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We're at ICRA 2013: The World's Largest Robot Research Conference!

We're in Karlsruhe, Germany to check out all the latest robotics research

2 min read
We're at ICRA 2013: The World's Largest Robot Research Conference!

The 2013 IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) is taking place this week in Karlsruhe, Germany. We’ve been in Europe for a week or so checking out robotics labs (more on that when we get back), but starting today, roboticists from all over the world have begun presenting their research in hundreds of sessions and interactive demonstrations.

Our schedule is absolutely packed; here’s an example of what we’re looking at for just one day:

IEEE ICRA robotics conference 2013

Yes, it’s not physically possible for us to be everywhere at once, but we’re going to die trying! And before death happens, we’ll make sure and bring you all of the very best stuff, so keep checking back all week.

Last night was the official ICRA opening event, featuring a surprise quadrotor performance from Roland Siegwart’s team at ETH Zurich and some specially outfitted AscTec Hummingbirds from Ascending Technologies. Look at these smiling roboticists and their shiny drones:

ETH Zurich and AscTec Hummingbirds

ETH Zurich and AscTec Hummingbirds

I may have gotten a little bit carried away taking pictures of these things:

ETH Zurich and AscTec Hummingbirds

ETH Zurich and AscTec Hummingbirds

And then there were fireworks!

ICRA 2013

ICRA 2013


Now, we’re off to check out some robots. Swing by later today for our first ICRA posts.

UPDATE: Here's how to  watch the webcast of the plenary talks, which will be streamed live from the ICRA venue:

This URL will be updated periodically to show the next keynote and its webcast time. All times are in CET. Here's the schedule:

Robert Wood: RoboBees: Progress in Insect-Scale Robotics
Tuesday May 7, 2013, 10:30-11:25

Alexander Waibel: Multi- and Cross-Lingual Robotic Assistants
Tuesday May 7, 2013, 16:00-16:55

Yasuo Kuniyoshi: From Embodied Intelligence to Fetal Developmenta Quest for the Fundamentals of Human-Oid Intelligence
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 10:30-11:25

Rodney Brooks: Rethinking Industrial Robots
Wednesday May 8, 2013, 16:00-16:55

Aude Billard: Teaching Robots to Cook, Relax, and Play Catch
Thursday May 9, 2013, 10:30-11:25

Michael Black: The Mathematics of Body Shape
Thursday May 9, 2013, 16:00-16:55

[ ICRA 2013 ]

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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