Video Friday: REEM-C, Bots of the Past, and Drones Hear Your Screams

Our final Video Friday before the DRC. Can you handle the excitement?

3 min read
Video Friday: REEM-C, Bots of the Past, and Drones Hear Your Screams

Next Wednesday night, we'll be taking a redeye out to Florida for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. There'll be a media briefing on Thursday afternoon, and the trials themselves will run all day Friday and Saturday, with a robotics expo and demos running at the same time. Saturday night is the closing ceremony, with a media briefing to follow. As we mentioned last week, there will be extensive live coverage (including streaming video) provided by DARPA itself, and we'll be getting you all the details on that after the Thursday media briefing.

As far as our coverage goes, we understand that there's going to be a lot of media at this event, so what we're going to try and do is bring you the sorts of stories that you're not likely to find anywhere else, with the level of detail that (we hope) you know and love. And if there are specific things that you'd like to see, make sure and let us know. Meanwhile, here's one or two videos to tide you over until the action starts next week.

Our first video today comes, like so many great videos, from EPFL in Switzerland. They've outfitted a MAV swarm with directional microphones, giving the drones the ability to localize in on sounds like an emergency whistle or (one has to assume) you screaming, if it comes to that:

"Robust acoustic source localization of emergency signals from Micro Air Vehicles," by Basiri, M., Schill, F., Lima, P. U., and Floreano, D., can be found in the IROS proceedings from last year.

Thanks Adrien!



Cobots are robots at Carnegie Mellon University that autonomously wander around, performing helpful tasks:

One of the Cobot's neatest features is its ability to ask humans for help: Cobot doesn't have a manipulator, so if it needs to use an elevator, it'll just hang out and look helpless until someone comes by who'll push the button for it. There are plenty of much more complicated ways to get robots to interact with elevators, but it's really much easier to manipulate meatbags into doing it instead.

[ CMU ]



Team Blacksheep was in New York City for the DARC Conference back in October, and they set about beautifully breaking a whole bunch of FAA regulations:

[ Team Blacksheep ]



PAL Robotics' has a new vid that takes us through all of the sweet features of their REEM-C humanoid:

[ PAL Robotics ]

Thanks Josep!



As much as we like to write about drones, we do acknowledge that they have a potentially sinister side, as this video from Alex Cornell conceptualizes:

[ Alex Cornell ]



RoboGames might not be running anymore, but that doesn't make this video of Mortician destroying another robot any less satisfying:

[ Hardcore Robotics ]



Humanoid robots won't be good for much in the long run unless we can figure out things to do with them besides just lab research. Bruno Maisonnier, founder of Aldebaran Robotics, has some ideas:

[ Aldebaran Robotics ]



FZI's LAURON robot has some new skills, including grasping and object recognition:




This just in: bees do not like quadrotors:



We'll be seeing Team Mojavaton at the DRC next week, and as an unfunded team, they could use a little extra support:

[ Team Mojavaton ]



Couldn't scrape together funding to attend the Pioneers Festival in Vienna this year? Yeah, me neither, but here's a video of a robotics panel that includes (among others) Rodney Brooks and Steve Cousins:

[ Pioneers Festival ]



Let's wrap with this kind of amazing video that explores the past (and potential future) of some famous research robots:

Via [ Engadget ]

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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