Video Friday: RoboCup Qualifiers, a Hulking Heavy-Lift Quadrotor, and SPHERES at Google

Today's Video Friday is brought to you by general fantasticness

3 min read
Video Friday: RoboCup Qualifiers, a Hulking Heavy-Lift Quadrotor, and SPHERES at Google

RoboCup isn't happening until July, but that's cool, because vids are already showing up on YouTube, and 2013 looks like it'll be a fantastic year. It's also going to be a fantastic year for quadrotors, a fantastic year for space robots... Heck, robots are just coming up fantastic. But what else is new, right? Watch some fantastic vids of robots doing fantastic stuff, 'cause it's Video Friday.

Let's start with just an incredibly awesome montage of footage from little UAVs buzzing around Thailand, brought to you by the same guys who chased around a police car. It's great visuals, great music, and a beautiful country:

[ Team BlackSheep ]



If you're not quite so good at flying UAVs and quadrotors as the Team BlackSheep guys, it might be worth investing in a mostly crashable waterproof version that you can practice with over a giant safety net in the form of a lake:

$350, just add radios, a controller board, and a battery.

[ Aquacopters ]



This next video is going to try and sell you on the fact that this badminton robot is a testbed for software that allows robots to run more efficiently, but don't pay any attention to that, because this is a badminton robot and I don't have HOW much energy it takes up, because I want one:




It's qualifier time for RoboCup 2013, and YouTube is flooded with vids from different teams exhibiting their expertise in a variety of events. Here's the one from TU Eindhoven, featuring my favorite (or maybe second favorite) league, Mid Size:

Humanoids are not nearly as quick as those Mid Size robots, but here's Team DARWIN, and it's noticeably more impressive than last year:

And Team NIMBRO:

[ RoboCup 2013 ]



You know what would be cool? Using 368 cameraphone sensors to create a sensor with a 1.8 gigapixel video stream, and then sticking it onto a UAV:

Obviously, what we're looking at here is the next generation of Google Earth. Sooner or later, this technology is going to be come commercially available, and when it does, I bet you dollars to donuts that someone like Google is going to park Argus-type sensors on balloons or something above major metropolitan areas and make the footage available to the public.

[ Rise of the Drones ]



So, uh, this is FLASH, attending what appears to be a reenactment of the signing of the declaration of independence?

Yeah, I have absolutely no idea what's going on.




How big does an autonomous quadrotor have to be to lift 50 pounds of payload? I have no idea, but we may find out by May, since some students at San Jose State University want to build one if their Kickstarter project goes through:

Did you see that last reward? For a mere $10,000, you can own whatever these guys manage to come up with.

[ Kickstarter ]

Thanks @YanMachX!



I have two hands and two eyes and I can't juggle for the life of me. This robot has no hands, no eyes, no sensors, and manages to juggle a ball while swinging back and forth using a single linear actuator. And let me reiterate: no sensors.

[ Blind Juggler ]



We humans are dirty, filthy creatures. GE would like robots to help keep hospitals a little bit cleaner by sending robots around to deliver sterile instruments:

[ GE Global Research ]



We'll finish up with this fantastic talk at Google about NASA's SPHERES robots. I was in the audience, and the reason I say it's fantastic is that Mark Micire gave a talk intended for a Google-level audience, which means that there's a huge amount of technical detail. It's all perfectly understandable, but there's a lot of great info here that is hard to get otherwise. 


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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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