LabVIEW Robotics at NIWeek 2011
I was the original NI technical lead for the LabVIEW Robotics products, and very much enjoy the Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles Summit at NIWeek.
As usual, we had some great demonstrations, presentations, and discussions. Fresh off his victory in the Adult Size Humanoid League at RoboCup 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey, the CHARLI-L2 robot from Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory was a big hit with the NIWeek crowd. Here’s CHARLI with Dr. Dennis Hong. (And a plug for Dennis’ TED talks on robotics.)
Here’s Bryce Lee, one of Dennis’ graduate students. Bryce Lee is a former student of my friend, Dr. Dave Barrett, a professor at Olin College of Engineering.
And because you can never have too many Virginia Tech robots, here’s DARWIN-OP, which won the Kid Size Humanoid RoboCup 2011 League. He’s an especially charming robot.
We had some great sessions, too. Dr. Sangbae Kim from MIT spoke about his robotic cheetah and other biomimetic robots. (Read this Wired Magazine article about Sangbae’s work.)
Dr. Harry Asada, also from MIT, spoke about his undergraduate robotics course, using LabVIEW and CompactRIO to solve the problem of plugging a miniature oil wellhead.
A graduate of Dr. Hong’s lab at Virginia Tech, Dr. Karl Muecke is one of the members of the LabVIEW Robotics R&D team. Here he is showing our updated DaNI robot.
Robots showed up in the keynotes, too. Here’s a photo from the Day 2 keynote, Shelley Gretlein (with Matt Spexarth) showing off her dancing skills in front of a LabVIEW-controlled Microsoft Kinect sensor. This powerful sensor is becoming popular in robotics. In front of Matt in this photo are also Boston Engineering’s robotic tuna fish, and Virginia Tech’s DARWIN-OP robot.
If you missed the keynotes, the NIWeek keynote videos are online.
We’ve got a lot going on with robotics at NI. The new version of LabVIEW Robotics 2011 is worth checking out. The biggest new feature is the environment simulator, which lets you test your robot in a virtual world. Because of our integration with the sensor drivers, very little code has to change when moving from the simulated world to the real one.
Finally, we can’t talk about robotics at NI without mentioning our work in K-12 education, and our efforts to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. We are proud of our collaboration with LEGO on the WeDo and Mindstorms products. And we are also proud of our collaboration with FIRST robotics.
I want to close with a story of one engineer’s impact on the world. It features Nicole Richard, one of NI’s next generation of outstanding leaders, and my friend. Nicole manages our LabVIEW K-8 product development.