The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Video Friday: Tightropes, Missiles, and Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov lays down the Laws in this week's robot Video Friday

2 min read
Video Friday: Tightropes, Missiles, and Isaac Asimov

We hope you and your robots made it through Hurricane Sandy unscathed, and if you're still without food or power, just remember that robots can be powered by humans but not vice versa. So watch your back. Here's our advice: keep your electronic friends distracted with this week's Video Friday.

This promotional video from Yaskawa is worth watching for three reasons: the soundtrack, a fleeting picture of "the world's first servo motor," and the soundtrack.

[ Yaskawa ]



What's that you say? You want more videos with fantastic soundtracks? The University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Lab knows where it's at.

This rover prototype is demonstrating the ability to retrace its tracks using just stereo vision, no GPS. This is important because on other planets, they don't have no GPS, yo. Also, if it wasn't clear, this video has been sped up by a significant but unspecified amount. ::cough::




Seriously, I don't know what it is this week, here's another robot vid with a good soundtrack, showing a modular robot connection system called ModLock. Watch through until the end to see a robot do a somersault.

Connection mechanisms are critical to many modular reconfigurable systems. This paper introduces the ModLock manual connection system which is both easy and fast to attach/detach (requires seconds) as well as strong (failure at 2.2kN tensile load). This low cost, low profile connection system has been demonstrated on a variety of robot configurations including legged walkers, flying quadrotors and wheeled robots.

[ ModLock: A Manual Connector for Reconfigurable Modular Robots ]



And now, a robot walking on a tightrope. With another halfway decent soundrack, if you're into the dance/techo sort of thing:


Via [ Robots Dreams ]



This footage of the KIBO show at Korea National Science Museum starts off with a Pirates of the Caribbean-y piece and then ends with a slightly weird KIBO dance number.



This is one robotic boat that you don't want to get on the bad side of, as this video shows the U.S. Navy testing out remote-fired anti-armor missiles.

The reason it looks like a series of misses it that the missiles are punching straight through that big target board and splashing into the water, but if that had been a real boat, there wouldn't even be enough left to salvage for scrap.

Via [ Danger Room ]



We'll finish up this week with a very short, but very awesome chip of a young Isaac Asimov (sans the trademark mutton chops he'd grow later) explaining the Three Laws of Robotics:

Apparently, I need to start pronouncing "robot" differently now. 

Via [ Neatorama ]

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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less