Video Friday: Disaster Superheroes, Balancing Cubes, and senseFly Tackles the Matterhorn

Exoskeletons for disaster relief, cubes that balance and dance, and something called the Harlem Shake: it's Video Friday

2 min read
Video Friday: Disaster Superheroes, Balancing Cubes, and senseFly Tackles the Matterhorn

Yes, Shredder is back, and he's working for Cyberdyne.

Cyberdyne's HAL powered exoskeleton is wicked awesome, and we've been waiting for the company to put it to some wicked awesome uses besides rehab. Looks like they've got one:

The company had already talked about using the exoskeleton for workers, and disaster relief is no longer the next logical step, but rather the logical next step. Plus, it looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie, and we always approve of that.

[ Cyberdyne ]



When we saw senseFly's eBee at Parrot's booth at CES in January, they told us that it was incredibly easy to use. Turns out it's so easy to use that you can take it skiing with you, if you want to document your favorite runs in 3D:

You can buy yourself an eBee for just $12k, which is really not that bad for a UAV that does everything for you with no mess and no fuss. Impressive.

senseFly ]

Thanks Adam!



Robots on Tour, a "World Congress and Exhibition of Robots, Humanoids, Cyborgs and more," opens in Zurich on March 9. Here's some of what you'll see:


Roboy will be there too, and it's learning how to shake hands, and possibly ride a bicycle:

[ Robots on Tour ]

[ Roboy ]



Robot ostrich from Russia:

Any questions? No? Good.

Via [ DVICE ]



Last time we checked in with Cubli, it was a one dimensional prototype. Now it's a full three dimensional cube that can balance itself, and Mohanarajah Gajamohan, Raffaello D’Andrea, and Igor Thommen are trying to teach it to hop up on its own and dance around a little bit:

Problem is, so much force is required on the reaction wheels that the thing breaks itself pretty quickly, which is cool all by itself. It's an ongoing research project, so we're looking forward to more updates/

[ Cubli ] via [ Robohub ]



For the first time ever, we've got a (fresh) sample of Mars rocks! Here's your Curiosity update:

[ MSL ]



Lastly this week, um, I kinda thought we were going to be able to entirely avoid this whole Harlem Shake meme, but alas, 'tis not to be. From UC BerkeleyBeatbots, and iRobot (in that order) here's... Well... Here's whatever this is:




The Conversation (0)

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

11 min read
Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less