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Robotics Horizon
April 2010, Page 06
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Size Matters
By Bryan Bergeron
October 2008, Page 06
When Parallax announced their new 12 VDC motors with mount, wheels, and position controller, I couldn’t resist picking up a kit ($280). Finally, a ‘standard’ drive system designed for medium-sized mobile robots from the company behind the BASIC Stamp and the Boe-Bot...

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Symbiotic Robots
By Bryan Bergeron
February 2009, Page 06
Symbiosis — an association of mutual benefit — is a popular strategy for survival in the biological world. Think humans and normal intestinal bacteria, the common behavior of smaller fisher cleaning larger fish, or even the seemingly fearless Egyptian plover bird that feeds on the leeches attached to the gums of a crocodile. Now, imagine how symbiosis could be useful in a large, 'host' robot — say a planetary rover. Wouldn't it be useful to have relatively small, internal robots that monitor..

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Unintended Consequences
By Bryan Bergeron
March 2009, Page 06
In the world of robotics, advances in one application area often have unintentional, beneficial consequences in other areas, regardless of whether the initial application is a commercial success. Case in point — the Japanese robotic strawberry picker, touted as one of the prominent engineering failures of 2008 (www.spectrum.ieee.org/jan09/7130). The autonomous robot is considered an economic failure by some because it's too expensive, too slow, and is restricted to a specially configured...

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Robots in Business School
By Bryan Bergeron
May 2009, Page
Robots have long been a staple in science and engineering curricula because they can serve as an experimental platform for technologies ranging from machine vision, programming, and wireless communications, to mechanical drive train design. Moreover, because developing robots typically involves expertise in multiple areas, they are the perfect focus for team building exercises. It might surprise you that this is especially true for non-engineering types with relatively little hands-on ...