Video Friday: Punch-Out

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A photo showing a humanoid robot wearing boxing gloves facing a human wearing hand pads.

Mortal Kombat with Nadia, from IHMC and Boardwalk Robotics.

IHMC

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.

Humanoids 2023: 12–14 December 2023, AUSTIN, TEX.
Cybathlon Challenges: 02 February 2024, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
Eurobot Open 2024: 8–11 May 2024, LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, FRANCE

Enjoy today’s videos!

Do you find yourself wondering why the world needs bipedal humanoid robots? Allow IHMC and Boardwalk Robotics to answer that question with this video.

[ IHMC ]

Thanks, Robert!

As NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter made its 59th flight on Mars–achieving its second highest altitude while taking pictures of this flight–the Perseverance Mars rover was watching. See two perspectives of this 142-second flight that reached an altitude of 20 meters (66 feet). This flight took place on 16 Sept. 2023. In this side-by-side video, you’ll see the perspective from Perseverance on the left, which was captured by the rover’s Mastcam-Z imager from about 55 m (180 ft.) away. On the right, you’ll see the perspective from Ingenuity, which was taken by its downward-pointing Navigation Camera (Navcam). During Flight 59, Ingenuity hovered at different altitudes to check Martian wind patterns. The highest altitude achieved in this flight was 20 m. At the time, that was a record for the helicopter.

[ JPL ]

Cassie Blue showcases its ability to navigate a moving walkway, a common yet challenging scenario in human environments. Cassie Blue can walk on to and off of a 1.2 meter-per-second moving treadmill and reject disturbances caused by a tugging gantry and sub-optimal approach angle caused by operator error. The key to Cassie Blue’s success is a new controller featuring a novel combination of virtual constraint-based control and a model predictive controller applied on the often-neglected ankle motor. This technology paves the way for robots to adapt and function in dynamic, real-world settings.

[ Paper ] via [ Michigan Robotics ]

Thanks, Wami!

In this study, we propose a parallel wire-driven leg structure, which has one DoF of linear motion and two DoFs of rotation and is controlled by six wires, as a structure that can achieve both continuous jumping and high jumping. The proposed structure can simultaneously achieve high controllability on each DoF, long acceleration distance and high power required for jumping. In order to verify the jumping performance of the parallel wire-driven leg structure, we have developed a parallel wire-driven monopedal robot, RAMIEL. RAMIEL is equipped with quasi-direct drive, high power wire winding mechanisms and a lightweight leg, and can achieve a maximum jumping height of 1.6 m and a maximum of seven continuous jumps.

[ RAMIEL ]

Thanks, Temma!

PAL Robotics’ Kangaroo has been designed to be lightweight and powerful, enabling the robot to perform agile maneuvers. To achieve this, we analysed existing bipedal platforms and developed a novel leg design based on ball screw linear actuators with closed kinematic chains. However, the team faced a challenge as there are only a few control algorithms and libraries that support closed kinematic chains. To overcome this challenge, we defined the full model of the robot and implemented a library that computes all the transformations using virtual constraints; and defined a simple model and integrated all the non-linear transformations in the ROS transmissions. Here, using those approaches we demonstrate Kangaroo walking using a ZMP-based (Zero moment point) position control algorithm.

[ PAL Robotics ]

Thanks, Lorna!

SLOT is a small soft-bodied crawling robot with electromagnetic legs and passive body adaptation. The robot, driven by neural central pattern generator (CPG)-based control, can successfully crawl on a variety of metal terrains, including a flat surface, step, slope, confined space, and an inner (concave surface) and outer (convex surface) pipe in both horizontal and vertical directions. It can be also steered to navigate through a cluttered environment with obstacles. This small soft robot has the potential to be employed as a robotic system for inner and outer pipe inspection and confined space exploration in the oil and gas industry.

[ VISTEC ]

Thanks, Poramate!

It isn’t easy for a robot to find its way out of a maze. Picture these machines trying to traverse a kid’s playroom to reach the kitchen, with miscellaneous toys scattered across the floor and furniture blocking some potential paths. This messy labyrinth requires the robot to calculate the most optimal journey to its destination, without crashing into any obstacles. What is the bot to do? MIT CSAIL researchers’ “Graphs of Convex Sets (GCS) Trajectory Optimization” algorithm presents a scalable, collision-free motion planning system for these robotic navigational needs.

[ MIT CSAIL ]

As the field of human-robot collaboration continues to grow and autonomous general-purpose service robots become more prevalent, robots need to obtain situational awareness and handle tasks with a limited field of view and workspace. Addressing these challenges, KIMLAB and Prof. Yong Jae Lee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison utilize the game of chess as a testbed, employing a general-purpose robotic arm.

[ KIMLAB ]

Humanoid robots have the potential of becoming general purpose robots augmenting the human workforce in industries. However, they must match the agility and versatility of humans. In this paper, we perform experimental investigations on the dynamic walking capabilities of a series-parallel hybrid humanoid named RH5. We demonstrate that it is possible to walk up to speeds of 0.43 m/s with a position-controlled robot without full state feedback, which makes it one of the fastest walking humanoids with similar size and actuation modalities.

[ DFKI ]

Avocado drone. That is all.

[ Paper ]

Autonomous robots must navigate reliably in unknown environments even under compromised exteroceptive perception, or perception failures. Such failures often occur when harsh environments lead to degraded sensing, or when the perception algorithm misinterprets the scene due to limited generalization. In this paper, we model perception failures as invisible obstacles and pits, and train a reinforcement learning (RL) based local navigation policy to guide our legged robot.

[ Resilient Navigation ]

X20 Long Range Remote Hazard Detection Test. We remote the robot dog from a straight line distance of one kilometer, and it successfully tested the density of gases. The purpose of the test is to provide solution for firefighters to use the robot to detect harmful gases first before putting themselves in danger.

[ Deep Robotics ]

This CMU RI Seminar is by Robert Ambrose from Texas A&M, on “Robots at the Johnson Space Center and Future Plans.”

The seminar will review a series of robotic systems built at the Johnson Space Center over the last 20 years. These will include wearable robots (exoskeletons, powered gloves and jetpacks), manipulation systems (ISS cranes down to human scale) and lunar mobility systems (human surface mobility and robotic rovers). As all robotics presentations should, this will include some fun videos.

[ CMU RI ]

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