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Video Friday: Agile Amphibious Robot, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

5 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Pliant Energy Systems amphibious robot
Image: Pliant Energy Systems via YouTube

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

Robotic Arena – January 12, 2019 – Wrocław, Poland
RoboDEX – January 16-18, 2019 – Tokyo, Japan

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

The bar has now been set for robot holiday videos, thanks to FZI. Happy ROS-lidays!

Still waiting for a robot with a cookie to show up at my door. Any time now, I’m sure. 

[ FZI ]

Thanks Arne!

Looks like Honda will be showing a new mobile robot at CES next month:

Honda PATHBot is a robot equipped with AI that recognizes surrounding situations and moves with the optimum route to the destination while avoiding people and obstacles. Honda aims at a society in which robotic devices coexist and cooperate with people and expand the possibilities of people. PATHBot has a function to smoothly move public space where people go, without giving anxiety to people, which is essential for utilizing robotics devices in real society.

[ Honda ] via [ Robotstart ]

Berkshire Grey is helping customers radically change the essential way they do business by delivering game-changing technology that combines AI and robotics to automate omni-channel fulfillment. Berkshire Grey solutions are a fundamental engine of change that moves you forward by transforming pick, pack and sort operations to deliver competitive advantage for enterprises serving today’s connected consumers.

If they’d tried to cram any more buzzwords into that video, I think YouTube would have exploded.

[ Berkshire Grey ]

This is not the first fin-powered robot we’ve seen, but it could be the first one with this level of multimodal capability.

Also good for “personal propulsion for professional divers and recreational use.” Sign me up!

[ Pliant Energy Systems ] via [ Gizmodo ]

LBR iisy is KUKA’s new lightweight, safe and industrially proven robot meant to break all barriers to automation - available in the first part of 2019. In this demo see how it can be used to quickly solve repetitive tasks such as screen testing.

Kuka ]

Nice behind-the-scenes and overview of Engineered Arts’ “Robotic Theatre” project, installed at a science center in Warsaw, Poland.

Engineered Arts Director Will Jackson, explains about the developments that have fed Engineered Arts’ latest creation "Robotic Theatre" Looking at the recent installation at Copernicus Science Centre, in Warsaw, Poland. The theatre consists of 3 robothespians, each on their own Smooth Mover track system. The system also controls moving head lights and a moving projector. All with the easy to use touchscreen interface.

Engineered Arts ]

GT AutoRally is faster and furiouser than ever:

In this paper we present a framework for combining deep learning-based road detection, particle filters, and Model Predictive Control (MPC) to drive aggressively using only a monocular camera, IMU, and wheel speed sensors. This framework uses deep convolutional neural networks combined with LSTMs to learn a local cost map representation of the track in front of the vehicle. A particle filter uses this dynamic observation model to localize in a schematic map, and MPC is used to drive aggressively using this particle filter based state estimate. We show extensive real world testing results, and demonstrate reliable operation of the vehicle at the friction limits on a complex dirt track. We reach speeds above 27 mph (12 m/s) on a dirt track with a 105 foot (32m) long straight using our 1:5 scale test vehicle.

[ GT AutoRally ]

From the Personal Robotics Lab at the University of Washington: “Eating is an activity of daily living (ADL) and losing the ability to self-feed can be devastating. Through this project, we are developing algorithms and technologies towards a robotic system that can autonomously feed people with upper-extremity mobility impairments.”

[ Personal Robotics Lab ]

Abdu Irscheid wrote in to share some new quadrotor research from Saarland University: “This standard quadcopter is equipped with a novel global impedance controller for position and attitude. It is capable of tracking most aggressive maneuvers involving 2g of acceleration and arbitrary attitudes while maintaining position errors of just a few millimeters. The video shows example maneuvers (fast transitions, loopings and flips) and measurements proving the excellent tracking performance.”

[ Saarland University ]

Thanks Abdu!

This is what electrical engineers do for a living, I guess?

[ Roboy ]

In a world first, an undersea robot has dispersed microscopic baby corals (coral larvae) to help scientists working to repopulate parts of the Great Barrier Reef during this year’s mass coral spawning event.

[ QUT ]

Vector can now embody Alexa, and it’s surprisingly effective, I think:

Okay, but did he go to bed with socks on though.

[ Anki ]

The World Mosquito Program (WMP) and WeRobotics are joining forces to combat mosquito-borne diseases, in a first-ever trial using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to release Wolbachia carrying mosquitoes in Nakasi, Fiji. The aerial release testing is carried out by local drone pilots from South Pacific Flying Labs.

[ WeRobotics ]

ANYmal strutting its stuff on German TV, a little more dynamically than we often see it. If German TV isn’t your jam, try turning on the auto-translated subtitles.

[ ANYmal ]

Thanks Marko!

Here’s an overview of where the Mars 2020 rover is heading.

[ NASA ]

Don’t worry, folks—robots may steal your job one day, but they’ll probably never be able to dance this well.

Whatever that upgrade is at 2:58 that turns dancing robots into dancing fruits and vegetables, um, where can I get some of that?

[ YouTube ]

We’re used to seeing robots from companies like Boston Dynamics run, jump and even do parkour. But the robots at the Amber Lab aren’t just about performing fancy tricks. By understanding how robots locomote, researchers at the lab can directly translate that to devices that help people with walking difficulties. Or people who can’t walk at all.

[ CNET ]

We learn about robotics in the factory with BMW and SwRI, curators of ROS-Industrial an open-source robotics project. Our journey starts in San Antonio Texas where we meet with Matt Robinson from SwRI and look at robots in the research laboratory. Then open source takes to the open road as we travel to Germany to look at how BMW is innovating in logistics using smart transport robots in their production facilities.

[ ROS Industrial ]

Stuart Russell is a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley and a co-author of the book that introduced me and millions of other people to AI, called “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach.” This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast and the MIT course 6.S099: Artificial General Intelligence.

[ Lex Friedman ]

This is only sort of robotics related, but it’s not every day that you get Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, and Randy Katz on one stage together. This is from DARPA D60 earlier this year.

The Internet has given rise to new industries and transformed everyday life. It has enabled the transition from the industrial age to the information age, profoundly changing the nature of the global economy. DARPA funded the development of the ARPAnet in the 1970s and has continued to fund innovation in networked communications. Panelists discuss the pivotal roles that they played in the formation of the modern Internet and their visions of how it will develop over the course of the next fifty years.

[ DARPA D60 ]

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