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Robot Film Festival: Watch All the Films

Couldn't attend? No problem: Here are all the movies you missed

2 min read
Robot Film Festival: Watch All the Films

robot film festival poster

This past weekend, a crowd of robot geeks, artists, and filmmakers converged on the futuristic-looking 3-Legged Dog studios in downtown Manhattan for the world's firstRobot Film FestivalIEEE Spectrum photo editor Randi Silberman Klett and I were left dazzled by all the robots and people and the more than 50 short films screened, which had the effect of discharging an electrical assault on the audience's brain interfaces; the films made people laugh, cry, cringe, but above all think about what it means to build robots and share our world with them.

robot film festival crowd

The organizer, roboticist Heather Knight of Marilyn Monrobot [photo, below], and her coproducers -- Magic Futurebox, Beatbots, and Science House -- did a fantastic job in putting together a robotics extravaganza that included not only screenings (Spike Jonze's "I'm Here" opened the festival) but also live performances, a make-your-own-robot-film workshop, and a robot-themed BBQ. The whole thing culminated in the Bostker Awards Ceremony, with robots and humans parading on the red carpet and3D-printed bot statuettes awarded for categories like "Best Robot Actor" and "Most Uncanny."

robot film festival heather knight

If you couldn't attend, don't worry: The organizers have posted all videos on their Vimeo channel. Below, I've embedded my favorite films and the ones that won Botsker awards, plus some live performances. Enjoy!


Robot Film Festival Welcome by Josh Ventura

Interrogation Robot by Mike Winter

The Machine by Rob Shaw, Bent Image Lab [Botsker Award for Best Picture]

Absolut Quartet by Jeff Lieberman, Dan Paluska, Noah David Smith, Willie Mack [Botsker Award for Best Robot Actor]


Data the robot comedian and its creator Heather Knight

Keepon Dancing to Spoon's "Don't You Evah" by Jeff Nichols, Wired, BeatBots

Operation da Vinci by Kelleher Guerin, Carol Reiley, Tom Tantillo [Botsker Award for Audience Award]

Chorebot by Greg Omelchuck [Botsker Award for Ethics and Impact]


Robot Cowboy by Dan Wilcox


Saturn by 1stAveMachine [Botsker Award for Most Uncanny]

Out In The Street by Mark Simpson, Nick Paroz, Sixty40, Superfad [Botsker Award for Best Story]


Moonrush by Jonathan Minard, Michael Pisano, Ben Saks, Phil Kibbe [Botsker Award for Visionary Future]


Waiting for Name Assignment by Alvaro Galvan, Carmen Simón Rubio [Botsker Award for Best Human as Robot]


Bio-inspired Flying Robots by Sabine Hauert, EPFL [Botsker Award for Scientifically Hardcore]

Photos: Randi Silberman Klett/IEEE Spectrum

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
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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
DarkGray

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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