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Video Friday: One Moose, One Hundred Kilobots, and Robots Refueling Satellites

Thanks to a pair of Kilobot videos, this Video Friday likely contains more robots than ever before

2 min read
Video Friday: One Moose, One Hundred Kilobots, and Robots Refueling Satellites

Seeing a few cool new robots at CES was a great way to kick off 2013, but now we've got a bit of a lull until our next big events (like ICRA in Germany) start to hit in a few months. But that's okay: we'll have plenty of projects to keep us busy, one of which we should be able to tell you about next week! Until then, here's a swarm of robot vids to keep you entertained.

There have been lots of questions as to what Rethink's robot Baxter is actually capable of, you know, doing. Rethink put together this little montage of the robot setting up containers with a vacuum gripper, sorting parts, loading gears into partitioned boxes, re-orienting objects and packing boxes, and loading/unloading a conveyor.

[ Rethink ]



PancakeBot totally deserves to be at Maker Faire this year:

If you want to help send PancakeBot and the PancakeBot team to Maker Faire (certainly a good cause), you can toss them a couple bucks over on Indiegogo.

[ PancakeBot ] via [ EMS ]



Dextre is the largest member of a small family of robots up on the International Space Station. It's designed to work outside in space so that human astronauts don't have to risk it, and its latest trick is learning how to refuel satellites:

[ Dextre ]



What can you do with a hundred kilobots? Let's see, you can send them chasing after a light source:

Or, you can rig them up to harnesses for some reason and have them drag stuff around for you:

[ SSR ]



Seriously, how often do you see a wild moose checking out a domesticated quadrotor?

[ eirikso ] via [ BBG ]



I don't speak German, but I think I get the idea for this thing: it's a robot that runs with you, setting a pace and perhaps leading you along a route as well?

Hopefully it's also capable enough to give you a ride back home when you get tuckered out.



Thank you, Japan, for turning a humanoid robot into a hexacopter:

Via [ Robots Dreams ]



This anti-bird robot, which drives around and makes lound noises and shoots lasers, is basically what every little kid wants to drive when they grow up:

I have to wonder, though, if this robot passes the Minion Test. The Minion Test is my own personal criteria for judging the usefulness of a telepresence robot: namely, is the robot somehow better or more cost effective than having a minion carry around a laptop running Skype. This can be applied to just about any robot, not just telepresence, and I think in this case, having a person with a megaphone in a golf cart would likely be an equally effective, more reliable, and enormously cheaper method of airport bird control.

Via [ SciAm ]



Shadow Robot Company has taught their Shadow hand to do some impressive tricks with a business card:

[ SRC ]



Our last video for the week is a 10 minute update on what Robonaut 2's been up to aboard the ISS:

[ NASA ]

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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