David Geer

David's Articles

RIT TigerBot: A Platform for Important Medical Research
Column: GeerHead
September 2012
TigerBot is an autonomous humanoid robot platform capable of interacting with users through speech recognition.

ALAN, the Android Kit
Column: GeerHead
November 2015
This modular kit to make your own personalized android head uses off-the-shelf components, and can be shared with a wide field of builders, academics, and robot enthusiasts.

Six Widely Varied Robot Finalists in Innorobo Call for Startups
Column: GeerHead
September 2015
Companies vie for opportunities with investors and market exposure in this unique competition.

The TigerBot Evolution Continues
Column: GeerHead
July 2015
See where the design, testing, and construction of RIT’s TigerBot V have evolved to now.

RoboSimian: Disaster Recovery Robot or Vaudeville Contortionist?
Column: GeerHead
May 2015
With four arm-legs that walk, grasp, and bend every which way, this robot has some serious moves.

ClearPath’s Kingfisher, Husky, and Jackal Utility Robots
Column: GeerHead
January 2015
Meet three land and water robots that make light(er) work of research, recon, and exploration.

Play-i Robots Make Learning Fun for Toddlers Through Teens
Column: GeerHead
November 2014
Discover two reasonably priced robots that can teach kids to program from the time they’re five years old on up through their teens.

A Deep Dive With the Bluefin-21 AUV
Column: GeerHead
July 2014
This robot sub is highly modular and offers one of the best autonomous subsea platforms available. As such, it was implemented in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370.

Carnegie Mellon University CHIMP Robot
Column: GeerHead
May 2014
This DARPA Robotics Challenge contender is enabled for disaster recovery and rescue, and so much more.

The Quadforge Black Bat
Column: GeerHead
March 2014
The Pennsylvania-based Montgomery County Community College’s project helps give those Swedish weather folks eyes in the air.

One Man and an Idea
Column: GeerHead
January 2014
See what DJ Sures is doing at EZ-Robot Revolution for the future of robotics.

The Famous Robots of Derek Scherer
Column: GeerHead
November 2013
This is why robotics is so cool ... you can go from working on top secret Army bots to making animatronics for blockbuster movies.

Modular Cooperating Robot Components
Column: GeerHead
September 2013
Hip, new robots from Barobo, Inc., build on themselves to form educational and prototyping platforms, as well as enable new hacks for the creative roboticist.

Giant Robot Jellyfish
Column: GeerHead
July 2013
“Cyro” mimicks its real life counterpart’s ocomotive capabilities to make it useful in both research of thesea itself and ocean-based surveillance.

Hydroid Deep Sea Marine-Exploring REMUS AUVs
Column: GeerHead
May 2013
A Q&A with the makers of these cylindrical swimming automatons.

HDT Global’s Adroit MK2 Robot Arms
Column: GeerHead
March 2013
They may not be able to transform into cars, trucks, or aircraft, but there is a lot of stuff these manipulators can do.

Modular Mobots Make STEM Education Fun
Column: GeerHead
January 2013
UC Davis — a 100+ year old institution of higher education — is encouraging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational enhancements through the use of Mobots: a robot module platform created by Engineering Professor Harry H. Cheng and his master's student Graham Ryland. The plastic Mobots with their user-friendly programming and software are already in use in many area schools.

International Climbing Machines Robots Go Places Humans Can’t
Column: GeerHead
November 2012
International Climbing Machines (ICM) robots use vacuum power to stay adhered to tall surfaces as they maneuver about, taking care of inspections and a variety of tasks.

Collaborating With Hubo
Column: GeerHead
October 2012
The HUBO robot platform is a four foot, three inch tall, fully actuated humanoid robot with similar joint movement to that of humans. HUBO’s legs, arms, hands, fingers, and thumbs work about the same as human’s do, as well.

Students Get a Bot Powered Kick Out of Mathematics
Column: GeerHead
August 2012
Something fun, robotic, and mathematical is happening in Gulf Stream, FL, located on the state's southeastern coast. That's where Shawn Harahush — sometimes referred to as RoboTeacher — uses robots, engineering, and rockets to teach math to students at the Gulf Stream School.

Count on the ARTAS System For That New Head of Hair!
Column: GeerHead
July 2012
When hereditary or male pattern baldness strikes, who you gunna call? A surgeon using the ARTAS System for robotic hair restoration surgery, that's who!

Robot Band DARES to Sound Off in Contest
Column: GeerHead
June 2012
Robot Band DARES to Sound Off in Contest

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May 2012
Boca Bearing’s Robot Contestants — Part 1.

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April 2012
Roboticist Achieves Human-Aided Robot Hand-Eye Coordination.

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March 2012
Robotic Venus Flytrap Models Small Muscle Function; Catches Bugs To Use As Fuel

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February 2012
Eye Surgery Robot

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January 2012
Scout UAV by Aeryon

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December 2011
The KarmetiK Machine Orchestra

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November 2011
Lingodroids Form Their Own Language

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October 2011
Kilobot Swarm Robots

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September 2011
Matt Bunting’s Hexapod Robot

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August 2011
Covert Robots

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July 2011
Miniature Surgeons Travel Inside the Human Body

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June 2011
A Robot’s Touch

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May 2011
Robonaut 2: The First Robot on the International Space Station

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April 2011
DARwIn-OP Robot

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March 2011
Knifefish Research Robot Models Undulating Fin Wave Propulsion

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December 2007
Tortuga: From Isle to Pirates to Underwater Spy

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February 2011
Simple Spine of Lamprey Leads to Complex Robot Limbs and Neuroprostheses.

Getting A Grip: Fingerless Robot Hand Grabs, Carries, Pours, and Writes
Column: GeerHead
January 2011
What can you do with a latex balloon, some coffee grounds, and suction? You can create a universal jamming robotic gripper hand that can pick up anything.

Robots Clean Oil Spills, Climb and Crawl Anywhere
Column: GeerHead
December 2010
Seaswarm robots and snake robots have been created to service many types of terrains and environments. Between them, they greatly improve the quality of work that robots can perform, cleaning and maintaining a variety of environments.

University of Akron Competition Robot Roundup
Column: GeerHead
November 2010
Events such as RoboGames attract bright minds and hungry competitors from across the country.The University of Akron’s student roboticists were well prepared with well-designed, efficient, and intelligent mobile robots.

Baton-Wielding Bots Command and Control Orchestrated Wonders!
Column: GeerHead
October 2010
The College of New Jersey in Ewing received an award of $359,477 in March ‘09 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the Conducting Robots class for three years. The class brings together students from four disciplines — Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Interactive Multimedia, and Music — to design, build, and program robots capable of conducting orchestras.

Titan, Baddest Guitar Hero Playing Humanoid on the Planet
Column: GeerHead
September 2010
A high school robotics team is tasked to solve complex programming and design problems in robotics to achieve a worthwhile goal for their age group in popular culture. Their resolution: a humanoid robot that effectively competes in a significantly high percentile in the Guitar Hero video game, defeating most opponents.

National Instruments Robot Platforms
Column: GeerHead
August 2010
National Instruments LabVIEW graphical programming combined with powerful embedded hardware such as the NI Single-Board RIO enable engineers and scientists to develop sophisticated autonomous systems and is used extensively in robot creation for a variety of applications.

Aqua Robot
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July 2010
The Aqua Robot — a collaboration of participating universities including McGill University, York University, and Dalhousie University (all in Canada) — swims beneath the water and walks on land either autonomously or tethered to capture environmental images for preservation efforts.

Remote Presence Robots Put Physicians Within Reach
Column: GeerHead
June 2010
The Remote Presence (RP) robots from InTouch Health enable physicians to be literally anywhere — in the emergency room, the ICU, at home, the office, or even at the same or dif ferent hospital.

Hot Dog! Robot serves up wieners!
Column: GeerHead
May 2010
If you want people to pay attention to your technology, blend it with something that lots of people already love. In this case, that turned out to be the all-American hot dog!

Penbo for Girls, Prime-8 for Boys
Column: GeerHead
April 2010
Penbo is an intuitive emotive penguin robot — complete with baby — for girls. Prime-8 is a macho, aggressive gorilla robot for boys. Together, they represent hours of playtime for kids of all ages.

The Ultimate Buzz Lightyear Programmable Robot
Column: GeerHead
March 2010
With seven motors, a microprocessor, and multiple sensors, your favorite Space Ranger is no slouch among modern, commercially available robots.

Artificial Intelligence Brings Humanoid Robots to Life (Part Deux)
Column: GeerHead
February 2010
It is not so much the practicality of humanoid robots that drives interest in their development as it is the familiarity, sources say. “People are interested in things that are anthropomorphic. This makes interaction with [humanoid] robots easier,” says James J. Kuffner, PhD, associate professor of the Robotics Institute at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

Artificial Intelligence Brings Humanoid Robots to Life
Column: GeerHead
January 2010
Researchers have a variety of goals for artificial intelligence. Some scientists are examining human biology together with artificial intelligence in an effort to create robots that are as humanlike as possible. Still others examine AI from an engineering perspective, begging the question, what can robots be enabled to do?

Chiara - The Evolving Education-Research Robot
Column: GeerHead
December 2009
Chiara is a six-legged, arachnid/crab-like robot with a pincer arm that was born from the mind of Carnegie Mellon University Professor Dave Touretzky, along with PhD student Ethan Tira-Thompson and mechanical engineer/ product designer Gaku Sato.

SuperBots
Column: GeerHead
November 2009
SuperBot modules are made up of two, connected, 64 mm cubed “cubes” of aluminum alloy material. The modules have three degrees of freedom, share power with each other, and communicate via infrared LEDs.

Adept Quattro Handles Solar Cells With Care
Column: GeerHead
October 2009
The Adept Quattro s650H is an industrial robot with four parallel arms mounted on a rotational body. The arms are extensions of four motors, one motor per appendage. These arms are a good fit for processing crystalline silicon wafers for solar cells as they produce more solar cells per hour than human employees do.

The Draganflyer X6 UAV Copter
Column: GeerHead
September 2009
The Draganflyer X6 UAV is the lightest, most maneuverable unmanned miniature helicopter for its price, specially produced for the rigors of commercial applications inside and outside the military.

Co-operative ASV Robots Autonomously Investigate Harmful Algal Blooms
Column: GeerHead
August 2009
The Robotic Embedded Systems Lab at USC, lead by Professor Gaurav Sukhatme, regularly deploys two ASVs into the Redondo Beach Marina to monitor the sea and take samples.

Rose-Hulman Robot Shoot Out
Column: GeerHead
July 2009
The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology is a four year college which offers academic majors relevant to robotics including computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.

First Robot For Cleaning Solar Cells
Column: GeerHead
June 2009
When the solar energy producer cannot bring the panels to the car wash, it is time to bring the car wash to the panels!

Zeno - The Fist Complete Character Robot
Column: GeerHead
January 2008
Human interaction is its main attraction ... Zeno — due on the market as a toy in 2009 — is the closest thing to human that a robot has become. Its facial expressions are a story all to themselves, enabling the most complete robot personality and human-to-robot emotive interactivity to date. Want some proof? Read on! Zeno is a 16-inch, six-pound, interactive robot boy developed by Hanson Robotics with help from a number of vendors including RoboGarage and roboticist Tomotaka Takahashi ...

Robot Leaves Breadcrumbs
Column: GeerHead
February 2008
Moravian College student and roboticist Wesley Moser (class of ‘08) built a robot that could trace its steps and map them out on a computer screen, albeit with a lot of help from Moser’s own software, which he programmed using multiple languages. The robot was the result of Moser’s Student Opportunity for Academic Research (SOAR) project at Moravian. Ben Coleman, assistant professor of computer science at the academic institution, guided Moser. The robot uses a variety of sensors to ...

Pace Robotics Labs | Activevision Robot Technology Captures Sights in 3D
Column: GeerHead
March 2008
Pace University Labs produced the “activevision” technology (per a Pace University academic paper) in conjunction with research into a much larger robot cognition project. With activevision, the robot models itself and its environment in a 3D world using graphics rendering engine technology from Ogre3D, just like that used in gaming software. The robot sees the world around it, then assembles it in 3D. It saves and works within that reservoir of graphical data in order to develop changing ...

Rovio, Robotic House Sitter
Column: GeerHead
April 2008
Out of the west rides a three-wheeled guardian named Rovio. When the family is not at home, Rovio roams, the internal landscape (carpets, hardwood floors, tile), keeping a CMOS sensor eye open at all times, monitoring property, pets, and the home environment. Rovio uses a single VGA CMOS sensor to facilitate image capture and digitization so that images can be processed, stored, and transmitted over a network to the end-user via access points or the Internet. Rovio’s built-in computer “eye”...

The Northern Bites RoboCup Team
Column: GeerHead
May 2008
RoboCup was born to call attention to artificial intelligence and intelligent robot research, according to RoboCup.org. The subsequent contests and competitions challenge roboticists from various colleges and universities around the world to build the best AI robots and prove their achievements by winning all-robot soccer meets. Playing soccer (football outside the US) requires robots to demonstrate many of the emerging technological capabilities that AI must rely on...

Kuka Robot Plays Air Hockey
Column: GeerHead
June 2008
Students from the Department of Technological Studies at Ohio Northern University found a fun, creative way to solve an industrial robotics problem: How can a robot pick parts from a bin if the parts are in motion? Answer: The same way it can play air hockey. Enabling an industrial robot — in this case, the KUKA KR3 — to play air hockey solves some of the same problems faced when trying to make it pick up moving parts. The robot has to identify the moving puck and direct its arm to meet it ...

Lewis, the Robot Photographer
Column: GeerHead
July 2008
At first brush, a robot that snaps people’s pictures might not imbue the mind with a novel image. But, a photographer that sets its subjects at ease, circumvents their shy and self-conscious natures and related facial reactions, and captures the essence of the subject unawares, now that’s a wonder to see! When Lewis the Robot Photographer first enters a crowded room, it gets attention. But, once people have adjusted to its roaming around, looking here and there, they forget all about it...

MAARS Robots Taking Off for War
Column: GeerHead
August 2008
In 2005, I covered the SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Direct-action System) maneuverable military robots, which soldiers use as scouts and remote weapons systems in the war in Iraq. As reported, the SWORDS iteration of the robotic sentry is compatible with M16s, M240s, M249s, Barrett 50 calibers, 40 mm grenade launchers, or M202 anti-tank rocket systems. The SWORDS have many other features including advanced sensing. The robots use these technologies to locate enemy...

Intellibot Robotics IV800 Vacuum Makes Autonomous Clean Sweep
Column: GeerHead
September 2008
According to David Knuth, director of engineering at Intellibot Robotics, the IV800 is an autonomous mobile floor vacuum with an off-the-shelf, single board computer running navigation software and communications to several sensor and control subsystems...

Robot250 Features BigBots | Robotic Artwork that Interacts and Responds
Column: GeerHead
October 2008
Robot250 is a city-wide extravaganza of large scale interactive robot art projects, workshops, festivities, events, and film held July 11-27 in Pittsburgh, PA. Sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and a number of local community groups like the Heinz Endowments, the program features BigBots interactive robot displays with artistic themes...

A Self-Reassembling Robot
Column: GeerHead
November 2008
Ever seen a robot torn apart only to put itself back together? Jimmy Sastra, a student in the Modular Robotics Lab at the University of Pennsylvania has. He helped create it. As with most scientific endeavors, the Robotic Self-Reassembly After Explosion (SAE) project was a solution to a problem: how to get a robot to reassemble itself after ‘disassembly’ by ‘explosion’ (“Towards Robotic Self-Reassembly After Explosion,” the Modular Robotics Lab, University of Pennsilvania, Mark Yim, et.al.) ...

Artificial Muscles
Column: GeerHead
December 2008
Electroactive Polymer Artificial Muscles (EPAMs) are a new actuating/motion technology based on polymers that react to electricity. The new actuators are useful across applications where motors are not as efficient or are simply not feasible. The basic EPAM is a rubber sheet made of a custom-formulated elastomer, explains Ilya Polyakov, a senior mechanical engineer at Artificial Muscle, Inc., creators of the EPAM. The polymer is applied so that electrodes plate the rubber sheeting on both...

Open Robot Platform is Student’s Delight!
Column: GeerHead
January 2009
Open Robot is, not surprisingly, completely open source. Teachers and students may modify and distribute all the robot’s documentation, software, printed circuit board designs, and mechanical design files as long as credit to the inventor is maintained. Howell is eager to see an open source community grow up around the Open Robot, adding hardware, software, sensors, and “mechanical end-effectors" ...

Do Robots Scream for Ice Cream?
Column: GeerHead
February 2009
With two KUKA KR3 6 axis arms, an ice cream machine, a PLC, touch panel, toppings dispensers, and a camera and vision software, the team erected a fully robotic ice cream machine that vended scoops and toppings to about 500 customers in three days. (Now, that is how to make a popular robot!). The goal of the robotic construction was a unique demonstration of a computer vision controlled robot that constitutes a framework for developing strategies for bin-picking, which is a popular objective...

What is a DAGSI Wheg?  An adaptive wheel-leg robot!
Column: GeerHead
March 2009
Doctors Roger Quinn (engineering), Roy Ritzmann (biology), and colleagues at the Case Western Reserve University (Case) collaborate in the neuro-mechanical research of cockroaches. In 2001, their studies lead to the birth of the Whegs (wheeled legs) robots, a product of the Case Center for Biologically Inspired Robotics. Research (or, the Biorobotics Lab)...

The Ultimate WALL-E Robot Toy
Column: GeerHead
April 2009
On the big screen, WALL-E (the last, functional Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth class robot) is a curious, blue-collar working trash compactor robot tasked with cleaning up mountains of consumer garbage from the Earth’s surface. WALL-E is completely alone in this mess because human beings have moved off the world on a permanent vacation, due to pollution and the inability of the planet to support life...

University of Texas UAVs, AUVs, and UGVs working in swarms
May 2009
Scientists at the University of Texas, San Antonio use swarms of effective, inexpensive land, air, and sea robots that communicate with each other to complete important tasks as a group effort. Roboticists refer to these robots as Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), and Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). Tasks include surveillance, search and rescue, and mine sweeping...