Video Friday: NASA Launches Its Most Advanced Mars Rover Yet

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum’s digital innovation director.

NASA's Perseverance rover
NASA's Perseverance, the most sophisticated rover the space agency has ever built, is on its way to Mars. In this artist's concept, the rover sits in front of NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter, which will be the first aircraft to attempt controlled flight on another planet. Perseverance will arrive at Mars' Jezero Crater with Ingenuity attached to its belly. Arrival is currently scheduled for February 18, 2021.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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!):

AWS Cloud Robotics Summit – August 18-19, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, Greece
ICRES 2020 – September 28-29, 2020 – Taipei, Taiwan
AUVSI EXPONENTIAL 2020 – October 5-8, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
IROS 2020 – October 25-29, 2020 – Las Vegas, Nevada
ICSR 2020 – November 14-16, 2020 – Golden, Colorado

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

Yesterday was a big day for what was quite possibly the most expensive robot on Earth up until it wasn’t on Earth anymore.

Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter are expected to arrive on Mars early next year.

[ JPL ]

ICYMI, our most popular post this week featured Northeastern University roboticist John Peter Whitney literally putting his neck on the line for science! He was testing a remotely operated straight razor shaving robotic system powered by fluidic actuators. The cutting-edge (sorry!) device transmits forces from a primary stage, operated by a barber, to a secondary stage, with the razor attached.

[ John Peter Whitney ]

Together with Boston Dynamics, Ford is introducing a pilot program into our Van Dyke Transmission Plant. Say hello to Fluffy the Robot Dog, who creates fast and accurate 3D scans that helps Ford engineers when we’re retooling our plants.

Not shown in the video: “At times, Fluffy sits on its robotic haunches and rides on the back of a small, round Autonomous Mobile Robot, known informally as Scouter. Scouter glides smoothly up and down the aisles of the plant, allowing Fluffy to conserve battery power until it’s time to get to work. Scouter can autonomously navigate facilities while scanning and capturing 3-D point clouds to generate a CAD of the facility. If an area is too tight for Scouter, Fluffy comes to the rescue.”

[ Ford ]

There is a thing that happens at 0:28 in this video that I have questions about.

[ Ghost Robotics ]

Pepper is far more polite about touching than most humans.

[ Paper ]

We don’t usually post pure simulation videos unless they give us something to get really, really excited about. So here’s a pure simulation video.

[ Hybrid Robotics ]

University of Michigan researchers are developing new origami inspired methods for designing, fabricating and actuating micro-robots using heat.These improvements will expand the mechanical capabilities of the tiny bots, allowing them to fold into more complex shapes.

[ DRSL ]

HMI is making beastly electric arms work underwater, even if they’re not stapled to a robotic submarine.

[ HMI ]

Here’s some interesting work in progress from MIT’s Biomimetics Robotics Lab. The limb is acting as a "virtual magnet" using a bimodal force and direction sensor.

Thanks Peter!

[ MIT Biomimetics Lab ]

This is adorable but as a former rabbit custodian I can assure you that approximately 3 seconds after this video ended, all of the wires on that robot were chewed to bits.

[ Lingkang Zhang ]

During the ARCHE 2020 integration week, TNO and the ETH Robot System Lab (RSL) collaborated to integrate their research and development process using the Articulated Locomotion and MAnipulation (ALMA) robot. Next to the integration of software, we tested software to confirm proper implementation and development. We also captured visual and auditory data for future software development. This all resulted in the creation of multiple demo’s to show the capabilities of the teleoperation framework using the ALMA robot.

[ RSL ]

When we talk about practical applications quadrupedal robots with foot wheels, we don’t usually think about them on this scale, although we should.

[ RSL ]

Juan wrote in to share a DIY quadruped that he’s been working on, named CHAMP.

Juan says that the demo robot can be built in less than US $1000 with easily accessible parts. “I hope that my project can provide a more accessible platform for students, researchers, and enthusiasts who are interested to learn more about quadrupedal robot development and its underlying technology.”


Thanks Juan!

Here’s a New Zealand TV report about a study on robot abuse from Christoph Bartneck at the University of Canterbury.

[ Paper ]

Our Robotics Studio is a hands on class exposing students to practical aspects of the design, fabrication, and programming of physical robotic systems. So what happens when the class goes virtual due to the covid-19 virus? Things get physical -- all @ home.

[ Columbia ]

A few videos from the Supernumerary Robotic Devices Workshop, held online earlier this month.

“Handheld Robots: Bridging the Gap between Fully External and Wearable Robots,” presented by Walterio Mayol-Cuevas, University of Bristol.

“Playing the Piano with 11 Fingers: The Neurobehavioural Constraints of Human Robot Augmentation,” presented by Aldo Faisal, Imperial College London.

[ Workshop ]

The Conversation (0)