This week, President Obama is in Japan. We assume he's got some business to take care of, doing whatever it is a president does (we have no idea what this would be), but we're gratified to see that he made some time for robots, which (as far as we're concerned) is the reason that one goes to Japan.
In the past, Obama has had generally positive experiences with robots, although HRP-4C creeped him out a little bit. We're with ya on that, Chief. This time, Obama met ASIMO, which showed off its soccer skills. Video of that, and plenty more, after the break. It's Video Friday!
That's quite a foot that ASIMO has, but I think its handlers need to turn up the, um, responsiveness, because ASIMO takes an uncomfortably long time to do just about everything.
Via [ AP ]
If anybody knows what unmanned aircraft systems are good for, it's AUVSI, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
[ AUVSI ]
Speaking of drones, THIS. THIS IS THE REALITY OF DELIVERY DRONES RIGHT NOW. THIS THIS THIS.
[ Sparkfun AVC ]
For a better idea of what drones are useful for, here's one seeding a field with trichogramma beneficials, which I think are little capsules that release parasitic wasps that lay eggs into the eggs of agricultural pests. Creepy, but more eco-friendly than a bunch of chemicals, I suppose.
[ Height-Tech ]
This video is very In German and the very beginning will give you an insta-headache, but what you need to know about it is that it's an art project involving surveillance robots. Autonomous eavesdropping robots follow visitors around a gallery space, covertly record what they're saying, and then play that audio back through loudspeakers at the opposite end of the gallery.
Via [ io9 ]
Drones. Fireworks. Epic view.
Via [ Twisted Sifter ]
Here's a concept video for a robot called Archibot that's designed to help designers, architects, and construction workers build stuff without having to resort to the ancient and mystical arts of drawing on things:
The idea is about the robotic printing machine that can automatically print out DWG file-based architecture plan such as Auto CAD file on a construction site in 1 to 1 scale so that construction workers can easily build up dry wall along with the printed lines without an interpretation of construction document and marking process by themselves. The printing system is expected to lessen an error of conventional way in measurement that is manually operated by man. In addition, the system can standardize and control the quality of construction by system-itself, not depending on contractor's skill. The printing machine can save budget through decreasing time and labor for constructions. The system will expedite the construction process for heavy industry, civil engineering, and architecture with an innovative way.
Via [ Core77 ]
Like other robots that rejected dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs and opted instead for careers inthe performing arts, CMU's HERB decided to try its luck as a robot actor.
We are preparing HERB to act in a play. HERB, the butler robot, will perform opposite a human actress in a one-act play in a conventional theatrical setting, working with a director and actress to develop the part. Of course, HERB will have a lot of help in rehearsal from his human team to translate directorial feedback and on-stage interaction into variations in dialogue delivery and movement in order to convey his part in the story.
Our focus on rehearsal has encouraged us to support as much improvisatory skill as we can so that HERB's behavior can be quickly adapted. Working with an experienced actor and director has helped us to inhabit the conventions of the theater and understand the language and discourse of story-telling using a physical body.
Our ultimate aim is not to replace actors but to understand how body movement and prosodic speech create an understanding of intention within a narrative. We believe this will guide us toward techniques for infusing the practical motions of everyday robot life with expressive gesture which conveys the intention of the robot. That way, our robots will not only perform daily tasks such as cleaning our houses, but move in a way which conveys the narrative of their purpose.
[ CMU ]
One way to give a fixed-wing UAV vertical takeoff and landing capability is to essentially duct-tape a quadrotor to it that you can turn on and off when needed:
[ Arcturus UAV ] via [ Gizmodo ]
Unfortunately, I can't embed any of this stuff, but the vids from the WeRobot 2014 conference on robotics and the law have been posted online. The panels on social justice and domestic drones are particularly good, but all of the talks are worth your time if you're at all interested in what kinds of current legal issues surround robotics right now, and how we're going to tackle them.
[ WeRobot 2014 ]
It's utterly amazing to hear that, at least for this guy, a $50 3D printed open source prosthetic hand is actually preferable to the $42,000 cybernetic prosthesis he also has.
While I'd love to hear a response by the company that makes the expensive prosthetic, it's wonderful that it's now possible to cheaply print something that offers capabilities that are at least situationally competitive.
[ 3D Universe ]
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.