Video Friday: This Omnidirectional Drone Flies Using 12 Tiltable Propellers

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Omnidirectional Drone Uses 12 Tiltable Propellers to Fly
Image: ETH Zurich

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!):

HRI 2020 – April 06, 2020 – [Online Conference]
ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – [Online Conference]
ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – [Online or Postponed]
ICUAS 2020 – June 9-12, 2020 – Athens, Greece
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Online Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia

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

Where do I sign up for this?

[ Mira Robotics ] via [ RobotStart ]

Use all of the propellers. ALL OF THEM.

Omnidirectional micro aerial vehicles are a growing field of research, with demonstrated advantages for aerial interaction and uninhibited observation. While systems with complete pose omnidirectionality and high hover efficiency have been developed independently, a robust system that combines the two has not been demonstrated to date. This paper presents the design and optimal control of a novel omnidirectional vehicle that can exert a wrench in any orientation while maintaining efficient flight configurations. The system design is motivated by the result of a morphology design optimization. A six degrees of freedom optimal controller is derived, with an actuator allocation approach that implements task prioritization, and is robust to singularities. Flight experiments demonstrate and verify the system’s capabilities.


Sphero RVR delivers a roll of toilet paper to neighbors in need. Let’s take care of each other, from a safe distance, of course!

[ Sphero ]

Drones also helping out with TP emergency deliveries.

Meltin looks to be developing a fancy new humanoid robot that might have some practical applications, maybe?

[ Meltin ] via [ RobotStart ]

The SubT Cave Circuit doesn’t look like it’s going to be fun for robots at. All.

[ DARPA SubT ]

Can’t wait until Agility sends me a Digit to try out, but until then, here’s an unboxing video they put together.

Or I’d be almost as happy with an Agility Robotics yoga mat.

[ Agility Robotics ]

A robot handles samples of COVID-19 as part of a research project to increase testing speed in the lab of Dr. Tomer Hertz in Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics. The new test is just one of more than 50 initiatives underway as part of the BGU COVID-19 Response Effort.

[ BGU ]

Thanks Andy!

In-hand manipulation describes the action of moving an object within the hand using dexterous manipulation skills. The video shows a collection of different in-hand manipulation tasks performed with RBO Hands. The tasks range from rearranging objects within the hand while maintaining stable grasps, to pen flipping. The soft hands used are the RBO Hand 2, the (upcoming) RBO Hand 3, and versions in between.

The RBO Hands are very compliant, i.e. flexible and soft, because they are made almost entirely out of silicone rubber and are actuated pneumatically. This softness helps to make manipulation more robust by passively compensating for inaccuracies and even changes of object geometries. For example, the same actuation pattern to wave a pencil case can be used to move a banana. More complex actions like flipping a pen are also possible, but for now require tele-operation by a human observer.

[ TU Berlin ]

A video summary of our participation in the second challenge of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotic Challenge (MBZIRC) 2020. Our team - Czech Technical University in Prague, University of Pennsylvania and New York University - landed first place in a fierce competition against other top class research institutions from all over the world.

[ CTU ]

Youbionic Robotic Arms enables medical experts and nurses to provide treatment remotely while effectively reducing wide spreading diseases. With the global advancement in artificial intelligence, this device will as well function in surgery and health care.

[ Youbionic ]

Thanks Fede!

Interactive box assembly:

Now all it needs to do is give him a pat on the back at the end.

[ GitHub ]

DRS has been developing navigation and mapping for autonomous exploration underground. This video demonstrates our work exploring an underground bunker near Oxford.

[ Oxford DRS ]

This is kinda neat: A 360 video showing OTTO operating in a patio door factory.

[ OTTO Motors ]

RoboSense has cooperated with Neolix, Alibaba’s Cainiao Robotics, Unity Drive Innovation, Zhen Robotics and others on unmanned vehicles and robots to deliver goods, disinfecting and cleaning streets to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. RoboSense LiDAR provides these robots with perception ability that outperforms human eyes, the embedded AI perception algorithm outputs real-time semantic-level structural environmental information makes them even faster and easier to complete the tasks for humans.

[ RoboSense ]

Thanks Cassie!

Watch the story unfold on how Yao Fang, a former Chinese Paralympian world champion in wheelchair fencing overcame the adversities to get back on her feet again with the help of Fourier’s ExoMotus.

[ Fourier Intelligence ]

With more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, the ancient Chinese game of Go has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.

[ AlphaGo ]

The Conversation (0)