Entertainment robot Mesmer by Engineered Arts
Image: Engineered Arts

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 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online Conference]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online Conference]
ICRA 2021 – May 30-5, 2021 – Xi'an, China

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

Engineered Arts' latest Mesmer entertainment robot is Cleo. It sings, gesticulates, and even does impressions. 

[ Engineered Arts ]

I do not know what this thing is or what it's saying but Panasonic is going to be selling them and I will pay WHATEVER. IT. COSTS.

Slightly worrisome is that Google Translate persistently thinks that part of the description involves "sleeping and flatulence."

[ Panasonic ] via [ RobotStart ]

Spot Enterprise is here to help you safely ignore every alarm that goes off at work while you're snug at home in your jammies drinking cocoa.

That Spot needs a bath.

If you missed the launch event (with more on the arm), check it out here:

[ Boston Dynamics ]

PHASA-35, a 35m wingspan solar-electric aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight in Australia, February 2020. Designed to operate unmanned in the stratosphere, above the weather and conventional air traffic, PHASA-35 offers a persistent and affordable alternative to satellites combined with the flexibility of an aircraft, which could be used for a range of valuable applications including forest fire detection and maritime surveillance.

[ BAE Systems ]

As part of the Army Research Lab’s (ARL) Robotics Collaborative Technology Alliance (RCTA), we are developing new planning and control algorithms for quadrupedal robots. The goal of our project is to equip the robot LLAMA, developed by NASA JPL, with the skills it needs to move at operational tempo over difficult terrain to keep up with a human squad. This requires innovative perception, planning, and control techniques to make the robot both precise in execution for navigating technical obstacles and robust enough to reject disturbances and recover from unknown errors.

[ IHMC ]

Watch what happens to this drone when it tries to install a bird diverter on a high voltage power line:

[ GRVC ]

Soldiers navigate a wide variety of terrains to successfully complete their missions. As human/agent teaming and artificial intelligence advance, the same flexibility will be required of robots to maneuver across diverse terrain and become effective combat teammates.

[ Army ]

The goal of the GRIFFIN project is to create something similar to sort of robotic bird, which almost certainly won't look like this concept rendering.

While I think this research is great, at what point is it in fact easier to just, you know, train an actual bird?

[ GRIFFIN ]

Paul Newman narrates this video from two decades ago, which is a pretty neat trick.

[ Oxford Robotics Institute ]

The first step towards a LEGO-based robotic McMuffin creator is cracking and separating eggs.

[ Astonishing Studios ] via [ BB ]

Some interesting soft robotics projects at the University of Southern Denmark.

[ SDU ]

Chong Liu introduces Creature_02, his final presentation for Hod Lipson's Robotics Studio course at Columbia.

[ Chong Liu ]

The world needs more robot blimps.

[ Lab INIT Robots ]

Finishing its duty early, the KR CYBERTECH nano uses this time to play basketball.

[ Kuka ]

senseFly has a new aerial surveying drone that they call "affordable," although they don't say what the price is.

[ senseFly ]

In summer 2020 participated several science teams of the ETH Zurich at the "Art Safiental" in the mountains of Graubunden. After the scientists packed their hiking gear and their robots, their only mission was "over hill and dale to the summit". How difficult will it be to reach the summit with a legged robot and an exosceletton? What's the relation of synesthetic dance and robotic? How will the hikers react to these projects?

[ Rienerschnitzel Films ]

Thanks Robert!

Karen Liu: How robots perceive the physical world. A specialist in computer animation expounds upon her rapidly evolving specialty, known as physics-based simulation, and how it is helping robots become more physically aware of the world around them.

[ Stanford ]

This week's UPenn GRASP On Robotics seminar is by Maria Chiara Carrozza from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, on "Biorobotics for Personal Assistance – Translational Research and Opportunities for Human-Centered Developments."

The seminar will focus on the opportunities and challenges offered by the digital transformation of healthcare which was accelerated in the COVID-19 Pandemia. In this framework rehabilitation and social robotics can play a fundamental role as enabling technologies for providing innovative therapies and services to patients even at home or in remote environments.

[ UPenn ]

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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