The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Robot Video Thursday: Nothing Related to Thanksgiving at All

We're not taking the day off, and this huge pile of robot videos proves it

2 min read
Robot Video Thursday: Nothing Related to Thanksgiving at All

In some parts of the world, today is Thanksgiving. That's why I'm going to Canada: I'm a friend of the turkey, man. That doesn't mean I'm not busy stuffing my face with Canada food, though... Maple syrup-cured moose meat, probably. That's a staple up there, yeah?

Anyhoo, we're kinda taking the day off around here, but to keep you from figuring that out, we're going to toss you a bunch of random robot vids from the last week or two as a distraction. Ready? GO!

Since we're on the topic of birds here, why don't we start with this video of an autonomous Little Bird helicopter making a pinpoint landing on a moving flatbed truck, paving the way for autonomous (or optionally manned) carrier landings.

Via [ Robots.net ]

Since we're on the topic of flying things here, this is the latest test fight of NASA's new robotic lander prototype:

 

The first five seconds of this video are by far the funniest, but this pair of robots from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology’s Center for Intelligent Robotics are trying their best to provide some entertainment for the elderly in Finland.

Via [ Plastic Pals ]

We've covered Project Rezero before, but it's been a little while, and this TED Talk by Péter Fankhauser from July of this year about the ball-balancing robot was just posted online:

 

Speaking of oldies but goodies, those high speed robot hands are back. They're not really doing anything new at all, but that doesn't mean this vid of a hand snatching a spinning cellphone out of midair isn't worth watching:

 

The Mars rover Spirit ended its epic journey earlier this year after becoming marooned in a sand dune with its solar panels facing away from the sun, preventing it from collecting enough power to run its survival heaters. This video shows the view from Spirit's navigation cameras through all 2,695 days of its 90 day mission.

Yeah, I teared up a little bit at the end there. Happy Thanksgiving, Spirit.

Via [ io9 ]

Cute little robot turkey via Flickr

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
Horizontal
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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less