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!):
ISRR 2019 – October 6-10, 2019 – Hanoi, Vietnam
Ro-Man 2019 – October 14-18, 2019 – New Delhi, India
Humanoids 2019 – October 15-17, 2019 – Toronto, Canada
ARSO 2019 – October 31-1, 2019 – Beijing, China
ROSCon 2019 – October 31-1, 2019 – Macau
IROS 2019 – November 4-8, 2019 – Macau
Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.
Caltech has been making progress on LEONARDO (LEg ON Aerial Robotic DrOne), their leggy thruster powered humanoid-thing. It can now balance and walk, which is quite impressive to see.
We’ll circle back again when they’ve got it jumping and floating around.
[ Caltech ]
Turn the subtitles on to learn how robots became experts at slicing bubbly, melty, delicious cheese.
These robots learned how to do the traditional Swiss raclette from demonstration. The Robot Learning & Interaction group at the Idiap Research Institute has developed an imitation learning technique allowing the robot to acquire new skills by considering position and force information, with an automatic adaptation to new situations. The range of applications is wide, including industrial robots, service robots, and assistive robots.
[ Idiap ]
Some amazing news this week from Skydio, with the announcement of their better in every single way Skydio 2 autonomous drone. Read our full article for details, but here’s a getting started video that gives you an overview of what the drone can do.
The first batch sold out in 36 hours, but you can put down a $100 deposit to reserve the $999 drone for 2020 delivery.
[ Skydio ]
UBTECH is introducing a couple new robot kits for the holidays: ChampBot and FireBot.
$130 each, available on October 20.
[ Ubtech ]
NASA’s InSight lander on Mars is trying to use its robotic arm to get the mission’s heat flow probe, or mole, digging again. InSight team engineer Ashitey Trebbi-Ollennu, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, explains what has been attempted and the game plan for the coming weeks. The next tactic they’ll try will be "pinning" the mole against the hole it’s in.
[ NASA ]
We introduce shape-changing swarm robots. A swarm of self-transformable robots can both individually and collectively change their configuration to display information, actuate objects, act as tangible controllers, visualize data, and provide physical affordances. ShapeBots is a concept prototype of shape-changing swarm robots. Each robot can change its shape by leveraging small linear actuators that are thin (2.5 cm) and highly extendable (up to 20cm) in both horizontal and vertical directions.
[ Ryo Suzuki ]
Vision 60 legged robot managing unstructured terrain without vision or force sensors in its legs. Using only high-transparency actuators and 2kHz algorithmic stability control... 4-limbs and 12-motors with only a velocity command.
[ Ghost Robotics ]
We asked real people to bring in real products they needed picked for their application. In MINUTES, we assembled the right tool.
This is a cool idea, but for a real challenge they should try it outside a supermarket. Or a pet store.
[ Soft Robotics ]
Good water quality is important to humans and to nature. In a country with as much water as the Netherlands has, ensuring water quality is a very labour-intensive undertaking. To address this issue, researchers from TU Delft have developed a ‘pelican drone’: a drone capable of taking water samples quickly, in combination with a measuring instrument that immediately analyses the water quality. The drone was tested this week at the new Marker Wadden nature area ‘Living Lab’.
[ MAVLab ]
In an international collaboration led by scientists in Switzerland, three amputees merge with their bionic prosthetic legs as they climb over various obstacles without having to look. The amputees report using and feeling their bionic leg as part of their own body, thanks to sensory feedback from the prosthetic leg that is delivered to nerves in the leg’s stump.
[ EPFL ]
It’s a little hard to see, but this is one way of testing out asteroid imaging spacecraft without actually going into space: a fake asteroid and a 2D microgravity simulator.
[ Caltech ]
Drones can help filmmakers do the kinds of shots that would be otherwise impossible.
[ DJI ]
[ AI Podcast ]
This week’s CMU RI Seminar comes from Tucker Hermans at the University of Utah, on “Improving Multi-fingered Robot Manipulation by Unifying Learning and Planning.”
Multi-fingered hands offer autonomous robots increased dexterity, versatility, and stability over simple two-fingered grippers. Naturally, this increased ability comes with increased complexity in planning and executing manipulation actions. As such, I propose combining model-based planning with learned components to improve over purely data-driven or purely-model based approaches to manipulation. This talk examines multi-fingered autonomous manipulation when the robot has only partial knowledge of the object of interest. I will first present results on planning multi-fingered grasps for novel objects using a learned neural network. I will then present our approach to planning in-hand manipulation tasks when dynamic properties of objects are not known. I will conclude with a discussion of our ongoing and future research to further unify these two approaches.
[ CMU RI ]
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.