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Video Friday: Catching Up

We go away to a conference for a week and look what happens: robot vids in double digits

2 min read
Video Friday: Catching Up

Well folks, this is what happens when we go away for a week: we come back to more robot videos than you can program a robot to shake a stick at. Make sure you have a comfy chair, because there's a good chance you'll be watching robot videos for the rest of the day.

The most important thing we missed last week was this:

There. You're caught up. Feel free to ignore the rest of this post.



You may have spotted Nimbro-OP in our IROS expo gallery; it's the new humanoid TeenSize open platform from the University of Bonn.

Like virtually all hobby-level humanoids of this size, Nimbo-OP is a leeeetle bit wobbly. but at least it's all smiles about it.

[ Nimbro-OP ]



Looks like somebody had some time to hit the beach at IROS:

[ Mobile Robots ]



That robotic turtle hasn't yet gotten its flippers wet, but here's some video of it pretending that's somehow very, very relaxing.

[ Naro Tartaruga ]



We love to see robotics research get commercialized, especially when really cool ideas end up available to consumers for cheap (like $80). Such is the case with this indestructible R/C helicopter, based on work from EPFL that we've been reporting on for years.

[ Kyosho ] via [ Gizmodo ]



We covered Matternet last year, but this video is a great reminder of why what they're working on is so cool, and so important.

[ Matternet ]



Here's a little bit of footage of Northrop Grumman's new UGV, Titus. It has four cameras and a six DoF arm, and is apparently quite capable, although the $175,000 pricetag makes us raise an eyebrow or two. 

Via [ AUVSI ]



This calligraphy robots is basically just a very fancy and complex photocopier: it records all the details of a brushstroke, and then can replay it over and over, creating endless identical versions of whatever you've taught it to draw.

Via [ Diginfo ]



Our very own robotics pro, Angelica Lim, gave a talk at TEDxKyoto "On Designing User-Friendly Robots," featuring Naoki:

[ TEDxKyoto ]



You remember Rethink Robotics' Baxter, right? Of course you do! Here it is, showing how it can work with both of its arms at the same time:

Baxter: for all your rubber ducky sorting needs.

[ Rethink Robotics ]



If that's not enough Baxter for you, we'll finish up this week with a long talk from Rodney Brooks at CMU on Baxter. This is actually the first public talk on Baxter, and if you've never heard Rod Brooks give a robotics talk before, it's definitely worth an hour of your time. It's not all about Baxer, and there's a bunch of cool little infonuggets in there, like what happens if you put a virtual wall on top of a Roomba, and why it might be a good idea. There's a Q&A session at the end, too. 

Rethink Robotics ]

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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