Video Friday: Investing in Robotics, Horrific Westworld Animatronics, and Circus Robot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

6 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Circus artist Martin Riedel performs with an industrial robot arm at Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain 2018 in Paris.
Circus artist Martin Riedel performs with an industrial robot arm at Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain 2018 in Paris.
Image: Rudi Renner Agentur via Vimeo

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!):

RoboSoft 2018 – April 24-28, 2018 – Livorno, Italy
ICARSC 2018 – April 25-27, 2018 – Torres Vedras, Portugal
NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 14-18, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA
ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 – Brisbane, Australia
RSS 2018 – June 26-30, 2018 – Pittsburgh, Pa., USA
Ubiquitous Robots 2018 – June 27-30, 2018 – Honolulu, Hawaii
MARSS 2018 – July 4-8, 2018 – Nagoya, Japan
AIM 2018 – July 9-12, 2018 – Auckland, New Zealand
ICARM 2018 – July 18-20, 2018 – Singapore

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

Playground cofounder and CTO Peter Barrett discusses why the firm is betting big on the future of robots.

Can anyone ID that biped at the very beginning of the video?

[ TechCrunch ]

Robots are finally learning how to open doors.

Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Just a few years ago, robots would pass out at the sight of a door:

[ UT Austin HCRL ]

Fast-forward past the weird French guy to see circus artist Martin Riedel performing all over an industrial robot arm.

[ Rudi Renner Agentur ]

Thanks, Elizabeth!

Simone Giertz built a Westworld robot and it’s horrific. That’s her saying it’s horrific, not me.

But it’s also me.

[ Simone Giertz ]

This is just a random video I found on YouTube, but now that people have their own Skydio drones, it’s pretty cool to see how they perform in challenging situations. The video is literally just a dude walking through some trees (the same trees) for 5 minutes, but it still blows my mind that the drone can navigate autonomously around obstacles as well as it does.

[ Skydio ] via [ YouTube ]

At Robotic Materials Inc., humans simply don’t have the time to clean up after themselves, so it’s a good thing that they’re working on autonomous mobile manipulators:

Any engineer that can chug Soylent like that has my admiration and respect.

[ Robotic Materials ]

Thanks, Nikolaus!

CIMON, DLR’s robotic astronaut assistant, will be joing the ISS crew this summer.

CIMON’s structure was built entirely using a 3D printing process, and is made of metal and plastic. Its ’face’ is a display unit intended to hover at the astronaut’s eye level. It can present and explain information and instructions for scientific experiments and repairs. Its ’eyes’ are two cameras, and it also has an additional camera for face recognition. Two side cameras are used for video documentation and could also be used for additional computer-generated functions (augmented reality). Ultrasonic sensors measure distances for collision detection. Seven microphones act as ’ears’ for detecting where sounds are originating, and there is a directional microphone for good voice recognition. Its ’mouth’ is a loudspeaker that can be used to talk or play music. The core speech comprehension element of the AI is the IBM Watson system. CIMON is unable to learn independently; a human must actively train it. The AI for autonomous navigation is provided by Airbus and used for motion planning and object recognition. CIMON can freely move and rotate in all spatial directions using 14 internal fans. It can therefore turn towards the astronaut when it is spoken to, nod and shake its head and follow the astronaut – autonomously or on command. In microgravity on the ISS, it can be used for two hours. The dimensions of CIMON’s face are modelled on the proportions of a human face. Gestures and facial expressions are also possible, as is a female, male or neutral appearance and voice.

[ DLR ]

Boeing is bringing the future of unmanned aircraft carrier aviation to the U.S. Navy with its MQ-25. An unmanned aircraft system designed for the U.S. Navy mission, it will provide the needed robust refueling capability, thereby extending the combat range of deployed strike fighters. Our aircraft is ready for the mission, the flight deck, and the U.S. Navy.

[ Boeing ]

Fraunhofer has been developing a nurse assistant robot, which is perhaps the most utilitarian collaborative robot I’ve ever seen, although it seems quite effective.

[ Fraunhofer ]

The world record for piece-picks at a trade show (for those of you keeping track) has just been set by RightHand Robotics, at 131,072 items in 26 hours at MODEX.

I feel bad for whoever had to stand there for 26 hours straight making the official count.

[ RightHand Robotics ]

Georgia Tech had an eventful National Robotics Week, which you can experience here in 60 seconds flat.

[ GA Tech ]

Elios is used by special forces and rescuer around the world preventing the need to expose humans to hazardous situations. This video shows the capabilities of Elios in representative scenarios where have flown Elios with public safety professionals.

The video doesn’t show the drone itself, but if you’re not familiar with it, check out our (extensive) previous coverage on Flyability.

[ Flyability ]

I love this Lego robot that bends pipe cleaners. I don’t know why, but I do.

[ Isogawa Studio ] via [ Gizmodo ]

Here’s a teaser for some of the projects that NCCR Robotics group will be working on this year:

[ NCCR Robotics ]

Proof of concept (POC) of the Apellix Worker Bee Spray Painting Drone. The drone is fully under computer control and is able to paint a line between two points while maintaining a consistent distance from the wall. The paint is a standard exterior grade latex paint in a 5 gallon bucket on the ground where a 3,300 psi airless paint compressor pumps the material via a tether (the blue hose) to the drone. Power is also supplied from the ground via a tether (the red and black cable).

[ Apellix ]

Esa Attia from the Australian Center for Field Robotics presents the center’s design, development, testing and implementation of autonomous ground robotics for farming in Fiji and beyond.

[ ACFR ] via [ WeRobotics ]

In this week’s episode of Robots in Depth, Per interviews Anouk Wipprecht, a Dutch designer who incorporates technology and robotics into fashion.

Anouk creates instinctual and behavioral wearables; essentially clothes that can sense, process and react. She creates dresses that move, including motors and special effects. They don´t follow the normal fashion cycle of becoming irrelevant after six months, since they can be updated and improved. Anouk is unusual as a Fashion Designer as she doesn’t do catwalks; since her designs are made to interact with - not just being viewed. She is a big supporter of open source and is contributing an open source unicorn horn + cam design for children with ADHD amongst other things that she publishes on or

[ Robots in Depth ]

This week’s CMU RI Seminar comes from CMU’s on Alex John London, entitled “From Automation to Autonomy and the Ubiquity of Moral Decision Making.”

I argue that there is an important sense in which all decisions are moral decisions and I explore some implications of this insight (and its denial) for the design and human impacts of increasingly complex automated systems and emerging autonomous systems. This insight is obscured when we think about automated systems by the social division of labor between designers and users. When we think about autonomous systems it is obscured by a misplaced focus on moral dilemmas (e.g., trolly problems). I will discuss different roles for moral values in decision making (e.g., as filters on choice, as utilities, and as defaults), how those values are encoded in social practices in which automated systems are imbedded and deep challenges to making autonomous systems that can navigate them intelligently.

[ CMU RI ]

The Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture in Robotics was given at CMU by Ruzena Bajcsy, who discusses her incredible body of work in a talk entitled “Personalized model of Kinematic and Dynamic of Physical Activities.”

[ CMU ]

Professors Hod Lipson and Matei Ciocarlie, sat down with Dean Mary C. Boyce and a crowd of students at Carleton Commons April 2 to explore the profound challenges of creating machines and artificial intelligence able to perform complex activities far beyond controlled laboratory settings.

[ Columbia ]

The Conversation (0)