Stanford boffins invent 4D camera to improve robotic vision and augmented and virtual reality specs

A team of researchers at Stanford have designed a 4D camera which could improve vision for applications in robotics and virtual and augmented reality technologies. 

The new vision technique could also be used in autonomous vehicles, add the researchers – Donald Dansereau, a postdoctoral fellow in electrical engineering, and Gordon Wetzstein, assistant professor of electrical engineering, and others.

The new camera Stanford has developed is a proof-of-concept and the university plans to start building a smaller prototype suitable for commercialisation in the coming months.  Continue reading Stanford boffins invent 4D camera to improve robotic vision and augmented and virtual reality specs

Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

Interview with Rick Weidinger, CEO of Robotic Vision Technologies

A human eye transmits data to the brain at a rate of approximately 10 million bits a second, which is about the equivalent of the capacity of some Ethernet connections. 

This was the finding of a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and while that may be debatable, and perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story of the complexity of the human eye, it’s probably a widely accepted idea that our eyes collect and transmit more data than do our other “sensors”, if they can be called that – the ones for sound, touch, smell and taste – which, with sight, make up our five human senses.

Robots, of course, only have senses because their makers want to integrate sensors into them.  Continue reading Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

The pros and cons of using drones in the real estate business

drone above house

By Tim Jennings, president, Custom Case Group

Are drones a necessity in the real estate business or are they an extra? 

The clearest and quickest way to answer that question is to present a few compelling pieces of information:

  • When the Federal Aviation Administration handed out its first 1,000 commercial drone operator exemptions a couple of years ago, 35 percent were to operators in real estate marketing.
  • The Multiple Listing Service has reported that properties featuring aerial images sell about 68 percent faster than do properties featuring only non-aerial photos.
  • According to the National Association of Realtors, 73 percent of homeowners said they’d be more likely to list with an agent who incorporates video in marketing their home.
  • In March 2016, Goldman Sachs released a report saying the global drone market is expected to grow to $20.6 billion in the next five years.
  • Many analysts are saying last summer’s FAA commercial drone ruling will result in a dramatic expansion of drone use in the real estate industry this year.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The bottom line is: If you haven’t incorporated drones in your operations yet, it’s time to get the process started.  Continue reading The pros and cons of using drones in the real estate business

Fanuc launches R-30iB Plus robot controller

Fanuc R-30iB Plus robot controller

Fanuc is introducing its new R-30iB Plus robot controller at the annual Fanuc Open House event on April 10-13 at its headquarters in Japan.

The new R-30iB Plus controller features a new iPendant with an enhanced screen resolution and processing capability.

The user interface, iHMI, has an icon-based screen which provides a familiar and easy-to-use experience with intuitive guides for setup and programming.  Continue reading Fanuc launches R-30iB Plus robot controller

Beam me up virtually, Scotty: I canna change the laws of physics, captain

Kirk, Spock teleportation

lockA while ago, Robotics and Automation News interviewed Alex Boch about 360 cameras, and he said he would be developing a new product soon which would incorporate virtual reality. 

Now, having helped build the ALLie Camera, Boch – who is VP of operations there – is back in touch to talk about the device which he says gives users a better view of events than if they were actually there.

One of the events ALLie has been used for is the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, which Boch mentions in the Q&A that follows.  Continue reading Beam me up virtually, Scotty: I canna change the laws of physics, captain

Mantaro launches ‘rugged’ telepresence robot for industrial settings

mantaro telepresence robot teletrak

Mantaro says its MantaroBot TeleTrak telepresence robot is designed for rugged industrial, manufacturing and construction environments

Mantaro, a developer of mobile telepresence products, has launched a new addition to the MantaroBot TelePresence Robot lineup, the MantaroBot TeleTrak.

With the introduction of a tracked based drive system, Mantaro says the user can drive the TeleTrak to monitor projects in rugged terrain and dynamic environments remotely, locations they could not do so before.  Continue reading Mantaro launches ‘rugged’ telepresence robot for industrial settings

Endurance Robots launches fully roboticized open-source platform

robotized endurance open-source platform

Promoted

A year ago we started tо work at a platform to be used as a basis for a simple robotic interface.  Our task was to combine face and voice recognition with voice synthesis.

We began with a simpler task: voice synthesis, as this task is solved by many vendors.  In 1984 Steve Jobs surprised everybody at his Macintosh presentation when the first Mac started speaking.

We did not have any problems with the selection of the speech synthesis modules. They all work well and have a wide choice of voices.

Finally, we used the standard Microsoft SAPI.  This product with various language sets is distributed free of charge.  Continue reading Endurance Robots launches fully roboticized open-source platform

Robotiq and Varioptic launch camera for Universal Robots

Robotiq-Camera-and-gripper

Robotiq and Varioptic announce the availability of the Robotiq Camera specifically designed for Universal Robots 

The new Robotiq Camera includes a CMOS sensor and a Caspian module from Varioptic.

It has the ability to focus from as close as 70 mm to infinity and comes with a software package for Universal Robots which allows the camera to be setup within minutes.

It will fit all UR wrists and is accessible directly from the robot controller. Continue reading Robotiq and Varioptic launch camera for Universal Robots

Robotiq launches camera system for industrial robot hand

Robotiq, a maker of robotic grippers for industrial robots, has launched a vision-guidance system for pick and place robots

The company, which mainly makes 2-finger and 3-finger grippers for Universal Robots, says its camera can be set up in “five minutes and makes vision easy to integrate”.

The new camera component was developed as part of the URCaps, an app store and software and hardware developer program launched by Universal Robots.

Robotiq had made its vision system available to some of its customers, including Continental, known for making car tyres among other things.  Continue reading Robotiq launches camera system for industrial robot hand

This sensor enables cameras to see in cinematic vision even in total darkness, says its maker

InVisage Spark4K sample structured light image
InVisage Spark4K sample structured light image

InVisage says its Spark4K near-infrared sensor brings cinematic resolution, high dynamic range, and low power Consumption to cameras and other devices 

InVisage claims its Spark4K is the world’s highest resolution IR sensor with 35 per cent quantum efficiency at 940 nm, dynamic pixel sizing, global shutter, and up to “50 times less system power consumption” – less than what the company left us in the dark about.   

InVisage Technologies, the pioneering developer of QuantumFilm camera sensors, launched the Spark4K near-infrared (NIR) camera sensor.

A 1.1-micron pixel, 13-megapixel sensor in a 1/3-inch module, Spark4K features the world’s highest NIR resolution packing 4K video at 30 frames per second, making it ideal for augmented reality, autonomous, and authentication systems that require high-resolution, high dynamic range NIR imaging with global shutter capability.  Continue reading This sensor enables cameras to see in cinematic vision even in total darkness, says its maker

Clever idea to place eyes on robot hand helps machine to map surroundings and location

carnegie mellon uni Ada Mico hand

Before a robot arm can reach into a tight space or pick up a delicate object, the robot needs to know precisely where its hand is.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have shown that a camera attached to the robot’s hand can rapidly create a 3-D model of its environment and also locate the hand within that 3-D world.

Doing so with imprecise cameras and wobbly arms in real-time is tough, but the CMU team found they could improve the accuracy of the map by incorporating the arm itself as a sensor, using the angle of its joints to better determine the pose of the camera.

This would be important for a number of applications, including inspection tasks, said Matthew Klingensmith, a PhD student in robotics.  Continue reading Clever idea to place eyes on robot hand helps machine to map surroundings and location

DJI unveils new Phantom 4 drone with ‘highly advanced’ computer vision and sensing technology

dji phantom 4
The new DJI Phantom 4

DJI has launched the Phantom 4, which it says is the first consumer quadcopter camera – or drone – to use “highly advanced” computer vision and sensing technology.

The Phantom 4 expands on previous generations of DJI’s iconic Phantom line by adding new on-board intelligence that makes piloting and shooting great shots simple through features like its Obstacle Sensing System, ActiveTrack and TapFly functionality.

“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence,” said DJI CEO Frank Wang. “People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.” Continue reading DJI unveils new Phantom 4 drone with ‘highly advanced’ computer vision and sensing technology

InVisage claims world’s first HD IoT camera sensor that can see invisible infrared light

invisage sparkp2
A picture of flowers, taken in infra-red light conditions

A company called InVisage is claiming it has launched the world’s first high-definition Internet of Things camera sensor which can detect near infra-red (NIR) light which is invisible to the human eye.

The innovation could have implications for autonomous vehicles being developed now, as well as a range of other technologies.

InVisage calls its new sensor Spark2, and says it is based on its previous range of camera sensors, which were given the name QuantumFilm.

The company says the SparkP2 is a 1.1 um pixel, 2-megapixel sensor in an ultra-compact 1/7 inch format for a lightweight footprint (less than 3 mm thin) that consumes over 20 times less power than conventional silicon near-infrared cameras. Continue reading InVisage claims world’s first HD IoT camera sensor that can see invisible infrared light