A Robotic Dock for Your Smartphone

The idea of using a robotic dock for iPhone and iPod is not new. Back in 2009, a robot hobbyist has developed a humanoid robot named Robochan which head was an iPhone 3GS (see Video 1). The iPhone acted as a screen that displays different facial expressions. It also plays the role of the robot controller and provided some fun features such as a robotic alarm clock. The robot then can wake the user up Video 1: Robochan humanoid robot ...
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Ready to Use Virtualized ROS Groovy

UPDATE: You might want to use a more recent version of ROS: Hydro Medusa (released on September 2013). See the corresponding post: Virtual Machine with ROS Hydro Medusa Pre-Installed. Install procedure unchanged. ROS Groovy was released on December the 31st, 2012. For those of you who just want to quickly experiment with it, we provide a ready to use virtual machine. It features ROS Groovy Galapagos installed on Ubunutu 12.04.1 LTS (Precise). The ROS Groovy virtual machine comes in a ...
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Your First ROS based System

Many newcomers to ROS don’t know where to start. Indeed, ROS is not an application, but it is rather a robotics middleware. That is an infrastructure to run robotic software. It provides plenty of tools, libraries and packages to ease developing, managing and reusing code. In this post, we’ll go quickly through the main concepts and illustrate them using a simple example. If you want to experiment by yourself, all you need is the Fuerte version of ROS. You can ...
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Smart Robots: Shape Matters

When designing a robot, choosing the right shape can have tremendous impact on the robot controller. This idea has been pushed to the extreme with the HexBug Nano. It has no sensors and even no controller at all! Still its behavior is really realistic and robust as shown in Video 1. Video 1: HexBug Nano Robust Behavior The Nano has only one motor that makes it vibrate and as a result move forward. This kind of locomotion is also used ...
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Ten Top Roboticists at Collège de France, Paris

As we announced in a former post, the Collège de France hosted in Paris a two days seminar with 10 among the world's most prominent roboticists. For those who couldn't make it, the videos are available online. We provide below the links as well as a short summary of each talk. Pr. Jean-Paul Laumond: Welcome Address In this introduction, Pr. Laumond reminds the history of 50 years of robotics and discusses the question whether robotics is a science or a ...
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Virtualizing ROS

UPDATE: ROS Fuerte was released on April 2012. You might want use a more recent version of ROS: If you want to use the Robot Operating System (ROS), the first step is to install it on some PC. Ideally, it should be an ...
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ROS Networking

Today, we describe how to use ROS Fuerte over the network and have a couple of ROS nodes running on different machines. We assume that you had successfully installed ROS and that you tested it on a single PC by running some tutorials. We also assume that you are running ROS on a PC with Ubuntu which is the reference platform for ROS. Ready? Then, let’s go! Mapping IP Addresses to Hostnames We work with two laptops named r2d2 and ...
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ROS Installation Made Easy

UPDATE:  Instead of installing ROS, you can simply download the VirtualBox virtual machine that we provide, so you can start experimenting quickly. [hr_dotted] Being Mac users, we decided to install ROS on one of our Mac Book Pro. We first took the latest release: Fuerte although it is tagged as experimental for Mac OS X. It requires XCode 4 and Homebrew. But, since we could not go much far, we decided to switch to the previous version: ROS Electric. We ...
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ROS: The Linux for Robotics

Although ROS stands for "Robot Operating System", it is not an operating system. At least not as intended when talking about Linux. ROS is actually a set of software libraries, tools, and conventions (including protocols) made to ease the development of robotic applications. Originally developed by Willow Garage for their PR2 robot, ROS was put under a free software license (BSD) from the first public release back to 2009. This, decision for sure contributed to ROS' success by attracting many ...
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Post-Christmas Green Attitude

So, you got a new gadget for Christmas. What ever gizmo you get, you probably have an older one that you won’t be using any more. Such devices are often neglectfully cluttering some drawer. We have here good news for you. Used phones have more value than you might expect. Even broken ones! You can make money, make someone happy, contribute to saving the planet or all these altogether. How? It’s just a matter of a few clicks! Post a ...
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