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Video Friday: Resilient Bugbots

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A close up photo of a small black robotic insect with two insect-like wings (one of which is broken) perched on top of a spiny cactus
MIT

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.

Robotics Summit & Expo: 10–11 May 2023, BOSTON
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON
RoboCup 2023: 4–10 July 2023, BORDEAUX, FRANCE
RSS 2023: 10–14 July 2023, DAEGU, KOREA
IEEE RO-MAN 2023: 28–31 August 2023, BUSAN, KOREA
CLAWAR 2023: 2–4 October 2023, FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL
Humanoids 2023: 12–14 December 2023, AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA

Enjoy today’s videos!

Inspired by the hardiness of bumblebees, MIT researchers have developed repair techniques that enable a bug-sized aerial robot to sustain severe damage to the actuators, or artificial muscles, that power its wings—but to still fly effectively.

[ MIT ]

This robot gripper is called DragonClaw, and do you really need to know anything else?

“Alas, DragonClaw wins again!”

[ AMTL ]

Here’s a good argument for having legs on a robot:

And here’s a less-good argument for having legs on a robot. But it’s still impressive!

[ ANYbotics ]

Always nice to see drones getting real work done! Also, when you offer your drone up for power-line inspections and promise that it won’t crash into anything, that’s confidence.

[ Skydio ]

Voxel robots have been extensively simulated because they’re easy to simulate, but not extensively built because they’re hard to build. But here are some that actually work.

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Bram!

Reinforcement learning (RL) has become a promising approach to developing controllers for quadrupedal robots. We explore an alternative to the position-based RL paradigm, by introducing a torque-based RL framework, where an RL policy directly predicts joint torques at a high frequency, thus circumventing the use of a PD controller. The proposed learning torque control framework is validated with extensive experiments, in which a quadruped is capable of traversing various terrain and resisting external disturbances while following user-specified commands.

[ Berkeley ]

In this work we show how bioinspired, 3D-printed snakeskins enhance the friction anisotropy and thus the slithering locomotion of a snake robot. Experiments have been conducted with a soft pneumatic snake robot in various indoor and outdoor settings.

[ Paper ]

For bipedal humanoid robots to successfully operate in the real world, they must be competent at simultaneously executing multiple motion tasks while reacting to unforeseen external disturbances in real time. We propose Kinodynamic Fabrics as an approach for the specification, solution, and simultaneous execution of multiple motion tasks in real time while being reactive to dynamism in the environment.

[ Michigan Robotics ]

The RPD 35 from Built Robotics is the world’s first autonomous piling system. It combines four steps—layout, pile distribution, pile driving, and as-builts—into one package. With the RPD 35, a two-person crew can install pile more productivity than traditional methods.

[ Built Robotics ]

This work contributes a novel and modularized learning-based method for aerial robots navigating cluttered environments containing thin, hard-to-perceive obstacles without assuming access to a map or the full pose estimation of the robot.

[ ARL ]

Thanks, Kostas!

The video shows a use case developed by the FZI with the assistance of the KIT: the multirobot retrieval of hazardous materials using two FZI robots as well as a KIT virtual-reality environment.

[ FZI ]

Satisfying.

[ Soft Robtics ]

A year has passed since the launch of the ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover mission was put on hold, but the work has not stopped for the ExoMars teams in Europe. In this program, the ESA Web TV crew travel back to Turin, Italy, to talk to the teams and watch as new tests are being conducted with the rover’s Earth twin, Amalia, while the real rover remains carefully stored in an ultraclean room.

[ ESA ]

Camilo Buscaron, chief technologist at AWS Robotics, sits down with Ramon Roche in this Behind the Tech episode to share his storied career in the robotics industry. Camilo explains how AWS provides a host of services for robotics developers from simulation and streaming to basic real-time cloud storage.

[ Behind the Tech ]

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