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Video Friday: Japan's Space Humanoid, Robot Golfer, and Most Destructive Bot Ever

Time to stop working and spend the rest of your day watching robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: Japan's Space Humanoid, Robot Golfer, and Most Destructive Bot Ever

Space. The Final Frontier. These are (or will be) the voyages of a star-shipped robot. Its mission of some unspecified duration: to chat up the astronauts:

"Russia was the first to go outer space, the U.S. was the first to go to the moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans."

Quick! Somebody give Robonaut a working mouth! 

Japan's Kirobo spacebot performs on video, and piles more robots performing on video: welcome to Video Friday, humans.



There are already quite a few robots on the International Space Station (namely, Robonaut and a bunch of SPHEREs), but later this year, a little humanoid from Japan will be joining the team:

Kirobo is not that big and not that strong, but since everything is weightless up there, he should end up just as capable as Robonaut, right?

[ KIBO ROBO Project ]



SparkFun's 2013 Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) looks like it was a huge success, and an equally huge amount of fun. It's amazing what is now possible with DIY autonomous UAVs and UGVs:

[ SparkFun AVC ]



I am not a golfer. I have trouble taking the game seriously when you have such gigantic courses for such a tiny ball. This is what it takes to get me to watch golf:



The 2013 RoboCup competition is underway right now, and Tech United is on the ball with video of some amazing Middleweight competition:

[ Tech United ]

[ RoboCup 2013 ]



Here's an update on AUVSI's Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) 2013 competition:




I'm not sure how much smaller you can get than a robot that's made out of DNA. Why is it a robot? It can be programmed to deliver a payload to a specific cell:

[ Harvard ]



Another older video that's still worth a revisit are Harvard's TERMES termite-inspired robots:

[ Harvard ]



There's a reason this robot is called Last Rites:

Personally, I'd like to see Last Rites fight Blendo. From behind several layers of plexiglass.

[ Hardcore Robotics ] via [ Laughing Squid ]



For the record, here is the wrong way to go about poking a humanoid robot with a stick:

[ CMU ]



Project Thunderball. This is just awesome.

The goal here is to recreate the portion of the movie "Thunderball" Where Sean Connery as 007 uses a Jetpack to escape the men chasing him. To achieve this, a super-size quad-copter had to be created to deal with the weight of a mannequin (in this case a very special 2.2lb one). This custom copter is based on the multiwii open source project. It can hover for 8 minutes delivering 1KW+ to the 4 motors. A floating brick in the sky, when not pulling mannequins, it can deliver pizza or 6-packs. There is work to do, the 3D mag heading calibration needs adjustment. Sean needs a face and helmet. Also a decorative jetpack will complete the look. Altitude regulation is not handled well by a barometer, so sonar will be added to the control loop.

Via [ Hackaday ]



Firefighting is one of those dangerous tasks that robots have the potential to be very effective at. As long as you can keep them from accidentally spraying you with water, of course:

[ Purdue ]



How about we end the week with another big fat robot documentary from NHK: "Will Machines Surpass Humans?" Protip: whenever a question is asked in a title, the answer is almost always "of course not." But it's worth watching anyway!

Via [ Robots Dreams ]



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
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

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?

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