Video Friday: Robot Arms for the ISS

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A pair of very mechanical looking robot arms grasp a cable on a test stand

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!


GITAI will demonstrate the capabilities of its autonomous robot outside the International Space Station Bishop airlock in 2023, including thermal blanket manipulation and component installation.

[ GITAI ]

Thanks, Sho!

Today we set up a football yard in our office and let two Bittle robot dogs play football [soccer] for the first time. The game was unexpectedly fierce with a lot of shots and combats. The gatekeeper, Sox, also did a great job, though sometimes he was absent-minded. But who can blame a little robot cat?

The programmable robot dogs run on Arduino with the open source quadruped framework OpenCat. You can control robots via mobile/desktop apps and program more advanced movements and tricks in C++ or Python. Unlike Sox, our robot dogs are real and for sale! Learn programming, robotics & AI while making your robot the hero in the playground!

[ Petoi ]

Thanks, Rongzhong!

We humans acquire our body-model as infants, and robots are following suit. A Columbia Engineering team announced today they have created a robot that—for the first time—is able to learn a model of its entire body from scratch, without any human assistance. In a new study published by Science Robotics, the researchers demonstrate how their robot created a kinematic model of itself, and then used its self-model to plan motion, reach goals, and avoid obstacles in a variety of situations. It even automatically recognized and then compensated for damage to its body.

[ Columbia ]

Using biological experiments, robot models, and a geometric theory of locomotion, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology investigated how and why intermediate lizard species, with their elongated bodies and short limbs, might use their bodies to move. They uncovered the existence of a previously unknown spectrum of body movements in lizards, revealing a continuum of locomotion dynamics between lizardlike and snakelike movements.

[ Georgia Tech ]

NASA’s VIPER team practiced driving the rover down Griffin’s sizeable ramps to mimic safely egressing onto the lunar surface. Griffin’s ramps were positioned in a range of average and worst-case inclines up to 33 degrees to thoroughly test how VIPER could exit the lander.

[ NASA ]

Existing magnetically actuated soft robots require an external magnetic field to generate motion, limiting them to carefully controlled laboratory settings. Here, we introduce an electromagnetically actuated soft robot that can locomote without an external magnetic field. The robot is designed to carry its own magnet, which it alternately retracts and repels. Friction-biased feet transform this back-and-forth linear motion into forward locomotion, mimicking an earthworm gait.

[ Faboratory ]

Sweet potato packing is surprisingly complex!

[ Soft Robotics ]

Impressions from the RoboCup 2022 Humanoid AdultSize Drop-In Tournament. Team NimbRo from University of Bonn, Germany came in first with 22 points, Team HERoEHS from Korea came in second with 5.5 points and Team RoMeLa, USA came in third.

[ NimbRo ]

Given randomized, known positions of a bowl and a set of utensils (fork, knife, and spoon), the robot’s goal is to "set" the table for a variety of table configurations. To solve this, we use a Task and Motion Planning (TAMP) framework, PDDLStream. We also integrate an orientation constraint, which enforces that the robot keeps a bowl filled with cereal in an upright orientation!

[ CSAIL ]

The best thing about whole body teleoperation of robots is the suit you get to wear while you do it.

[ Inria ]

Shadow has merged our Shadow Dexterous Hand with our lightweight Shadow glove to give you the newest solution for dexterous manipulation and grasping.

[ Shadow Hand ]

Autonomous operation of the K-Max Titan Helicopter enabled by Near Earth Autonomy.

[ Near Earth Autonomy ]

The VoloDrone is our uncrewed, fully electric utility drone capable of carrying an impressive—and unprecedented—payload. While there are many design overlaps with the VoloCity, we created the VoloDrone to offer heavy-lift services to a slew of industries, and it will be deployed where classic transportation modes reach their limits.

[ Volodrone ]

Welcome to our new video series where we showcase some of the unique and interesting robots that come out of the Clearpath integration shop. In our first episode, we have a fully-loaded and autonomous Husky UGV, equipped with a Universal Robots UR5 arm, our Outdoor Navigation software and Indoor Navigation software, along with all the supporting sensors.

[ Clearpath ]

"ROBOTICS: The Future is Now" William Shatner (of Star Trek) talks about the Technology of Robotics in this rarely seen 1984 science documentary.

[ CHAP ]

This video is...strange. Like, this is absolutely not a new idea, some interesting choices have been made on the hardware side, and I’m not at all sure what to think about the software side.

Plus, the website has red-flag level hype. Hmm.

[ Giant AI ]

Hod Lipson’s MARS 2022 talk on building self-aware machines, where he describes some of his past and current work towards sentient machines.

Here’s another video from Hod Lipson’s YouTube channel about the Golem project, which is over 20 years old and is still cool!

[ Creative Machines Lab ]

Kathleen McDermott will discuss her practice of hacking, DIYing, and crafting with consumer and hobbyist electronics, and demonstrate the experiments with kinematics she has developed with mentorship from the Kod Lab. Central to McDermott’s work, is the idea that absurdity and play can be useful ways to reframe our relationships to technology and productivity.

[ GRASP Lab ]

The Conversation (0)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page
Blue

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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