The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Video Friday: Robohand, Entropy-Powered AI, and Bad Breath Bot

It's Friday, and we know what you need: robot videos

3 min read
Video Friday: Robohand, Entropy-Powered AI, and Bad Breath Bot

It's been a week filled with robot videos. Evan's dispatches from ICRA featured 3D-printed inchworm bots, IKEA furniture assembly robots, quadrotors with tilting propellers, a six-legged acrobatic robot, a robot with whiskers, and PR2 fetching coffee. But wait: the week is not over yet, and we know exactly what you need: more robot videos, of course!

This is a fantastic, inspiring story involving 3D printing technology and a carpenter from South Africa who'd lost four fingers. This is what happens when brilliant technology and brilliant human beings come together.

Via [ MakerBot ]

A researcher creates a new kind of AI that starts to demonstrate complex, intelligent behaviors. No, we're not talking about Skynet. A researcher with ties to MIT and Harvard has actually created what he says is a powerful artificial intelligence that, in simulations, was able to "walk upright, use tools, cooperate, play games, make useful social introductions, globally deploy a fleet, and even earn money trading stocks, all without being told to do so," as the video below explains. And here's where things get even weirder: the AI, called Entropica, is based on equations derived from the second law of thermodynamics, suggesting a link between entropy and intelligenceSome observers are skeptical. Others are skeptical of the skeptics. Is it for real? Only time, and entropy, will tell.

[ "Causal Entropic Forces," Physical Review Letters ] via [ BBC ] and [ io9 ]

What happens when you mix circus, high voltage, robots, lasers, games, and a man with a mohawk? The result is Two Bit Circus, an exhibit/performance created by a troupe of Los Angeles artists and builders. One of the cofounders is Brent Bushnell, who we profiled last year. To fund their "carnival of the future," they're looking for supporters through a Kickstarter campaign.

Via [ Tech Talk ]

HERB, the Carnegie Mellon robot butler that loves Oreos, has learned to use color video, a Kinect, and some non-visual data to discover more than 100 objects in a home-like laboratory, including computers, plants, cooking items, and a box of donuts.

Via [ Gizmag ]

Japanese researchers from a group called Crazy Labo (we are not kidding) have created a female robot named Kaori that is capable of detecting if you have bad breath. Just breathe on her face and she'll give you instant feedback, like "Yuck! You have bad breath!" Or, in the worst case scenario: "Emergency taking place!"

[ Asahi Shimbun ] via [ Kotaku ]

Quince is a nimble crawler robot that Japan deployed in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. Search and rescue personnel used the robot to look for survivors and inspect damage. Since the disaster, Japanese researchers have continued to improve the robot, and they've recently demonstrated the newest design, which features additional sensors and camera systems.

[ fuRo ]

Are robots on track to defeat the human world champions by 2050 (that's the goal of Robocup)? It's clear that hardware for adult-size humanoids will need huge improvements, but things on the software side look much better. This video, a match during the Robocup German Open 2013, shows how the quality of individual and team play is improving. Sure, these robots are no Kaka or Messi. But never underestimate a robot. Game starts at 4:20.

Thanks, Thomas!

All we can say about this project is that it's called robuPINGU. And it's from France. And that the Uncanny Valley definitely applies to penguins!

Robosoft ]

Photo: MakerBot Industries

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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less