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NI Week 2012 - Robot Summit

NI Week 2012 - Robot Summit

It’s already day 2 of NI Week 2012, and it feels like things are really moving fast. In the same way, I broke out my goals for NI Week, I’ve been trying to focus each of the 4 days more or less on a specific theme. In light of that, I took day 2 to treat myself to a predominately robot themed day, favoring a number of the sessions on this year's “Robotics and Autonomous Vehicles Summit.” It seems like maybe that little bird at NI reads my blog because the first thing they did today was to bribe me with a summit-themed button that verbatim quotes my “I love robots” comment from Sunday. The curse of being a trendsetter.

The Robotics Keynote speaker, Peter Corke, started off the summit with an informative walk through his career in robotics, from industrial controls of yesteryear to the agile academic research platforms of today. In the process, he pointed out what a good fit LabVIEW and NI instrumentation can be for the acquisition side of robotic development.

For a few analog IO channels, most NI hardware is probably overkill compared to what you can get off of Sparkfun, but NI definitely becomes a major player for specialized uses like FPGA, high-performance vision, and RF applications (shameless plug for the fancy new RF Transceiver that I won’t be able to mention any other way than a complete side bar.) This becomes even truer when you consider the open-instrumentation also announced this morning.

In addition to tying in National Instruments to the field of robotics, Peter shared some of his domain knowledge in the field as far as tools and methodologies go. ROS, Raspberry Pi, and coursera / edX were some quick recommendations that stood out to me as useful, central pieces to help you avoid duplicating standard tools that are already out here. Throw in a couple of additional robot projects, an online Artifical Intelligence nerd-game recommendation, and even a visit from my friend Nao, and it made for quite an enjoyable day of robots. The WPF and .Net focus day tomorrow has a strong performance to live up to…

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