Video Friday: Robot With Axe, Drone With Claw, and Droid With Kittens

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

7 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Video Friday: Robot With Axe, Drone With Claw, and Droid With Kittens
Image: MIT

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your axe-wielding 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!):

RoboUniverse Shanghai – December 8-10, 2015 – Shanghai, China
RoboUniverse San Diego – December 14-16, 2015 – San Diego, Calif., USA
ASSISIbf Winter School – January 12-14, 2016 – Lausanne, Switzerland
ASU Rehabilitation Robotics Workshop – February 8-9, 2016 – Tempe, Arizona, USA
HRI 2016 – March 7-10, 2016 – Christchurch, New Zealand
WeRobot 2016 – April 1-2, 2016 – Miami, Fla., USA
National Robotics Week – April 2-10, 2016 – United States
Portuguese Robotics Festival – May 4-8, 2016 – Bragança, Portugal
Advanced Robotics Systems and Competitions – May 06, 2016 – Bragança, Portugal
Innorobo 2016 – May 24-26, 2016 – Paris, France
Automatica 2016 – June 21-25, 2016 – Munich, Germany
RoboCup 2016 – June 30-4, 2016 – Leipzig, Germany
Cybathalon 2016 – October 08, 2016 – Zurich, Switzerland
Distributed Autonomous Robotic Systems 2016 – November 7-9, 2016 – London, Great Britain
UK National Robotics Week – June 25-1, 2016 – United Kingdom
IEEE AIM 2016 – July 12-15, 2016 – Banff, Canada
IEEE WCCI 2016 – July 25-29, 2016 – Vancouver, Canada

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

Dear MIT, what do I have to do for you to let me haptically teleoperate a robot with an axe? Sincerely, me.

[ MIT ]

For US $15,000, DJI will sell you a ruggedized drone that can carry 10 liters of horribly toxic stuff to spray on your crops to make them taste better:

[ DJI ]

“ROVéo is a robot whose unique four-wheel design allows it to climb over obstacles up to two-thirds its height. Rovenso, the start-up that developed this prototype, aims to produce a larger-scale model equipped with a robotic arm for use in dismantling nuclear plants, for example.”

“The simplest solution is always the most robust. With this in mind, we designed a four wheeled rover able to easily overcome vertical steps of more than 150% of its ground clearance without any active control. In other words, ROVéo doesn't need to actively change its shape to overcome obstacles. The extended mobility is purely provided by the mechanical design of its chassis.”

[ Rovenso ] via [ EPFL ]

A flying soccerball drone? Suddenly, I want it:

At $750, it’s not the cheapest drone, but it does look very crashable, which is good. 

Kickstarter ]

Thanks Laurent!

At IREX, they have a full-on (mock) disaster area, with HRP-2, JAXON, and HYDRA doing demos. If you watched any of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, you’ll already be prepared for some slooowww moving robots, but there’s some good video here anyway:

[ Impress ]

I am usually too hungry on Thanksgiving to have the patience required for being served by a robot:

[ Adept Lynx ]

“What happens when human imagination meets Kawasaki technology? This movie follows what resulted when Kawasaki Robotics supported two passionate Japanese dancers with its cutting-edge technology.”

Doing the robot... While being grabbed by a robot. Whoa.

[ Kawasaki ]

We’ve already met Val, of course, but we're always happy to watch more videos of her:

[ NASA ]

The claaaaawwwwww!

Kickstarter ] via [ Gizmodo ]

I am pretty sure I am not sophisticated enough to properly appreciate whatever this is:

[ Vstone ]

“ABB offers a glimpse at its soon to be released single arm collaborative robot. Once development is complete, this new robot will join the YuMi family of collaborative robots. Like YuMi, it promises to be affordable, easy to program, completely safe to work with and next to, and offers a wide range of payloads.”

[ ABB ]

Is there anything that SenseFly’s eXom drone can’t do?

Battle lasers. It can’t shoot battle lasers.

[ SenseFly ]

“José del R. Millán, Defitech Chair for non-invasive brain machine interfaces at EPFL, and Robert Leeb, from EPFL's Center for Neuroprosthetics, explain how people with disabilities can control telepresence robots or a wheelchair using only mental commands. A study published in June 2015 in the Proceedings of the IEEE shows that disabled people manage to take the control of a telepresence robot as precisely as [able-bodied] persons.”

[ EPFL ]

This isn’t technically a drone, but it kind of looks like one, and it’s cool, so let’s watch anyway:

Cool CGI, but of course they have a full-size version that flies, too:

[ Volocopter ] via [ CAFE Foundation ]

“Traditionally it is difficult for industrial robots to achieve high-speed motion with high accuracy due to large dynamical uncertainties. We present a solution using dynamic compensation by adopting high-speed vision and actuators to compensate for the uncertainties caused by robot system itself as well as external environment. Here, we present two typical tasks - fast and accurate contour-tracking and high-speed peg-and-hole alignment, with a commercial industrial robot. Traditionally, the playback method is the most common approach to control an industrial robot. However, it is time-consuming and exhausting to teach an accurate path point by point. We propose to perform these tasks by adding a high-speed robotic module under the dynamic compensation scheme. Through this method, a coarse global path can be easily taught with very few roughly chosen teaching points. The errors between the coarse path and the target path are then dynamically compensated by the high-speed robotic module under 1,000 fps visual feedback. As a result, accurate tracking as well as peg-and-hole alignment can be achieved with fast speed.

This technology can improve existing industrial robots’ performance while at the same time reduce the workload of robot operators. It may find applications in many industrial tasks, such as in welding, painting as well as assembly. This system will be demonstrated on the coming iRex 2015(International Robot Exhibition 2015) in Tokyo from Dec.2 to Dec.5 at Tokyo Big Sight. You are welcome to visit our booth.”

[ Ishikawa Watanabe Lab ]

Batteries don’t have the energy density to power a drone for 2.5 hours. You know what does? GASOLINE.

According to the website, they’re building one of these things that’s over 3 meters across (body span, not rotor span) and can fly for over three and a half hours while hauling 36 kilograms.

[ Quaternium ] via [ CAFE Foundation ]


Sphero ] via [ Vanity Fair ]

“So I brought my phantom 2 to the pumpkin farm and they had a pumpkin cannon that shoots pumpkins into the woods (a couple hundred feet away at over 200 mph). My daughter says ‘it would be cool to get video from the woods’, (not blaming her or anything) so I set it out in the woods just in front of the trees and maybe a few feet above the tree line. I ask the guy operating the cannon thing where the pumpkins go and he pointed to a clearer spot in the trees with less leaves, so I camped the drone a good 15 feet to the left of that."

Aaand guess what happens next...

“Total damage only $500. The guts of the drone were still okay. 3 prop motors worked fine. The other had to be resoldered and I needed a new shell. The gimbal, like I said, was shot. Needed new landing gear too, forgot to mention that. And a new transmitter as that was never found. Gopro looked and worked as though it never was in an accident (except that there was a piece of pumpkin stuck hard to it. Once I cleaned it up it looked fine). Pumpkins and drones do not mix.”

[ YouTube ]

If you need some books reshelved, Adept and Schunk have the perfect solution for you:

[ Adept MobileRobots ]

3D Robotics Solo in FollowMe mode, using a Hero 4 and the Solo Gimbal, tracking Chris Anderson’s Nexus 5x:

A nice demo, but note that without sense and avoid, you’re going to have to make sure that the path you’re biking on is not near any big trees or power lines or anything.

[ 3D Robotics ]

For the life of me I can’t remember the name of this quadruped, but it was at IREX doing a little dance of sorts:

[ YouTube ]

Last time we saw Kawada’s Nextage factory robot, it was showing off its manipulation skills at IREX 2013. This week at IREX 2015, Kawada has a new demo with the robot not only manipulating things but also moving around on a wheeled base and collaborating with a mobile robot.

[ Kawada ] via [ Kazumichi Moriyama ]

“ ‘Annie’ is a research platform for mobile manipulation, developed by the Fraunhofer IFF in Magdeburg, Germany. The video demonstrates some basic skills and technologies for simple tasks involving human assistance. In this case, the robot cooperates with a human to mount a long and unwieldy part. Autonomous, pre-planned movements of the robot react to actions from the human worker to correctly mount the part.”

[ Fraunhofer ]

We posted some DLR SpaceBot Camp videos a week or two ago, but here’s a helpfully subtitled (and short) overview of the whole thing if you didn’t bother to watch them:

[ DLR ]

I think there should be some sort of competition for robots that can most convincingly beat on people without actually hurting them.

On second thought, that’s probably a terrible idea.

[ Rethink Robotics ]

Yujin’s GoCart robot is robotically going places. And carting stuff.

[ Yujin Robotics ]

From Dr. Robin Murphy:

“This is a talk for the World Engineering Conference and United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk and Reduction. It provides an introduction to disaster robotics, how many times and where robots have been used, what they have been used for (and what they could be used for), why they aren't used more frequently, and my recommendations. Much of the material is captured in detail in Disaster Robotics, MIT Press.”


“In this lecture series, controls expert Brian Douglas walks you through key concepts in control system theory. Focused on making control theory accessible and intuitive, this series is for anyone who wants to relate control concepts to robotic applications in the real world. This episode uses Braitenberg Vehicles to explore how simple structures can generate complex animal behavior.”

[ Robohub ]

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