Thursday, September 28, 2006

cultibotics group

There's been some recent activity in the Cultibotics Group, so I'm now pondering how to handle both a group and a blog.

I think what's going to happen is that the blog becomes a condensed version of what's posted in the group, with new material occasionally appearing here first, but not necessarily so.

I'll aim to keep the information density high here; that much I'm sure of.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

open source robotics toolkits

IBM developerWorks is a great resource.

This article discusses open source software for modeling and testing robotic designs in software.

(Found on AI Buzz.)

four football fields...every single blade of grass

Think I'm crazy in suggesting in suggesting that a machine could track every single plant over an area of several acres? This Digg item says this experimental camera can image "every single blade of grass" over an area of "four football fields" in one shot.

Granted that they're using chemical film in the camera itself, but that film is scanned as soon as it's processed, and all subsequent image manipulation is done digitally. The file resulting from a full-resolution scan of one such film is 24 GB, which does push the limits of current technology a bit.

While really not at all the same as what a cultibot would do in cataloging all of the plants within the area it tended, this does suggest that the level of complexity involved is within the reach of either current technology or what's just around the corner. Maybe the database for a five-acre plot would occupy a few terabytes, but even that isn't unmanageable.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

robotics in transportation

While my primary interest in robotics is as it relates to horticulture and agriculture, I've also long been interested in the potential utility of robotics in urban transportation, especially when combined with a different sort of infrastructure from what we now have.

So when I saw a pointer to a Spiegel article titled Bringing Robot Transportation to Europe on Slashdot, I had to see what it was about.

As it turns out, that article describes a type of system which the Innovative Transportation Technologies website has been tracking for a decade.