Robots and Fireworks

It's the fourth of July, and we'll show you just how much robots like fireworks

1 min read
Robots and Fireworks

Today is July fourth, when we here in the States celebrate the day that George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. Hrm, maybe that's not right... Are we celebrating the day that the French gave us the Statue of Liberty? No? Maybe it's celebrating the day that we bought the Louisiana territory from the French. Well, in any case, July fourth may or may not involve the French, but it definitely involves things exploding, so today we're going to check out a bunch of robots and fireworks.To start, that top pic is one of the orbs of Orb Swarm that someone decided to stick some fireworks in while it was rolling around at Burning Man.

Cy Brown mounted a first person video system on an R/C aircraft and equipped it with remotely launched weapons to defend itself from anti-aircraft fireworks.

 

 

Time for the drones to fight back, this time against balloons filled with hydrogen. Lots more info on this project here.

 

 

This is an excellent example of what not to do with robots and fireworks, and as such, the video won Sparkfun's 2010 Antimov competition.

 

 

And we'll finish off with this helpful tutorial on how to build yourself a little Lego NXT robot that can light fireworks for you.

 

 

Have a safe and fun fourth of July from all of us here at Automaton!

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
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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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