The July 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Video Friday: Baby Clappy

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
Two cartoonish round red robots with clapping hands above their head next to a smaller, cuter version of the same robot

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4 November–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14 December–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

The secret to making a robot is to pick one thing and do it really, really well. And then make it smaller and cheaper and cuter!

Not sure how much Baby Clappy is going to cost quite yet, but listen for it next year.

[ Baby Clappy ]

Digit is capable of navigating a wide variety of challenging terrain. Robust dynamic stability paired with advanced perception capabilities enable Digit to maneuver through a logistics warehouse environment or even a stretch of trail in the woods. Today Digit took a hike in our own backyard, along the famous Pacific Crest Trail.

[ Agility Robotics ]

The match of Tech United versus the ladies from Vitória Sport Clube during the European RoboCup 2022 in Guimarães, Portugal. Note that the ladies intentionally tied against our robots, so we could end the game in penalties.

[ Tech United ]

Franka Production 3 is the force-sensitive robot platform made in Germany, an industry system that ignites productivity for everyone who needs industrial robotics automation.

[ Franka Emika ]

David demonstrates advanced manipulation skills with the 7-degrees-of-freedom arm and fully articulated five-finger hand using a pipette. To localize the object, we combine multi-object tracking with proprioceptive measurements. Together with path planning, this allows for controlled in-hand manipulation.


DeepRobotics has signed a strategic agreement with Huzhou Institute of Zhejiang University for cooperating on further research to seek various possibilities in drones and quadrupeds.

[ Deep Robotics ]

Have you ever wondered if that over-the-counter pill you took an hour ago is helping to relieve your headache? With NSF's support, a team of Stanford University mechanical engineers has found a way to target drug delivery…to better attack that headache. Meet the millirobots. These finger-size, wireless, origami-inspired, amphibious robots could become medicine’s future lifesaver.

[ Zhao Lab ]

Engineers at Rice University have developed a method that allows humans to help robots “see” their environments and carry out tasks. The strategy called Bayesian Learning IN the Dark—BLIND, for short—is a novel solution to the long-standing problem of motion planning for robots that work in environments where not everything is clearly visible all the time.

[ Rice ]

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

“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.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less