Video Friday: PoKeBo Cubes

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
A young girl looks at a cluster of three simple robots facing each other on a table

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.

RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4 November–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14 December–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

According to Google Translate, these PoKeBo Cubes chat amongst themselves to communicate useful information to you. Like, they’ll talk to each other about current events and the weather, which you’ll pick up just by being nearby and low-key listening in.

[ ICD Lab ]

This video demonstrates human-multirobot collaborative mobile manipulation with the Omnid mobile collaborate robots, or "mocobots" for short. Key features of mocobots include passive compliance, for the safety of the human and the payload, and high-fidelity end effector force control independent of the potentially imprecise motions of the mobile base.

[ Paper ]

I’m not sure how autonomous this thing actually is, but it looks like a heck of a lot of fun to ride around on anyway.

[ KAERI Robot Lab ]

Recently Digit took in some of the sights around our Pittsburgh office. There’s a lot to explore out there and no shortage of robot enthusiasts. With a strong lineage connected to Carnegie Mellon University, we’re proud to maintain a presence in this great city.

I’ll be honest: I wanted a little more to happen with the bowling.

[ Agility ]

Some supercool research from the Max Planck Institute and ETH Zurich presented at CoRL 2022: teaching legged robots agile behaviors through direct physical demonstration.

[ CoRL2022 ]

SRI has an enduring legacy in the field of robotics. In 1995 SRI licensed its telemanipulation software to Intuitive Surgical, which became the foundation for the da Vinci surgical robot. Since then, researchers at SRI have continued to optimize the system to work with today’s commercial robot arms, bringing high dexterity telemanipulation to a wide range of industries.

[ SRI ]

Meet Josh, a mechanical engineer at Boston Dynamics. Hear his perspective on what goes into building a robot—from learning the right skills, to collaborating across teams, to designing and testing new parts.

[ Boston Dynamics ]

NSF Science Now: Learn how mechanical engineers are developing new prosthetic legs with a natural, stable walking motion and how swallowing a robot could lead to more effective medical drug delivery in the body.

[ NSF ]

We present a model-based optimization framework that optimizes base pose and footholds simultaneously. It can generate motions in rough environments for a variety of different gaits in real time.

[ Paper ]

With traditional techniques, training robots often requires hundreds of hours of data, but this is not a practical way to train robots on every variation of a task. U-M researchers used data augmentation to develop a method that will expand these data sets.

[ Paper ]

If you missed RSS this year, all the livestreams are up. Here’s (most of) Day 1, and Day 2 and Day 3 can be found on the RSS YouTube channel.

[ RSS on YouTube ]

The Conversation (0)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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