Video Friday: Waffle Robots, Laser vs. Drone, and TurtleBot Tutorials

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Fanuc robots pick and pack waffles.
Image: Fanuc/YouTube
One of Fanuc's wafflebots.

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 few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

International Symposium on Medical Robotics – March 1-3, 2018 – Atlanta, Ga., USA
HRI 2018 – March 5-8, 2018 – Chicago, Ill., USA
RoboSoft 2018 – April 24-28, 2018 – Livorno, Italy
ICARSC 2018 – April 25-27, 2018 – Torres Vedras, Portugal
ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 – Brisbane, Australia

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

High-speed breakfast-item manipulation is, for some reason, always satisfying to watch:

That was pretty good but doesn’t quite stack up 😎 against this old ABB pancake robot video, which will always be my favorite:

[ Fanuc ]

The title of this video is “Laser Dune Buggy vs. Drone.” So click it already!

Slightly underwhelming, maybe, but it does have an effective range of a mile, which is impressive.

[ Raytheon ]

Have a TurtleBot 3 and don’t know how to get it to do stuff? These tutorials from ROBOTIS should help you out a little bit.


Welcome to the lightning-fast world of robot sumo, where two robots battle it out for mechanical supremacy. But, keep your eyes peeled—robots that take years to build can be decimated within mere seconds. Robot sumo has developed into a furiously competitive sport in Japan, with participants spending years building their autonomous machines. Just ask Takahiro Ito, a robot designer and builder who spends 360 days a year working on his craft. It's a demanding sport that requiring extreme dedication, all for a few seconds of glory.

[ Great Big Story ]

Magazino's warehouse robot TORU picks shoeboxes in warehouses, and it has a neat little trick for picking one shoebox out from under another:

TORU is especially made for handling shoe boxes in warehouses. The shoe market is developing fast and warehouses have to handle an increasing product variety and shorter delivery demands by customers. Decreasing order sizes and peaks on Mondays are additional challenges. With TORU Cube Magazino offers a solution to tackle those problems. Cost intensive inbound and outbound processes caused by return rate of up to 30-50% can be tackled with pick-by-robot – even with random warehousing. Order peaks on Monday mornings and empty parts of the warehouse can be avoided with prepacking by TORU during the night. The mobile robot can be integrated easily without changing the existing warehouse interior, layout or process. TORU delivers increased performance and reduced costs for picking.

[ Magazino ]

Some band called Thirty Seconds to Mars performed on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert last week, and it was filmed with a robotic camera. The result is...hmm...see for yourself.

Here’s the same song again, except from a different perspective that shows the camera moving around:

The Late Show called the camera, Bolt, “the most advanced robotic camera in the universe.” Maybe that’s true, now that Bot & Dolly isn’t around anymore:

[ Bolt Cinebot ]

Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada gives a descriptive tour of the Mars rover's view in Gale Crater. The white-balanced scene looks back over the journey so far. The view from "Vera Rubin Ridge" looks back over buttes, dunes and other features along the route.

[ JPL ]

After we posted about the new BeamPro 2, Guillaume Doisy from Wyca Robotics wrote in to point out that their telepresence robot Keylo is arguably even more technologically advanced. It’s already taking over from humans in self-storage, where it can even dispense locks:

The other thing that Keylo has going for it is that as a research platform, it offers all kinds of useful sensors along with a standard ROS API.

[ Wyca ]

Thanks Guillaume!

A safety-aware adaptive learning algorithm is demonstrated in this video on a Brushbot. The Brushbot is a "weird" robot powered by the vibration of two brushes. Its dynamics is unknown, nonholonomic, and complex. A safety-aware adaptive learning algorithm is designed here to adaptively learn how to control this robot while constraining its motion within the safe exploration space using barrier certificates.

[ GRITS Lab ]

Sea Hunter might be going hunting soon.

DARPA has successfully completed its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program and has officially transferred the technology demonstration vessel, christened Sea Hunter, to the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

ONR will continue developing the revolutionary prototype vehicle—the first of what could ultimately become an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel able to traverse thousands of kilometers over the open seas for month at a time, without a single crew member aboard—as the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV).


In this first episode of The Mars Report we celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Opportunity rover; show you a recent panoramic view from the Curiosity rover; and recap a "cool" discovery of ice deposits spotted by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Also, we look forward to the InSight lander, heading to the Red Planet in May 2018.

[ NASA ]

I’m probably not the biggest MegaBots fan, but they’re giving their robot a new custom arm, so that’s nice.

[ MegaBots ]

This semester, 98 students in University of Ottawa's Engineering Design class will be developing modules for Robot Missions' robot platform to assist with automating environmental restoration. Modules the students create will be used in the field during Robot Missions' upcoming Municipal Trials, and replicable by the global community.

[ Robot Missions ]

NASA in Silicon Valley Live is a live show streamed on that features conversations with the various researchers, scientists, engineers and all around cool people who work at NASA to push the boundaries of innovation. In this episode livestreamed on January 26, 2018, we explore autonomy, or “self-driving” technologies with Terry Fong, NASA chief roboticist, and Diana Acosta, technical lead for autonomous systems and robotics.

[ NASA ]

In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per interviews Dave Rollinson from Hebi Robotics.

Dave Rollinson from Hebi Robotics talks about learning from watching his robots being used as everyday tools. We also get an initiated overview of the modular robotics systems that Hebi develops. Dave shares how he had the opportunity to work with sewer inspection robots early on. He learned a lot from constantly bringing the robots out in the field. Seeing how the robots were used, as regular tools, and how they succeeded and failed helped him iterate the design and take the steps needed to create a well-functioning product. Dave also talks about how he wanted to continue to build robots as he continued his education. He chose to go to CMU and professor Howie Choset's lab because they build their own hardware.

[ Robots in Depth ]

Robotics News

Biweekly newsletter on advances and news in robotics, automation, control systems, interviews with leading roboticists, and more.

About the Automaton blog

IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.