Video Friday: Crawling Baby Robot, Tethered Drone, and New Intel RealSense

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Crawling Robot Baby
Image: Purdue University
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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!):

IEEE IRC 2018 – January 31-February 2, 2018 – Laguna Hills, Calif., USA
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

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


When babies crawl on the floor, especially in carpeted areas, their movement kicks up lots of dirt and dust, including things like skin cells, bacteria, and fungal spores. Researchers at Purdue University wanted to find out if that could be bad for the babies. So they built a “robotic crawling baby (which is much less adorable than the real thing) and tested it crawling on actual carpet samples they had removed from homes.”

The researchers found that a concentrated cloud of resuspended particles forms around the Pig-Pen wannabes, and that the concentrations around them can be as much as 20 times greater than the levels of material higher in the room.Moreover, infants’ bodies aren’t as good at blocking this dust storm, Boor says. "For an adult, a significant portion of the biological particles are removed in the upper respiratory system, in the nostrils and throat. But for very young children, they more often breathe through their mouths, and a significant fraction is deposited in the lower airways—the tracheobronchial and pulmonary regions. The particles make it to the deepest regions of their lungs."

Counterintuitively, perhaps, this may be just what nature intended. "Exposure to certain bacterial and fungal species can result in the development of asthma, but numerous studies have shown that when an infant is exposed to a very high diversity of microbes, at a high concentration, they can have a lower rate of asthma later in life. Such exposures act to stimulate and challenge your immune system," Boor says.

[ Purdue ]


Jongwon Park from KAERI (the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) wrote in to share the WPTS (Wired Power Transfer System) that they developed to extent the flight time of drones from minutes to...infinite. It’s sort of like what CyPhy Works is doing, except that it’s just for power, meaning that you can use it with just about any drone that’s DJI Phantom-sized or larger:

As long as you keep feeding power in at ground level (with a generator or whatever), the drone can keep flying. Range is about 150 meters for a 10 kilogram drone. The WPTS can be installed by removing the battery from your drone and popping in a special power connector. If they decide to commercialize it, it’ll cost under $5,000. Meanwhile, it’s being used in this hybrid radiation mapping system:

KAERI ]

Thanks Jongwon!


Today, Intel began shipping two new Intel® RealSense™ D400 Depth Cameras from the next-generation Intel RealSense D400 product family: the D415 and D435, adding 3D capabilities to any prototype development or end user-ready device or machine.

Ideal for makers and educators as well as hardware prototyping and software development, the new depth cameras come in a ready-to-use, USB-powered form factor that pair with a D400 depth module, a turnkey optical depth solution, and the new Intel RealSense vision processor D4 for processing complex depth data in real time. Supported by the Intel RealSense SDK 2.0 – available for the first time as a cross-platform, open source SDK – the cameras can also be used both indoors and outdoors and in any lighting environment.

[ Intel ]


Coyote III - initially build for space exploration tasks, it has shown its multi purpose character in many different scenarios. The rover captivates with high mobility and flexibility, to cope all kinds of situations.

Other than space, Coyote III can also be deployed for search and rescue (SAR) tasks on Earth. Using the camera and laser scanner, the operator gets a clear overview of the surrounding and can safely operate the rover. With a modular system architecture, various sensor and payload modules can be attached to the rover. This allows to help the rescue teams in all kinds of situations and increase the safety of their work. Coyote 3 provides even the possibility to operate fully autonomous and explore extensive areas.

[ DFKI ]


Here are a couple new videos from Sarcos Robotics, featuring their Guardian GT force-multiplying exoskeleton and Guardian S surveillance and inspection snakey thing.

[ Sarcos ]


Rain or shine, ANYmal is out and about.

[ ANYmal ]


Want a parking spot for your TurtleBot3? It’s as easy as putting up a piece of reflective tape:

[ Robotis TB3 ]


Welcome to drone testing in high winds! Props (ha!) to Canberra UAV for posting candid videos of things that don’t work the way you want them to.

Tridge attempted a first test flight of a new Thrust Vectored Belly Sitter airframe this weekend. After a lot of Sim work, the airframe launch was attempted nose into a 15 Knot head wind. During the take off cycle the wind caught the airframe as it lifted and rapidly flipped the airframe onto it’s back. The autopilot was unable to react rapidly enough to counter this flip. Both propellers were destroyed in the flip but no other damage was caused to the aircraft. Lesson; these airframes are likely to be sensitive to wind due to their slab sided design when lifting into the vertical; we need to find a way to mitigate this.

[ CanberraUAV ]


Promobot is an interactive marketing robot. Sort of like Pepper, except much, much beefier.

[ Promobot ]


It’s a factory for making Lego tractors MADE OUT OF LEGOS!

The tractor factory comes from DFKI and Software AG, but there are some other Lego factories on YouTube, like this one that makes cars:

[ Software AG ]


iJINI is a social robot from Innovative Play Lab in Korea that has apparently been out (or at least, has existed in prototype form) for a year or two, although this is the first time I’ve seen it myself:

Like all home social robots, it looks amazing. In the promo video. Who knows what it’s like in real life, though.

[ IPL ]


NASA conducts a flight test series to investigate the ability of an innovative technology to fold the outer portions of wings in flight as part of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project, or SAW. Flight tests took place at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, using a subscale UAV called Prototype Technology-Evaluation Research Aircraft, or PTERA, provided by Area-I.

NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland developed the alloy material, and worked with Boeing Research & Technology to integrate the material into an actuator. The alloy is triggered by temperature to move the outer portions of wings up or down in flight. The ability to fold wings to the ideal position of various flight conditions may produce several aerodynamic benefits for both subsonic and supersonic aircraft.

[ NASA ]


In 2017, Waymo put the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles, without anyone in the driver’s seat, on public roads in Arizona. Fully self-driving vehicles are a reality today, but back in 2009, there was still an open question of whether self-driving cars were possible.

To prove that self-driving cars were viable, Waymo (then Google) set up a challenge: drive 100,000 fully autonomous miles on public roads- an order of magnitude more than had ever been driven at that time. Here, we take a ride down one of the windiest streets in the world: Lombard Street, located in San Francisco.

[ Waymo ]


Love them or hate them, drones do help you get video of animals that you wouldn’t be able to get any other way.

The sound is dubbed in, or course, otherwise all the animals would sound like bees.

[ DJI ]


FRASIER, Northeastern’s Fostering Resilient Aging with Self-Efficacy and Independence Enabling Robot, is getting ready for RoboCup@Home 2018:

These competitions provide a pretty good sense of the state-of-the-art in mobile manipulation.

[ NEU ]


Japan has some sort of robot combat TV series, and what’s notable about this episode is that it features David Calkins, the dude who runs Combots and RoboGames here in the U.S., competing with his team and what looks like a new version of Vlad the Impaler.

They may not have won their battle, but they were dressed very, very well.

[ YouTube ]


In this week’s episode of Robots in Depth, Per interviews Daniel Pizzata from Modbot.

Daniel Pizzata talks about how his passion for modular robotics has driven him to start Modbot, with the goal of bringing robots out of the research labs and make them accessible to everyone. Daniel started out in the defense sector in Australia using robotics to measure radio transmissions. He worked on many different projects, but felt that he wanted to work with technology that was more widely applicable in society, and follow his ambitions.

Daniel also talks about how he met his co-founder Adam Ellison and how they had the idea of a platform and a community that could widen the range of people that are able to develop robotics and automation solutions. This turned out to be a life-changing journey with many intense moments and amazing experiences.

[ Robots in Depth ]


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