RoadNarrows Holiday Dinner
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 12 December 2008 -
RoadNarrows hosted its annual Christmas - Hanukkah - Season Holiday dinner at the Chop House in downtown Loveland, CO.
From left to right: Ian Bernstein, Doug Webster, Paul Musson, Robin Knight, Kim Wheeler, Dave Hygh, Monty Seitz
Seasons Greeting Everyone!
Kim Wheeler Presents at the AAAI in Chicago
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 15 July 2008 -
Kim Wheeler, CEO of RoadNarrows LLC, presented two short talks at workshops at the 2008 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). In addition, RoadNarrows had a small booth demonstrating the latest SkewlZone Brain & Sensor Pack for legged robots.
Kim Wheeler presented the collaborative paper "Making Intelligent Walking Robots Accessible to Educators: A Brain and Sensor Pack for Legged Mobile Robots", Jerry B. Weinberg, William Yu, Kim Wheeler-Smith, Robin Knight, Ross Mead, Ian Berstein, Jeff Croxell, Doug Webster.
The paper was presented at the AI Education Workshop on Sunday and was well received.
The following Monday, Kim Wheeler, with the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) team, presented an overview of RoadNarrows and SIUE's colloborative work for the AI Mobility and Manipulation Workshop. Professor Jerry Weinberg heads up the SIUE effort. A Brain and Sensor Pack for Advancing Research and Education in Legged Robot Mobility
This work was then demonstrated in a two-day robotics exhibit. This exhibit was well attended by conference attendees and outside school groups.
Assisting Kim in the booth was Rachel Knight (not shown), part-time employee of RoadNarrows and full-time student at the University of Chicago.
AAAI 2008 Conference: AAAI 2008.
KumoTek Releases the KT-X Humanoid Robot Line
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 30 May 2008 -
The KumoTek-X (KT-X) bipedal robot is the latest robot to emerge from the creative labs of KumoTek Robotics and Vstone Corporation. This robot was designed to offer an entertaining, low-cost alternative to high-end robotics, while stylishly combining the latest in sleek design and cutting-edge robotics engineering.
The KT-X is the first low-cost bi-pedal robot platform of its kind to be offered in the U.S. that:
- can be controlled using a standard wireless PS2 gamepad controller
- is easy to use
- offers endless hours of entertainment
The robot is capable walking, running, somersaulting and standing up from a face-up or face-down lying position. It can even be programmed to pull itself up autonomously after it has fallen over. It stands 13 inches tall, has 17 servo actuated joints (i.e., 17 degrees of freedom), a powerful 60MHz HV processor with 512kB ROM / 64kB RAM and comes fully loaded with over 75 preprogrammed acrobatic motions.
The robot also comes with an easy to use programming interface, which is without a doubt the most user-friendly programming utility to date and requires little to no prior experience with robotics or programming. It can be purchased as a kit or fully assembled.
RoadNarrows and KumoTek are happy to announce that the KT-X is now available for purchase from RoadNarrows. The KT-X also has a Lite version with 13 servos, and a Gladiator version with 20 motors for serious robot enthusiasts.
RoadNarrows Store: "KT-X Products".
KumoTek Website: "KumoTek".
RoadNarrows & POB-Technology Sponsor Robofest International Competition
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 26 April 2008 -
RoadNarrows Robotics is a Bronze Sponsor for Robofest April 26.
Robofest is yearly autonomous robot competition for 5th through 12th grade students focused on learning Science, Engineer, Technology and Math. More than 1,000 students partipate in this growing event. The world championship took place at Lawrence Technical University in Southfield, Michigan on April 26th, 2008.
RoadNarrows is proud to be a Bronze sponsor, and in cooperation with POB-Technology of France, donated several POB-Bot packages for prizes. This was the first year students from France participated in Robofest, Team lycé ARAGON. Robofest continues to grow and have more international participants.
Robofest is one of the world's first autonomous robot contests for grade students in which the dimension of the playing field is unknown. A part of the competition problem is unknown until competition day. And some conditions of the playing field may be decided/changed, after the robot is started. Robofest is fair and educational, since no direct adult help is allowed. The entire robot should be constructed and programmed by students.
ROBOFEST Competition: "ROBOFEST".
POB-Technology Products (RoadNarrows): "POB-Technology Products".
POB-Technology Website: "POB-Technology".
Team lycé ARAGON: "lycé ARAGON".
Recognetics & RoadNarrows at the Embedded Systems Conference
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 18 April 2008 -
Recognetics and RoadNarrows presented the CogniMem Neural Network chip and applied NN solutions at the Embedded Systems Conference on April 14 - 8th. In particular, RoadNarrows Robotics demonstrated an intelligent talking panda using the CogniMem chip.
Recognetics hosted an exhibit booth at Silicon Valley's famous Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, CA from April 14th to April 18th. Participating in the exhibit booth were Recognetics' partners General Vision, RoadNarrows LLC, and a team from the Center for Global Sensoring Intelligence headquartered in Hawaii. Recognetics is a founding industrial affiliate of the new Center.
RoadNarrows demonstrated a prototype of their new RoboSight™ Lite product based on Recognetics' CogniMem chip. The RoboSight Lite was integrated with an mp3 player and embedded in a Panda Bear. The Panda Bear was trained on-the-fly to recognize images from a flip chart. Shown were animals, letters, and movie stars. The most popular demo was having the Panda Bear speak lines from movies when it recognized the image shown to it.
Recognetics Inc., Longmont, CO designs and manufactures high-performance pattern recognition chips based on parallel neural networks. The chips can be used in a myriad of sensor-based applications and offer many benefits: high-speed recognition, no programming, teaching by examples, unlimited capacity by chaining chips, small footprint (8X8mm), low power consumption, and low cost.
RoadNarrows' Panda Learning How to Read the Alphabet.
Recognetics Products: "Recognetics Products".
Recognetics Website: "Recognetics".
Center for Global Sensory Intelligence: "CGSI".
On the cover of Rocky Mountain Chronicle
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 12 March 2008 -
RoadNarrows Robotics was featured on the cover of the March 6 - March 12 issue of the Rocky Mountain Chronicle. The article, written by Chronicle's Josh Johnson and photographed by Todd Newcommer, is titled “More Than Meets The Eye”. The article covers, in part, RoadNarrows' effort to embellish small consumer legged robots with intelligence.
From RoadNarrows engineer Ian Bernstein on the RoadNarrows SkewlZone Brain & Sensor Pack:
“Bernstein has developed Kondo's foot as a sensor that will be part of an upgrade for the Kondo that includes a circuit-board brain and advanced sensors, like a robotic eye. Along with a chip, in the brain, that measures acceleration, which acts as an inner ear, the feet will contribute to Kondo's stability.”
From Kim Wheeler, CEO of RoadNarrows on the economics of Robotics:
“The market hasn't proven itself yet to venture capitalists.
They have no market data to invest, and how do you have market data
for something that doesn't exist? ”
“Things are starting to change pretty quickly in consumer robots. Ten years ago that concept didn't exist.”
Josh Johnson, "More Than Meets The Eye", Rocky Mountain Chronicle, Vol.2, Issue 23, March 6-12.
A Rat's Life
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 22 February 2008 -
Cyberbotics Announces "A Rat's Life" Robot Competition
Cyberbotics Ltd, the makers of the popular Webots software for robot modeling and simulation, is running a new software competition called “A Rat's Life” to kick off the Chinese New Year. (See: www.ratslife.org/).
The contest is organized by the IECA project (Integrating Cognition, Emotion and Autonomy) to promote research results and stimulate further interest in bio-inspired robotics control. Participation in the contest is open to anyone free of charge. Contestants can download a free version of the Webots software for simulating a robotic scenario where two rat robots compete for survival in a maze-like environment. The developed robot controllers can be transfered to real e-puck robots roaming an interactive LEGO maze.
RoadNarrows LLC is a U.S. distributor of both Webots software by Cyberbotics and the e-puck designed by the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. For more information, contact us.
The current status of the competition as posted by Olivier Michel, Cyberbotics:
A contest round is now run every day at 8pm (Central European Time)
with nice automatic movies created for each round. I would recommend
you to have a look at the very last match between the two top
competitors, antoinea101 and Freshmen: http://www.cyberbot
We have currently 9 active competitors out of 50 registered users. As you can see on the hall of fame, the contest is currently dominated by Swiss (5), Romanian (2), Hungarian (1) and Turkish (1) competitors. But where are the French, American, British, Iranian, German, Indian, etc? Will they let the Swiss people win the fame and the prizes (an e-puck robot and a Webots pack) that easily?
Feel free to spread the word about the contest and don't be afraid to
step in. The level of intelligence of our rat brains and the fame of
the winners will increase with the number of competitors! A PDF sheet
with our call for contest is available here: http://www.ratslife
In previous editions of similar contests we had entire classrooms participating (from Zürich, Edinburgh, Brazil). If you know professors who might be interested to have their programming or robotics class participating in the contest, let them know. The final mark doesn't necessarily need to be based on the hall of fame ranking ;)
Thank you for your support!
Cyberbotics Home: Cyberbotics.
POB Technology Releases RISBEE Software
LOVELAND, COLORADO, 12 February 2008 -
POB Technology Releases RISBEE Software: The robotics solution for junior high school and high school education
The POB-Bot robot and the graphical development software RISBEE are a simple and a cheap solution to introduce high school and junior high school students to technology and engineering sciences by exposing them to robotics and automation principles.
The POB-Bot Robot
The POB-Bot is often used in higher education and can be programmed in C, Java, Basic, however, the robot and the new software RISBEE is designed specifically to be easy to use as an introduction to robotics and assumes no technical knowledge. The color camera POB-Eye is the powerful programmable module which manages the other robot parts. The POB-Bot is delivered already mounted and a demo program is installed.
You can customize the robot for your specific educational needs :
- 7 screw connectors to add your digital and analog sensors without soldering (7 other with soldering)
- Plug your mechanical: arms, grippers, dumpster...
- Customize the robot environment to match with the course goals
The POB-Bot is equiped with a graphical screen and a joystick to make the robot very interactive to the user.
Robotics Initiation using RISBEE:
RISBEE is a new graphical software designed for non technical students. It is based on video games concepts that all young users know very well, thus they handle the software very quickly. Just put icons on the black board to build the program, select parameters in combo boxes when necessary and click the 'GO' button to upload the program into the robot.
Video games concepts are applied but RISBEE is still a very serious software. All the main aspects of computer science and robotics are present: Goto, loops, sub-programs, variables, moves, sensors acquisition....
RISBEE presents 33 animated simple and intuitive icons, grouped by 3 categories:
Representative icons for development languages: GOTO, loops, sub program, variables and operations on variables, comparison
Example for the GOTO: A gun with green bullets targets a green flag.
Representative icons for the actions common to all robots: Moves, delays, servomotors, analog and digital sensors management
Example to get an analog sensor value: the left bottom icon (analog multimeter) does the acquisition. Just select in combo boxes the input number where the sensor is plugged and the variable's name to store the value
Specific icons for the POB-Bot: Pattern recognition, joystick
Example to look for a pattern: Select a pattern to recognize in a combo box, select the variables to store the size and the coordinates of center dot of the pattern. If the variable are different from zero, the chosen pattern is in front of the camera!
Other icons like red ball tracking or move detection will be added soon.
Simulation and debug running mod:
Every educator needs an easy way to teach young students program design for them to understand the concepts. Using the debug running mod, the PC executes step by step the program. More than a simple debug tool, it is an excellent way to explain how things work.
In this example, the robot analyzes the pictures coming from the camera. If a cross is recognized then the robot runs. When the cross is no longer recognized the robot stops. We could easily modify this program to make the robot follow the cross if the cross moves left or right in front of the camera.
This "13 icons" example uses an infinite loop (green flag and green gun), form recognition, comparison (the 2 red scales) and 2 sub programs (red flags).
Watch a video of the POB-Bot and RISBEE
For Innovative Leisure and for Education
RoadNarrows exhibits at IEEE ICRA 2008 Pasadena
Announcement: 23 May 2008
RoadNarrows LLC had an exhibit booth at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation from May 19 to May 23 in Pasadena, California. It was well attended and a lot of interest was shown in RoadNarrows product lines. In particular, K-Team's new Khepera III robot was featured as well as the Hemisson Super Pack. A full booth was dedicated to the K-Team product lines. RoadNarrows is K-Team's exclusive distributor in the U.S. and distributes all over North and South America.
In addition, RoadNarrows operated an adjunct booth space demonstrating their products under research and development, including RoadNarrows' prototype of the SkewlZone Brain and Sensor Pack on a Kondo KHR-2, and the CogniMem Neural Network vision camera (RoboSight) for fast pattern recognition applications. KumoTek's just-released KT-X humanoid robot also generated excitement from visitors with its playstation remote-control functions and large set of cool demos. RoadNarrows will be both distributing the KT-X for KumoTek and applying their SkewlZone Brain-and-Sensor pack to make the KT-X an ideal education and research platform.
IEEE ICRA: "IEEE ICRA".
Fort Collins Robot Fire Fighting Challenge
Announcement: 8 March 2008
The Discovery Science Center in Fort Collins, CO was the site of the first Fort Collins Robot Fire Fighting Challenge (FCRFFC) on March 8, 2008. This was a regional event modeled after the popular Trinity College Fire Fighting Robot competition, and was organized and sponsored by the Front Range Robotics Club.
RoadNarrows was happy to be a first-place prize sponsor of a POB-Eye camera pack. Robot Magazine also sponsored the event. The first-place winner was George Mitsuoka with his robot "Physignathus".
See FCRFFC, the Fort Collins Robot Fire Fighting Challenge Website.
Happy New Years
Announcement: 3 January 2008
RoadNarrows Wishes Everyone a Prosperous New Year
The Year of the Rat