-road vehicle. Instead of wheels it uses two large screw-shaped cylinders that are wrapped with inflatable rubber tubes. This week, the news from Russia are related to humanoid robots, featuring SAR-400 a robot with a dexterous hand to fly to the space by 2014. It seems to be a serious competitor for the Nasa’s Robonaut though it is so far tele-operated. You’ll find in our selection of videos one where the SAR-400 performs a variety of precision tasks requiring either pushing hard or delicately handling fragile objects.
Among the 40+ news gathered this week, we got also interested by RosSerial made by Adam Stambler during his internship at Willow Garage. RosSerial is a neat solution for integrating new hardware with ROS. It avoids writing drivers by providing a general protocol for sending ROS messages over serial links. No doubt that it will leverage ROS-based experiments and prototypes using low-cost hardware such as an Arduino board.