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Video Friday: Happy Robot Holidays!

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

5 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Video Friday: Happy Robot Holidays!
Image: IIT/YouTube

UPDATED 12/23/15: More robot holiday videos added!

Happy holidays from all of us here at IEEE Spectrum. This week, we’ve collected a whole bunch of holiday-themed robot videos from around the Internet. If we missed yours, send it to us, or post a comment and we’ll add it. We’re going to take some time off over the next week, but we’ll be back in force with January, with in-depth coverage of whatever robots happen to show up at the Consumer Electronics Show, which kicks off the first week of 2016. We’ll also take a look back at 2015, and let you know what our plans are for the next year. Have a safe and fun December, and we hope you get all the robots you’ve ever wanted.

Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

A humanoid Santa (WALKMAN) and quadruped robot reindeer (HyQ)! Just the kind of Xmas we like.

[ IIT ]

Boston Dynamics

[ Boston Dynamics ]

Ascending Technologies


[ Ascending Technologies ]

FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

[ FZI ]

Danish Technological Institute

Winner of most robotics in the holiday video award?

[ Danish Technological Institute ]

Robotic Solutions

This represents about 10,000 Lego pieces, which is cool, but I was really hoping they’d pull that cracker.

[ Robotic Solutions ]

Media Markt

I don’t understand any of this, so it must be hilarious.

[ Media Markt ]

Thanks Thilo!

JK Brickworks

I find it more efficient to just eat cookie dough and squeeze the frosting directly into my mouth.

[ JK Brickworks ] via [ Gizmodo ]

RE2 Robotics

Normally, when I see a robot with scissors, I run. But that was cute.

[ RE2 Robotics ]

Thanks Dave!

Alexandre Mazel

Reposted from 2012, but still festive.

[ Alexandre Mazel ]


D’aww, Robotiq <3

[ Robotiq ]

PAL Robotics

[ PAL Robotics ]


Next time, real robots. You’ve been warned.

[ EPFL ]


Seriously, we need more real robots in these vids.

[ Quanser ]

Yaskawa Motoman

I bet you can guess what my comment is on this one.

[ Yaskawa Motoman ]


Huh. I did not realize that penguins sound like that.

[ Thymio ]


That is one very precisely maniupulated Christmas tree.

[ Artiminds ]

AXIS New England

Better than the real thing? You be the judge.

[ AXIS New England ]

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

We suspect beer drinking was involved in the making of this video, and not just by the sock puppets.

[ DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center ]

Thanks Daniel, Joern, Roman, and Hannes!

Generation Robots

[ Generation Robots ]

There will certainly be more holiday videos over the next week, but we’re going to take next Friday off to celebrate, so stay tuned in January and we’ll bring you the rest. In the meantime, here are your regular non-holiday videos for this week:

Here’s some actual footage of Alpha 2 doing stuff, and it’s just about exactly what you’d expect:

Unfortunately, the reality here is (so far) not nearly as magical as the Indiegogo video, but we’re hoping that there’s a lot of software improvement to come.

[ Indiegogo ]

NASA’s building some hardware that will keep you from flying your drone into places that you shouldn’t:


[ NASA ]

This parade of robots is a collaboration between Mitsubishi, Toshiba, and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy. It cleans up nuclear contamination by blasting surfaces with jets of water and dry ice. The robots are narrow enough to fit down hallways, and they’re all remote controlled from very very far away. Here’s a demo:

The Impress article linked below has lots of (machine translated) details.

[ Impress ]

The Project group for Automation in Medicine and Biotechnology (PAMB) and the institute for Medical Image Computing (MEVIS) present a support system for minimally invasive tumour therapy. The purpose is to support the precise placement of one or more needles or other minimally invasive therapy tools such as high dose radiation sources. The goal is to improve the overall quality of the procedure by supporting both the planning and the tool placement. As the robot is working so close to the patient and requires human machine interaction, great care has been taken to implement safe human machine cooperation concepts in the robot behaviour.

I guess if this is a thing that has to be done to you, it might has well be done by a robot, right? The second video shows a robot assisting with a needle insertion procedure (for a biopsy or something). What’s particularly cool is that the robot doesn’t have to do any needle-inserting itself, but rather acts as a guide to make sure that the human pokes the patient in exactly the right way:

[ Project MITIGATE ]

This video is NSFW because there are some fairly good looking humans that are mostly naked in it, although I’d rate it PG-13 as opposed to R.

And remember to buy clothes.

[ Buyma ] via [ RoboHub ]

The robot with fast spinning blades doesn’t worry me at all. On the other hand, the humans in this video...RUN!

[ Robomow ]

It’s your Curiosity Rover Report for December 15:

This is scary because Spirit got stuck in a sand dune and died; let’s hope that Curiosity doesn’t have similar problems.

[ MSL ]

Let’s keep talking about autonomous weapons, shall we?

[ YouTube ] via [ Gizmodo ]

Multimodal robots did very well at the DRC, and here’s a video from IREX showing NEDO Jaxon knuckle-walking under debris in a mostly successful way:

[ Impress ]

One last demo from IROS 2015: Cubli!

[ Impress ]

What has Pepper been up to in Tokyo? All of this:

[ Aldebaran ]

Remember that awesome project from MIT that used pushbroom stereo to do dynamic high speed obstacle avoidance? Of course you do! And now, you can watch Andy Barry’s thesis defense!

[ Andrew Barry ]

A whole bunch of videos here from GE’s Global Research’s 2015 Robotics Leadership Summit, including Rod Brooks, who starts off with some comments about the new Roomba 980. Also, GAAAAHHHH VERTICAL VIDEO GE WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??

[ GE Global Research ]

“Campaign to Stop Killer Robots interview with artificial intelligence (AI) expert Toby Walsh in New York on 19 October 2015. Professor Walsh helped draft and is a signatory to an open letter from AI experts issued 28 July 2015, which calls for a ban on autonomous weapons.”

[ Campaign to Stop Killer Robots ]

Here are a whole bunch of presentations from European Robotics Week, followed by a panel discussion on education and ethics:

[ European Robotics Week ] via [ RoboHub ]

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