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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)

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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