Video Friday: Digger Finger

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Digger Finger
Photos: MIT

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!):

ICRA 2021 – May 30-June 5, 2021 – [Online Event]
RoboCup 2021 – June 22-28, 2021 – [Online Event]
RSS 2021 – July 12-16, 2021 – [Online Event]
DARPA SubT Finals – September 21-23, 2021 – Louisville, KY, USA
WeRobot 2021 – September 23-25, 2021 – Coral Gables, FL, USA
IROS 2021 – September 27-1, 2021 – [Online Event]
ROSCon 2021 – October 21-23, 2021 – New Orleans, LA, USA

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

MIT researchers have now designed a sharp-tipped robot finger equipped with tactile sensing to meet the challenge of identifying buried objects. In experiments, the aptly named Digger Finger was able to dig through granular media such as sand and rice, and it correctly sensed the shapes of submerged items it encountered. The researchers say the robot might one day perform various subterranean duties, such as finding buried cables or disarming buried bombs.

[ MIT ]

Bye bye, robots!

I’m sure they'll be fine. And I’m sure because they were, in fact, fine:

[ Squishy Robotics ]

This has to be the most heavily modified Husky I’ve ever seen.

[ ORI ]

TRI is now letting anyone build their own bubble gripper, which is very kind of them.

The Punyo bubbles employ state of the art visuotactile sensing techniques that allow a robot to recognize objects by shape, track their orientation in its grasp and sense forces as it interacts with the world. This feedback is critical as robots learn to push and pull on the world safely and robustly while assisting people by opening doors, putting things away, using household tools, and other domestic tasks.

[ Punyo ] via [ TRI ]

Thanks, Andrew!

Some impressive work from Giuseppe Loianno’s lab at NYU, showing cooperative aerial transport of a payload using only a monocular camera and IMU on each drone. No external anything!

[ Paper ] via [ ARPL ]

Thanks, Giuseppe!

Highly constrained manipulation tasks continue to be challenging for autonomous robots as they require high levels of precision. This paper demonstrates that the combination of state-of-the-art object tracking with passively adaptive mechanical hardware can be leveraged to complete precision manipulation tasks with tight, industrially-relevant tolerances (0.25mm).

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Fan!

Need a tank cleaned? HEBI's got you.

[ HEBI Robotics ]

Thanks, Hardik!

Multi-robotics cooperation is one of several key technologies that are seen as promising for planetary exploration. In the PRO-ACT project, these technologies were applied and further developed. The involved robotic systems VELES (a six-wheeled rover from PIAP Space, Poland), Mantis (a six-legged walking robotic system from DFKI, Germany) and the Mobile Gantry (a four-wheeled gantry with a 3D printer from AVS, Spain) were foreseen to perform tasks together.

[ Pro-Act ]

This work presents a new version of the tactile-sensing finger GelSlim 3.0, which integrates the ability to sense high-resolution shape, force, and slip in a compact form factor for use with small parallel jaw grippers in cluttered bin-picking scenarios. The novel design incorporates the capability to use real-time analytic methods to measure shape, estimate the contact 3D force distribution, and detect incipient slip.

[ GelSlim ]

A swarm of robots and a human collaborate to create paintings: Robotic Canvas was created in Bristol Robotics Laboratory (University of Bristol and University of the West of England), aiming at combining swarm robotics, human-robot interaction and art.

[ BRL ] via [ Robohub ]

As someone who plays rec soccer, I'm impressed. Also, lol.

[ Paper ]

It's unclear how big of a deal fomites actually are, but robots are out there zapping stuff anyway.

[ PAL ]

The Magic Queen is the largest ever made 3D printed, biodegradable structure, created with an ABB IRB 2600 robot, and tended by an ABB IRB IRB 4600. Showcased by the Austrian architectural bureau MAEID at the 17th International Architecture La Biennale di Venezia, the Magic Queen aims to inspire architects about the possibilities of automation and 3D printing, driving innovation and enabling new ways of building.

[ ABB ]

This video showcases our current research to address the challenges of aerial manipulation with omnidirectional flying robots at ETH Zurich's Autonomous systems lab. This topic connects several different topics of active research at our institute, including design and control of omnidirectional aerial manipulators, planning frameworks, and grasp detection.

[ ASL ]

Legged locomotion can extend the operational domain of robots to some of the most challenging environments on Earth. However, conventional controllers for legged locomotion are based on elaborate state machines that explicitly trigger the execution of motion primitives and reflexes. These designs have increased in complexity but fallen short of the generality and robustness of animal locomotion. Here, we present a robust controller for blind quadrupedal locomotion in challenging natural environments.

[ ETHZ ]

We sat down with ElliQ user Deanna Dezern to hear her heartwarming story on what it's been like to have ElliQ at home with her (throughout the pandemic and long before). She explains the meaningful bond she has developed with ElliQ, the value she has found in ElliQ, and how ElliQ helped her when she needed it most.

[ ElliQ ]

On May 13, 2021, the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and Tech Policy Lab co-hosted a virtual book talk featuring Kate Crawford, a leading scholar of the social implications of artificial intelligence and author of the recently published book, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (Yale University Press, April 2021). This recording features a discussion and Q&A moderated by UW School of Law professor Ryan Calo, a co-founder of the Center for an Informed Public and faculty co-director at the Tech Policy Lab.

[ UW ]

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
Horizontal
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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