Robotics

Created by Valentina Aguana, Software Developer / Spokesperson at VEsinFiltro
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What everyone's up to

Artificial Intelligence course
Completed a training
Completed 'Elements of AI' online foundational course in AI offered by University of Helsinki
Built a robot
Built a soil moisture sensor that display the current level of temperature and moisture on a LCD screen warning me when I need to water my poor houseplants
Won an award
Completed a training
Finished IChallenge'20 training in Coding, Robotics, and Entrepreneurship from iHub: Innovation Hub. 
My team and I got the top 5 in the training with a robotics graduation project.
Mar 06, 2012
Built a robot
Built an industrial safety system
Programmed a robot
Productized a research project
+ 2
The Hybrid Safety System was announced. I was excited to move this project from a research project (small cell space, 3 sensors, 10 Hz) to a fully commercial product (large cell space, 7 sensors, 60 Hz).

From NREC's page:
For safety, industrial robots are designed to operate in separate areas from human workers. Their large mass, sudden movements and high speeds endanger anyone within their range of motion. Physical barriers like walls and fences keep people away from working robots.  Sensor barriers like light curtains and cameras immediately stop robots if a person enters a robotic work cell. These safety features prevent workplace accidents, but they also prevent humans and industrial robots from working closely together.  
 
The objective of HSS is to allow humans to safely collaborate with robots and take advantage of the collaborative work. Industrial robots can lift heavy object repetitively and accurately, while humans can perform difficult and dexterous tasks easily (e.g. running and connecting harnesses). 

The Hybrid Safety System (HSS) dynamically prevents collisions between robots, humans, and foreign objects. HSS detects people and objects that are not part of robotic work cells and it slows and stops robots before collisions can occur. This system allows humans and robots to work in close proximity as a team. Such collaboration can reduce equipment costs, conserve floor space, reduce setup time, prevent workplace injuries from lifting heavy objects and lower infrastructure and fixture costs.  
 
HSS combines input from flash lidar and stereo cameras to generate a model of a robot’s surroundings (i.e., its work cell).  HSS uses this model to identify objects that are not part of a robot or its surroundings.  It also tracks a robot’s movements using position information from its controller.  Using a zone-based system, HSS stops the robot before a collision can occur. The safety, danger and warning zones establish buffer zones around a robot and anyone who enters its work cell. 
Built a robot

The Strange Case of The Robot Who Knew The Future


What is this? I see you ask with a look of confusion as you read the title. What is this, well if only a journey into the Past(tm), to another universe without travel bans, masks, global pandemic and the overuse of the C word. no...not Computing. 

Remember, remember March 2020, the closing of the borders and the shortage of TP. I see no reason why March of 2020 should ever be forgot.

Back to some semblance of seriousness though. I said semblance.  In late 2019 and early 2020, back in the days, I was working as a javascript developer for a national airplane company on the passenger side (yes you see where this is going....)
this story however isn't particularly focused on my daily job. You see, I like trying out new things all the time and as much as I love Javascript and its evil twin Typescript, I admit that I sometimes cheated on them both with Python. I hear you gasp in scandal at my words but please be reassure dear readers that everyone involved was aware of the situation...

In late 2018 Python was already my little haven when I sometimes felt drained from all those semi colons use. Looking for new projects in Python I naturally drifted toward Robotics as one does during those autumn months. The main thought process might involve a bad breakup and yours truly decided that the company of circuit boards might be better but is that professional to admit it? who knows. *inserts doctor who reference and loses some readers*

I felt slightly sad that I never pursued Robotics earlier in my life because for someone loving R2D2 and Wall-e that much it seemed like a waste of opportunity to build an army sooner, I mean to improve my programming skills.

I entered a brand new field and began to tour the galaxy of Arduino and really quick went on a shopping spree to buy components. I too wanted my robot friend. Not knowing where to start I bought a Me-Arm kit of the cutest tiny robotic arm and baptized him Wesley. (there is a pop culture ref here that when guessed unlocks an easter egg achievment)

At start Wesley was here to be gushed over by me and some of my best colleagues and hold my pen (tried a glass of wine once...it did not work well but that's another story). And all was well.

Back to the end of 2019. As much as I was happy about my little robotic arm rotating on my desk, as every proud mom I wanted to see him grow up and progress. I decided it was time for him to be independent and get his driver license. It was time to give him wheels.

The more anti robots of you will raise their arms and chant that you never, ever weaponized a robot. Wesley is barely 20cm tall. Chill.

I started looking at the wonderful examples and tutorials available in the Arduino community and decided to go for a basic model of a 2 wheels kit. Simple enough. The idea was to fixate Wesley’s scrawny body on the plate, keep him mobile and independent upthere while he’d be able to wheel around while snapping his cute jaws at you.

The even greater idea was to have him be able to go and pick something i'd drop (because you know...us developers are the ultimate lazy) Im blatantly lying the Greater Idea was to have him fetch me a glass of wine. I'm French. Self-explanatory....

I was collecting all those ideas on my little notebook, getting ready to order so many components when work caught me back. (Pretty rude of capitalism to expect me to do the job I’m paid for)

This moves us to end of february 2020, my work exhaustion and my anticipation to that week of well-deserved vacations in Stockholm a few weeks later? i hear you say But !!! and you might be right. It could have been a simple story of me going to vacations and coming back to see that planes had been culturally cancelled and therefore losing my job in one day. I mean it's exactly what happened...fun times....
 
 But I was ranting about the strange case of the all knowing robot. No, not Alexa. A few days before going to Sweden I was distractedly listening to the overseas news about that new strange virus with the beers name when Wesley yeeted himself into the box containing some of my robotics stuff (my place might be haunted or it was a first manifestation of his self-awareness) 

The anecdote isn’t quite in this specific fact that he gave in to gravity but more into the fact that I was suddenly struck by the impulse of ordering new components for him. 

Another Arduino Nano, a movement sensor so the poor fella might stop hitting walls like a badly programmed GTA npc and a bunch of colourful jumpwires and whatnots. Alongside with other stuff.

2 weeks later the borders with Italy closed, everyone was sent home and I was jobless.
But I had time, a package full of fun robotics stuff and a Wesley to customize. I fried one micro processor trying Something. No I don't want to elaborate.

As for now, Wesley is still moving up the ladder of small basic robotic arm to Actual Robot That Does Stuff. I was bored so at some point i programmed him to Rick Roll people. Yes he now sings. I am so proud.

The next step is to have him drive using bluetooth remote control and actually voice out words that arent supposed to troll you (still debating this)


(to continue) 

image: a very impracticable way of using motion sensors i know but look at him! 

Participated in a robotics competition

Participate the Harvard Soft Robotics Tool Kit Competition


This competition is know as the prominent competition for the Soft Robotics. we have create a prototype in Chameleon Inspired Hybrid Quadrupedal Robot Locomotion. this robot is multi terrain robot and feet of the robot is specifically designed by using Soft Materials. we have enter the competition as a team of three under the guidance of  Nimali T Medagedara (OUSL) and PDS Hiroshan Gunawardane (OUSL, UBC) as main investigators.

https://sandbox.softroboticstoolkit.com/d8638a32
Research Assistant, The Open University of Sri Lanka
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