Generalized Non-Denominational Holiday Greetings from Automaton!

When it comes to holidays, robots know where it's at

1 min read
Generalized Non-Denominational Holiday Greetings from Automaton!

The humans at IEEE Spectrum Automaton would like to wish you a happy [insert preferred holiday here]. We hope that you're having a great time at [insert preferred method of celebration] and that your [insert preferred holiday object(s)] is/are even [insert preferred adjective] than [insert preferred standard of comparison].

In celebration of whatever it is that you may or may not be celebrating, here are some robots doing some, you know, holiday stuff, picked out by our friends at the Robots Podcast. Enjoy!

EPFL's Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory decided to let their robots play with fire, and as far as I know, they haven't been heard from since:


Tech United Eindhoven seems to be willing to let Nao slack a little bit:


Be impressed by this, because it's a snowglobe with a snowman in it that I'm pretty sure is made entirely of kilobots:


Here are some elves hard at work constructing Thymio II sleighs:


And finally, one of the cutest videos I've ever seen, from ETH Zurich:


What did we miss? Leave a comment below and we'll update this post. And again, have a [insert preferred holiday cheer here]!!

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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