Once again, the biggest thing that happened in robotics this week was apparently something about a giant robot duel, despite the fact that we posted some absolutely excellent stuff about robot arms control and simulated evolution in leafcutter ants. But, it’s basically impossible to compete with giant robot duels, so that’s what we’re starting with today.
I kiiinda don’t know if I agree with Peter Diamandis saying that this will move the entire field of robotics forward, and being a robot purist, I have to say that this isn’t exactly what I’d call a robot. But as curmudgeonly as I’m trying to be, I’m still getting stoked about this: all the people involved are stone-cold pros. One of them, Douglas Stephen from IHMC, will be helping MegaBots develop a balance algorithm that he says is basically just like the one shown in the video below, except “way bigger.”
Their Kickstarter campaign has a $1 million stretch goal to get IHMC officially involved to develop a “a custom high-end balance control system,” so hit up the link below to contribute, and it’ll only cost you $1,000 for a ride in the robot, and just $1,500 to do something reckless with its weapons.
[ Kickstarter ]
You know who seriously needs a million dollar balancing algorithm? This poor little NAO:
Flimmer is a UAV (Unmanned Aerial/Aquatic Vehicle) that can fly and swim, but only in that order:
[ NRL ]
Here’s an idea for a CubeSat-sized unfolding rover that was built from scratch by Erin Kennedy, who we’ve written about before. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s looking good:
[ RobotGrrl ]
These rovers are slightly more complicated and expensive:
I was just off camera to the left at 3:03, and I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I remember being at JPL when Curiosity landed. Definitely looking forward to more robots on Mars.
[ JPL ]
Calling this 3D melted glass printer a robot is a bit of a stretch, but the video is amazing:
They’re small, they’re mostly plastic, and their lifetime is measured in seconds: meet 10 brand new killer robots from Fetch Robotics:
“The Fetch Folk came together to build killer robots because sometimes it can be just as much fun to break things as it is to create them. And of course we fully support Fetchers building killer robots in the office to compete in the Fetch Robotics Weaponized Plastic Fighting League which we held during our one year Fetch Fest (a.k.a. Fetchival).”
[ Fetch Robotics ]
Fotokite has been looking pretty awesome since at least 2014, and now it’s on Indiegogo:
[ Fotokite ] via [ Indiegogo ]
Integrating a collaborative robot into your shop has never been easier, according to Robotiq:
See? It only took 1 minute 49 seconds. Can’t get much easier than that.
[ Robotiq ]
Twenty five million steps is a lot of steps: about 19,000 kilometers worth, according to the Internet, and each one made possible by Ekso’s exoskeletons:
[ Ekso Bionics ]
Zano is a bit behind on its Kickstarter promises, but at least it looks like they do have a drone that does seem to fly and do dynamic obstacle avoidance while making one of the worst drone noises I’ve ever heard:
[ Zano ]
iRobot is probably best known for its vacuums and military robots. If you want, though, they’ll sell you robots that can do other stuff, too:
[ iRobot ]
An “Intelligent Search And Rescue Teleoperation Robot” project from Beijing University of Technology:
The torso integrates several products such as two UR5 robot arms, one Shadow hand, one gripper and our GUARDIAN (Mobile Platform). Also, it includes a stereo camera and a PTZ. All of its components are based on ROS.
Via [ Robotnik ]
I don’t know what this robot video wins, but it really should win something:
Over on RoboHub, it’s round two of their Robot Launch Competition, where you can vote for the robot startup idea that you like the best. Here are a few of our (totally unbiased) favorites:
Luvozo is developing SAM, the world’s first robotic concierge for senior living communities.
[ Luvozo ]
IFM Technologies developed the world’s first quadrotor that offers reliable indoor localization “out-of-the-box”.
[ IFM Technologies ]
With the cost of DNA sequencing plummeting faster than Moore’s law, automation needs in biology labs are drastically changing.
[ RoboHub ]
Earlier this week, Kate Darling, who writes excellent articlesfor usfrom time to time, gave a talk at a conference in Sweden called, er, The Conference. It’s an 18-minute discussion of robots, humans, and artificial intelligence, and it’s the perfect way to top off Video Friday:
[iframe //videos.theconference.se/v.ihtml/player.html?source=share&photo%5fid=12072562 allowfullscreen=true expand=1 height=349 width=620]
[ The Conference ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.