Tag Archives: Robotics


Coordinated Swarms of Quadrotors

The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania is developing algorithms to control swarms of quadrotors, also known as quadcopters or quadricopters.

Their research group has some amazing videos of quadrotors in coordinated flight, and quadrotors working together to perform a coordinated construction task. The GRASP lab is involved in numerous other projects that are worth checking out.

Here is a video of quadrotors in coordinated flight:

Here they perform a construction task:

The latter video was featured on The Colbert Report.
Amazing work (and a little creepy!)



Please Don’t Let that Robot Rescue Me!

Robot’s Everywhere has a post where they show the following picture of a Tokyo Fire Department robot rescuing a dummy in a drill.

The robot appears to be dragging the victim up the ramp by his/her neck.

Very Nice!


This was #8 in a series of photos from a Boston.com News in Photographs piece.   The caption there reads:

Tokyo Fire Department’s rescue robot transfers a mock victim onto itself during an anti-terrorism exercise in the response to a radiological dispersal device in Tokyo, on November 7, 2008. Tokyo Metropolitan government conducted the exercise with eleven organisations including Metropolitan Police Department. (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

MATLAB Packages for the NXT

Brickengineer announces MATLAB packages for the LEGO NXT Robotics system:

There are now several MATLAB packages for robotics, and specifically for the NXT. One paradigm is to run the code on a PC and have it communicate direct commands to the NXT Brick via Bluetooth or USB. I have found this paradigm to be a bit dangerous since in the event of a MATLAB crash or a miscommunication, the NXT Brick will continue with its last command until ordered to stop. This has the potential to destroy your robot. The paradigm that I prefer to use is to write several programs that run on the brick. These programs take commands from files on the brick that can be uploaded rapidly from the PC. The MATLAB code then is in charge of sending the command files and starting and stopping programs. In the event of a MATLAB crash or communication failure, the software running on the NXT Brick can be designed to terminate gracefully.

Here are the MATLAB packages that I know of. The first two are specifically geared toward the NXT; whereas the last is a general robotics package.

* LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Toolkit for MATLAB and Simulink
* Robotics Toolbox for MATLAB (Release 7.1) (P.I. Corke)
* RWTH Mindstorms NXT Toolbox for Matlab

Knuth: Developing Robotic Scientists for Space Exploration

The University at Albany (SUNY) has highlighted Knuth’s research in a recent news piece.

UAlbany Professor Kevin Knuth with a robot built from LEGOs. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

UAlbany Professor Kevin Knuth with a robot built from LEGOs. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Kevin Knuth has a laboratory in the physics department of the University at Albany that is filled with LEGOs. The bricks are relatively cheap and can be used to rapidly prototype a robot’s body. Knuth’s robots are being programmed to solve such problems as mapping complex terrain.

At UAlbany Day on Saturday, Oct. 25, he will give a demonstration on Robotics and Robotic Exploration in Life Sciences Room 143 at 10:45 a.m.

More here:


Building instructions for the robot shown in the UAlbany article can be found on Brickengineer.com

Visit Autonomous Exploration News for information on Knuth’s company Autonomous Exploration Inc.

Visit Robots Everywhere for a general blog on robotics news.

Robots to Clean Ship Hulls

European researchers are working on an EU-funded project called HISMAR (Hull Identification System for Marine Autonomous Robotics) to develop a robotic hull cleaning system to remove marine growth from ships. Marine growth significantly increases the friction of a ship moving through water, which significantly increases the cost in terms of energy. In addition, marine growth poses an environmental hazard.

More at Robots Everywhere

Kevin Knuth
Albany NY