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Video Friday: Penguins and Huskies

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
Three emperor penguins stand in front of a small yellow wheeled robot in a snowy landscape

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: 21–1 June 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!

I’m not sure it’s geographically appropriate for a Husky robot to be this close to penguins in Antarctica, but on the other hand, who cares, because I am all in for robots and penguins.

The project consists of a hybrid (autonomous and remote-controlled) Husky UGV-based robot named ECHO that carries a variety of sensors including a camera and a radio-frequency-identification (RFID) antenna to read RFID tags from chipped penguins (the kind of chips that are also used to chip dogs and cats). With the RFID scanner, ECHO will scan penguins to assess their breeding status and survival success. Overall, the robot will be able to track individual penguins throughout their lifetimes, allowing researchers to gather data for behavioral and population dynamics research.

[ Clearpath ]

Snap has launched a little camera drone called Pixy. It’s nothing special, but that’s fine: It looks to be small, safe, and quite easy to use. And I really appreciate that this video seems to show actual footage from the drone, which is not fantastic, but totally workable.

Two hundred fifty U.S. dollars seems a bit steep, but perhaps the safe form factor and ease of use could make it worthwhile.

[ Pixy ]

This is pretty awesome—it’s a RoboCup standard platform event where the robots are operating fully autonomously. Watch right after kickoff as the robot in the black jersey (closest to the ball) books it off-screen to the left. As it turns out, she (her name is Sarah) went deep into the opponent’s half, where she camped out by the goal, in a perfect position to receive a brilliant pass.

[ B-Human ]

GITAI has already demonstrated its robotic arm inside of the International Space Station, and now it looks like the company is getting ready to work outside the station as well.


Things that I want robots to do so that I don’t have to: waste-sorting.

Weird to have them call the robot both “she” and “unmanned” in practically the same sentence.

[ ZenRobotics ]

At Agility, we make robots that are made for work. Our expertise is marrying design, software, and hardware to build robots that are capable of doing limitless tasks as part of a blended human-robot workforce.

OK, I really want to know if Digit can use that step stool at the back of the trailer.

[ Agility ]

Zimbabwe Flying Labs' Tawanda Chihambakwe shares how Zimbabwe Flying Labs started using drones for STEM programs and how drones impact conservation and agriculture.

[ ZFL ]

Robotics has the potential to revolutionize our daily lives, enabling humans to do things never thought possible. SRI is at the forefront of developments that have and will continue to redefine manufacturing, medicine, safety, and so much more.

[ SRI ]

A drone show from CollMot, which seems to use much larger drones than anyone else.

[ CollMot ]

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
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

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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