The Robots Podcast: 50 Years of Robotics (Part 1)

The Robots podcast is celebrating its 50th episode.

1 min read
The Robots Podcast: 50 Years of Robotics (Part 1)

The Robots Podcast - 50 Years of Robotics

I'm not a fan of self-promotion, but I believe that this may be of general interest: The Robots podcast (I am a founder, now run by my colleague Sabine Hauert) is celebrating its 50th episode today. For the occasion, Robots has interviewed 12 experts from a variety of robotic backgrounds on the topic of "The Past and the Next 50 Years of Robotics". Here is the line up of interviewees for the first part of the two part series:

Part 2 of this series will air in 2 weeks and give a snapshot view of the past and next 50 years in Nano Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Flying Robots, Human-Robot Interaction, Robot Business, and Space Robots. Tune in!

PS: Coinciding with its 50th episode, the Robots podcast has also just launched its new website and forum.

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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
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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