Video Friday: FridgeBot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

A tall and thin robot sits on a track inside of a convenience store beverage fridge

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. 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 2022 – May 23-27, 2022 – Philadelphia, PA, USA

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

Telexistence and FamilyMart introduced a new robot TX SCARA equipped with TX's proprietary AI system Gordon to the FamilyMart METI store to perform beverage replenishment work in the back 24 hours a day in place of human workers, thereby automating high-volume work in a low-temperature environment where the physical load on store staff is significant.

[ Telexistence ]

It would be a lot easier to build a drone if you didn't have to worry about take-offs or landings, and DARPA's Gremlins program has been making tangible progress towards midair drone recovery.


At Cobionix, we are developing Cobi, a multi-sensing, intelligent cobot that can not only work safely alongside humans but also learn from them and become smarter over time. In this video, we showcase one of the applications that Cobi is being utilized: Needle-less robotic intermuscular injection.

[ Cobionix ] via [ Gizmodo ]

It's been just a little bit too long since we've had a high quality cat on a Roomba video.

[ YouTube ]

Scientists from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), in the ever-present quest to get machines to replicate human abilities, created a framework that's more scaled up: a system that can reorient over two thousand different objects, with the robotic hand facing both upwards and downwards. This ability to manipulate anything from a cup to a tuna can, and a Cheez-It box, could help the hand quickly pick-and-place objects in specific ways and locations -- and even generalize to unseen objects.


NASA is sending a couple of robots to Venus in 2029! Not the kind with legs or wheels, but still.

[ NASA ]

The Environmental Genomics & Systems Biology division at Berkeley Lab has built a robot, called the EcoBOT, that is able to perform “self-driving experiments."

[ EcoBOT ]

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a new approach in which robotic exosuit assistance can be calibrated to an individual and adapt to a variety of real-world walking tasks in a matter of seconds. The bioinspired system uses ultrasound measurements of muscle dynamics to develop a personalized and activity-specific assistance profile for users of the exosuit.

[ Harvard Wyss ]

We propose a gecko-inspired robot with an optimal bendable body structure. The robot leg and body movements are driven by central pattern generator (CPG)-based neural control. It can climb using a combination of trot gait and lateral undulation of the bendable body with a C-shaped standing wave. This approach results in 52% and 54% reduced energy consumption during climbing on inclined solid and soft surfaces, respectively, compared to climbing with a fixed body. To this end, the study provides a basis for developing sprawling posture robots with a bendable body and neural control for energy-efficient inclined surface climbing with a possible extension towards agile and versatile locomotion.

[ Paper ]

Thanks Poramate!

The new Mavic 3 from DJI looks very impressive, especially that 46 minute battery life.

[ DJI ]

Sonia Roberts, an experimentalist at heart and PhD researcher with Kod*lab, a legged robotics group within the GRASP Lab at Penn Engineering takes us inside her scientific process. How can a robot's controllers help it use less energy as it runs on sand?

[ KodLab ]

The Canadian Space Agency is preparing for a Canadian rover to explore a polar region of the Moon within the next five years. Two Canadian companies, MDA and Canadensys, have been selected to design lunar rover concepts.

[ CSA ]

Our Boeing Australia team has expanded its flight-test program of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, with two aircraft successfully completing separate flight missions at the Woomera Range Complex recently.

[ Boeing ]

I do not understand what the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots folks are trying to tell me here, and also, those colors make my eyeballs scream.

[ Campaign to Stop Killer Robots ]

No doorbell? Nothing that some Dynamixels and a tongue drum can't fix.

[ YouTube ]

We present an integrated system for performing precision harvesting missions using a legged harvester (HEAP) in a confined, GPS denied forest environment.

[ Paper ]

This video demonstrates some of the results from a scientific deployment to Chernobyl NPP in September 2021 led by University of Bristol.

[ University of Bristol ]

This a bottle unscrambler. I don't know why that's what it's called because the bottles don't seem scrambled. But it's unscrambling them anyway.

[ B&R ]

We invite you to hear from the leadership of Team Explorer, the CMU DARPA Subterranean Challenge team, as they discuss the challenges, lessons learned, and the future direction these technologies are headed in.

[ AirLab ]

The Conversation (4)
Joannot Fampionona
Joannot Fampionona21 Nov, 2021

If anyone just actually bothered reading the preface of the petition, the point is to act *before* it's too late, They literally say: "we must act fast *before* we lose meaningful human control over the use of force - with devastating consequences."

It's a mistake to act and put legislation *after* the tech is already here, for once a group has the brain to act in anticipation of what is bound to happen as opposed to the usual case scenario where gov's legislation always lags behind tech. It would be a mistake to wait for robots (or rather those programming them) to violate principles of respect and pacifism, and then, try to stop them when it's so much easier and more effective to stop it before it happens. Let's be smart about this if we want robotics to be a force for growth rather than a force for unnecessary violence. PS: the fact that it's of the shelf code makes it even more evident that we need to act fast. Mounting fire arms on a robot/drone and adding facial recognition is very achievable if not already done.

Kevin Kemper
Kevin Kemper14 Nov, 2021

I think what Evan is getting at is that the video doesn't really show technology that is specifically enabling "killer robots". It's just off-the-shelf image recognition software identifying people in the videos. The "Stop Kill Robot" campaign creators just added scary words and flashy colors to otherwise benign tech. Maybe if they showed images of robots they think violate their principles instead?

1 Reply
Joannot Fampionona
Joannot Fampionona14 Nov, 2021

You don't understand what "Stop killer robot" is about? At some point you can't it's not about one's capacity to explain but one's capacity to understand.We do wan't robot to be our cleaners, surgeons, factory workers, etc not our murderers don't we? What so bad about pushing for regulation to prevent killer robots? I am really asking.