Bryan Bergeron

Bryan Articles

3D Printing: Too Good?
December 2016
3D printed prototypes are outliving their usefulness and overflowing our landfills.

Facebook and Microsoft Messenger Bots: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again
November 2016
2016 is the year of the chat bot — a forecast supported in part by the launch of messenger bots for Facebook and Microsoft platforms, among others.

Pokémon GO — The Killer App for Augmented Reality?
Column: Mind / Iron
October 2016
The Pokémon GO mobile game may be a bright light that burns quickly, but it has brought augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream consciousness.

The Serious Side of Robotics
Column: Mind / Iron
September 2016
Two unrelated events that occurred this summer involving robotic/autonomous systems point out the serious side of robotics.

Getting from A to B
Column: Mind / Iron
August 2016
Getting from A to B in drones/robotics

Not Your Grandmother’s Singer
Column: Mind / Iron
August 2015
The current poster child of the DIY community is the 3D printer. However, from both a technological and market share perspective, the modern inexpensive sewing machine is the creative DIY tool of the masses.

Workshop Air Quality Sensors
Column: Mind / Iron
September 2015
Volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) expelled into the air can be dangerous to your health.

Robotic Engineers vs. Experimentalists
Column: Mind / Iron
November 2015
The innovators who are responsible for propelling robotics to the next level fall into one of two camps: robotic engineers or robotic experimentalists.

BioGears — It’s Alive!
Column: Mind / Iron
December 2015
Getting to this stage of evolution involves a lot more than internal sensors of joint position.

The Cost of Custom
Column: Mind / Iron
January 2016
One of the benefits of open source microcontrollers and other hardware is that with a modest investment in a software package such as EagleCAD, it’s a simple matter to create custom boards to fit the size and weight requirements of your robot.

PicoPower
Column: Mind / Iron
February 2016
If you own a smartphone or an Apple Watch, you’ve likely experienced the pain of constantly connecting your gear to a charger and configuring (i.e., crippling) your device to extend battery life.

Automatic Braking Systems: A Gentle Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles
Column: Mind / Iron
July 2016
Automatic braking systems are just the beginning in autonomous driving

Flying Cameras
Column: Mind / Iron
June 2016
The Lily Camera is the equivalent of a selfie-stick crossed with a drone and high resolution video camera.

Noodle Chef Robots: Precursor to Pathogen-Free Fast Food?
Column: Mind / Iron
May 2016
Could robot chefs be a precursor to pathogen-free fast food? Robots — unlike humans — can be routinely sterilized, bathed in bacteriostatic UV radiation, autoclaved, or doused with bactericidal chemicals.

Specifications: Believe Them or Not
Column: Mind / Iron
April 2016
I’m working on a sound localization project based on three microphones — each connected to an Arduino — and a fourth Arduino connected to a Mac running Processing.

FAA Licensing: A Sign that Drones Have Arrived
Column: Mind / Iron
March 2016
If you’re one of the million or so recipients of a drone this past holiday season, you’ve no doubt complied with the mandatory FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) registration. (Haven’t you?)

The ArduPilot 2.5 Autopilot Board and Mission Planner Software
November 2012
If you’re an Arduino fan and want to build semi-autonomous planes, copters, or land vehicles, then this review is a must-read. This powerful plug-and-play graphical software is so much fun, it’s addictive!

Parallax Elev-8 Quadcopter — Part 2: The Electronics Setup
October 2012
Take a look at the testing and setup of this flying robotics platform, including integration with an R/C transmitter and receiver, the selection and care of Li-Po batteries, plus the never-ending task of maintenance.

Parallax Elev-8 Quadcopter — Part 1: Mechanical Build
September 2012
Ready to take your robotics experiments to new heights? Then follow along with this helpful kit build that will have you up and flying in no time.

Meet the Parrot AR Drone 2.0
August 2012
Join in on a teardown of this popular quadcopter.

A Peek Inside the NEATO XV-11
February 2012
Join in on a teardown of NEATO Robotics’ home vacuum cleaner.

Mind / Iron | January 2008 | Infrastructure
January 2008
A fundamental aspect of robotics is that the application domain can range from ocean beds and table tops to the nooks and crannies of extraterrestrial dunes. It’s no coincidence that the techniques and technologies described in the article featured in this issue of SERVO can be applied to virtually any application areas. However, if you have a particular interest in space exploration, then you’ll find Fulvio Mastrogiovanni’s article, “Space Robotics,” of particular note...

The iRobot Looj
May 2008
The treaded, weatherproof, remotely controlled Looj from iRobot is intended to facilitate the dull, dirty, and often dangerous job of clearing gutters of leaves, pine cones, twigs, and other light debris. At $99, I couldn’t resist exploring the potential of the Looj as a robotics platform. Following is a tear down of the Looj and wireless controller...

Size Matters
October 2008
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...

Symbiotic Robots
February 2009
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..

Unintended Consequences
March 2009
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 (http://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...

Robots in Business School
May 2009
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 ...