Automaton iconAutomaton

DJI Phantom drone flying

Court Ruling: The FAA Can't Make You Register Your Drone

Since December of 2015, Americans have been required to register any drone that weighs more than two sticks of butter with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It’s a minor hassle and costs a little bit of money and seems like a reasonable idea considering how many people are flying sizeable drones nowadays. However, there was one particular group that really didn't appreciate the new ruling: model aircraft enthusiasts. One of them sued the FAA in February of 2016, and a federal court in Washington, D.C. ruled in favor of hobbyists, meaning that the FAA can no longer require you (or anyone else) to register their personal drones.

Read More
Animatronic King Kong to debut on Broadway

Video Friday: Animatronic King Kong, Robot Pilot, and Giant Eyeball Drone

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 Robotic Mining Competition – May 22-26, 2017 – NASA KSC, Fla., USA
ROS-I Asia Pacific Workshop – May 25-26, 2017 – Singapore
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
ICCV 2017 – June 13-16, 2017 – Venice, Italy
RoboBoat 2017 – June 20-20, 2017 – Daytona Beach, Fl., USA
Aerial Robotics International Research Symposium – June 21-22, 2017 – Toronto, Ont., Canada
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 25-28, 2017 – London, England
Autonomous Systems World – June 26-27, 2017 – Berlin, Germany
RoboUniverse Seoul – June 28-30, 2017 – Seoul, Korea
RobotCraft 2017 – July 3-3, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
ICAR 2017 – July 10-12, 2017 – Hong Kong
RSS 2017 – July 12-16, 2017 – Cambridge, Mass., USA
MARSS – July 17-21, 2017 – Montreal, Canada
Summer School on Soft Manipulation – July 17-21, 2017 – Lake Chiemsee, Germany

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

Read More
This omnidirectional eight-rotor drone flies like no other aircraft

ETH Zurich's Omnicopter Plays Fetch

Most aircraft are designed to be very good at going upward, and also not bad at going forward, with some relatively small amount of thought given to turning left and right. Thanks to gravity, downward is usually taken care of. Even aircraft designed to hover, like helicopters and quadrotors, have preferential directions of orientation and travel where their particular arrangement of motors and control surfaces makes them most effective. 

ETH Zurich’s Omnicopter goes about flying in a totally different way. With eight motors oriented in all directions, the Omnicopter doesn’t have an up or down or front or back: It can translate and rotate in any direction, letting it play a very skilled game of fetch.

Read More
The threats that a hacked industrial robot represent today go beyond safety concerns and include also industrial sabotage and blackmail.

New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots

Earlier this month, computer-security firm Trend Micro, in collaboration with researchers at Polytechnic University of Milan, released a report titled, “Rogue Robots.” No, they weren’t writing about the threat of runaway artificial intelligence or Terminator-like “killer robots.” Rather, they were exploring how malevolent hackers might compromise various kinds of industrial robots, whose number is expected to reach 2.6 million units worldwide by 2019.

Read More
Robot with morphing wheels can climb stairs

Video Friday: Morphing Wheels, Soft Inflatable Robot, and Snipe Nano Quadrotor

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!):

Innorobo – May 16-18, 2017 – Paris, France
Midwest Robotics Workshop – May 18-19, 2017 – Chicago, IL, USA
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
ICCV 2017 – June 13-16, 2017 – Venice, Italy
RoboBoat 2017 – June 20-20, 2017 – Daytona Beach, Fl., USA
Aerial Robotics International Research Symposium – June 21-22, 2017 – Toronto, ON, Canada
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 25-28, 2017 – London, England
Autonomous Systems World – June 26-27, 2017 – Berlin, Germany
RoboUniverse Seoul – June 28-30, 2017 – Seoul, Korea
RobotCraft 2017 – July 3-3, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
ICAR 2017 – July 10-12, 2017 – Hong Kong

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


Read More
Drone uses deep learning and 11,500 crashes to learn how to fly

Drone Uses AI and 11,500 Crashes to Learn How to Fly

“Learning to Fly by Crashing,” a paper from CMU roboticists Dhiraj Gandhi, Lerrel Pinto, and Abhinav Gupta, has such a nice abstract that I’ll just let them explain what this research is all about:

[T]he gap between simulation and real world remains large especially for perception problems. The reason most research avoids using large-scale real data is the fear of crashes! In this paper, we propose to bite the bullet and collect a dataset of crashes itself! We build a drone whose sole purpose is to crash into objects [. . .] We use all this negative flying data in conjunction with positive data sampled from the same trajectories to learn a simple yet powerful policy for UAV navigation.

Cool, let’s get crashing!

Read More
NASA JPL's PUFFER, or Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot, is a small, origami-inspired robot for space exploration

PUFFER: JPL's Pop-Up Exploring Robot

It costs a stupendous amount of money to send something from the surface of Earth to the surface of Mars, and there are severe limits on the volume and mass that you can send at any one time. In order to stuff the maximum amount of science into the minimum amount of space, NASA has had to get creative, with landers and rovers designed to be lightweight and foldable.

At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., engineers have long been trying to cram as much robot as possible into the absolute minimum amount of space, and a team of roboticists there recently showed us their latest creation: PUFFER, the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot. It’s designed to pack down nearly flat for transport, and then re-expand on site to investigate all the places a bigger rover can’t quite reach.

Read More
The Planar Elliptical Runner robot developed by IHMC.

Video Friday: Running Robot, Dog vs. Roomba, and BionicCobot

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!):

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
Midwest Robotics Workshop – May 18-19, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
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
ICCV 2017 – June 13-16, 2017 – Venice, Italy
RoboBoat 2017 – June 20-20, 2017 – Daytona Beach, Fl., USA
Aerial Robotics International Research Symposium – June 21-22, 2017 – Toronto, Canada
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 25-28, 2017 – London, England
Autonomous Systems World – June 26-27, 2017 – Berlin, Germany
RoboUniverse Seoul – June 28-30, 2017 – Seoul, Korea
RobotCraft 2017 – July 3-3, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal

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


Read More
A snake robot slides up a set of stairs.

Demo: A Versatile Snake Robot That Masters Tough Terrain and Climbs Metal Walls

Last week, a visitor slithered through the IEEE Spectrum office.

The robotics company Sarcos had brought around its new snake robot, the Guardian S, to show off its moves. While it performed its tricks—shimmying sideways, rolling over, rearing up, and even sliding its magnetized body straight up a metal door—an impressed staff member mentioned that his son would love to have a snakebot to play with. “We’re taking orders if you want one!” said Sarcos CEO Ben Wolff. “Only $60,000.”

Read More
Advertisement

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.
 

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the Automaton newsletter and get biweekly updates about robotics, automation, and AI, all delivered directly to your inbox.

Load More