Monthly Archives: September 2010

Flood Warning Issued Along Missouri River

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is issuing a flood warning for Missouri residents, urging them to take steps now before the spring thaw.

KMBC’s Jim Flink went to Parkville, where residents are watching Missouri River levels.

“Last year, (flooding) cost us a lot of time and money,” said John Kuhns, whose HMS Beagle store is just upstream from the river. “We had lots of telescopes and chemicals and glassware and robot kits, and we had to load it all up into a truck.”

Residents along the Missouri River are most concerned about a repeat of the severe flooding from 1993, which was 15 years ago this spring.

Parkville Mayor Kathy Dusenbery said she knows the ground is already saturated from recent storms. The town of Riverside has a levee to protect it, but Parkville does not.

“I’ll be real honest — that is a concern. Where’s that water to go?” Dusenbery said.

Kuhns said his doorstep is supposed to withstand a 500-year flood, but he knows nature can be unpredictable.

“New Orleans was prepared for hurricanes, but they weren’t prepared for Katrina,” Kuhns said.

FEMA suggests that anyone with a home or business close to a river consider buying flood insurance.

One-fourth of all flood victims nationwide live in an area that is not considered to be flood-prone.

Duration : 0:2:8

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Robot Archer iCub

Humanoid robot iCub learns the skill of archery.

After being instructed how to hold the bow and release the arrow, the robot learns by itself to aim and shoot arrows at the target. It learns to hit the center of the target in only 8 trials.

The learning algorithm, called ARCHER (Augmented Reward Chained Regression) algorithm, was developed and optimized specifically for problems like the archery training, which have a smooth solution space and prior knowledge about the goal to be achieved. In the case of archery, we know that hitting the center corresponds to the maximum reward we can get. Using this prior information about the task, we can view the position of the arrow’s tip as an augmented reward. ARCHER uses a chained local regression process that iteratively estimates new policy parameters which have a greater probability of leading to the achievement of the goal of the task, based on the experience so far. An advantage of ARCHER over other learning algorithms is that it makes use of richer feedback information about the result of a rollout.

For the archery training, the ARCHER algorithm is used to modulate and coordinate the motion of the two hands, while an inverse kinematics controller is used for the motion of the arms. After every rollout, the image processing part recognizes automatically where the arrow hits the target which is then sent as feedback to the ARCHER algorithm. The image recognition is based on Gaussian Mixture Models for color-based detection of the target and the arrow’s tip.

The experiments are performed on a 53-DOF humanoid robot iCub. The distance between the robot and the target is 3.5m, and the height of the robot is 104cm.
This research will be presented at the Humanoids 2010 conference in December 2010 in USA.

Video credits:
Dr. Petar Kormushev

Dr. Sylvain Calinon

Dr. Ryo Saegusa

Advanced Robotics, IIT
Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, IIT
Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

Photos of Robot Archer iCub:

Other videos:
Robot learns to flip pancakes

Link to publication:
P. Kormushev, S. Calinon, R. Saegusa, G. Metta,
Learning the skill of archery by a humanoid robot iCub,


Duration : 0:2:8

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where could i find a complete robot build kit, to make a robot arm or movable robot?

I want something for 500 – 600.00 that i can build myself and either program myself or have it come pre programed , somthing like eaither of these but a complete set, these you have to buy the wireless servers and other stuff to get them going or they come bare bones, im looking for somthing thats complete .

I want something like these but complete.

my highschool robotics team used prats from a lego company called tetrix not shure on the prices though.