Video Friday: These Giant Robots Are Made of Air, Fabric

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

6 min read
Air Giants Luma soft robot
Photo: Air Giants

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!):

ACRA 2020 – December 8-10, 2020 – [Online]

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

“Who doesn’t love giant robots?”

Luma, is a towering 8 metre snail which transforms spaces with its otherworldly presence. Another piece, Triffid, stands at 6 metres and its flexible end sweeps high over audiences’ heads like an enchanted plant. The movement of the creatures is inspired by the flexible, wiggling and contorting motions of the animal kingdom and is designed to provoke instinctive reactions and emotions from the people that meet them. Air Giants is a new creative robotic studio founded in 2020. They are based in Bristol, UK, and comprise a small team of artists, roboticists and software engineers. The studio is passionate about creating emotionally effective motion at a scale which is thought-provoking and transporting, as well as expanding the notion of what large robots can be used for.

Here’s a behind the scenes and more on how the creatures work.

[ Air Giants ]

Thanks Emma!

If the idea of submerging a very expensive sensor payload being submerged in a lake makes you as uncomfortable as it makes me, this is not the video for you.

[ ANYbotics ]

As the pandemic continues on, the measures due to this health crisis are increasingly stringent, and working from home continues to be promoted and solicited by many companies, Pepper will allow you to keep in touch with your relatives or even your colleagues.

[ Softbank ]

Fairly impressive footwork from Tencent Robotics.

Although, LittleDog was doing that like a decade ago:

[ Tencent ]

It's been long enough since I've been able to go out for boba tea that a robotic boba tea kiosk seems like a reasonable thing to get for my living room.

[ Bobacino ] via [ Gizmodo ]

Road construction and maintenance is challenging and dangerous work. Pioneer Industrial Systems has spent over twenty years designing custom robotic systems for industrial manufacturers around the world. These robotic systems greatly improve safety and increase efficiency. Now they’re taking that expertise on the road, with the Robotic Maintenance Vehicle. This base unit can be mounted on a truck or trailer, and utilizes various modules to perform a variety of road maintenance tasks.

[ Pioneer ]

Extend Robotics arm uses cloud-based teleoperation software, featuring human-like dexterity and intelligence, with multiple applications in healthcare, utilities and energy

[ Extend Robotics ]

ARC, short for “AI, Robot, Cloud,” includes the latest algorithms and high precision data required for human-robot coexistence. Now with ultra-low latency networks, many robots can simultaneously become smarter, just by connecting to ARC. “ARC Eye” serves as the eyes for all robots, accurately determining the current location and route even indoors where there is no GPS access. “ARC Brain” is the computing system shared simultaneously by all robots, which plans and processes movement, localization, and task performance for the robot.

[ Naver Labs ]

How can we re-imagine urban infrastructures with cutting-edge technologies? Listen to this webinar from Ger Baron, Amsterdam’s CTO, and Senseable City Lab’s researchers, on how MIT and Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) are reimagining Amsterdam’s canals with the first fleet of autonomous boats.

[ MIT ]

Join Guy Burroughes in this webinar recording to hear about Spot, the robot dog created by Boston Dynamics, and how RACE plan to use it in nuclear decommissioning and beyond.

[ UKAEA ]

This GRASP on Robotics seminar comes from Marco Pavone at Stanford University, "On Safe and Efficient Human-robot interactions via Multimodal Intent Modeling and Reachability-based Safety Assurance."

In this talk I will present a decision-making and control stack for human-robot interactions by using autonomous driving as a motivating example. Specifically, I will first discuss a data-driven approach for learning multimodal interaction dynamics between robot-driven and human-driven vehicles based on recent advances in deep generative modeling. Then, I will discuss how to incorporate such a learned interaction model into a real-time, interaction-aware decision-making framework. The framework is designed to be minimally interventional; in particular, by leveraging backward reachability analysis, it ensures safety even when other cars defy the robot's expectations without unduly sacrificing performance. I will present recent results from experiments on a full-scale steer-by-wire platform, validating the framework and providing practical insights. I will conclude the talk by providing an overview of related efforts from my group on infusing safety assurances in robot autonomy stacks equipped with learning-based components, with an emphasis on adding structure within robot learning via control-theoretical and formal methods.

[ UPenn ]

Autonomous Systems Failures: Who is Legally and Morally Responsible? Sponsored by Northwestern University’s Law and Technology Initiative and AI@NU, the event was moderated by Dan Linna and included Northwestern Engineering's Todd Murphey, University of Washington Law Professor Ryan Calo, and Google Senior Research Scientist Madeleine Clare Elish.

[ Northwestern ]

"Who doesn't love giant robots?"

Luma, is a towering 8 metre snail which transforms spaces with its otherworldly presence. Another piece, Triffid, stands at 6 metres and its flexible end sweeps high over audiences' heads like an enchanted plant. The movement of the creatures is inspired by the flexible, wiggling and contorting motions of the animal kingdom and is designed to provoke instinctive reactions and emotions from the people that meet them. Air Giants is a new creative robotic studio founded in 2020. They are based in Bristol, UK, and comprise a small team of artists, roboticists and software engineers. The studio is passionate about creating emotionally effective motion at a scale which is thought-provoking and transporting, as well as expanding the notion of what large robots can be used for.

Here's a behind the scenes and more on how the creatures work.

[ Air Giants ]

Thanks Emma!

If the idea of submerging a very expensive sensor payload being submerged in a lake makes you as uncomfortable as it makes me, this is not the video for you.

[ ANYbotics ]


As the pandemic continues on, the measures due to this health crisis are increasingly stringent, and working from home continues to be promoted and solicited by many companies, Pepper will allow you to keep in touch with your relatives or even your colleagues.

[ Softbank ]

Fairly impressive footwork from Tencent Robotics.

Although, LittleDog was doing that like a decade ago:

[ Tencent ]

It's been long enough since I've been able to go out for boba tea that a robotic boba tea kiosk seems like a reasonable thing to get for my living room.

[ Bobacino ] via [ Gizmodo ]

Road construction and maintenance is challenging and dangerous work. Pioneer Industrial Systems has spent over twenty years designing custom robotic systems for industrial manufacturers around the world. These robotic systems greatly improve safety and increase efficiency. Now they're taking that expertise on the road, with the Robotic Maintenance Vehicle. This base unit can be mounted on a truck or trailer, and utilizes various modules to perform a variety of road maintenance tasks.

[ Pioneer ]

Extend Robotics arm uses cloud-based teleoperation software, featuring human-like dexterity and intelligence, with multiple applications in healthcare, utilities and energy

[ Extend Robotics ]

ARC, short for "AI, Robot, Cloud," includes the latest algorithms and high precision data required for human-robot coexistence. Now with ultra-low latency networks, many robots can simultaneously become smarter, just by connecting to ARC. "ARC Eye" serves as the eyes for all robots, accurately determining the current location and route even indoors where there is no GPS access. "ARC Brain" is the computing system shared simultaneously by all robots, which plans and processes movement, localization, and task performance for the robot.

[ Naver Labs ]

How can we re-imagine urban infrastructures with cutting-edge technologies? Listen to this webinar from Ger Baron, Amsterdam's CTO, and Senseable City Lab's researchers, on how MIT and Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) are reimagining Amsterdam's canals with the first fleet of autonomous boats.

[ MIT ]

Join Guy Burroughes in this webinar recording to hear about Spot, the robot dog created by Boston Dynamics, and how RACE plan to use it in nuclear decommissioning and beyond.

[ UKAEA ]

This GRASP on Robotics seminar comes from Marco Pavone at Stanford University, "On Safe and Efficient Human-robot interactions via Multimodal Intent Modeling and Reachability-based Safety Assurance."

In this talk I will present a decision-making and control stack for human-robot interactions by using autonomous driving as a motivating example. Specifically, I will first discuss a data-driven approach for learning multimodal interaction dynamics between robot-driven and human-driven vehicles based on recent advances in deep generative modeling. Then, I will discuss how to incorporate such a learned interaction model into a real-time, interaction-aware decision-making framework. The framework is designed to be minimally interventional; in particular, by leveraging backward reachability analysis, it ensures safety even when other cars defy the robot's expectations without unduly sacrificing performance. I will present recent results from experiments on a full-scale steer-by-wire platform, validating the framework and providing practical insights. I will conclude the talk by providing an overview of related efforts from my group on infusing safety assurances in robot autonomy stacks equipped with learning-based components, with an emphasis on adding structure within robot learning via control-theoretical and formal methods.

[ UPenn ]

Autonomous Systems Failures: Who is Legally and Morally Responsible? Sponsored by Northwestern University's Law and Technology Initiative and AI@NU, the event was moderated by Dan Linna and included Northwestern Engineering's Todd Murphey, University of Washington Law Professor Ryan Calo, and Google Senior Research Scientist Madeleine Clare Elish.

[ Northwestern ]

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
LightGreen

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.

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