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Robotic salamander built at EPFL

Video Friday: Volleyball Robots, Bioinspired Design, and Deep Robotic Learning

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Austech – May 9-12, 2017 – Melbourne, Australia
Innorobo – May 16-18, 2017 – Paris, France
NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 22-26, 2017 – NASA KSC, Fla., USA
IEEE ICRA – May 29-3, 2017 – Singapore
University Rover Challenge – June 1-13, 2017 – Hanksville, Utah, USA
IEEE World Haptics – June 6-9, 2017 – Munich, Germany
NASA SRC Virtual Competition – June 12-16, 2017 – Online

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


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Ohmni telepresence robot

Ohmni: An Easy-to-Use Telepresence Robot That's (Sort of) Affordable

Yesterday, OhmniLabs (a robotics startup based in Santa Clara, Calif.) launched a new consumer telepresence robot on Indiegogo called Ohmni. With a lightweight design, integrated screen, and easy to use software, Ohmni is designed to be the most accessible (and affordable) mobile telepresence robot yet.

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Soft Robotic Swimmer Is Fast, Resilient and Electric Shock-Free

Electric and Magnetic Fields Drive Soft, Flexible Robots

Roboticists are getting quite good at making robots with soft, flexible bodies. There are lots of good reasons to do this: Robots with inherent compliance can be safer to work around, more resilient to damage, and can leverage lots of unique methods of locomotion. The issue with soft robots is that you often have to make compromises when it comes to powering them or getting them to move, because those things usually involve the addition of components that aren’t soft at all, like batteries and actuators.

Over the last week or so, two new methods of soft robot locomotion have shown up in the news: One of them using external magnetic fields, and the other using an electric field to power flapping fins.

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National Robotics Week

It's National Robotics Week!

Strictly speaking, every single week is Robotics Week around here, but this week (or, technically, April 8-16), also happens to be U.S. National Robotics Week. This is an Official Thing—the U.S. House of Representatives declared the second week in April to be National Robotics Week starting back in 2010 and continuing until the End of Time.

There are hundreds of events going on all over the country for the eighth edition of this event, ensuring that you’ll be able to find something awesome and roboty to do near you.

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Can SoftBank's humanoid robot Pepper learn to swim?

Video Friday: Pepper's Fish Mode, Deep Learning in the Warehouse, and Stealing From a Delivery Robot

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Austech – May 9-12, 2017 – Melbourne, Australia
Innorobo – May 16-18, 2017 – Paris, France
NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 22-26, 2017 – NASA KSC, Fla., USA
IEEE ICRA – May 29-3, 2017 – Singapore
University Rover Challenge – June 1-13, 2017 – Hanksville, Utah, USA

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


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ROBO-ONE Humanoid Fighting Tournament

Robo-One Hosts First-Ever Autonomous Biped Fighting Tournament

For years, Japan has hosted the Robo-One competitive fighting tournament for biped robots. It’s always a huge amount of fun to watch (even on video), with creative hardware designs, skilled pilots, and the sorts of moves that are physically impossible for humans to pull off. Brand new this year is an autonomous fighting competition, with robots squaring off against each other while their human masters can do nothing but sit back helplessly and watch. It goes pretty much as you might expect, with a lot of “not much” interspersed with some truly epic moments.

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Freight

Fetch Robotics Introduces Burly New Freight Robots

It’s a good sign for the robotics industry that more and more robotics companies are starting to make major announcements at specialized events and trade shows, indicating that their robots are ready for tough, real-world applications. This week at ProMat, “the premier showcase of material handling, supply chain, and logistics solutions,” Fetch Robotics is showing off two very new, and very large, stuff-transporting robots.

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Robotic tentacle

Video Friday: Robot Tentacle, Mars Flyer, and Destructive Drone Competition

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

WeRobot 2017 – March 31-1, 2017 – New Haven, Conn., USA
Automate – April 3-3, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Austech – May 9-12, 2017 – Melbourne, Australia
Innorobo – May 16-18, 2017 – Paris, France
NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 22-26, 2017 – NASA KSC, Fla., USA

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


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DJI drone

Electronic License Plates for Drones

In late 2015, mandatory drone registration went into effect in the United States. Since then, anyone who wants to fly a drone (or model aircraft) weighing over 0.55 pounds (0.25 kilograms) must register with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to receive a unique identification number. This number needs to be placed on the drone, but there is no requirement for it to broadcast signals to allow for remote identification. That might change in the future.

The FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 required the FAA administrator to “convene industry stakeholders to facilitate the development of consensus standards for remotely identifying operators and owners of unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned aircraft.” On Monday of this week, DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturer, announced a proposal outlining a general scheme for doing just that.

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IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems

IEEE Global Initiative Aims to Advance Ethical Design of AI and Autonomous Systems

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine. We thank RAM and the authors for giving us permission to reproduce it here.

Algorithms with learning abilities collect personal data that are then used without users’ consent and even without their knowledge; autonomous weapons are under discussion in the United Nations; robots stimulating emotions are deployed with vulnerable people; research projects are funded to develop humanoid robots; and artificial intelligence-based systems are used to evaluate people. One can consider these examples of AI and autonomous systems (AS) as great achievements or claim that they are endangering human freedom and dignity.

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Automaton

IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

Editor
Erico Guizzo
New York City
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Washington, D.C.
 

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