The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Robots! Videos! Friday! This week's video theme is "a week without a video theme." Trust me, don't try to overthink it and just go watch a bunch of robot vids, guaranteed to be 95% theme-free.

First off, how about some robot news updates? From MARS!

[ Curiosity ]

 

 

Russ Tedrake runs barefoot through the streets of Boston. And, he builds robots. Which thing is more awesome? You decide:

[ CSAIL ]

 

 

Yes, the PhantomX hexapod costs $2,000. But it's creepily fast and agile, so that automatically makes it worthwhile.

Via [ Robots-Dreams ]

 

 

With the power of a generous helping of Sugru, this robot can fix anything:

Via [ Trossen ]

 

 

Bot & Dolly released this short promo showing one of their camera robots flexing its motors with what looks like a Red Epic camera:

Who uses this sort of thing? Why, Keanu Reeves, of course:

[ Bot & Dolly ]

 

 

Moving lots of solar panels around by hand to track the sun is a boring job. Setting all of those solar panels up with motors instead is expensive. A cute little robot running on a track can solve both of these problems, plus a lot more that you surely never knew you had. You know, problems like a lack of cute little robots running on tracks in your life.

Faster, better, cheaper. It's what robots are all about. And they should all come with little houses, too.

[ QBotix ] via [ Robot Living ]

 

 

Lastly today, Northrop Grumman has posted one or two or like thirty new videos on their YouTube channel, and here are a bunch of robot ones, featuring appearances from the X-47B, the LEMV, and the Euro Hawk. Nothing new, really, but I still get a kick from watching these things fly around all by themselves.

 

The LEMV was piloted for this test flight, but it's optionally-manned.

 

[ Northrop Grumman ]

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
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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
DarkGray

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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