The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Misty II, a programmable robot from Misty Robotics
Misty Robotics, the creators of the Misty robot developer platform, has started shipping robots to its crowdfunding backers.
Photo: Misty Robotics

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

IEEE Africon 2019 – September 25-27, 2019 – Accra, Ghana
RoboBusiness 2019 – October 1-3, 2019 – Santa Clara, CA, USA
ISRR 2019 – October 6-10, 2019 – Hanoi, Vietnam
Ro-Man 2019 – October 14-18, 2019 – New Delhi, India
Humanoids 2019 – October 15-17, 2019 – Toronto, Canada
ARSO 2019 – October 31-1, 2019 – Beijing, China
ROSCon 2019 – October 31-1, 2019 – Macau
IROS 2019 – November 4-8, 2019 – Macau

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

Even though I’m sure this counts as robot dog abuse, here’s some very impressive mostly not falling over from a “blind” Ghost Robotics Vision 60.

[ Ghost Robotics ]

Evan Rachel Wood from “Westworld” runs into Sophia the robot, who pitches her a new show: “SophiaWorld.”

[ Futurism ]

This anthropomorphic robot hand from the Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has soft fingers with adjustable stiffness, which I guess is important for playing the piano.

I play the bagpipes, where every note is super loud, so this makes no sense to me.

[ BIRL ]

RobotAI is a startup that makes 6 DoF detection of objects possible with unmatched speed and cost. This is could be a game changer for many applications solving tasks like object manipulation, bin picking, and indoor navigation. This video demonstrates the use of a simple web cam and a universal robot to see and grasp difficult objects that are reflective and small (less than 0.8 cm) as well as indoor navigation in different surroundings.

[ RobotAI ]

Thanks Agmon!

Now that DARPA’s not running an underground robotics challenge, they’ve had a chance to put together some videos about the whole thing.

[ SubT ]

I like this system for picking and placing objects with an assistive robot—it’s a good combination of autonomy and simple but effective user control.

We present a robot system comprised of a robotic arm and a mobility scooter that provides pick-and-place functionality for open world environments. A laser pointer is used to directly select an object in the world. Feedback is provided to the user via projecting an interface into the world.

[ Northeastern ]

Thanks Dian!

Tencent Robotics X released the world’s first Intelligent Inspection and Manipulation Robot in the Shanghai World AI Conference (WAIC2019). Basic functions of the robot includes: automated meters reading based on AI algorithms, equipment status inspection, temperature monitoring, dexterous manipulation of different object, operation of the wheel valve and switches, 5G enabled remote robot teleoperation. The robot is targeting for different applications in hazard environment such as oil & gas industry and other disaster areas.

[ Tencent ]

Thanks Conghui!

The Trifo Max robot vacuum is notable in that it acts as a home surveillance device as well as an autonomous floor cleaner.

It’s $450 and being announced at IFA. It seems inevitable that robot vacuums will end up in this role, but we’re still concerned about the privacy implications.

[ Trifo Max ]

Misty II is now shipping to backers!

Over the next few weeks, all 500 backer Misty IIs will ship. And if you’re not a backer, you can pre-order a production Misty II for $2400.

[ Misty Robotics ]

This robot is pure evil.

[ Shadow Robotics ]

Quadrupedal robot play time!

[ Unitree ]

We document the reliably repeatable dynamical mounting and dismounting of wheeled stools and carts, and of fixed ledges, by the Minitaur robot. Because these tasks span a range of length scales that preclude quasi-static execution, we use a hybrid dynamical systems framework to variously compose and thereby systematically reuse a small lexicon of templates (low degree of freedom behavioral primitives). The resulting behaviors comprise the key competences beyond mere locomotion required for robust implementation on a legged mobile manipulator of a simple version of the warehouseman’s problem.

[ Kodlab ]

It’s not everyday you see an autonomous drone being tested in downtown Singapore.

[ SUTD ]

Well, this looks painful.

[ ETH Zurich ]

The Government of Rwanda, in partnership with the World Bank, UKAid/DfID, Danida, the Republic of Korea, the World Economic Forum, UNICEF, World Food Programme, other development partners and African drone associations will host the 2020 African Drone Forum: Symposium, Expo and Flying Competitions.

The African Drone Forum will take place in Kigali in February 2020, with a symposium of global drone policy experts and an expo of drone equipment. The event will include the flying competitions on Lake Kivu to demonstrate the latest breakthroughs in drone technology.

[ LVC ]

Five worthwhile minutes of Yann LeCun talking about AI embodiment and what he thinks of Sophia the robot.

The rest of the hour-long interview with Yann from MIT’s Lex Fridman is at the link below.

[ AI Podcast ]

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
Horizontal
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
DarkGray

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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