Video Friday: Pompeii Spot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: Pompeii Spot

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
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

Enjoy today's videos!

Novel technological solutions at the service of archaeology are being tested in Pompeii. One of the latest monitoring operations of the archaeological structures was recently carried out with the aid of Spot, a quadruped robot capable of inspecting even the smallest of spaces in complete safety, gathering and recording data useful for the study and planning of interventions.

[ Pompeii ]

A drone show in Japan in support of Ukraine.

[ Robotstart ]

In this paper, we propose a lip-inspired soft robotic gripper. This gripper is motivated by animals’ oral structure, especially from lips. Lips have various functions: holding, regrasping, sucking in, and spitting objects. This gripper especially focuses on the functions of holding and regrasping. We validated the capability of the lip pouch of the gripper with various objects through experiments. Moreover, we demonstrated regrasping objects with this gripper.

[ Kimlab ]

A small drone with a 360-degree camera on top of it has no problems creating a dense map of a complex environment, including the insides of pipes.

[ RoblabWHGe ]

Thanks, Hartmut!

I have no idea what’s happening here, and perhaps it’s better that way.

[ Naver Labs ]

EPFL engineers have developed a silicone raspberry that can help teach harvesting robots to grasp fruit without exerting too much pressure.

[ EPFL ]

Robots have now conquered Habitrail environments!

[ Paper ]

Welcome, human. Your job is to watch this robot not fall over, to music.

[ Agility Robotics ]

Robotic wheelchairs may soon be able to move through crowds smoothly and safely. As part of CrowdBot, an E.U.-funded project, EPFL engineers are exploring the technical, ethical, and safety issues related to this kind of technology. The aim of the project is to eventually help the disabled get around more easily.

[ EPFL ]

Self-driving cars are expected on our roads soon. In the project SNOW (Self-driving Navigation Optimized for Winter), we focus on the unexplored problem of autonomous driving during winter, which still raises reliability concerns. We have the expertise to automatically build 3D maps of the environment while moving through it with robots. We aim at using this knowledge to investigate mapping and control solutions for challenging conditions related to Canadian weather.

[ Norlab ]

The amphibious drone of the PON PLaCE project and its shelter station made their debut in a real scenario, an artificial lake. During the three-day test, the various systems and automatisms of this sophisticated drone were tested, from autonomous aerial take-off and monitoring, to ditching and on-site testing of biological parameters in the water column (pH, temperature, salinity, photosynthetically active radiation, chlorophyll).

[ PlaCE ]

The HEBI Robotics Platform can seamlessly integrate with other robots and tools. In this demo, a HEBI arm and vision system is connected to a Clearpath Jackal.

[ HEBI Robotics ]

With a screwdriver and about 3 minutes, you can replace the vacuum motor in a Roomba S9. I’ve never had durability issues with my Roombas, but I really appreciate the thoughtfulness that goes into their repairability.

[ iRobot ]

For Episode 13 of the Robot Brains Podcast, we’re joined by industry pioneer Dean Ayanna Howard. She began working at NASA’s JPL at 18 years old to help build the Mars rover and never slowed down from there. She is a successful roboticist, entrepreneur, and educator, and is the author of the recent book Sex, Race, and Robots: How to Be Human in the Age of AI.

[ Robot Brains ]

Waymo just started operating its vehicles with no in-car safety drivers, although they may or may not be “fully autonomous,” depending on what definition you use. Anyway, here’s how it’s going.

[ Waymo ]

An IUI 2022 keynote by Stuart Russell, on “Provably Beneficial Artificial Intelligence.”

[ IUI 2022 ]

The Conversation (0)

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

11 min read
Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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