Video Friday: Marty the Robot, Dancing With Drones, and Deep Learning for Cars

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Marty the robot from Robotical
Image: Robotical via YouTube

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your multilayer Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

RSS 2016 – June 18-22, 2016 – Ann Arbor, Mich., USA
European Land Robot Trial – June 20-24, 2016 – Eggendorf, Austria
Automatica 2016 – June 21-25, 2016 – Munich, Germany
ISR 2016 – June 21-22, 2016 – Munich, Germany
ICROM 2016 – June 23-25, 2016 – Singapore
The Rise of Machine Learning – June 24, 2016 – San Francisco, Calif., USA
UK Robotics Week – June 25-1, 2016 – United Kingdom
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 25-28, 2016 – London, England
TAROS 2016 – June 28-30, 2016 – Sheffield, United Kingdom
RoboCup 2016 – June 30-4, 2016 – Leipzig, Germany
Amazon Picking Challenge – June 30-4, 2016 – Leipzig, Germany
IEEE AIM 2016 – July 12-15, 2016 – Banff, Canada
DLMC 2016 – July 13-15, 2016 – Zurich, Switzerland
ROS Industrial Workshop – July 14-15, 2016 – Singapore
MARSS 2016 – July 18-22, 2016 – Paris, France
IEEE WCCI 2016 – July 25-29, 2016 – Vancouver, Canada

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

Yes, I play badminton. Yes, I want this robot:

Also I want that thing that will fire birdies at me.


From Alex Reben:

The first robot to autonomously and intentionally break Asimov’s first law, which states: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. The robot makes a decision to injure a person or not in a way the creator can not predict (in this video it decided for injury). This project beings up questions of ethics and design along with the truth that there now exists a machine which on its own decides if it should injure a person or not. Even the so called “killer drones” still have a person in the loop.

I’m not sure this is the first robot to break Asimov’s First Law: sometimes my Turtlebot runs over my foot. It hurts, and I’m pretty sure it’s deliberate.

[ Alex Reben ] via [ Fast Company ]

I don’t know how I missed this drone performance on America’s Got Talent. Oh wait, I know how I missed it: I’ve never watched America’s Got Talent. But maybe I should.

[ Daito Manabe ]

Marty is tiny and adorable and on Indiegogo and £95 and I want one!

[ Indiegogo ]

It’s always good to see robots out in the wild doing useful, helpful things. Yujin’s GoCart has been testing in Eulji University’s Medical Center in Daejeon, South Korea, for medical supply and lab sample deliveries:

[ GoCart ]

Andbot is a mobile, social home robot. It promises to do everything from child care to elder care to home management to security:

This is another one of those videos that probably promises more than the robot can possibly deliver. Equating a robot like this to a human butler is a dangerous way to begin, and I feel like if Andbot becomes your child’s best friend, that might not be the best thing. We’re looking forward to seeing a less highly produced demo of what Andbot is capable of.

[ Andbot ] via [ Simplebotics ]

Once again, I can only hope that Cornell’s RoboSub Team puts as much effort into their robots as they put into their videos:

Although, I think there’s some egregious fake typing going on at 2:52.


Thanks John!

McGill’s 2015 RoboSub video was epic, and their 2016 video looks like it’s going to be even better because pirates (?)


[ McGill RoboSub ]

I like the idea of this integrated travel case and docking station for ETH Zurich’s ANYmal quadruped:

If ANYmal were a real animal, that looks like it would probably be rather uncomfortable.

[ ANYmal ]

This little “VR360 Telepresence Rover” looks like it works well, even if it has the most tippy looking ratio of height to base I’ve ever seen:

[ YouTube ]

Ollie smashing stuff is a weekly thing I guess, and getting it to plow into light bulbs at full speed is a bright idea. Thank you, I’m here all week.

[ Ollie ]

Most adorable robotic turtle ever? Yes, I think so.

[ UMD ]

Tired of drone footage? Too bad, this one is worth watching.

[ Steele Davis ] via [ Boing Boing ]

The beefiest robotic vacuum I’ve ever seen runs on hot-swappable power tool batteries:

$800ish from Makita.

[ Makita ] via [ Gizmodo ]

NVIDIA’s deep learning-based self-driving car started off hilariously badly:

But like all drivers, after a bit of practice it got better.


This initial cooperation project between DFKI RIC and Volkswagen AG (Smart Production Lab) aims at creating the hardware and software basis for future work on the area of human-robot collaboration. The final robot demonstrator of this pilot project possesses multiple sensor modalities for the environment monitoring and is equipped with the ability for online collision-free dual-arm manipulation in a common human-robot workspace. Moreover, the robot can be controlled via simple human gestures.

[ DFKI ]

This video demonstrates the Optimus Robot performing manipulation tasks using shared autonomy. A human operator performs the task planning with assisted perception and assisted motion planning. The robot has no previous knowledge about the tasks and objects have no fiducials. Only on-board sensing is used (no sensors external to the robot). Robot motion is shown 1X and no robot motion has been edited. Planning actions are shown on Director, some parts are shown with speed factor of 4X. Planning time edited for brevity.

[ MIT Interactive Robotics Group ]

If you’re enough of a hardcore roboticist that you wanted to participate in the ROS Industrial community meeting but not enough of a hardcore roboticist that you actually bothered to do so, here’s recording for you:

[ ROS-I ]

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