If you have even a passing interest in the wonderful world of robots, you may be interested to learn that you can download a host of excellent journal articles on the latest developments in this field: everything from football-playing robots to realistic androids that bring the film “Surrogates” one step closer to real life. Written by some of the leading names in the field of robotics, these books and magazines are available online for free for anyone to download and read.
On reading platform InTechOpen (intechopen.com), operated by Open Access publisher InTech (intechweb.org), anyone with an internet connection can download a growing number of publications in a variety of fields in science and technology. At the moment there are over 200 books and 8,000 articles, and many more are on the way. Although some subjects might be of limited interest to the layman, in the case of robots many people will be fascinated to find out exactly what androids and robots are capable of nowadays.
Three authors of InTech robotics publications recently received prestigious awards from the Robotics and Automation Society of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the world's largest technical professional organization. Toshio Fukuda, a professor at Nagoya University in Japan, won the 2010 Robotics and Automation Technical Field Award; Dr Timothy Barfoot was joint winner of the 2010 Kuka Service Robotics Best Conference Paper Award for work on visual paths for robots, and Hauke Strasdat was part of the team winning the International Conference on Robotics and Automation Best Vision Paper for its work on Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM).
Professor Fukuda was leader of the team that developed "Robo-monkey", a robot able to swing between the branches of a tree. Equipping a robot with this skill helped solve problems of locomotion that had been puzzling experts. Robo-monkey starred in the BBC's renowned science program "Tomorrow's World", while Professor Fukuda is author of six InTech articles on subjects including exoskeletons for physically weak people and robots for detecting landmines.
Dr Barfoot is Canada Research Chair in Autonomous Space Robotics at the University of Toronto. Dr Barfoot's main field of interest is robotics for planetary exploration, and his InTech article, written in conjunction with Jekanthan Thangavelautham and Gabriele M. T. D'Eleuterio, was on evolutionary robotics.
Hauke Strasdat, a PhD student at Imperial College London, is a specialist in robotics, computer vision and machine learning. He is still a young scientist but already a prolific writer. Mr Strasdat's article for InTech was an entertaining exploration of soccer-playing humanoid robots, which of course have the potential to one day carry out tasks of great importance to humankind.
By publishing Open Access articles and helping people read about their findings at no cost, scientists such as these hope to collaborate more effectively with their colleagues around the world and and reach groundbreaking new discoveries more rapidly. The Open Access movement calls for the democratization of knowledge, and is gaining support from a growing number of research institutions such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
InTech started out in 2004 as the publisher of the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems (IJAS), since the company's founders are themselves research scientists in robotics. The Journal has become one of the leading English-language publications in its field.