Video Friday: Apple Drone

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
Photo of a square red drone next to an apple tree from below, equipped with a gripper containing an apple

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Netherlands
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


This is the sort of thing that I’m used to seeing in animation form and then never hearing about ever again, but Tevel seems to have functional (for some value of functional) prototypes of its autonomous, tethered, fruit-picking drones.

I’m not sure that this can be commercially sustainable, but I’d absolutely love it if that were so.

[ Tevel ]

Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated a new type of flexible, robotic grippers that are able to lift delicate egg yolks without breaking them, and that are precise enough to lift a human hair.

As someone who regularly faces the challenge of removing my pine nuts from the surface of my egg yolks, I approve of this research.

[ NC State ]

This video is a demo of a HEBI R-Series Robot arm. In this demo, the arm talks to two depth cameras to localize a moving fish in a fish tank. Then, knowing where the fish is, the arm follows a trajectory, programmed using the HEBI API to catch the fish and move it to a glass.

[ Hebi ]

On this tour of iRobot’s office, a few things to look for: the millionth and two-millionth Roombas, an inflatable hexapod from a decade ago, and (if you freeze frame at just the right time) one of iRobot’s vaguely creepy robot babies with half of its face missing.

Also, did you know that iRobot built some custom hardware to explore the pyramids?

[ iRobot ]

A beautiful and dead-nuts-accurate SLAM map of the DARPA SubT course from Team CSIRO Data61.

[ CSIRO Data61 ]

I never get tired of videos of tube-launched drones. I think it's the sound they make when they come out of the tube, honestly.

[ TAMU ]

This video demonstrates an end-to-end LIDAR mapping and autonomy system for robot inspection of complex, multi-floor industrial facilities demonstrated on the Boston Dynamics Spot quadruped robot.

[ ORI ]

DFKI’s Cuttlefish AUV is a submarine with two arms that can be teleoperated by a human, and when it is, it rotates to vertical to give itself a more humanlike workspace, which is a neat trick.

[ DFKI ]

This robots-vs.-children video is more wholesome than you either hoped for or feared.

[ Dave's Armory ]

“Decolonizing AI” is a critique and an emerging movement both in the West and Non-Western world amongst AI researchers, activists, and practitioners. While its proponents have identified parallels between historical colonialism and the colonial-like scale and extractive nature of AI-related technologies developed by big tech companies, can a decolonial framing address broader socio-economic issues of power and agency within the creation and use of AI? This talk explores the varying views on “decolonizing” AI and will build upon work from the “AI Decolonial Manyfesto” collaborative effort.

[ Stanford HAI ]

The Conversation (0)

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

11 min read
Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less