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Video Friday: Pretending to Learn Things at Stanford, Emys Likes Colors, and a Girlfriend for Robonaut

In space, nobody can hear your robot scream that he needs some female companionship already

2 min read
Video Friday: Pretending to Learn Things at Stanford, Emys Likes Colors, and a Girlfriend for Robonaut

Robonaut would be a pretty desirable dude to date. Good looks, steady job, big muscles, what more could a lady robot want? To make this love story happen, we just need to send a lady robot into space, and AILA could be the one. Look for the feature film (Cooperative Microgravitic Manipulation: a Romance) to premiere on Video Friday just as soon as we can make it happen, but for this week, you'll just have to suffer through what amounts to a teaser trailer instead. But don't worry, it's not all disappointment... That's the beauty of Video Friday: it's a simultaneous microcosm of everything that is right and wrong with the universe. And while you're thinking that one through, enjoy this week's vids.

Back when I was in school, we had to do work. And learn stuff. At Stanford, they get to just build robots for fun:

[ Stanford ]



Remember Emys, that weirdly expressive robot from Poland? It's learning colors, and whether or not it's being intentionally funny (or just Polish), this video is intermittently hilarious. Skip ahead a bit and you'll see.


[ Emys ]



Instead of teaching their robotic limb to throw and punch and kick using powerful motors, researchers at the University of Edinburgh are programming elastic actuators to store up and then explosively release energy for throwing and punching and kicking. Since, you know, that's exactly what we want to be teaching robots. 

Via [ Autonomous Robots ]



Ford uses a robot named RUTH (Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics) to quantify things like softness and feel to help develop standards for ambiguous terms like "quality:"

So, er, how do you know it's a she?

Via [ Engadget ]



Robonaut is probably getting lonely up there on the ISS with only SPHERES for company, so he ought to be happy that DFKI's AILA is training for space:

[ DFKI ]

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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