Robotics, virtual worlds and animation in France

InnoRobo, Innovation Robot Summit, Lyon, France

Visit INNOROBO web site !

Innorobo was the first meeting in France (Lyon, Rhônes-Alpes) dedicated to robotics. This event happened from 23rd march to 25th march 2o11. For 2 years now, I’ve been interested by this technology. As far as I’m concerned, robots are integrating our life slowly but surely. Even if it’s just robots for specific tasks like house cleaning (by example with the iRobot precusor Roomba vacuum cleaning robot), the trend is here. Countries are investigating a lot of money in this industry, especially in United States, Japan, South Korea and Europe. So, Innorobo is revealing of the new place of robotics in our society, and especially the place that French industry aspires to offer to it.

Aldebaran Robotics and Gostai as precursors

For people you read regularly this blog, you know already both of the most innovative french firms in robotics : Gostai and Aldebaran Robotics. Otherwise I published a post partially about Gostai and the last services that the firm deployed. Moreover Gostai has released its last version of Urbi [2.6]. Download it now ! And I take advantage of this release to update the Urbi Architecture diagram (Source: Gostai by itself of course !).

Download last GOSTAI Urbi Open Source SDK !

One important event from Aldebaran Robotics is the Nao developer Program which allows developer to own his own Nao robot and to take advantage of the Aldebaran technology.

And now I belong to this community of Nao developers. Here is the robot coming out of its package !

Visit Aldebaran Robotics Nao Developer Program !

The global package includes of the the Nao Robot but also the Choregraphe and Telegraphe softwares, the NaoQi SDK and the complementary materials to take fully advantage of the robot ( battery kit, USB keys).
Moreover Aldebaran is developing its relationship with the Nao developers thanks to several tools. One of this tool is the web site dedicated to the management of the community.

Aldebaran web site dedicated to its communication with the Nao developers community !

At least, after creating Nao, Aldebaran Robotics has invested a new project. Romeo is a project led by the French Cap Digital business cluster and funded by the Ile-de-France region, the General Directorate for Competitiveness, Industry and Services (DGCIS ex DGE) and the City of Paris. The project’s objective is to develop a humanoid robot that can act as a comprehensive assistant for persons suffering from loss of autonomy.

Discover Romeo project !

Source: Aldebaran Robotics, extracted from France Developing Advanced Humanoid Robot Romeo by Spectrum.

Cap Digital

Any interest concenring french innovation ? Yes, so have a look on the Cap Digital’s activities. Many projects are sustained by this business cluster. After discovering some of the projects and after looking for jobs broadcasted by the DigiTalents web site, I decided to complete my blog with a group of links that I called ” Fench Connection “. This is a list of french company I found very interesting by their innovative products or services without activity sector criteria (but always in the new technologies area).

Visit Cap Digital web site !

Emerging firms and project

Besides Gostai and Aldebaran Robotics, various french company are emerging, a proof of growing opportunities in the robotics market.
Here below are few companies I selected :

Visit POB-technology web site ! POB Technology

Based in Lyon, POB Technology has developed a educational robot that you can control thanks your mobile phone or your tablet. Moreover POB Technology has developed also 2 softwares to program the robot. I like the Risbee IDE, that’s why I added a screenshot of a small program in order to provoke in you the desire to discover this application !

¬ Risbee is a graphical programming software dedicated to beginners.
¬ POB-Tools is allowing the use of expert programming languages (Basic or C) for advanced users to program your robot.

POB-Technology Risbee IDE !
Visit INRIA Flowers web site about Acroban robot ! INRIA Flowers :: Acroban

The INRIA Flowers interested me because of the its tremendous auto-learning capacities.
I let you decrypt the very technical description of artificial intelligence characteristics of this robot :

INRIA Flowers “studiy constraints that guide exploration in large sensorimotor spaces:
1) Mechanisms of intrinsically motivated exploration and learning, including artificial curiosity;
2) Mechanisms for social learning, e.g. learning by imitation or demonstration, which implies both issues related to machine learning and human-robot interaction;
3) Constraints related to embodiment, in particular through the concept of morphological computation, as well as the structure of motor primitives/muscle synegies that can leverage the properties of morphology and physics;
4) Maturational constraints which, coupled with the other constraints, can allow the progressive release of novel sensorimotor degrees of freedom to be explored;
INRIA Flowers also study how these constraints on exploration can allow a robot to bootstrap multimodal perceptual abstractions associated to motor skills, in particular in the context of modelling language acquisition as a developmental process grounded in action.

Visit Robopec web site ! ROBOPEC :: Reeti

Personaly, I don’t find this robot very attractive… compared to Nao for example. By the way, Reeti has many multimedia features which makes it very interesting :
– Home TheaterPC : Blu Ray reader, DVD burner and full connectic (Full HD, audio 5.1, all everyday formats).
– Synthesis speech.
– Web connection, he receives emails, reads for us the Rss feeds and post on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.
– Embedded PC: when connected to a screen, give you an access to all the computer functionnalities, (office, multimedia, communication)…
– iPad and iPhone application: you can create news emotions…

Discover the ROBOPEC's Reeti robot !

French online stores

Visit Génération Robots web site ! Génération Robots

If you can read french, I hghly recommend you the Génération Robots web site in which you will find excellent and detailed articles about robotics, LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT programming and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio.

¬ Réalisations de robots avec Mindstorms NXT V2
¬ Communication Robot Lego NXT avec un PC
¬ NXT-G
¬ La NXTCAM, un système de vision pour vos robots programmables

Visit ROBOPOLIS store web site ! Robopolis

Robopolis is an online store which is selling robots. I look forward the project that Robopolis is working on beacause recently I read a job post for a developper with OpenSceneGraph skills. Certainly for a virtual world or a simulation workspace for robot. AS you may know, OpenSceneGraph is an open source high performance 3D graphics toolkit.

First magazine

Visit Planète Robots web site !

Planète Robots is the first french specialized in robotics magazine I found and read. I must admit that I no longer buy this magazine. Too much don’t interest me and I have too much documentation to read that I preferred reduce some expenses…
Nevertheless the editor has already published 10 magazines :

Read Planete Robots #1 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #2 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #3 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #4 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #5 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #6 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #7 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #8 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #9 magazine ! Read Planete Robots #10 magazine !

Laval Virtual 2o11

Visit Laval Virtual 2o11 Edition web site !

Robotics will revolutionarize the way we live (perhaps more our children’s life) but the revolution happens now. That’s why I’m really motivated to enrich strongly the ‘About robotics‘ section of this blog.
With the Laval Virtual festival I was sure to find complementary and surprising creation. But I must admit that I didn’t find the same excitation than during the previous edition. Perhaps it comes from me, I’m no more clear-headed enough or I didn’t realized the importance of what was presented (I admit too that I didn’t have time to explore deeply all the projects) but I was not impressed… Perhaps next year. I hope !
By the way I discover Disney Research, the network of research laboratories at The Walt Disney Company. And we don’t speak just about cartoons but also about computer graphics, video processing, computer vision, robotics, radio & antennas, wireless communications, human-computer interaction and behavioral sciences ! By the way it’s not astonishing if Disney Research won a prize with its interactive zoetrope. They have developed a project to demonstrate two technologies bringing real-time virtual characters to life. They control the timing of LED strobe lights to selectively illuminate character faces on a spinning platform dependent on human speech, thus animating a character face. A second system animates a holographic virtual face using speech to determine facial position.

Visit Disney Research web site !

One very interesting project which won a prize too is the iPhone and iPad applications developed by Digiteyezer which allows anybody to create 3d lifelike models by simply taking pictures with the Iphone and send them on Digiteyezer’s 3d reconstruction server on line. Few minutes later user receives its own model on its Smartphone ready for printing or publishing over the web.

Visit Digiteyezer web site !

Just before publishing this post I discover a new exhibition in France dedicated to 3D and virtual worlds. This event happened from the 24th may to the 26th may 2o11 at La Plaine Saint-Denis, in the parisian suburb. The event brand is Dimension3. This event seems to be very promising. Just have a look !

Visit Dimension3 event's web site !

6th to 11th june 2o11, Annecy Animation Festival & MIFA

Visit Annecy 2o11 web site !

Annecy festival has updated its 2o11 edition web site. Even if the visual aspect is more modern, I find the navigation quick difficult. And I’m always as disappointed as before… because we don’t have access to preview to the animation movies… It would be cool to evaluate the artistic work done these technicians and artists during a few seconds.

Visit the official web site of 'Le Chat du Rabbin' by Joan Sfar !

By the way, Joan Sfar won the award of the last edition with the ‘Chat du rabbin’. Let’s watch the preview on the official web site.
For people who doesn’t know Joan Sfar, I highly recommend to read his tremendous and wunderful bibliography. I never see someone who is producting a so huge artistic work with quality, especially in the fiels of comics.
I take advantage of this event to inform you that I considerably updated my Bande Dessinée sub-section of the ‘My Influences‘ section on this blog. Bande Dessinée is a real passion. I need to keep on adding so much book but you will have the opportunity to see what Bande Dessinée may procure as source of inspiration for illustrator, artists ans amateurs like me.
Dont forget to discover the others awards… I watch the fabulous short movie named Pixels‘ by Patrick JEAN on DailyMotion.

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