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Video Friday: Knife-Edge Maneuvering, Adopt a Husky Robot, and the X-37B Is Back

Watch a little robotic airplane from MIT weave its way through a fake forest, and much much more

2 min read
Video Friday: Knife-Edge Maneuvering, Adopt a Husky Robot, and the X-37B Is Back

Next week, Automaton will be heading to Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. to check out some robots and not take any vacation time at all. We'll be posting as normal (or trying to), but if you've got any red hot East Coast robot tips, definitely let us know

Meanwhile, the highlight of this week's Video Friday comes from MIT, where they're teaching UAVs to slalom through obstacles like birds can. It's all about navigation in cluttered environments, and you'll have to see it to believe it.

So yeah, it looks like MIT's Robot Locomotion Group just started up its own YouTube channel, and there's already a few cool vids up there, featuring robots like LittleDog and the Phoenix ornithopter. But this vid, entitled "Fast and Accurate Knife-Edge Maneuvers for Autonomous Aircraft," is brand new and totally amazing:

Now, there isn't much in the way of additional info here beyond what's discussed in the video, but we'll see what we can dig up, and get back to you.

[ MIT Robot Locomotion ]


How about another vid that doesn't have much in the way of explanation to go along with it? Sure! This one's from the Robotics Innovation Center at DFKI Bremen:

The little magnet guy looks a lot like a robot from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel that we covered back in 2010, but the cool thing that DFKI seems to be doing here is localizing the robot using a portable 3D positioning system that operates with a calibrated camera on the ground and a reflector on the robot, kinda like a portable mini-Vicon thing.

[ DFKI Bremen ]


Okay, here's a video that we know TONS about. It's Clearpath Robotics' Husky A200, and the reason that we're including it today is that you can win one! Woohoo!

By "win," we mean that you can apply for Clearpath's PartnerBot Research Grant, which is worth one Husky customized for your research to the tune of $25,000. You need to have a project ready to go (and funded), but what Clearpath is trying to do is to make it easy for worthy research to surmount the hardware barrier: no matter how good of an idea that you have, buying a robot to test that idea out on is hugely expensive, but a free custom Husky neatly takes care of that. The only caveats are that you have to publish your work, the development framework has to be ROS, and your resulting code must be released to the community. The application deadline is August 1, and all the details are at the link below.

[ Clearpath Robotics ]


After 469 days in space doing nobody knows what, Boeing's cute little robotic space plane, the X-37B, landed in California earlier this week.


Speaking of space, here's some video of a tethered flight test of NASA's Morpheus robotic lander. No real news here (this is test #17 and counting), but watching rockets firing just never seems to get old.

[ Morpheus ]


Finally today, we've got a video of a robot doing what robots do best: tasks that involve a lot of repetitive strength and precision. In this case, it's Opton's T-WIN20 KDM bending pipes:

Yours for $194,000.

Via [ DigInfo ]

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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