One month from now, we’ll be in Hong Kong, bringing you all the latest robotics research from ICRA 2014, the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. I bring this up now because we’re starting to put together our schedule, and it’s going to be a spectacular conference, in that there are literally hundreds of presentations that we’re excited to attend, and most of them are all happening at the exact same time. But that’s okay, because our specialty is being in two (or five) places at the same time.
If you have any specific interests, definitely let us know and we’ll do our best to bring you all of the stuff you want to see. And until then, we’ll just have to make due with Video Friday.
Daniel from DLR shared this video of Rollin’ Justin acting as the most expensive window cleaner in existence, featuring “a combination of knowledge-driven high level reasoning and low level whole-body control strategies in order to solve complex force-sensitive mobile manipulation tasks”:
This video features the humanoid robot Rollin’ Justin of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), while wiping a window as a typical example for whole-body mobile manipulation. Hybrid reasoning is used to determine the optimal position of the robot regarding the task to be executed. Furthermore, the control parameters for the compliant behavior are specified during the planning phase. This way uncertainties and external disturbances can be compensated by the robot, while the task is accomplished.
[ DLR ]
The University of Maryland’s R2G2 snake robot has a new camo outfit that makes it nearly impossible to see, which is not creepy at all.
[ UMD ]
While we’re on the topic of creepy, the Russians have a remote controlled tank robot that comes equipped with... Well, if I just throw in a big Google-translated block quote, it makes it seem a lot scarier:
Radio controlled via radio to a distance of 5 kilometers; protected from enemy electronic warfare. In addition to the machine gun “Kord” 12.7mm IRAs can also be equipped with a tank machine gun Kalashnikov (PBC) of 7.62 mm or 30-mm automatic grenade launcher easel AH-17A or AG-30/29. Special equipment: a laser rangefinder, gyrostabilizers weapons platforms, thermal and ballistic computer - ensure accuracy and the ability to work in complex complex topographical and meteorological conditions at any time. Robotic system has an automatic capture and the ability to conduct up to ten goals in motion. The aim is held when moving the turntable by 360 degrees. Backup power enables the system to operate autonomously up to 10 hours in traffic (in “sleep mode” up to seven days). Range - 250 km. Operating temperature range - from -40 to +40 C.
Via [ YouTube ]
Birds don’t like drones. They really, really don’t. You can’t really blame them, but since you can sometimes blame them (especially the big fat ones like geese) for doing things like relieving themselves in your drinking water, drones provide a relatively safe way of, uh, suggesting that the birds move on:
[ Goosebuster ] via [ Gizmodo ]
You know who else doesn’t like drones? Golfers. And they have artillery.
Via [ PetaPixel ]
Sometimes it’s tricky to understand where the value of an expensive telepresence robot is for users, so here are a few user stories describing how a Beam can come in handy:
With some software and hardware modifications, telepresence can also offer a slightly different experience, through partial autonomy:
[ UMass Lowell ]
Remember that awesome little gymnast robot? Sure you do! And it’s now got a rotating waist:
[ YouTube ]
Boomer is a prototype for a robotic dinosaur toy. The company that’s working on it also made this little guy, and we hope that when Boomer goes on sale, it’ll be just as affordable.
[ Spin Master ] via [ OhGizmo ]
You know how robots are supposed to be useful for things that are dull, dirty, and dangerous? It doesn’t get much dirtier than separating out wood, metal, and stone from construction waste:
[ ZenRobotics ]
Nissan’s mobile robots aren’t new, but they’re still adorable:
Via [ Robots-Dreams ]
This video is in a language that I don’t understand, but what matters is that it’s one of Tech United Eindhoven’s soccer robots winning a kickoff against a professional human.
Yeah, um, don’t mess with Sphero.
[ Sphero ]
Dr. Mo Rastgaar from Michigan Tech writes,
My team has developed a steerable ankle-foot prosthetic robot. This is the first prototype that has 2 degrees of freedom at the ankle to increase maneuverability and eventually agility in the amputees. This feature distinguishes this robot from other available ankle-foot robots such as BiOM.
[ Michigan Tech ]
Let’s wrap with Zenta’s ant robot, because it’s glorious.
[ Zenta ]
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.