Tabletop Handybot Is Handy, And Powered By AI

Decently useful AI has been around for a little while now, and robotic arms have been around much longer. Yet somehow, we don’t have little robot helpers on our desks yet! Thankfully, [Yifei] is working towards that reality with Tabletop Handybot.

What [Yifei] has developed is a robotic arm that accepts voice commands. The robot relies on a Realsense D435 RGB-D camera, which provides color vision with depth information as well. Grounding DINO is used for object detection on the RGB images. Segment Anything and Open3D are used for further processing of the visual and depth data to help the robot understand what it’s looking at. Meanwhile, voice commands are interpreted via OpenAI Whisper, which can feed prompts to ChatGPT for further processing.

[Yifei] demonstrates his robot picking up markers on command, which is a pretty cool demo. With so many modern AI tools available, we’re getting closer to the ideal of robots that can understand and execute on general spoken instructions. This is a great example.¬†We may not be all the way there yet, but perhaps soon. Video after the break.

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Making Custom Gradient Markers At Home

When doing high-end industrial illustration work, smooth gradients add a lot of production value to the final product. However, markers designed to do this well can be difficult to lay your hands on. [Eric] decided to create his own set of custom gradient markers, using commonly available supplies.

Starting with some existing markers that have dried out, the fabric ink reservoir inside is removed. A new one is created using tampons wrapped in heat-shrink, to replicate the construction of the original. Alcohol-based ink is required for smooth gradients, and [Eric] suggests using a heat gun to harvest the ink from a ballpoint pen, if store-bought is not available. The ink is then mixed with denatured alcohol to dilute it and injected into the fabric reservoir using a syringe. Each marker gets a slightly different ink mix to hit a range of lightness values for making smooth gradients.

It’s a tidy way of creating your own gradient markers in whatever color you may find useful. As a plus, the materials to do so are cheap and easy to obtain. We could even imagine 3D-printed marker bodies being an option, though nibs might prove a touch more difficult. We’ve seen [Eric]’s work before too, like this well-illustrated guide to using cardboard in product design. Video after the break.

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