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)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

Keep Reading ↓Show less