Sometimes, I feel like if someone where to cut a hole in my head, they'd just see a couple servos and linkages and not much else, like the robot in this picture. Because that's what writing about robots this much will do to you, man. Having said that, I'd like to encourage all of you to not to try to cut holes in my head, and instead to just amuse yourselves with all of the videos we have for you this Friday.
You probably had no idea, but Bosch has likely made a significant percentage of the stuff that makes your car. They've been looking ahead a little bit, and are presently hard at work on a car that can drive itself:
Bosch is developing technologies for an intelligent forward thinking vehicle -- making the vision of injury and accident free driving reality. Automated driving synchronizes traffic flow, reducing travel times and fuel consumption. It reduces driver burden by taking over dedicated driving tasks -- in line with each individual's needs -- allowing all age ranges to be mobile and safe. Automated driving allows the vehicle to become a part of the driver's interconnected home and work life, making time spent on the road more productive and eventful.
Here's a bit more from Bosch on nearer-term semi-autonomous automotive tech:
By the way, Bosch, I happen to live in the SF Bay Area right where you filmed most of that car stuff, and I would happily risk life and limb being a crash test dummy in your robotic BMW. Just sayin'.
[ Bosch ]
Volvo has been working on autonomous driver assist features as well, and here's a video of some just-in-time autonomous braking on one of their trucks:
That trailer, incidentally, was loaded with 40 tons of I have no idea what. Impressive. More impressive: by 2015, systems like these will be a legal requirement for trucks in Europe.
[ Volvo ]
How about one more driving video? Here's DLR's driving simulator, which is mounted on a gigantic Kuka arm:
So, um, will it fit in my living room?
This next robot is more of a tank than a car or a truck. It's from Howe & Howe Technologies, who as far as I can tell just build ridiculously powerful robotic vehicles and then see what they can get them to do:
[ Howe & Howe ]
Evidently, Korean kids learn how to bow through practice, practice, practice:
Underwater ROV. Underwater ROV. Underwater ROV. Underwater ROV. Underwater ROV. WHALE!
"The DelFly team flies 6 flapping wing Micro Air Vehicles concurrently in an adaptive choreography." To be honest, I don't think I can possibly add anything to that.
[ Delfly ]
Apparently there's gonna be a new Robocop movie? Or something?
[ Omnicorp ]
Okay, just two words: chainsaw robot:
[ Designboom ]
This is kind of amazing: InMoov is an open source, largely 3D printable animatronic robot. You'll just need a 3D printer, a couple dozen servos, and a pair of Arduinos, and you can build yourself two arms and a torso for under $1,000.
[ InMoov ]
NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission is getting closer to The Main Event, which is (of course) refueling something robotically. It's harder than it sounds, but on-orbit tests are on-going:
[ Dextre ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.