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These Robots Want to Wish You Happy Holidays

And us humans from the Automaton blog, too

2 min read
These Robots Want to Wish You Happy Holidays
Vanguard MK2 robot at Applied Research Associates.
Photo: Thomas Peterson

Automaton has been blogging about robotics for over six years now. It's been an amazing journey, and every year that passes by we see robots getting better, faster, and more amazing. But 2013 wasn't just another year in the evolution of robotics; so much happened this year that we can say with certainty that 2013 was one of the best years for robots ever: We've seen tremendousactivity inrobotics starts-ups and VC funding; manufacturing robots have continued to diversifyand advance as industrial automationenters a new era; robotics conferences saw record attendanceand more and better work presented; big tech companies are payingclose attentionto robotics; and as the culmination of an already incredible year, the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trialswere a huge success,exceeding everyone's expectations.

But it's time to take a break. A very short break. We'll be back soon with our regular posting schedule. In the meantime enjoy these special robot holiday videos. And we wish a wonderful Christmas/Holidays/Festivus to all humans and robots out there!



What happens when quadruped robots, flying robots, ground robots, and even a ball-balancing robot decide to have a Christmas party? This is what happens.

Thanks Péter!

ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab ]



Nao wants to invite you to spend New Year's Eve with him. Join the little humanoid in this interactive YouTube video and find out where you and Nao will end up. 

[ Aldebaran Robotics ]



Reindeer is so 4th Century. Good thing Santa is testing new delivery technologies, including drones. And you thought Amazon was cutting edge?

[ Ascending Technologies ] via [ Robohub ]



As his elder elves go into retirement, Santa is considering using robots to improve productivity.

Thanks Armin!

University of Freiburg ]



Did anyone say robots and productivity? Baxter wants to help Santa, too.

Thanks Rod!

[ Rethink Robotics ]



Kirobo, Japan's space robot, wants to ask Santa for a present (fast forward to 2:02). Hope Santa can make that delivery.



And a final shout-out to IEEE member Thomas Peterson from Applied Research Associates, who kindly shared with us the photo at the top of the post. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Thomas and ARA colleagues!

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
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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