The August 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Video Friday: No Time to Dance

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A man dressed in a maintenance uniform performs a pirouette alongside two yellow quadrupedal robots in an empty factory

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 27 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

What a strange position for Boston Dynamics to be in, having to contend with the fact that its robots are at this point likely best known for dancing rather than for being useful in a more productivity-minded way:

Boston Dynamics is also announcing some upgrades for Spot:

[ Boston Dynamics ]

MIT CSAIL has developed a new way to rapidly design and fabricate soft pneumatic actuators with integrated sensing. Such actuators can be used as the backbone in a variety of applications such as assistive wearables, robotics, and rehabilitative technologies.

[ MIT ]

The Sechseläuten (“the six o’clock ringing of the bells”) is a traditional spring holiday in the Swiss city of Zurich, and this year, it had a slightly less traditional guest: ANYmal!

[ Swiss-Mile ]

Thanks, Marko!

Working in collaboration with domestic appliances manufacturer Beko, researchers from the University of Cambridge trained their robot chef to assess the saltiness of a dish at different stages of the chewing process, imitating a similar process in humans. Their results could be useful in the development of automated or semi-automated food preparation by helping robots to learn what tastes good and what doesn’t, making them better cooks.

[ Cambridge ]

More impressive work from the UZH Robotics and Perception Group, teaching racing quadrotors to adapt on the fly to a changing course:

[ RPG ]

In the SANDRo Project, funded by DIH-HERO, PAL Robotics and Heemskerk Innovation Technology are developing the TIAGo robot to provide assistive services to people with difficulties in the activities of daily living.

[ PAL Robotics ]

For drones to autonomously perform necessary but quotidian tasks, such as delivering packages or airlifting injured drivers from a traffic accident, drones must be able to adapt to wind conditions in real time—rolling with the punches, meteorologically speaking. To face this challenge, a team of engineers from Caltech has developed Neural-Fly, a deep-learning method that can help drones cope with new and unknown wind conditions in real time just by updating a few key parameters.

[ Caltech ]

On May 17th, the Furhat Conference on Social Robotics returns with a new lineup of experts who will share their latest cutting edge research and innovation projects using social robots and conversational AI. Since Furhat Robotics’ recent acquisition of Misty Robotics, a brand new face will make an appearance—the Misty robot! Registration for the conference is free and now open.

[ Furhat Conference ]

Thanks, Chris!

This is quite a contest: Draw your best idea for a robot inspired by nature, and if you win, a bunch of robotics experts will actually build it!

[ Natural Robotics Contest ]

Thanks, Robert!

Thailand is equipping vocational students with robotic skills to cater to the anticipated demand for 200,000 robotics-trained workers by 2024. More and more factories are moving to Thailand, hence education plays an important role to educate the students in Industry 4.0 knowledge.

[ Kuka ]

Dusty Robotics develops robot-powered tools for the modern construction workforce, using cutting-edge robotics technology that is built in-house from the ground up. Our engineers design the mechanical, electrical, firmware, robotics, and software components that power ultra-precise mobile printers. Hear from Dusty engineers about what it’s like to work at Dusty and the impact their work has—every day.

[ Dusty ]

One in three older adults falls every year, leading to a serious healthcare problem in the United States. A team of Stanford scholars are developing wearable robotics to help people restore their balance to prevent these falls. Karen Lu, associate professor of computer science, and Steve Collins, associate professor of mechanical engineering, explain how an intelligent exoskeleton could enhance people’s mobility.

[ Stanford HAI ]

The latest episode of the Robot Brains Podcast features Skydio CEO Adam Bry.

[ Robot Brains ]

This week’s CMU RI Seminar is by Ross L. Hatton from Oregon State, on “Snakes & Spiders, Robots & Geometry.”

[ CMU RI ]

The Conversation (1)
Joannot Fampionona06 May, 2022

This weeks iteration was a good one, thanks!Still hoping for that full screen button though

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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