The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Kinect Teleoperated Robot Does Pushups For You

Robots are ready and willing to help take over all of our hard work, and that includes exercise

1 min read

Exercise is much less work if you can pawn the hard stuff off on a teleoperated robot. The system in this video is kinda like the physical master/slave system that we saw last year, combined with Willow Garage’s PR2 Kinect demo. While I’m sure this technology has at least a few practical uses, I’m personally hoping that all those humanoid robot competitions will start requiring Kinect teleoperation. Just imagine how much more entertaining it would be to watch robot combat and wildly gesticulating humans at the same time, kinda like this. And you know what, that sounds cool enough that maybe it should be made into a movie or something

Via [ I Heart Robotics ] and [ Robots Dreams ]

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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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