Video Friday: Floppybot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

An animated gif showing a small flat blue and black rectangular sheet slowly and repeatedly flopping forwards.

It looks like magic, but it's magnets.


Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

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.

Humanoids 2023: 12–14 December 2023, AUSTIN, TEX.
Cybathlon Challenges: 02 February 2024, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Eurobot Open 2024: 8–11 May 2024, LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, FRANCE
ICRA 2024: 13–17 May 2024, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN

Enjoy today’s videos!

This magnetically actuated soft robot is perhaps barely a robot by most definitions, but I can’t stop watching it flop around.

In this work, Ahmad Rafsanjani, Ahmet F. Demirörs, and co‐workers from SDU (DK) and ETH (CH) introduce kirigami into a soft magnetic sheet to achieve bidirectional crawling under rotating magnetic fields. Experimentally characterized crawling and deformation profiles, combined with numerical simulations, reveal programmable motion through changes in cut shape, magnet orientation, and translational motion. This work offers a simple approach toward untethered soft robots.

[ Paper ] via [ SDU ]

Thanks, Ahmad!

Winner of the earliest holiday video is the LARSEN team at Inria!

[ Inria ]

Thanks, Serena!

Even though this is just a rendering, I really appreciate Apptronik being like, “we’re into the humanoid thing, but sometimes you just don’t need legs.”

[ Apptronik ]

We’re not allowed to discuss unmentionables here at IEEE Spectrum, so I can only tell you that Digit has started working in a warehouse handling, uh, things.

[ Agility ]

Unitree’s sub-$90k H1 Humanoid suffering some abuse in a non-PR video.

[ Impress ]

Unlike me, ANYmal can perform 24/7 in all weather.

[ ANYbotics ]

Most of the world will need to turn on subtitles for this, but it’s cool to see how industrial robots can be used to make art.

[ Kuka ]

I was only 12 when this episode of Scientific American Frontiers aired, but I totally remember Alan Alda meeting Flakey!

And here’s the segment, it’s pretty great.

[ SRI ]

Agility CEO Damion Shelton talks about the hierarchy of robot control and draws similarities to the process of riding a horse.

[ Agility ]

Seeking to instill students with real-life workforce skills through hands-on learning, teachers at Central High School in Louisville, Ky., incorporated Spot into their curriculum. For students at CHS, a magnet school for Jefferson County Public Schools district, getting experience with an industrial robot has sparked a passion for engineering and robotics, kickstarted advancement into university engineering programs, and built lifelong career skills. See how students learn to operate Spot, program new behaviors for the robot, and inspire their peers with the school’s “emotional support robot” and unofficial mascot.

[ Boston Dynamics ]

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