Video Friday: AcroMonk

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

A GIF of a small robot made of two limbs and a joint swinging along the bars of a horizontal ladder

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON
Energy Drone & Robotics Summit: 10–12 June 2023, HOUSTON, TEXAS, USA
RoboCup 2023: 4–10 July 2023, BORDEAUX, FRANCE
RSS 2023: 10–14 July 2023, DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA
IEEE RO-MAN 2023: 28–31 August 2023, BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA
CLAWAR 2023: 2–4 October 2023, FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL

Enjoy today’s videos!

Brachiation is the dynamic, coordinated swinging maneuver of the body and arms that is used by monkeys and apes to move between branches. As a unique underactuated mode of locomotion, it is interesting to study from a robotics perspective since it can broaden the deployment scenarios for humanoids and animaloids. While several brachiating robots of varying complexity have been proposed in the past, this paper presents the simplest possible prototype of a brachiation robot, using only a single actuator and unactuated grippers.

[ AcroMonk ]

A team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is creating and testing a snakelike robot called EELS (Exobiology Extant Life Surveyor). Inspired by a desire to descend to vents on Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus and enter the subsurface ocean, this versatile robot is being developed to autonomously map, traverse, and explore previously inaccessible destinations on Earth, the moon, and other worlds in our solar system.

[ JPL ]

Elythor, an EPFL spin-off, has developed a new drone whose wing shape can adapt to wind conditions and flight position in real time, reducing the drone’s energy consumption. What’s more, the position of the wings can change, allowing the drone to fly vertically or horizontally. These features make it a perfect candidate for inspecting power plants.

[ Elythor ] via [ EPFL ]

Can robots keep physical contact while moving fast? Sure they can!

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Maged!

Maciej Stępień writes, “Roomac is a mobile manipulation platform that I was able to build for [US] $550. It consists of a differential drive mobile base and a 5-DoF manipulator with a gripper. Software is based on ROS, as a proof-of-concept application I implemented fetching bottle to the user.”

[ Roomac ]

Thanks, Maciej!

Personally, I think the remake is way better than the original on this one.

[ Box Shop ] via [ Engadget ]

Watch and listen to this video from Agility Robotics on perception.

[ Agility ]

From radiotherapy to joint surgery and hair transplants, our KUKA robot technology is already being used in numerous medical devices.

[ Kuka ]

By combining Gecko’s advanced robotics, AI-powered software platform, and digital twin modeling, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) created a smart maintenance program to transform their safety and reliability standards.

[ Gecko Robotics ]

This video presents results on the autonomous exploration of multiple ballast water-tank compartments inside a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. To execute the mission, the robot performs simultaneous localization and mapping; represents the world using voxels, thus allowing it to conduct volumetric calculations; plans exploratory paths within each compartment; and detects and localizes the manholes within them.

[ ARL ]

Robots still have a lot to learn from humans when it comes to manipulation.

[ Extend Robotics ]

Helping develop the next generation of engineers and technicians, volunteers from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, in Edwards, Calif., assisted students competing in the Aerospace Valley Regional Robotics Competition.

If the competition makes no sense to you, that’s normal for FIRST.

[ NASA ]

This video is about Team ORIon’s participation in the 2022 RoboCup held in Bangkok, Thailand. RoboCup is an international robotics competition that promotes research in robotics and AI. Team ORIon, supported by the ORI, the Department of Engineering Science, and private donors, sent nine members to compete in the @Home domestic standard platform league.

[ ORI ]

I would love a robot hiking buddy, especially one that’s better at hiking than I am.

[ RaiLab ]

On this episode of the Robot Brains podcast, Pieter Abbeel interviews Geoff Hinton, the “Godfather of AI.”

[ Robot Brains ]

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