Well, we're back from AUVSI's Unmanned Systems expo in Washington, D.C. And we're super jet lagged and in desperate need of a vacation. We know better than anyone, though, that the robot news never ever stops, and it especially never ever stops on Fridays. We'll have some great AUVSI content for you next week, but today, it's all about the videos.
The White House had a robotic hangout thing last week, and if you missed it, it's now on YouTube. How'd it go? We'd tell you, but you'd have a much better time watching it yourself, right? And to make it worth your while, we can promise you that it includes some actual demos of real robots, as opposed to just 45 minutes of talking heads (even if the talking heads are quite interesting):
[ We the Geeks ]
All the big defense companies were at AUVSI, and like it or not, they had some very expensive (and therefore very cool) robots to show off:
Don't worry, we'll have more on those eye-catching systems for you next week. The other interesting thing about this video is how explicit Lockheed is that missiles are just another type of UAV: people are suddenly concerned about armed killer robots, but strictly speaking, they've been around for a long, long time in missile form.
[ Lockheed Martin ]
Now that Lockheed has had a turn, let's toss things over to Northrup Grumman, who has a whole bunch of vids on their unmanned systems. These are what we figured were the most interesting, i.e. the ones with the highest robot to human ratio:
[ Northrop Grumman ]
Just in case you're saturated on the military drones stuff now, here's a drone being used for good. Or at least, for science:
It's nice to see one video of the quadrotor inside relying on a motion tracking system followed by a second video of it outside and not having access to that level of positional information, but it's unclear whether it's using GPS or being piloted remotely. This is still one of the biggest hurdles that drones have to cross: getting from precision flight in a controlled environment to precision flight where it counts.
[ NIMBUS Lab ]
Get ready to laugh, it's Robothespian the robot comedian! Or, on second though, maybe get unready to laugh:
[ Robothespian ] via [ New Scientist ]
Team Blacksheep carries on with their daredevil UAV-based livestock molestation in New Zealand:
Next time I'm expecting them to fly under a cow.
[ Team Blacksheep ]
I'm, um, just not gonna ask any questions about this one:
[ TheAmazel ]
Interns working in the innovative lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center were given a robotic arm kit and given free reign. What did the interns do? With the college interns as project leads, the team, which also consisted of high school interns, created a robotic arm capable of picking up an egg using a computer and an Xbox Kinect sensor, with the help of 3D printers along the way.
[ NASA ]
Those crazy kids over at ZenRobotics have a slightly less epic video showing their robotic recycling system in action.
See how a 2-robot ZRR separates wood, metal and stone from construction and demolition waste at our customer's facility. The customer saves in disposal fees and gets profit from reclaimed materials! If only my mother would be here to see this -- no wait! She is! Show this to your mother as well, and the environment will be saved!
[ ZenRobotics ]
It's always nice to end with a post-apocalyptic short film involving robots. As you watch this, keep in mind that the budget was apparently just a few thousand dollars, and before you watch it, note that there is some violence and mildly bad language that may make it NSFW.
Via [ Gizmodo ]
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.