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Robotics Space Hardware

German Aerospace Robot Plays Catch With Two Balls 60

HizookRobotics writes "German Aerospace Center (DLR) designed "Rollin' Justin" to fix satellites in space. But robotics work isn't all work and no play ... In the past, DLR engineers had Justin 'dancing like in Pulp Fiction.' More recently, in work to be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in two weeks, DLR engineers demonstrated whole-body real-time control, allowing Justin to catch two balls at once, or prepare you a cup of coffee."
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German Aerospace Robot Plays Catch With Two Balls

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  • Real robots run QNX (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday April 30, 2011 @01:26PM (#35985300) Homepage

    That robot runs QNX. So does BigDog. When the process absolutely, positively has to get control when it's supposed to, QNX is the way to go. It offers a POSIX API, but underneath, it's a tiny message-passing microkernel.

    If only the company behind QNX weren't so screwed up. QNX used to be a standalone company. Then one of the founders died, and the company was sold to Harmon, which is mostly an audio company. They then focused on car dashboard systems. Harmon had no clue what to do with a real-time OS company, and sold off QNX to Research in Motion, the Blackberry company.

    QNX used to be closed source. Then they issued a free version around 2001 and opened up some of the code. Then they closed the source around 2004. Then they made the whole thing open source (free for noncommercial use) around 2008. Then in 2010, they closed the source again and cancelled the free program. So nobody ports free software to QNX any more, and the developer community is fed up. There's still a non-commercial license, so you can still play with QNX, but few people do.

    It used to be possible to run QNX on the desktop, which is useful if you're developing for QNX. But nobody has ported a browser since 2002 or so.

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