Video Friday: Pneumatic Babies, More ZenRobotics Epicness, and a Spanking Orchestra

The pneumatic babies are the spanking orchestra are, unfortunately, not in the same video, but they're both worth watching anyway

2 min read
Video Friday: Pneumatic Babies, More ZenRobotics Epicness, and a Spanking Orchestra

Yep, we sure do love robot babies. Especially ones where we have videos of them floundering around on the floor. There are other things we love too, like Curiosity and Darwin and overblown fake movie trailers and robot hands spanking a car to make music, and all of those things are coming up on this week's Video Friday.

The Curiosity rover has just started driving around on Mars, and the team at JPL were understandably excited when they got the first pics back confirming the successful maneuver:

W00T! Congrats!

[ MSL ]



Osaka University's Pneuborn project isn't new or anything, but we hadn't seen video of the pneumatically powered robot babies in action before. We've got one now:

This is Pneuborn-7II, a musculoskeletal infant robot that's being used to explore the association between cognitive development and movement in infants. It has 19 pneumatic muscles plus a jointed, actuated spine, and is powered by nightmares. Or air pressure. One of those.

[ Hosoda Lab ]



We've been fans of ZenRobotics ever since they released that epic trailer for... Uh... Whatever it is they do. But WHO CARES what they do, there's ANOTHER TRAILER:

Oh that's right, they do robotic recycling. Nifty. NOW BRING ME MOAR TRAILERS!

[ ZenRobotics ]



Paul Frederickson has wrapped up his Darwin DDR project, and posted a video summary.

Yep, officially better at DDR than this reporter.

[ Purdue ]



Those crazy kids over at Trossen Robotics have started to film some webisodes (that's still a word, right?) of what life is like deep inside a robotics shop. It apparently involves ignoring lots of phone calls on Sunday nights and lighting things on fire.

Episode 2 is here.

[ Trossen Robotics ]



And finally, it's what you've been waiting for. Or something. It's a bunch of robot hands making music by spanking a car, which is apparently what's known as a "Spanking Orchestra." In Japan, anyway.

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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