Video Friday: Drone Dogfight, 3D-Printed Arm, and Kicking a Robot

The best robot videos of the week are right here

4 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum’s digital innovation director.

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

Video Friday: Drone Dogfight, 3D-Printed Arm, and Kicking a Robot
Image: Oregon State University's Dynamic Robotics Laboratory

Drones are swarming this week’s Video Friday. Today we have no less than nine drone videos for you. Not into drones? Not a problem: We have plenty of non-flying robot videos as well. So let’s get started!

Drone photographers, drone filmmakers, and drone enthusiasts are gathering tomorrow in New York City for the first NYC Drone Film Festival. Here’s a teaser:

Via [ Here & Now ]

Remember that video of some guys having a first-person view drone race through the woods, Star Wars style? They have now posted a new video featuring their crashes, and it’s pretty fun to watch.  

[ YouTube ]

Speaking of drone racing, GigaOM’s Signe Brewster met with Raphael “Trappy” Pirker and his buddies from Team BlackSheep for some FPV flying.

GigaOM ]

For these guys in New York, racing isn’t cool enough, so they fitted their drones with some Nerf-like disc shooters for some drone dogfight action.

Via [ Motherboard ]

The Splash Drone is a waterproof drone that comes equipped with a camera and stabilized gimbal, a payload release mechanism, and even an emergency flare system. 

Looks cool, but what we really want is that wicked water-powered jet pack.

[ Kickstarter ]

The Robotics and Perception Group led by Prof. Davide Scaramuzza at the University of Zurich programmed one of their drones to let you take a “3D selfie.” Just lay down on this crazy rug and smile.

In this video, our drone autonomously flyes over a person and takes 3D scan of it. Suddenly, the person starts to move, trying to disturb the drone. However, our robust visual odometry and probabilistic dense reconstruction algorithms do not get disturbed by the motion of the subject and manage to get an accurate 3D scan of it and the surrounding scene. The visual odometry, planning, and control algorithms run fully onboard the drone, on a smartphone processor.

University of Zurich RPG ]

Looks like Christ the Redeemer also wanted a 3D picture of Himself. That wasn’t a problem for Pix4D, a Swiss aerial imaging technology company, which worked with researchers in Brazil to create a 3D model of the giant statue.

Pix4D, together with Canadian drone manufacturer Aeryon Labs Inc and PUC University of Rio de Janeiro created the first accurate 3D model of Brazil's most famous monument, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Via [ Drone Girl ]

It’s a “giant Crocs-themed vending machine...albeit with drones.” That’s how Engadget aptly describes this project.

It looked like a cool PR stunt…

...until drones and shoes started crashing on customers’ heads. Oops.

Via [ Engadget ]

Soon we won’t have to leave our homes anymore: we’ll sit on a comfy chair, cover our faces with a Oculus Rift, and teleoperate a surrogate robot to do our bidding in the real world. Wait, isn’t that a Bruce Willis movie?

Most of the applications developed for the Oculus Rift are just rendering a virtual world. The Institute i4Ds of FHNW School of Engineering wanted to go a step further: Show the real world. IRE is one of the first moved reality systems. It enables us to explore the world through the comfort of your own seat, using IRE as your eyes and ears.

Via [ Hackaday ]

We first met PLEN seven years ago, when it was still learning to stand and walk. Now it looks like the little robot is going places. 


[ PLEN Project ]

Advanced prosthetics are expensive. And insurance companies often don’t want to cover them for kids, because kids grow and the prosthetics will need to be replaced every six months or so. That’s why projects to make prosthetics cheaper, like this one at the University of Central Florida, are so important.

[ Collective Project

Robots that can work safely and collaboratively with humans are a welcome addition to the robotic workforce. But these robots also need to be smarter, requiring less programming and user intervention. 

Assembly line workers won't be swapping stories with their robotic counterparts any time soon, but future robots will be more aware of the humans they're working alongside. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), roboticist and aerospace engineer Julie Shah and her team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing next generation assembly line robots that are smarter and more adaptable than robots available on today's assembly lines. The team is designing the robots with artificial intelligence that enables them to learn from experience, so the robots will be more responsive to human behavior. The more robots can sense the humans around them and make adjustments, the safer and more effective the robots will be on the assembly line. 

[ MIT Interactive Robotics Group ]

“Robot, make me breakfast.”

[ Universität Koblenz-Landau ]

This video was posted last year, and it features robots from 1968. But who said old videos and old robots can’t be cool? 

[ British Pathé ]

We’d long wanted to see SRI’s Taurus in action. Here’s what this dexterous telepresence manipulation system can do:

SRI is developing Taurus, a potentially life-saving telemanipulation tool for military and domestic bomb squads to defuse vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). Taurus is available for commercial transfer. The remotely operated, 14x5-inch Taurus robot provides operators fine motor control in a compact frame. To intercept and defuse VBIEDs from a safe distance, the robot relays to a technician high-definition, 3D images, and also sends tactile feedback. The robot is easy to use and, according to IEEE Spectrum, it works so well that users forget they are working remotely. The robot also has potential applications for safeguarding an older person at home. For example, it could serve as an extra set of eyes for remote operators, such as relatives or authorized entities, to attend to certain tasks, such as turning off the oven.

[ SRI ]

ATRIAS, developed at Oregon State University, is a human-sized bipedal robot that can withstand some serious abuse.

ATRIAS will be demonstrated at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals in Pomona, Calif., in June.


Thanks Christian!

All that robot kicking might make some people upset, so maybe we should end with this important public service announcement (PSA) about “robotic animal cruelty.”

[ YouTube ]

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