Video Friday: Grip Anything

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A nine panel gif showing animated robot arms picking up an assortment of objects using custom printed 3D grippers that exactly match each object

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.

IEEE CASE 2022: 20–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

A University of Washington team created a new tool that can design a 3D-printable passive gripper and calculate the best path to pick up an object. The team tested this system on a suite of 22 objects—including a 3D-printed bunny, a doorstop-shaped wedge, a tennis ball and a drill.

[ UW ]

Combining off-the-shelf components with 3D-printing, the Wheelbot is a symmetric reaction wheel unicycle that can jump onto its wheels from any initial position. With non-holonomic and under-actuated dynamics, as well as two coupled unstable degrees of freedom, the Wheelbot provides a challenging platform for nonlinear and data-driven control research.

[ Wheelbot ]

I think we posted a similar video to this before, but it’s so soothing and beautifully shot and this time it’s fully autonomous. Watch until the end for a very impressive catch!

[ Griffin ]

Quad-SDK is an open source, ROS-based full stack software framework for agile quadrupedal locomotion. The design of Quad-SDK is focused on the vertical integration of planning, control, estimation, communication, and development tools which enable agile quadrupedal locomotion in simulation and hardware with minimal user changes for multiple platforms.

[ Quad-SDK ]

Zenta makes some of the best legged robots out there, including MorpHex, which appears to be still going strong.

And now, a relaxing ride with MXPhoenix :

[ Zenta ]

We have developed a set of teleoperation strategies using human hand gestures and arm movements to fully teleoperate a legged manipulator through whole-body control. To validate the system, a pedal bin item disposal demo was conducted to show that the robot could exploit its kinematics redundancy to follow human commands while respecting certain motion constraints, such as keeping balance.

[ University of Leeds ]

Thanks Chengxu!

An introduction to HEBI’s Robotics line of modular mobile bases for confined spaces, dirty environments, and magnetic crawling.

[ HEBI Robotics ]

Thanks Kamal!

Loopy is a robotic swarm of 1- Degree of Freedom (DOF) agents (i.e., a closed-loop made of 36 Dynamixel servos). In this iteration of Loopy, agents use average consensus to determine the orientation of a received shape that requires the least amount of movement. In this video, Loopy is spelling out the Alphabet.


The latest robotics from DLR, as shared by Bram Vanderborght.

[ DLR ]

Picking a specific object from clutter is an essential component of many manipulation tasks. Partial observations often require the robot to collect additional views of the scene before attempting a grasp. This paper proposes a closed-loop next-best-view planner that drives exploration based on occluded object parts.

[ Active Grasp ]

This novel flying system combines an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle with ground penetrating radar to detect buried objects such as landmines. The system stands out with sensor specific low altitude flight maneuvers and high accuracy position estimation. Experiments show radar detections of targets buried in sand.

[ FindMine ]

In this experiment, we demonstrate a combined exploration and inspection mission using the RMF-Owl collision tolerant aerial robot inside the Nutec RelyOn facilities in Trondheim, Norway. The robot is tasked to autonomously explore and inspect the surfaces of the environment—within a height boundary—with its onboard camera sensor given no prior knowledge of the map.

[ NTNU ]

Delivering donuts to our incredible Turtlebot 4 development team! Includes a full walkthrough of the mapping and navigation capabilities of the Turtlebot 4 mobile robot with Maddy Thomson, Robotics Demo Designer from Clearpath Robotics. Create a map of your environment using SLAM Toolbox and learn how to get your Turtlebot 4 to navigate that map autonomously to a destination with the ROS 2 navigation stack.

[ Clearpath ]

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
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

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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