The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Video Friday: Happy Robot Holidays!

Your weekly selection of awesome (holiday themed) robot videos

3 min read
FZI happy robot holidays
Image: FZI via YouTube

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. 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!):

Robotic Arena – January 12, 2019 – Wrocław, Poland
RoboDEX – January 16-18, 2019 – Tokyo, Japan

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

Happy holidays from Harvard SEAS!

[ Harvard ]

Happy holidays from PAL Robotics!

[ PAL Robotics ]

Thanks Judith!

Happy holidays from the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich!

[ ASL ]

Happy holidays from RoMeLa!

[ RoMeLa ]

Happy holidays from the Robotic Systems Lab (RSL) at ETH Zurich!

[ RSL ]

Thanks Marko!

Happy holidays from Hebi Robotics!

[ Hebi Robotics ]

Happy holidays from Quanser!

[ Quanser ]

Happy holidays from Reach Robotics!

[ Reach Robotics ]

Happy holidays (I guess?) from Robotnik!

[ Robotnik ]

Happy holidays from ArtiMinds Robotics!

Watch how ArtiMinds helps Santa to save Christmas. In this video we used our intuitive robot programming suite, ArtiMinds RPS, and our newest data collecting software, ArtiMinds LAR.

[ ArtiMinds ]

Happy holidays from Fanuc!

[ Fanuc ]

Happy holidays from the Advanced Algorithms for Control and Communications group at Czech Technical University in Prague!

[ AA4CC ]

We posted FZI’s incredible holiday video last week, but here’s how they put it all together.

[ FZI ]

Don’t let this holiday season pass by without creating your own Sphero-powered holiday art! This program shows you how to easily create some cheerful long exposure light art such as a tree, star, gingerbread man (or lady), or a candle using the Draw canvas of the Sphero Edu app. Create your holiday masterpiece using the Draw canvas, then get a separate smart device with a long exposure app or a fancy camera with slow shutter settings to capture the program running in low light.

[ Sphero ]

HAMR-E, created in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, is a micro-robot that uses electroadhesion to scale vertical, inverted, and curved surfaces, allowing it to explore spaces that are too small for humans. HAMR-E could one day be used to inspect jet engines and other complicated machines without requiring them to be taken apart.

[ Harvard Wyss ]

Brad tele-operates our robot Victor to make a pancake. Cutting edge? Perhaps. Delicious? Definitely.

[ ARM Lab ]

Thanks Dan!

NASA’s NASA’s InSight has been busy. After landing on the Red Planet, the mission sent home pictures and sound, then placed its first instrument on the planet’s surface. Plus, find out what the Curiosity rover has been up to.

[ NASA ]

This concept robot from Synapse illustrates how embodiment and spatial awareness can make digital assistants much more useful.

It’s an interesting concept, but I’m not sure that a robot would be more effective than (say) putting a bunch of stereo cameras or something around your house. Although, at least you would know that if the robot wasn’t in the same room as you, you wouldn’t be being watched.

[ Synapse ]

Thanks Tandy!

Are suction cups a paradigm shift in robotics? Sure, maybe!

[ Chris Atkeson ]

Digital Farmhand is a modular low-cost platform designed to assist smallholder farmers in improving their productivity and yields, and ultimately provide a more reliable income amidst changing markets and climates. In its simplest form it is a small electric tractor-like vehicle that can tow a variety of implements such as seeders, weeders and bed preparation tools. The Digital Farmhand can also use accessible smartphone technologies along with AI to provide crop analytics such as yield estimation, pest and disease identification, as well as precision automation of many labour intensive farm tasks, e.g. weeding, spraying and seeding.

[ Digital FarmHand ]

Pieter Abbeel is a professor at UC Berkeley, director of the Berkeley Robot Learning Lab, and is one of the top researchers in the world working on how to make robots understand and interact with the world around them, especially through imitation and deep reinforcement learning.

[ Lex Fridman ]

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
Horizontal
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
DarkGray

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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less