Video Friday: ANYmals and Animals

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: ANYmals and Animals

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. 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!):

ROSCon 2021 – October 20-21, 2021 – [Online Event]
Silicon Valley Robot Block Party – October 23, 2021 – Oakland, CA, USA
SSRR 2021 – October 25-27, 2021 – New York, NY, USA

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

This project investigates the interaction between robots and animals, in particular, the quadruped ANYmal and wild vervet monkeys. We will test whether robots can be tolerated but also socially accepted in a group of vervets. We will evaluate whether social bonds are created between them and whether vervets trust knowledge from robots.

[ RSL ]

At this year's ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), the Student Innovation Contest was based around Sony Toio robots. Here are some of the things that teams came up with:

[ UIST ]

Collecting samples from Mars and bringing them back to Earth will be a historic undertaking that started with the launch of NASA's Perseverance rover on July 30, 2020. Perseverance collected its first rock core samples in September 2021. The rover will leave them on Mars for a future mission to retrieve and return to Earth. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are solidifying concepts for this proposed Mars Sample Return campaign. The current concept includes a lander, a fetch rover, an ascent vehicle to launch the sample container to Martian orbit, and a retrieval spacecraft with a payload for capturing and containing the samples and then sending them back to Earth to land in an unpopulated area.

[ JPL ]

FCSTAR is a minimally actuated flying climbing robot capable of crawling vertically. It is the latest in the family of the STAR robots. Designed and built at the Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev by Nitzan Ben David and David Zarrouk.

[ BGU ]

Evidently the novelty of Spot has not quite worn off yet.

[ IRL ]

As much as I like Covariant, it seems weird to call a robot like this "Waldo" when the world waldo already has a specific meaning in robotics, thanks to the short story by Robert A. Heinlein.

Also, kinda looks like it failed that very first pick in the video...?

[ Covariant ]

Thanks, Alice!

Here is how I will be assembling the Digit that I'm sure Agility Robotics will be sending me any day now.

[ Agility Robotics ]

Robotis would like to remind you that ROS World is next week, and also that they make a lot of ROS-friendly robots!

[ ROS World ] via [ Robotis ]

Researchers at the Australian UTS School of Architecture have partnered with construction design firm BVN Architecture to develop a unique 3D printed air-diffusion system.

[ UTS ]

Team MARBLE, who took third at the DARPA SubT Challenge, has put together this video which combines DARPA's videos with footage taken by the team to tell the whole story with some behind the scenes stuff thrown in.


You probably don't need to watch all 10 minutes of the first public flight of Volocopter's cargo drone, but it's fun to see the propellers spin up for the takeoff.

[ Volocopter ]

Nothing new in this video about Boston Dynamics from CNBC, but it's always cool to see a little wander around their headquarters.

[ CNBC ]

Computing power doubles every two years, an observation known as Moore's Law. Prof Maarten Steinbuch, a high-tech systems scientist, entrepreneur and communicator, from Eindhoven University of Technology, discussed how this exponential rate of change enables accelerating developments in sensor technology, AI computing and automotive machines, to make products in modern factories that will soon be smart and self-learning.

[ ESA ]

On episode three of The Robot Brains Podcast, we have deep learning pioneer: Yann LeCun. Yann is a winner of the Turing Award (often called the Nobel Prize of Computer Science) who in 2013 was handpicked by Mark Zuckerberg to bring AI to Facebook. Yann also offers his predictions for the future of artificial general intelligence, talks about his life straddling the worlds of academia and business and explains why he likes to picture AI as a chocolate layer cake with a cherry on top.

[ Robot Brains ]

This week's CMU RI seminar is from Tom Howard at the University of Rochester, on "Enabling Grounded Language Communication for Human-Robot Teaming."

[ CMU RI ]

A pair of talks from the Maryland Robotics Center, including Maggie Wigness from ARL and Dieter Fox from UW and NVIDIA.

[ Maryland Robotics ]

The Conversation (0)

Can This DIY Rocket Program Send an Astronaut to Space?

Copenhagen Suborbitals is crowdfunding its crewed rocket

15 min read
Five people stand in front of two tall rockets. Some of the people are wearing space suits and holding helmets, others are holding welding equipment.

Copenhagen Suborbitals volunteers are building a crewed rocket on nights and weekends. The team includes [from left] Mads Stenfatt, Martin Hedegaard Petersen, Jørgen Skyt, Carsten Olsen, and Anna Olsen.

Mads Stenfatt

It was one of the prettiest sights I have ever seen: our homemade rocket floating down from the sky, slowed by a white-and-orange parachute that I had worked on during many nights at the dining room table. The 6.7-meter-tall Nexø II rocket was powered by a bipropellant engine designed and constructed by the Copenhagen Suborbitals team. The engine mixed ethanol and liquid oxygen together to produce a thrust of 5 kilonewtons, and the rocket soared to a height of 6,500 meters. Even more important, it came back down in one piece.

That successful mission in August 2018 was a huge step toward our goal of sending an amateur astronaut to the edge of space aboard one of our DIY rockets. We're now building the Spica rocket to fulfill that mission, and we hope to launch a crewed rocket about 10 years from now.

Copenhagen Suborbitals is the world's only crowdsourced crewed spaceflight program, funded to the tune of almost US $100,000 per year by hundreds of generous donors around the world. Our project is staffed by a motley crew of volunteers who have a wide variety of day jobs. We have plenty of engineers, as well as people like me, a pricing manager with a skydiving hobby. I'm also one of three candidates for the astronaut position.

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