The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Petoi Nybble
Photo: Rongzhong Li

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!):

ICSR 2018 – November 28-30, 2018 – Qingdao, China
RoboDEX – January 16-18, 2019 – Tokyo, Japan

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

Maurice Fallon and Ioannis Havoutis from the Dynamic Robot Systems Group at the University of Oxford have a shiny new ANYmal that they’ve been putting to work doing useful stuff:

I know Boston Dynamics gets all the attention, but in terms of practical quadrupeds, ANYmal is getting a lot of solid work done.

[ DRS ]

Thanks Maurice!

Google’s Cloud Robotics Platform: coming in 2019.

[ Google ]

Most quadrupeds seem very dog-like, but on Indiegogo right now is an open source DIY robotic kitten:

IT’S NAME IS NYBBLE! And it’s only a US $200 pledge on Indiegogo. Might want to teach it not to impale itself through the neck with traffic cones, though.

Indiegogo ] via [ Hackster ]

Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has another video out about the dangers of autonomous weapons. It’s more of what you’d expect from them: heavy on trying to make you feel afraid, light on actual information.

[ CSKR ]

Here is a probably way too long demo of Kaleido at the World Robot Summit, a robot from Kawasaki that’s designed to survive falling:

We wrote about this when it was presented at IROS last year, so it’s good to see that they’ve kept working on it.

[ Kawasaki ]

We haven’t heard from Zenta in a while, but these videos show that he’s still got the most lifelike gait code for his multi-legged robots.

[ Zenta ]

The first edition of the Mobile Manipulation Hackathon was celebrated at IROS 2018. Here’s a summary of the demonstrations that the six participant teams could achieve with a TIAGo robot in 24h.

[ PAL Robotics ]

The ringing of the closing bell on October 17 at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was highly unusual as the prestigious task was performed not by a human, but by a robot arm. The bell ringer, Universal Robots’ UR5e with a two-fingered gripper from Robotiq, is a collaborative robot – or cobot – able to work alongside people with no safety guarding, giving watchers worldwide the opportunity to see just how easily cobots interact with humans.

All it had to do was push a button? It’s capable of so much more!

[ Universal Robots ]

A team of engineers at MIT have developed a novel method to mass-produce tiny robots, no bigger than a cell, quickly, easily and accurately with little to no external stimulus.

The key to making such tiny devices in large quantities lies in a method the team developed for controlling the natural fracturing process of atomically-thin, brittle materials, directing the fracture lines so that they produce miniscule pockets of a predictable size and shape. Embedded inside these pockets are electronic circuits and materials that can collect, record, and output data.

The novel process, called “autoperforation,” is described in a paper published today in the journal Nature Materials, by MIT Professor Michael Strano, postdoc Pingwei Liu, graduate student Albert Liu, and eight others at MIT.

[ MIT ]

MELTANT-α is performing a demo to repair a rover on the moon in the JAXA’s simulated-moon facility in Avatar X program.

[ Meltin ]

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but it has fake Superman, faker explosions, and Roboy speaking with a Scottish (I think?) accent.

[ Roboy ]

Omron’s table tennis robot is always fun to watch, although I never noticed that it seems to try to put the ball in the same place every time:

They’ve had this version for a year now, so it needs some new tricks. Like, spin shots. Or maybe lasers.

[ Omron ]

Robotic Materials makes kits so that you don’t have to.

They categorized this YouTube video under "comedy," for obvious reasons.

[ Robotic Materials ]

Tim Gatautis suffered a spinal cord injury in a swimming accident nearly a decade ago, and he’s had to use a wheelchair ever since. He’d like to be able to do more for himself and that’s what brings him here to the Wyss Institute and the Biodesign Lab in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Gatautis is testing out new wearable robotic devices designed for hand and arm rehabilitation, and the experience is making him feel much more hopeful about living more independently.

[ Harvard ]

AEROARMS is an aerial robotics project with a budget of 5,7 million euros. In September 2018 some members from the European Commission came to Seville to see and test the results of the experiments inside this project. This is a summary of the amazing experience of work that we lived in these moments.

[ Aeroarms ] via [ GRVC ]

The UIST 2018 closing keynote from Selma Šabanović at Indiana University on “Robots for us - Social Perspectives on the Collaborative Design of Ubiquitous Robots.”

Robots are expected to become ubiquitous in the near future, working with people in various environments, including homes, schools, hospitals, and offices. Healthcare applications, particularly those relating to the support and care of older adults, are a main focus of development for ubiquitous robotic technologies. As physically and socially interactive technologies, robots present new opportunities for embodied interaction and active as well as passive sensing in these contexts. They have also been shown to psychologically impact individuals, affect group and organizational dynamics, and modify our concepts and experiences of work, care, and social relationships.

[ UIST 2018 ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
Horizontal
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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