Video Friday: Constant Gardener

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

Industrial robots drawing lines in sand

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!):

DARPA SubT Finals – September 21-23, 2021 – Louisville, KY, USA
WeRobot 2021 – September 23-25, 2021 – [Online Event]
IROS 2021 – September 27-1, 2021 – [Online Event]
ROSCon 2021 – October 20-21, 2021 – [Online Event]

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

It's been a hectic couple of days, so here are some retired industrial robots quietly drawing lines in sand.

[ Constant Gardener ] via [ RobotStart ]

Engineers at MIT and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have designed a soft, lightweight, and potentially low-cost neuroprosthetic hand. Amputees who tested the artificial limb performed daily activities such as zipping a suitcase, pouring a carton of juice, and petting a cat, just as well, and in some cases better than, more rigid neuroprosthetics.

[ MIT ]

To perceive the world around it, the Waymo Driver uses a single, integrated system comprised of lidars, cameras, and radars that enable it to see 360 degrees in every direction, day or night, and as far as three football fields away. This powerful sensing suite makes it easy for The Waymo Driver to navigate the complex scenarios it comes across multiple times a day while driving in San Francisco, like safely maneuvering around three, large double-parked vehicles on a narrow street.

[ Waymo ]

"Robot, stand up" - Oscar Constanza, 16, gives the order and slowly but surely a large frame strapped to his body lifts him up and he starts walking. Fastened to his shoulders, chest, waist, knees and feet, the exoskeleton allows Oscar - who has a genetic neurological condition that means his nerves do not send enough signals to his legs - to walk across the room and turn around.

[ Wandercraft ] via [ Reuters ]

Thanks Antonio!

Nothing super crazy in this video of Spot, but it's always interesting to pay close attention to some of the mobility challenges that the robot effortlessly manages, like the ladder, or that wobbly board.

[ Boston Dynamics ]

This video shows the evolution of a dynamic quadruped robot Panther. During my Ph.D. study, one of the most rewarding experiences is to improve upon the Panther robot. However, publication videos only show success, and the process of advancement (including failures and lessons) is rarely shared among the robotics community. This video, therefore, serves as complementary material showcasing the inglorious yet authentic aspect of research.


[ Yanran Ding ]

Thanks Fan!

This paper proposes the design of a robotic gripper motivated by the bin-picking problem, where a variety of objects need to be picked from cluttered bins. The presented gripper design focuses on an enveloping cage-like approach, which surrounds the object with three hooked fingers, and then presses into the object with a movable palm. The fingers are flexible and imbue grasps with some elasticity, helping to conform to objects and, crucially, adding friction to cases where an object cannot be caged.

[ Paper ]

Tin Lun Lam writes, "Recently, we have upgraded FreeBOT (a kind of Freeform Modular Self-reconfigurable Robot) such that they can detect the connection configuration dynamically without using any external sensing system. It is a very important milestone for our ongoing work to make FreeBOT fully autonomous."

[ CUHK ]

Thanks Tin Lun!

Dusty Robotics develops robot-powered tools for the modern construction workforce. Our FieldPrinter automated layout robot turns BIM models into fully constructible layouts. This digital layout process shortens schedules, eliminates rework, and enables projects to finish faster at lower cost.

[ Dusty Robotics ]

NASA's Curiosity rover explores Mount Sharp, a 5-mile-tall (8-kilometer-tall) mountain within the basin of Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity's Deputy Project Scientist, Abigail Fraeman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, gives viewers a descriptive tour of Curiosity's location. The panorama was captured by the rover's Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on July 3, 2021, the 3,167th Martian day, or sol, of its mission.

[ JPL ]

Robot arm manages to not kill plants. Or people!

[ HydroCobotics ]

Thanks Fan!

One Step Closer to Mapping Icy Moons Like Europa, Enceladus - Astrobotic tested AstroNav in Alaska to demonstrate precision landing and hazard detection on icy moons in the outer solar system.

[ Astrobotic ]

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a robotic disassembly system for used electric vehicle batteries to make the process safer, more efficient, and less costly, while supporting recycling of critical materials and reducing waste.

[ ORNL ]

In a partnership with ANYbotics, Vale highlights its commitment to becoming one of the safest and most reliable mining companies in the world. The results showed that ANYmal helps reduce exposure to hazardous conditions and integrates seamlessly into Vale's team to autonomously perform routine inspections and deliver improved reporting during operations and periods of downtime.

[ ANYbotics ]

Thanks Cheila!

Adapted to the Spirit as an optional payload module, Exyn's industry-leading autonomous software, ExynAI, provides unprecedented 3D LIDAR mapping in GPS-denied environments. Now with Level 4 Autonomy and advanced data collection software, this payload enables volumetric autonomous navigation, superior security encryption, and increased speed and agility.


[ Ascent ]

At the Karolinska University Laboratory in Sweden, an innovation project based around an ABB collaborative robot has increased efficiency and created a better working environment for lab staff.

[ ABB ]

Alex from Berich Masonry shares his experience as a new member of the masonry community, and his positive experience with Construction Robotic's MULE, a lift-assist solution that can keep Alex stay safer and healthier throughout his career.

[ Construction Robotics ]

Older adults sharing what it's like to live with ElliQ, a personal care companion, for the past two years.

[ ElliQ ]

The Conversation (0)