November 28th, 2015

Robots: Marine Robotics Systems - Transcript

Multi Session SLAM Sirus AUV Plateform In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Stefan Williams of the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics, Marine Systems Group. They discuss the future of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), and a recent expedition where they used multi-session SLAM to map the famous Antikythera Shipwreck (circa 60-80 B.C.), one of the richest ancient wrecks ever discovered. It is located under 55m of water on the NE coast of the island of Antikythera. The site is famous for the first Analog Computer known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared device designed to calculate and display celestial information, including phases of the sun and a luni-solar calendar.

The ACFR leads Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) AUV Facility. IMOS is a nationally coordinated program designed to establish and maintain the research infrastructure required to support Australia’s marine science research. The IMOS AUV facility generates physical and biological observations of benthic variables that cannot be cost-effectively obtained by other means.

Stefan Williams
Stefan Williams is a Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. He is a member of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics where he leads the Marine Robotics group. He is also the head of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System AUV Facility. His research interests include Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping in unstructured underwater environments, autonomous navigation and control and classification and clustering of large volumes of data collected by robotic systems. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2002 and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science with first class honours in 1997 at the University of Waterloo, Canada.



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November 14th, 2015

Robots: ICRA 2015 Company Showcase - Transcript

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews several companies from the International Conferences on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) showcase. The companies span the following applications: mobile robots for military and commercial uses, warehouse solutions, robotic arms and manipulators, and robotic systems to assist surgery.

Companies are listed in the order of their interview with a picture of their booth at ICRA 2015. All photos were taken by Robohub and can be found here.


American Robot Company (AMBOT) specializes in advanced electronics, unmanned systems, autonomous vehicle solutions and intelligent platforms for research, commercial and military robotic applications.

GRP 4400 wheeled platform - American Robot Company


Fetch Robotics provides warehouse solutions.

Fetch Robotics


Intuitive Surgical designs and builds the da Vinci Surgical System for robotically assisted minimally invasive surgery.

da Vinci Xi - Intuitive Surgical


Kinova designs and manufactures robotics platforms and components that are simple and safe under two business units: Assistive Robotics for  people with disabilities and Service Robotics for humans and robots working in the same environments.

Adept Mobile Robots


Applied Dexterity seeks to advance the field of robotically assisted surgery by creating a research surgical robot that can serve as a standard platform allowing researchers to share their software and improvements.

Raven II - Applied Dexterity inc.



Jens Hurley is a Senior Roboticist at the American Robot Company.

Michael Ferguson is a Co-Founder and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Fetch Robotics. Previously, Ferguson was the founder and CTO of Vanadium lab, developing low-cost education and hobby robot controllers, and a Software Engineer at Willow Garage.

Simon DiMaio is a Senior Manager of Research and Advanced Systems Development at Intuitive Surgical. Previously, DiMaio was an Instructor of Radiology and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School.

François Boucher is the Vice President of Business Development at Kinova Inc. in Boisbriand, Canada. He received his MBA and a Bachelor degree in Physics Engineering from Laval University. After his graduation, he worked as the General Manager of a technology transfer and investment company before joining Kinova in its early days to develop the service robotics market. In 2014 and 2015, Kinova was listed as one of the 50 most influential public & private companies in the global robotics industry by the Robotics Business Review and one of the fastest-growing company by Profit 500 in Canada.

Andrew Lewis is a Roboticist at Applied Dexterity. Previously, Lewis was a mechanical engineering graduate student in the BioRobotics lab at the University of Washington. His work in the BioRobotics Lab focused on the development of surgical robots, dynamically evaluated gravity compensation, and electromyography controlled iRobot Roombas. Lewis earned his BS in Robotics Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2011. His interests include mechanical design, systems development, and ethics in robotics engineering.



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October 31st, 2015

Robots: Embodied Quadrotors - Transcript

In this interview, Audrow Nash speaks with Dr. Davide Scaramuzza, Assistant Professor of Robotics at the University of Zurich and leader of the Robotics and Perception Group, about autonomous unmanned vehicles (UAV) that navigate using only on-board systems—no GPS or motion capture systems.

Below are some videos of Scaramuzza’s research.


Davide Scaramuzza

Davide_Scaramuzza_ID_photoDavide Scaramuzza (1980, Italian) is Assistant Professor of Robotics at the University of Zurich. He is founder and director of the Robotics and Perception Group, where he develops cutting-edge research on low-latency vision and visually-guided micro aerial vehicles. He received his PhD (2008) in Robotics and Computer Vision at ETH Zurich (with Roland Siegwart). He was Postdoc at both ETH Zurich and the University of Pennsylvania (with Vijay Kumar and Kostas Daniilidis). From 2009 to 2012, he led the European project “sFly”, which introduced the world’s first autonomous navigation of micro quadrotors in GPS-denied environments using vision as the main sensor modality. For his research contributions, he was awarded an ERC Starting Grant (2014), the IEEE Robotics and Automation Early Career Award (2014), a Google Research Award (2014). He coauthored the book “Introduction to Autonomous Mobile Robots” (MIT Press). He is author of the first open-source Omnidirectional Camera Calibration Toolbox for MATLAB, also used at NASA, Bosch, and Daimler. He is also author of the 1-point RANSAC algorithm, an effective and computationally efficient reduction of the standard 5-point RANSAC for visual odometry, when vehicle motion is non-holonomic. He is Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions of Robotics and has numerous publications in top-ranked robotics and computer vision journals, such as PAMI, IJCV, T-RO, IJRR, JFR, AURO. His hobbies are piano and magic tricks.


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October 16th, 2015

Robots: The Open Academic Robot Kit - Transcript

In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Raymond Sheh who is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computing at Curtin University and head of the Intelligent Robots Group.

They discuss his Open Academic Robot Kit initiative, which aims to build an international community of students and researchers, all designing and building robots using a compatible set of electronic and basic mechanical components plus 3D printed parts. Builders would then publish their designs so that anyone can recreate and build on them.

Raymond Sheh
raymond_sheh_baxterRaymond Sheh is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computing, Curtin University. He specialises in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Cyber Security and has been involved in robotics research since 2003.

Raymond’s current activities include robotics for hazardous environments, surgical robotics and the application of robotic sensing technologies to industrial automation. The former includes a significant education and research outreach component to other universities and high schools through his position on the Executive Committee of the International RoboCup Rescue Robot League competition.

Prior to joining Curtin in 2013, Raymond was with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, developing standardised test methods for response robots, used in hazardous environments. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from The University of New South Wales, an Honours degree in Electronic and Communications Engineering from Curtin University and a degree in Computer Science from Curtin University.


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October 2nd, 2015

Robots: Micro and Nano Robotics - Transcript

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Brad Nelson, Professor at ETH Zurich, about his research regarding micro and nano robotics. They discuss many of Nelson’s projects: retinal and heart surgery, crystal harvesting, and robots with simulated flagella for mobility.

The video below shows some of the research discussed during the interview.


Brad Nelson 

Brad Nelson has been the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich since 2002, where his research focuses on microrobotics and nanorobotics. Fundamentally, he is interested in how to make tiny intelligent machines that are millimeters to nanometers in size.

He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota, worked as a computer vision researcher at Honeywell and a software engineer at Motorola, served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana, Africa, and then obtained a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota before moving to ETH.



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