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!):
HRI 2020 – March 23-26, 2020 – Cambridge, U.K. [CANCELED]
ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – Ponta Delgada, Azores
ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – Paris, France
ICUAS 2020 – June 9-12, 2020 – Athens, Greece
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.
Having robots learn dexterous tasks requiring real-time hand-eye coordination is hard. Many tasks that we would consider simple, like hanging up a baseball cap on a rack, would be very challenging for most robot software. What’s more, for a robot to learn each new task, it typically takes significant amounts of engineering time to program the robot. Pete Florence and Lucas Manuelli in the Robot Locomotion Group took a step closer to that goal with their work.
[ Paper ]
Octo-Bouncer is not a robot that bounces an octopus. But it’s almost as good. Almost.
[ Electron Dust ]
D’Kitty (pronounced as “The Kitty”) is a 12-degree-of-freedom platform for exploring learning-based techniques in locomotion and it’s adooorable!
[ D’Kitty ]
Knightscope Autonomous Security Robot meets Tesla Model 3 in Summon Mode! See, nothing to fear, Elon. :-)
The robots also have a message for us:
[ Knightscope ]
If you missed the robots vs. humans match at RoboCup 2019, here are the highlights.
[ Tech United ]
Fraunhofer developed this cute little demo of autonomously navigating, cooperating mobile robots executing a miniaturized logistics scenario involving chocolate for the LogiMAT trade show. Which was canceled. But enjoy the video!
[ Fraunhofer ]
Drones can potentially be used for taking soil samples in awkward areas by dropping darts equipped with accelerometers. But the really clever bit is how the drone can retrieve the dart on its own.
[ UH ]
Rope manipulation is one of those human-easy robot-hard things that’s really, really robot-hard.
[ UC Berkeley ]
Autonomous landing on a moving platform presents unique challenges for multirotor vehicles, including the need to accurately localize the platform, fast trajectory planning, and precise/robust control. This work presents a fully autonomous vision-based system that addresses these limitations by tightly coupling the localization, planning, and control, thereby enabling fast and accurate landing on a moving platform. The platform’s position, orientation, and velocity are estimated by an extended Kalman filter using simulated GPS measurements when the quadrotor-platform distance is large, and by a visual fiducial system when the platform is nearby. To improve the performance, the characteristics of the turbulent conditions are accounted for in the controller. The landing trajectory is fast, direct, and does not require hovering over the platform, as is typical of most state-of-the-art approaches. Simulations and hardware experiments are presented to validate the robustness of the approach.
[ MIT ACL ]
And now, this.
[ Soft Robotics ]
The EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) recently worked with Exyn Technologies, a pioneer in autonomous aerial robot systems, for a safety and data collection demonstration at Exelon’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania. Exyn’s drone was able to autonomously inspect components in elevated hard to access areas, search for temperature anomalies, and collect dose rate surveys in radiological areas— without the need for a human operator.
[ Exyn ]
Relax: Pepper is here to help with all of your medical problems.
[ Softbank ]
Amir Shapiro at BGU, along with Yoav Golan (whose work on haptic control of dogs we covered last year), have developed an interesting new kind of robotic finger with passively adjustable friction.
UBTECH’s Alpha Mini Robot with Smart Robot’s “Maatje” software is expected to offer healthcare services to children at Sint Maartenskliniek in the Netherlands. Before that, three of them have been trained to have exercise, empathy and cognition capabilities.
[ UBTECH ]
Get ready for CYBATHLON, postponed to September 2020!
[ Cybathlon ]
In partnership with the World Mosquito Program (WMP), WeRobotics has led the development and deployment of a drone-based release mechanism that has been shown to help prevent the incidence of Dengue fever.
[ WeRobotics ]
Sadly, koalas today face a dire outlook across Australia due to human development, droughts, and forest fires. Events like these and a declining population make conservation and research more important than ever. Drones offer a more efficient way to count koalas from above, covering more ground than was possible in the past. Dr. Hamilton and his team at the Queensland University of Technology use DJI drones to count koalas, using the data obtained to better help these furry friends from down under.
[ DJI ]
Fostering the Next Generation of Robotics Startups | TC Sessions: Robotics
Robotics and AI are the future of many or most industries, but the barrier of entry is still difficult to surmount for many startups. Speakers will discuss the challenges of serving robotics startups and companies that require robotics labor, from bootstrapped startups to large scale enterprises.
[ TechCrunch ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.
Erico Guizzo is the digital product manager at IEEE Spectrum. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.