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Check this IEEE ComSoc tutorial on Advances in Coordinated Multi-Cell Multi-User MIMO Systems. Free of charge for a limited time.

Advances in Coordinated Multi-Cell Multi-User MIMO Systems


Each time I receive the bi-weekly email from IEEE Robotic News I cannot stop myself from writing a quick post sharing some of the coolest things. This time I found specially interesting – and socially weird – a Japanese humanoid robot that sits on your shoulder and is your friend. It looks to me like a very advanced version of the Tamagotchi, the “virtual” pet created by Bandai in the 90s, source of numerous traumas to little kids who would cry when the Tamagotchi would die. I myself got a good friend’s brother pretty upset when I killed – by accident –  his Tamagotchi. In my defense, nobody had warned me that the poor little thing had already been fed twice that day… those Tamagotchis were so high maintenance and difficult to take care of!

Anyways, back to the post’s topic, this Japanese robot sits on your shoulder and offers company to lonely kids. The coolest feature is that anyone can remotely log into it and control it. This would allow me to have my California friends sitting on my shoulder anytime!

All in all, a bit creepy, but still very interesting:

MH-2 (that’s “MH” for “miniature humanoid”) is a wearable telepresence robot that acts as an avatar for a remote operator. With two 7-DOF arms, a 3-DOF head and 2-DOF body, plus one additional DOF for realistic breathing (!), MH-2 is designed to be able to mimic human actions as accurately and realistically as possible. Think Telenoid, except it can actually do stuff besides wiggle around semi-creepily.

This may seem a little bit weird at first, but here’s the idea: you’ve got a friend or a relative that you want to share an experience with. Like, you’re traveling or something, and you want some company. Instead of having said friend come along with you (we’ll assume that they’re busy as opposed to just antisocial), you can bring along an MH-2 instead. Back home, your friend puts on a 360-degree immersive 3D display and stands in front of some sort of motion capture environment (like a Kinect, for example). Then, they get to see whatever the MH-2 sees. Meanwhile, the robot on your shoulder acts like an avatar, duplicating the speech and gestures of your friend right there for you to interact with directly.


Finally, this article summarizes the most recent advances and devices presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation a couple of weeks ago in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I am in the process of writing two papers – why did you think I had not been posting anything in weeks? – and, as many do, I am writing them with Latex. I know that Latex is often much better than Word, specially with complex documents. However, Latex often is annoying and, allow me the expression, stupid.

I spent one morning yesterday trying to make a simple file – no content, just the skeleton of a paper – compile. It took me 4 hours. The reason was some unidentified problem with the IEEE bibliography. The file would just not compile. Everything was correct, double checked, triple checked… but still, it would not work. Mr. Google gave me different solutions like this one or this other one. All the information contained in this simple Google query told me two things: 1) there are lots of people having the same problem out there and 2) none of the proposed solutions guarantees you to fix the problem. Hence me claiming Latex is a bit stupid.

I finally fixed the problem. How? Easy. I deleted all my files and the folder. Created a new folder, created new files and compiled the exact same .tex file – copy-pasted from a note-pad .txt document where I had temporarily “saved” the file -. Unbelievable and very stupid.

I will keep using Latex and I will remain positive on the fact that it is better than Word but, creators of Latex, any chance you fix all those bugs? After all, isn’t this an open source project?

I feel a bit bad when I write in my blog complaining about something (I still find Python annoying… but very useful and powerful), but at least it might help people Googl-ing for solutions to the same problem. Don’t try to fix problems with Latex; just delete everything – but save the “content” somewhere first! – and start over.

Happy Memorial Weekend everyone!

ps. Someday I will write about the following X-File: Pick a point p in your paper. Given a figure F, the probability of placing F on p is zero when using Latex.

ps2. My definition of chaos: Having a long paper (say typical 14-page ACM) with lots of figures with, at least 33% of them full width. Chaos is the process of placing them in the right spot.

ps3. My definition of Chaos Theory: An ancient secret theory, hidden somewhere in the dungeons of a secret temple in the middle of Nepal, that gives concise steps on how to place the figures in a paper like the one described on ps2. There is only one known corollary from this secret theory: When submitting a paper, save at least 12 hours before the deadline to fix “Latex problems” and place the figures.

Access it here.

The Communications Society of IEEE offers an interesting free tutorial on Spectrum Management.

I was reading this morning the IEEE Spectrum Magazine and I found a really interesting article. I really like being subscribed to this magazine because it offers me a very broad spectrum of news and topics with which to fullfill my geekyness once in a while.

We all know – and I have blogged about them often here in Soft Handover – that robotics is one of the hottest research areas in science. I am pretty sure that all of you has seen at least once Honda’s Asymo, either dancing, running or falling down the stairs. There is also a lot of research in the so-called tele-presence robots, which always remind me of the movie Surrogates.

One of the main challenges from robotics is that these humanoids require great computational capabilites to be able to process – in real time – images, faces, voice, sounds, obstacles. For example, some of this robots learn as they move and generate a virtual map of the area to be able to move around. Also, by very complex image processing algorithms or sensor controlling, they can determine the position of objec, which allows them to play soccer or be able to pour a beer.

All these processing requirements make it necessary to have a very powerful – and high energy consuming – processor on board. These implies the necessity to carry huge and heay batteries as well.

Experts in the matter, though, have started to claim that combining the benefits of cloud computing with robotics would be highly beneficial. By offloading heavy computational tasks, such as image processing, speech recongition, etc, one could be able to design better robots with longer battery life.

Also, the authors of the article compare this hypothetical situation with the movie The Matrix – a masterpiece like no other -, quoting the scene when Trinity learns how to pilot a helicopter by having a program downloaded on her brain. – I personally prefer the scene when Neo claim “Now I know Kung Fu”, after getting a program downloaded -.

Researhers argue that a global robotics data-base could be created in such a way that, whenever a robot faced a task that it does not know how to do, a set of instructions could be downloaded from this data-base. In other words, a robot could learn Kung-Fu from the cloud.

Find more details at the IEEE Spectrum Magazine article.

IEEE ComSoc is offering a very interesting on MIMO Systems for Wireless Communications. A good starting point if you are interested in the topic, want to refresh your knowledge on the topic or if you are, like me, a geek of wireless communications.

The tutorial can be found here.

A very interesting introductory tutorial on Femtocell networks by IEEE’s ComSoc. It makes special emphasis on interference management in Femtocell networks and also a good discussion on alternatives to Femtocells.

Check out the tutorial for free here.

IEEE announced this week that the new standard for Power Line Communications – IEEE 1901TM – that will allow transmission of up to 500 Mbps in LANs has been approved. According to IEEE’s SPectrum Magazine, it seems that this standard could be the basis of data networks in trains or airplanes.

The standard also could be the basis for distributing entertainment in trains or airplanes–or, at home, for installing a new music playlist in an automobile that’s being charged.

In Xcel’s smart grid city experiment in Boulder, Colo.–admittedly not a general success–BPL has been used in combination with radio links to transmit data from power meters, hot-water heaters, thermostats, and renewable-energy systems. To communicate with the energy provider, the data flows along the power lines for about a kilometer before it’s siphoned off the line and into an optical fiber or cellular-based backhaul system. That system, however, operates at rate of only about 5 Mbps–two orders of magnitude lower than what IEEE 1901 can provide in principle.

The 1901 standard seems destined to join the 1547 family of interconnection standards–the protocols and algorithms governing how to connect up distributed generation resources such as wind and solar as well as distributed storage devices like supercapacitors or battery banks–as one of the really critical smart grid enabling technologies.

About me:

Born in Barcelona, moved to Los Angeles at age 24, ended in NYC, where I enjoy life, tweet about music and work as a geek in security for wireless networks.
All the opinions expressed in this blog are my own and are not related to my employer.
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