I don’t think I’m ever going to get tired of writing articles about how the Opportunity rover is still doing amazing and awesome science on the surface of Mars. Oppy has now been operational for 11 years, which works out to just under 4,000 Martian days. The rover’s warranty expired after 100. I could throw even more cool numbers at you, but it’d be better if I just shut up and let JPL do it.
That, and more, as Video Friday starts now.
Eleven years and counting. Oh yeah.
[ JPL ]
NASA does more than send robots into space: they also work on stuff for lowly humans, like an exoskeleton in collaboration with IHMC:
The Human Centered Robotics Laboratory at UT Austin has collaborated with IHMC and NASA to integrate the high performance UT-SEA actuator in the X1 Exoskeleton assistive exoskeleton. The high power to weight ratio of the UT-SEA actuator provides a practical lightweight solution for wearable exoskeletons while fulfilling the demands on delivering high torques needed for walking assistance and rehabilitation.
[ IHMC ]
One more NASA thing this week: Ikhana, NASA’s private Predator drone, got some great footage of the Orion splashdown after its test flight last month:
[ Ikhana ]
The fact that robots can improvise jazz alongside humans probably has some profound musical meaning, but whatever, I just like listening to it:
[ Georgia Tech ] via [ New Scientist ]
And now, this:
The robot’s name is Jennifer, and I think she comes from Manitoba, which somehow makes sense.
For $55 on Kickstarter, you can pick up one of these little machine vision boards that you can control with simple Python scripts. It’s an inexpensive and relatively simple way to give your robot sophisticated vision, including things like color tracking a face detection:
[ Kickstarter ]
Rocket-powered microbots zip through a mouse stomach. Yup.
Zinc in the motors reacts with the acid in the stomach of the mouse to propel the microbots. They release a payload of drugs and then dissolve, and it’s much more effective in getting drugs to the stomach lining than taking a pill orally.
Via [ Nanowerk ]
The video description for this documentary is in Dutch (I think), so the only thing that I know about it is that it seems to be an entrant in the Rotterdam International Film Festival. It’s… dark, somehow, and certainly worth watching, especially if you have an interest in healthcare robotics or HRI:
[ Ik Ben Alice ]
We’re posting this urban drone video because a.) it’s a fantastic view of Hong Kong and b.) you can read the video description to see how it was done safely by hobbyists.
Via [ Boing Boing ]
For slightly shorter distances, especially when nobody can see how nerdy you look, Sony has another way for you to control a drone:
Via [ DIY Drones ]
I think I've seen both of these videos before, but the Personal Robots Group at MIT has added them to its YouTube channel, and they’re worth another look. The first shows Cyberflora, a forest of interactive robotic flowers:
The second video shows Leo demonstrating collaborative learning behavior:
A cyclocopter is an aircraft that generates lift through rapidly rotating airfoils. This one, from the University of Maryland, is quite possibly the tiniest ever made:
[ UMD ]
Tobias Kunz, a PhD candidate in Robotics at Georgia Tech, develops algorithms for planning fast robot motion that avoid obstacles and satisfy joint acceleration limits. In this video a KUKA KR210 robot arm is given the task to hit a ball in a certain direction with a velocity of 5 m/s. The shown trajectories are automatically generated taking into account obstacles and the robot’s capabilities.
[ Georgia Tech ]
The description for this video is: “I fly a drone over our cattle while I try my hand at Cow Art with the feed truck.” It will make sense immediately.
[ Klingenberg Farm ]
And two long videos to close out the week. The first is from the European Space Agency, with astronaut Tim Peake and Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor talking about space robotics:
[ ESA ]
We'll close with this seminar from MIT professor John Leonard on “Mapping, Localization, and Self-Driving Vehicles.”
[ MIT ]
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.