Video Friday: An Agile Year

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: An Agile Year

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

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Germany
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

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


Agility had a busy 2021. This is a long video, but there's new stuff in it (or new to me, anyway), including impressive manipulation skills, robust perceptive locomotion, jumping, and some fun costumes.

[ Agility Robotics ]

Houston Mechatronics is now Nauticus Robotics, and they have a fancy new video to prove it.

[ Nauticus ]

Club_KUKA is an unprecedented KUKA show cell that combines entertainment and robotics with technical precision and artistic value. All in all, the show cell is home to a cool group called the Kjays. A KR3 AGILUS at the drums loops its beats and sets the beat. The KR CYBERTECH nano is our nimble DJ with rhythm in his blood. In addition, a KR AGILUS performs as a light artist and enchants with soft and expansive movements. In addition there is an LBR iiwa, which, mounted on the ceiling, keeps an eye on the unusual robot party.

And if that was too much for you to handle (?), here's "chill mode:"

[ Kuka ]

The most amazing venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics is the canteen.

[ SCMP ]

A mini documentary thing on ANYbotics from Kaspersky, the highlight of which is probably a young girl meeting ANYmal on the street and asking the important questions, like whether it comes in any other colors.

[ ANYbotics ]

If you’re looking for a robot that can carry out maintenance tasks, our teleoperation systems can give you just that. Think of it as remote hands that are able to perform tasks, without you having to be there, on location. You’re still in full control, as the robot hands will replicate your hand movements. You can control the robot from anywhere you like, even from home, which is a much safer and environmentally friendly approach.

[ Shadow Robot ]

If I had fingers like this, I'd be pretty awesome at manipulating cubes, too.

[ Yale ]

The open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg designed by researchers at the University of Michigan will be brought to the research market by Humotech, a Pittsburgh-based assistive technology company. The goal of the collaboration is to speed the development of control software for robotic prosthetic legs, which have the potential to provide the power and natural gait of a human leg to prosthetic users.

[ Michigan Robotics ]

This video is worth watching entirely for the shoulder-dislocating high-five.

[ Paper ]

Of everything in this SoftBank Robotics 2021 rewind, my favorite highlight is the giant rubber duck avoidance.

[ SoftBank ]

On this episode of the Robot Brains Podcast, Pieter talks with David Rolnick about how machine learning can be applied to climate change.

[ Robot Brains ]

A talk from Stanford's Mark Cutkosky on "Selectively Soft Robotics: Integration Smart Materials in Soft Robotics."

[ BDML ]

This is a very long video from Yaskawa, which goes over many (if not most or all) of the ways that its 500,000 industrial arms are currently being used. It's well labeled, so I recommend just skipping around to the interesting parts, like cow milking.

[ Yaskawa ]

The Conversation (0)

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

11 min read
Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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