Video Friday: PowerGloves, MAVs, and Self-Assembling Robots

Our video mix this Friday includes little flying robots, little reconfigurable robots, a little robot controlled by a glove, and a movie trailer with a not-so-little amount of robot carnage

1 min read
Video Friday: PowerGloves, MAVs, and Self-Assembling Robots

This very cool demo comes from a company called AnthroTronix. Their AcceleGlove uses accelerometers to detect hand movements, and it's precise enough to get a little robot to pick up a ball in its gripper:

AirBurr, or the original AirBurr at least, is from 2009. It's got a rotor like a helicopter plus control surfaces like an airplane, and since the whole thing is completely enclosed, it can bounce off walls and land and take off on its own, ideal for indoor flying:

Any doubts that AeroVironment's hummingbird MAV could fly outside of a staged demo were erased when it took off from a table at an AUVSI press conference:

Noisy little bugger, but very clever.

This TEDTalk from MIT's Skylar Tibbits shows several examples of how robots (and structures in general) can be programmed to be self-assembling and self-reconfiguring:

We've seen a few things like this before, and those chains at the end of the talk remind me of Cornell's stochastic self-reconfiguring robots from a few years ago.

And finally, the week would just not be complete without a video about robots going nuts and killing all the humans they can get their steely claws on. Behold, Robotropolis!

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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