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Video Friday: Chasing Police with Drones, Competitive Robot Foraging, and NAO Keeps a Beat

Post-holidays and pre-CES, we've managed to squeeze in the first Video Friday for 2013

2 min read
Video Friday: Chasing Police with Drones, Competitive Robot Foraging, and NAO Keeps a Beat

It's that weird time of year, right after the holidays and right before the Consumer Electronics Show, when most technology news is still on vacation. Robots, evidently, are not on vacation this week, so neither are we. Yay!

Here's something you should probably not do with a drone:

[ Team BlackSheep ]



Here's something you should feel free to do with a watermelon:

From the video description: "unfortunately the melon later tipped over and the electronics burned out from getting wet." And thus ends the electronic melon.

[ Starting Electronics ]



Hinamitetu’s robot gymnast has been working on some crazy stuff:

I'm not even sure humans can stick any of these moves.



Harvard's CS266 graduate course, "Bio-inspired Multi-agent Systems a.k.a Collective Intelligence," includes "a robotics project to design strategies for group foraging in both isolated and competitive settings. Each team had 3 epuck robots each, robots used only onboard sensing, and the goal was to collect as many pucks as possible within the 2 minute time limit."

[ Harvard CS266 ]



Here's a beat-tracking demo on a pair of NAO robots, featuring beat detection, joint motion detection, and motion synchronized to a MIDI player:

[ NAO Developer ]



iCub has graduated from crawling to standing, and its now able to balance by itself while grabbing for stuff thanks to some series elastic actuators in its knees and ankles:

[ RobotCub ]



"The DARPA ACTUV program aims to develop an unmanned autonomous surface vessel with the ability to track a quiet diesel-electric submarine overtly for months over thousands of kilometers, with minimal human input. SAIC provided conceptual design services in phase one of the program, creating an innovative wave piercing trimaran solution."

[ SAIC ]




And finally, here's a fascinating micropanel from Techonomy, featuring John Markoff, Rodney Brooks, and Andrew McAfee. The theme is "Where's My Robot," and it's well worth your 40 minutes, if for no other reason than Rodney Brooks is great to listen to.

[ Techonomy ] via [ Robots Dreams ]

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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