The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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This a robotic snake that SHOOTS A FRIKKIN' LASER OUT OF ITS FACE. What more could you POSSIBLY want on a Friday? Oh, you want lots more robot videos? Okay, we can do that too.

We totally weren't kidding about the Laser Snake. We would never, ever kid about a laser snake, because that just wouldn't be funny. This is a snake-arm robot from OC Robotics that's been outfitted with a 5kW laser BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME:

Actually, it was outfitted with the laser in order to assist with "dismantling and decommissioning complex structures in hazardous and confined nuclear environments." BUT ALSO BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME.

[ OC Robotics ]

 

 

Massive congratulations (I think we're allowed to give those out) to Leila Takayama of Willow Garage, who was declared one of Tech Review's top 35 innovators under 35 for her work on "applying the tools of social science to make robots easier to live and work with."

What, so the fact that I always want to run up and hug a PR2 every time I see one is somehow weird? I think it's more of a compliment to the design, myself.

[ TR35 ]

 

 

Yes, you can now fly robotic aircraft just by thinking. Thinking with your brain:

Via [ New Scientist ]

 

 

StarlETH is a quadruped robot from ETH Zurich. It may look kinda like LittleDog, but it's not exactly little:

Yeah, keep that beast on a leash, please. It doesn't need a leash, though, since it's fully capable of taking itself for walks over obstacles. And on a treadmill:

[ ETH Zurich ]

 

 

We don't cover games that much, but this looked kind of neat. It's called Rawbots, and you can build and program your own virtual robot thing and then do, um, stuff with it. Like shoot other robots.

[ Rawbots ]

 

 

HugBot is a rather intimidatingly large robotic polar bear that will measure your pulse and breathing rate while attempting to squeeze the life out of you giving you a hug:

[ UrRobot ] via [ Plastic Pals ]

 

 

Northrop Grumman has some big scary unmanned systems and they're using this video with big scary music to remind you about all of them:

The thing that's labeled as FireScout, btw, is actually Fire-X.

[ Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems ]

 

 

And lastly this week, a film by PrallPlatte. I'll admit to not always understanding what's going on, but that steam-powered robot-driving mini-Audi is pretty darn cool.

[ PrallPlatte@YouTube ]

The Conversation (0)

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
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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
DarkGray

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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