Welcome to NREF


Top NREF Stories

EDUCATION - Curricula & Lesson Programs

STEM education is the key to the future success of our students, educational institutions, industry and economy.  See NREF'S comprehensive index of curricula and lesson programs, where you can drill down and find a wide variety of both free and commercially available teaching resources.  More


Latest Robotics News


The IEEE’s Nicolette Emmino offered an interesting report on undersea robotics, May 24, in the Industries section of Electronics 360, titled Six Underwater Drones Making a Technology “Splash”. She discusses six robots in detail, outlined here.  The modest sized Trident, from OpenROV, can reach depths of over 300 feet, and conveys live video to the surface. Controlled via smartphone, it retails for $1,500. iBubble was designed to capture your personal dives on video via an optical dome. It can follow a diver with an onboard camera and capture stills and video in different modes. It follows the operator’s bracelet to depths up to 200 feet.  Ocean One is a humanoid from Stanford University with stereoscopic eyes, two human like arms and a tail with multiple thrusters (shown).  

The sophisticated machine employs haptic feedback so an operator on the surface can feel the heft of what is held, and its missions range from exploring wrecks and reef research to sensor placement. CRACUNS flies and dives. Developed by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, it can linger under the waves and then go airborne. SeaDrone is a solution for boat, dock, nets and pipeline inspection. It will run you from $2,300 to $3,900. 


Saab’s Sea Wasp, developed to counter submerged IEDs, and more, is operated by a 2-person team on the surface, and uses a fiber optic and power tether. Image credit: Frederic Osada and Teddy Sequin/DRASSM


The Robot Report, www.therobotreport.com (TRR), run by business and news commentator Frank Tobe, continues it’s progressive coverage of robotics markets and business developments with a report on the unfolding market consequences of Amazon’s March 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems for $775M. Kiva had set the standard in warehouse robotics technology, and Amazon quickly assimilated Kiva into its fold. One of the questions was where this left Kiva’s previous client base, very well served prior to the Amazon acquisition. By all accounts, Amazon has reached out to these clients and market growth has been spurred as new entrants emerge to help fill growing demand. Read More...


Pierre Bouchard, a longstanding NREF contributor and robotics hardware engineer in Quebec, Canada, is well underway building a life-size humanoid, named “J.A.A.R.V.I.S.”  Pierre reports an upgrade to his robot's grasping hand -- it is now powered by high torque linear actuators configured to  adapt its 5-fingered grip to the contours and qualities of the item grasped.  As you can see, the hand can easily hold an aerosol spray paint can. It is equally at ease grasping and carrying a flashlight, an egg, incandescent light bulb and other objects commonly handled by humans.




Agritechnique Engineering has designed a disaster  recovery vehicle that can be used in search and rescue operations following a variety of disaster scenarios such as nuclear power plant fires, storms and earthquakes. The Isreali-based company is leading the market with this tracked vehicle that carries specific tool sets for different site-specific applications. The automated arm can lift two tons in tools and payload! Agritechnique has been in the construction and earth moving business for decades,  and currently seeks investment funding and partnerships. For more information, contact Avner Operman, Agritechnique CEO and founder, at:avner.opperman@agritechnique-eng.comMore.


It was announced in the Japan News that the Japanese Defense Ministry has developed a remote control unmanned vehicle that can be used in search and rescue at disaster sites.  It can remove rubble and was designed based on lessons learned at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant meltdown. It can be controlled via satellite from a command station as far as 20 kilometers away, and will be deployed by the Ground Self-Defense Force as early as 2019. AP photo is of Unit 4 Reactor at Fukushima after a tsunami disabled the reactor in March, 2011.  –Story via David Place, NPS Research Associate. More.