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Stanford Robot Block Party 2013

We've got video highlights of the Stanford Robot Block Party

1 min read
Stanford Robot Block Party 2013

Last week, Stanford hosted a gigantic Robot Block Party as part of U.S. National Robotics Week. The Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab opened its doors to a huge number of robots, and an even huger number of people who love robots. We were there to check it out, and yes, that is a giant inflatable Keepon, because GIANT INFLATABLE KEEPON.

Last year, we covered the Robot Block Party with a nice big gallery, but this year, we've got a pile of highlights for you on video:

People and companies mentioned in the video include:

Extra special super duper thanks to Andra Keay, Silicon Valley Robotics, and the Stanford Robotics Club for putting on a tremendous event.

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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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