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Video Friday: Pneumatic RoboDog, Drone Crash, and Nao With Eyebrows

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Erico Guizzo is IEEE Spectrum's Digital Innovation Director.

Nao humanoid robot with eyebrows
Image: Robotics & Multibody Mechanics Research Group/Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your unibrowed Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

IEEE AIM 2016 – July 12-15, 2016 – Banff, Canada
DLMC 2016 – July 13-15, 2016 – Zurich, Switzerland
ROS Industrial Workshop – July 14-15, 2016 – Singapore
MARSS 2016 – July 18-22, 2016 – Paris, France
IEEE WCCI 2016 – July 25-29, 2016 – Vancouver, Canada
RO-MAN 2016 – August 26-31, 2016 – New York, N.Y., USA
ECAI 2016 – August 29-2, 2016 – The Hague, Holland

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

We don’t usually lead Video Friday with a long talk, but Nic Radford was at Campus Party in Mexico to talk about Valkyrie and the DRC. It’s a tremendous talk, with lots of candid detail and video that we’ve never seen before. And since Nic said it (at 19:40), so can we: from the beginning, Valkyrie was specifically designed to be female. YES.

Nic is now CTO at Houston Mechatronics, which seems like it probably does all kinds of cool stuff, most of which they can’t tell us about (yet).

[ Houston Mechatronics ]

Professor Koh Hosoda from Osaka University sent us this video of PneuHound, a very excitable pneumatic robotic dog:

Speed? Check. Control? Work in progress.

[ Hosoda Lab ]

Thanks Koh!


Robots can express emotions for better human robot interaction. In this field, NAO robot is a platform widely used. This robot mainly expresses emotions by gestures and colored LED eyes, but, due to its white at and inanimate face, the robot cannot express facial expressions. This work proposes a plug-gable eyebrows device enabling NAO to express anger or sadness while performing other tasks. This device is plug-and-play and directly controllable by NAO’s development environments.

[ Paper ] via [ Bot4You ]

Thanks Albert!

The only information I have about this video is that it’s from Paul Oh (hey Paul!), and I think was filmed in October of last year:

A significant amount of fail, for sure, but some impressive work nonetheless. And lots of potential.

[ DASL ]

A robot that manages medications is not the worst idea I’ve seen on Indiegogo:

But, of course, they had to go overboard and promise all kinds of crazy interactive capabilities instead of keeping things focused and simple. Does every home robot really need to become a “member of the family”?

[ Indiegogo ]

Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later:

Ouch. The woman at the wrong end of the drone suffered whiplash. It’s important to point out that the operator of this particular drone was breaking all kinds of rules, which you could argue that the drone enables, but is certainly not the fault of the drone.

[ Petapixel ]

Wherefore art thou Romeo? It doesn’t matter, since you can just teleoperate him:

[ SoftBank Robotics ]

Impressive demo here from Yuneec’s Typhoon H drone, which uses an Intel RealSense camera for obstacle avoidance:

As always, we’re suspicious of produced videos like these, and we’re looking forward to seeing some real-world footage of this drone in action.

[ Yuneec ] via [ Gizmag ]

Jona Lehr wrote in to tell us about his thesis project, which is an autonomous spoon-feeding robot:

The Laboratory for Autonomous Systems at the Hochschule Munich is focused on service robots for care of the elderly. We try to simulate work processes from a carer with a robot. My motivation and the aim of the lab is to create a robot which can help carers and do its own tasks in this field. The hardware components of the robot are a camera (Microsoft Kinect), chassis (MetraLabs ScitosG5), and the arm (Kinova Mico²). The operating system of the robot is ROS. The arm works with MoveIt and the object recognition based on Blender, Point Cloud Library and Object Recognition Kitchen. The future plans for this project is to integrate the recognition of the mouth and to recognize and pick up the spoon from the table.

[ LAS Munich ]

Thanks Jona!

YES, I absolutely LOVE these robot motivational posters from the NSF:

[ NSF ]

This is the eighth year that SparkFun has held their autonomous vehicle competition, and the course looks just as dangerous as ever. Did I say dangerous? I meant exciting:

September 17 at SparkFun world headquarters and volcano lair in Boulder, Colo.

[ SparkFun AVC ]

Thirty years ago, at ICRA 1986 (!), Ron Fearing presented a paper on in-hand dexterous manipulation using the Stanford/JPL hand:

Read the 1986 paper at the link below.

[ Paper ]

Sounds like DHL wants to get busy with some collaborative robots from Rethink:

[ Rethink ]

SoftBank Robotics (a.k.a. Not Aldebaran Anymore) would like to remind you of all the cool things NAO can do. Still one of our favorite robots ever. 

[ SoftBank Robotics ]

Here’s what you missed at McGill back in March:

RoboHacks is a robotics exhibition and hackathon hosted at McGill University, Montreal. Join 150 awesome CEGEP, Undergraduate and Graduate students in powering through 24 hours of thrilling robotics exhibition, caffeine fuelled invention, and engaged learning. We’re there to provide the perfect environment to spark learning, innovation and a whole load of fun. Whether you are an expert or an outright newcomer, we look forward to sharing our knowledge, guidance, hardware, and tools to help you build some really cool things.

Why isn’t this happening all the time, everywhere?

[ McGill RoboHacks ]

The moves that hinamietetu’s ring gymnast robot look like they would probably twist a human’s arm into knots:

The fact that moves like these don’t twist human arms into knots is maybe the most remarkable thing about the sport.

[ YouTube ]

The Robot’s World YouTube channel talks about robot stuff, with a robot. Here’s one episode:

[ YouTube ]

Next month is the 40th anniversary of Viking, the first robot to land on Mars in one piece. This video is from the 25th anniversary, but it’s a fascinating and very watchable look at the project:

[ NASA ]

At some point, Stefanie Tellex from Brown gave a talk at Microsoft Research about human-robot collaboration. If you’ve ever collaborated with a robot (or have been afraid to do so), there’s some interesting stuff here.

[ Brown H2R Lab ]

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