Sunday, April 24, 2011

Robot cooks make pancakes !!!

Cooking is an art sometimes forgotten in the robotics world, but James, the PR2 robot, and Rosie, another robot from CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) in Munich have joined forces to show that robots can be of great use in the kitchen as well. They made some pretty successful-looking pancakes and used various tools around the Assisted Kitchen to show off their skills.

The main chef in the experiment was Rosie, who used her broad arms and high levels of dexterity to flip and cook the pancakes. As you can see in the video, she is a bit on the slow side, but she’s also extra careful and gets it done right. She is capable of adjusting the way she pours the batter based on the weight of the bowl, demonstrating some impressive planning and a good use of her sensors, which allow the bot to recognize how much batter she has already poured.

James did his part too by looking up the pancake recipe on the internet, which allowed the robots to learn something new, much in the same way humans can. He generated his own program which used image recognition to find the right ingredients, like differentiating between bottles and finding them in the fridge. James also assisted Rosie by opening and closing drawers, moving things around, and helping her with the dish. He showed off his impressive gripping skills, and both robots were able to correct their errors very quickly as they went along. Let us also not forget that in the past the PR2 has been shown capable of folding towels.

The below video shows the entire process of making the pancakes in much detail including looking up the recipe online, using common sense knowledge to locate the ingredients in the kitchen, use visual object recognition to find the objects and generate and execute a complete plan for the task. It is very impressive!

NXP Semiconductors Announces the GreenChip SSL4101T Controller IC

GreenChip SSL4101T Controller IC(Photo from NXP Website)

NXP Semiconductors announced the GreenChip SSL4101T controller IC, an addition to its broad GreenChip™ SSL family of products, which offers new levels of professional-grade performance for Solid State LED lighting power supplies. The GreenChip SSL4101T enables LED lighting for medium to high power commercial and professional applications with industry-leading performance in Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of less than 20 percent, a high Power Factor (PF) of .99, and high efficiency of 94 percent.

“GreenChip technology lies at the heart of NXP’s cost-effective, highly-efficient power and lighting ICs. The newly announced GreenChip SSL4101T offers a professional-grade solution with levels of efficiency of up to 94 percent, which is enabling LED adoption into a wider-range of professional lighting applications such as high bay and low bay lighting found in warehouses; and street lighting, where brightness and dependable illumination are essential.”

The GreenChip SSL4101T is based on NXP’s unique high voltage process and enables direct start-up from the rectified universal mains voltage in an effective, eco-friendly way. The multi-chip module contains both a flyback controller and a controller for Power Factor Correction, and provides high efficiency at all power levels. The new GreenChip SSL4101T is ideally suited for LED lighting applications that require a very efficient, low THD, high PF, true universal input voltage and cost-effective power supply solution ranging between 10 W and 300 W.

The GreenChip SSL4101T will be available in April 2011. Pricing starts at US $3.60 per piece.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Embedded Systems Design - March And April 2011

Embedded Systems Design - March 2011
True PDF | 40 pages | English | 10.3 MB

 Embedded Systems Design - April 2011
True PDF | 44 pages | English | 23 MB

Embedded Systems Design is a monthly magazine for engineers, programmers, and project leaders who build microcontroller and embedded microprocessor-based systems. The magazine's in-depth, technical articles are written by experts in the field and focus on practical ways for engineers to improve their hardware/software integration skills, software design, and optimization.