Video Friday: Japanese Androids, Rolls-Royce Microrobots, and Robotic Racecar

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

5 min read
Android Erica, created by Hiroshi Ishiguro
Image: Gucci 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!):

ICMA 2018 – August 5-8, 2018 – Changchun, China
SSRR 2018 – August 6-8, 2018 – Philadelphia, Pa., USA
ISR 2018 – August 24-27, 2018 – Shenyang, China
BioRob 2018 – August 26-29, 2018 – University of Twente, Netherlands
RO-MAN 2018 – August 27-30, 2018 – Nanjing, China
ELROB 2018 – September 24-28, 2018 – Mons, Belgium
ARSO 2018 – September 27-29, 2018 – Genoa, Italy
ROSCon 2018 – September 29-30, 2018 – Madrid, Spain
IROS 2018 – October 1-5, 2018 – Madrid, Spain

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

In case you were wondering who the coolest roboticist in the world is, Gucci and GQ have a suggestion:

Can someone please teach me how to be that stylish?

[ Gucci ]

This week Rolls-Royce announced that they’re working on small robots designed to inspect engines:

What’s getting a little bit lost in the announcement is that the robots themselves are based on (and perhaps, at this point, entirely identical to) Harvard’s HAMR robot that we covered back in February:

Harvard ] via [ Rolls-Royce ]

This trip through downtown San Francisco is presented entirely from the perspective of a Velodyne VLS-128 lidar:

Introducing the World’s most capable Lidar for Autonomous Vehicles. The Velodyne VLS-128 is the world’s most advanced LiDAR sensor. As a culmination of ten years of LiDAR development and learning from millions of road miles, the VLS-128 is a sensor specifically made for autonomous driving and advanced vehicle safety at highway speeds. It provides real-time 3D data up to 0.1-degree vertical and horizontal resolution with up to 300-meter range and 360° surround view. The VLS-128 provides the range, resolution and accuracy required by the most advanced autonomous vehicle programs in the world.

Velodyne ]

We have developed large-scale folding polyhedra to rapidly and noninvasively enclose marine organisms in the water column. The design is based on an axisymmetric dodecahedron net that is folded by an external assembly linkage. Requiring only a single rotary actuator to fold, the device is suited for remote operation onboard underwater vehicles and has been field-tested to encapsulate a variety of delicate deep-sea organisms. Our work validates the use of self-folding polyhedra for marine biological applications that require minimal actuation to achieve complex motion.

That squid was totally like, “What just happened?!”

Harvard Wyss ]

Somewhere in Britain, a robotic race car went up a hill.

Not the most impressive performance (yet), but at least it looks like what you’d expect a robotic race car to look like, rather than just looking like a normal boring race car that might as well have a human in it.

Roborace ]

Cruzr is a cloud-based intelligent humanoid robot that provides a new generation with service applications for a variety of industries and domestic environments. Learn how Cruzr can create new opportunities for your business and enhance the retail experience for your customers.


Squee the robot jerboa is learning how to hop without a support bar!

We present the first fully spatial hopping gait of a 12 DoF tailed biped driven by only 4 actuators. The control of this physical machine is built up from parallel compositions of controllers for progressively higher DoF extensions of a simple 2 DoF, 1 actuator template. These template dynamics are still not themselves integrable, but a new hybrid averaging analysis yields a conjectured closed form representation of the approximate hopping limit cycle as a function of its physical and control parameters. The resulting insight into the role of the machine’s kinematic and dynamical design choices affords a redesign leading to the newly achieved behavior.

[ Kod*lab ]

Yep, dogs are still super skeptical of robots.

[ Endeavor Robotics ]

Metamoto announces its highly anticipated Simulation as a Service offering will be available at the beginning of August 2018, enabling companies working on autonomous technology to validate automated vehicle (AV) software safely in the virtual world before they hit public roads.

I assume there’s an option in there to tune the aggressiveness of drivers and the cluelessness of pedestrians all the way from Oregon up to New York City.

Metamoto ]

Thanks Gagan!

Dr. Eric Krotkov, TRI Chief Science Officer, provides an overview of TRI’s robotics group.


DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program recently completed Phase 2 flight tests, demonstrating advanced algorithms designed to turn small air and ground systems into team members that can autonomously perform tasks that are dangerous for humans – such as pre-mission reconnaissance in a hostile urban setting or searching damaged structures for survivors following an earthquake.


IBG Automation is a long-time partner of KUKA, based in Neuenrade, Germany. IBG is well-known for their creative, innovative solutions to hard challenges. At Hannover Fair they were showcasing a dual arm robot constructed out of two KUKA LBR iiwas and two Schunk hand grippers. The system could be controlled and programmed via tracked arm and hand movements of its human operator.

Kuka ]

Kawasaki has been building robots for 50 years—in 1968, they introduced a domestic version of the Unimate industrial robot, and just kept on going from there.

Kawasaki Robotics ]

Boccia is a sport that’s not a misspelling of bocce but is otherwise similar, and is contested by athletes with physical disabilities. And now, by robots!

Here’s some boccia being played at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, to give you a sense of how it works:

[ Tokyo Metropolitan University ]

Oscar is a trash can that can autonomously sort items into two different bins to help you separate your recycling:

The sorting is clever, relying on both visual classification of the item as well as audio classification (based on 100,000 audio samples), but the whole thing seems too slow to be practical on a daily basis. And even at 65 percent off for the Kickstarter, it’s still $300.

[ Oscar ]

We posted about these Arduino water robot kits last week, but for those of you skeptical (like I was) about mixing uprotected electronics and kiddie pools, here’s a video of the poor thing being repeatedly drowned:

If you have your own 3D printer, the kit starts with a pledge of just $40.

[ Waterbot ]

Thanks Ben!

Suzumori Endo Lab, Tokyo Tech and Yokohama KH Tech Corp proposed a new concept achieving super long reach articulated manipulator with gravity compensation using thrusters. This concept has been presented in IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM2018). The proposed manipulator has (1) ground fixed base, (2) tethers for power and information transmission, (3) articulated links connected by joints, and (4) thruster(s) for weight compensation. Because of weight compensation by thruster(s), the proposed manipulator can be super long reach due to free from gravity.

Also, it slices and dices, whether you want it to or not.

[ Suzumori Endo Lab ]

We wrote about EPFL’s FlyJacket a while back, but here’s a new video with a bit more detail on the jacket itself.

[ EPFL ]

Introduction to HEBI Robotics, a Pittsburgh start-up that is making it easy to create custom robots.

[ HEBI Robotics ]

More impressive displays of flying skill from Team Blacksheep set to a chill soundtrack.

[ Team Blacksheep ]

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