Video Friday: Fly-By Grasping, Quadrotors in Africa, and ROS Does Minecraft

With ICRA 2013 in just a few months, robotics research videos are on the rise, and we've got them here for you

3 min read
Video Friday: Fly-By Grasping, Quadrotors in Africa, and ROS Does Minecraft

You know it's getting close to a major robotics conference (like this one) when unexpectedly awesome videos suddenly show up on the Internet out of nowhere. You know, like a drone that can fly by and grab stuff like a bald eagle. Sweet!

Yeah, it's an ICRA (IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation) spoiler from UPenn, but what the heck, we'll be there in Germany anyway, just in case they manage to teach this thing to catch real fish. 

[ UPenn ] via [ DVICE ]



We already know that it's possible to take some spectacular and unprecedented videos using quadrotors as camerabots, but this footage, shot in Africa for NBC with a Microdrone, is some of the best we've seen.



Can't afford a quadrotor? No problem! Just build an infinite number of paper airplanes instead, using a paper airplane folding robot made out of LEGO bricks.

Shot at 3x speed, according to the video description.

[ Mindstorms ] via [ Make ]



Okay. enough flying stuff. Remember those cute little elemental robot boats, also from UPenn? This video adds some new footage along with extra info, plus with some groovy mood music that makes it worth watching:




It was inevitable, I guess: a fusion of ROS and... Wait for it... Minecraft. Now, using a Kinect sensor and ROS, you can import the a blocky 3D scan of the real world straight into Minecraft! YES! FINALLY!!!

[ ROS News ]



Czech out Nao's highly Polish-ed language interaction software! If I were you, I'd be Russian out the door to get it right now, because it's totally Swede. Ok, I'm Finnished.

[ Aldebaran Robotics ]



Skip to about one minute in this video to see this robotic gymnast stick a dismount that is fancy enough that I can't immediately Google the name of it. And that's impressive.



TacoCopter is still not real. But this is:

WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY. From the video description: "The taco survived a few test flights so I ate it."




Last year, we wrote an article about how the Bebionic cyborg hand is perfect for pouring a beer and doing anything else. Nigel's got a follow up video where he talks about more stuff that the hand allows him to do, including things that you can't do with your real hand:

Full wrist rotation? Pruning rosebushes? Detachability? Sooner or later, these things are going to be available as "upgrades."

[ Bebionic ]



Bot & Dolly brought a hulking industrial arm with a high speed camera to a robot-themed Nightlife event at the California Academy of Sciences last week, and encouraged guests to do crazy stuff while being filmed. Here are some results:

[ Bot & Dolly ]



These teensize and adultsize humanoids for RoboCup soccer competitions look slick, even if they are just as wobbly as pretty much every other large hobby humanoid out there right now:




Sparkfun's autonomous vehicle competition is back, and it's moved from going around their building to going around a big reservoir, providing ample challenges for UAVs and UGVs alike. We'll finish up this week with an overview of the course, and it's exciting to think about how far we've come now that people can build robots in their basements that can actually complete all of these objectives:

[ Sparkfun AVC ]


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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