The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Please accept our profound apologies for not posting for the last few days: we've been working very very hard (we promise!) at RoboBusiness 2013, and next week we'll have some good stuff for you from the show. If you pay close attention, you may even see a few videos sneak in today, too. After next week comes the IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), when our posting schedule will probably get thrown out the window (in a good way!), as we bring you the latest robotics research live from Tokyo. But we're not there yet: first, we have to make it through two more Video Fridays.

Announced at RoboBusiness this week was the launch of a Kickstarter for the RoboKind Zeno R25. We've written about the R50 before, and the R25 shares much of the same features, except it costs less. A lot less. We're talking $2,700 instead of $15,000, for a small walking humanoid robot with sophisticated voice recognition and a face capable of making human-like (ish) expressions:

The R25 needs just $50,000 on Kickstarter to be successful, and we're certainly wishing them success.

[ Kickstarter ]

Thanks Richard!

 

 

In other announcements, iRobot has started giving its cute little FirstLook robots some payloads, including a nifty little arm that can pick up three pounds. Not bad for a robot that weighs a total of just 2.3 kilograms (5 pounds):

And yes, we did notice that when the FirstLook was thrown into the window, it wasn't carrying anything. Hmm.

[ iRobot FirstLook

Thanks Charlie!

 

 

The best gymnastics robot in the Universe lands a triple backflip. At this rate, we're expecting a quadruple inverse double pike triple axle before the end of the year.

[ YouTube ]

 

 

Let's watch some robots walk the walk, from Texas A&M. First, we've got ATRIAS:

SLIP based Human-Inspired Control applied to the compliant underactuated bipedal robot ATRIAS. Using bio-inspired virtual constraints and canonical walking functions, the full-order robot can be reduced to a low-order model. Walking gaits are generated through the use of a novel multi-domain optimization that leverages this low-dimensional representation. These gaits are verified in simulation, and implemented on the ATRIAS. The end result is remarkably natural looking walking. 

 

And now, AMBER 2:

Demonstration of human-like multi-contact locomotion on the bipedal robot AMBER. In particular, as inspired by human-locomotion, the robot demonstrates three phases of walking throughout the walking gait characterized by changing contact points at the heel and toe. Furthermore, these changing contact points result in different three different types of actuation throughout the walking gait: full actuation, underactuation and over actuation. The end result is human-like locomotion on the robot. 

[ AMBER Lab ]

 

 

This Motoman SDA series 15-axis robot looks awfully capable, especially with those slick Robotiq grippers. I just kind of wish this video wasn't CGI, you know?

[ Yaskawa ]

 

 

Double Robotics' iPad telepresence platform guest starred on the season five premiere of The Good Wife, and it looks like not everything went entirely to plan during filming:

[ Double Robotics ]

 

 

The University of Hong Kong's ATLASDRC robot had a bit of a spill in front of the press, breaking its ankle in the process:

Oops.

Via [ PopSci ]

 

 

It's pretty impressive that Baxter can be programmed to brew coffee with a Keurig machine without, you know, actually having to do any programming.

[ Rethink Robotics ]

 

 

UAVs are notoriously hard to control, but putting them on a leash makes them a heck of a lot easier to manage:

We should have more on this brilliant idea from Sergei Lupashin at IROS.

 

 

ASK NAO (Autism Solution for Kids) was created by Aldebaran Robotics to customize NAO, our humanoid robot, in order to support teachers with in-class tasks and help children with autism reach new levels of greatness.

This initiative was developed after noticing that many children with Autism seem impulsively attracted to technology therefore allowing NAO to become the perfect bridge between technology and our human social world.

ASK NAO clears the path for a revolution in thinking, driven by those who are most intimate with Autism and technology. Altogether with NAO, we can shape the special education world of tomorrow for the best of the children.

To accomplish this Aldebaran Robotics is creating a multi-sided community made up of developers, therapists, researchers, teachers, parents, enthusiasts, and the Aldebaran team collaborating to help children at surpassing their limits!

[ ASK NAO ]

 

 

Somehow we missed this last year, but it's a Da Vinci surgical robot doing a totally decent job of carving a pumpkin:

[ YouTube ]

 

 

Autonomous robot soccer can be freakin' awesome, as long as you're not trying to get humanoids to do it. Here's Tech United Eindhoven demonstrating some l33t shooting skillz:

[ Tech United Eindhoven ]

 

 

Last week, DARPA hosted a public presentation day for all the Track A and Track B/C teams that'll be competing in the DRC this December. Not all of those presentations have been put online (yet), but here's one from Team DRC-Hubo:

Looking good, guys!

[ Team DRC-Hubo ]

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
Horizontal
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
DarkGray

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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