Video Friday: Robot Fighting, Slime Mold Faces, and RoboSub 2013

While we head off to see some massive military robots, entertain yourself with the best robot vids of the week

2 min read
Video Friday: Robot Fighting, Slime Mold Faces, and RoboSub 2013

Next week, we'll be heading to Washington DC to check out AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2013, which is the big conference for military robotics. We know that military robotics can polarizing issue that lots of people tend to get upset about, but it's hard to get around the fact that with a military-sized budget, you can build some pretty awesome robots. And sometimes, the technologies in those military bots do eventually trickle down to make our lives better, so we're going to go into this with an open mind. Until we get there, distract yourself with some ultra-pasteurized robot videos!

First, some robot fighting that likely won't get a lot of people upset:


This is actually part of a weekly robot fighting video channel on YouTube! Aaand subscribed!

[ SupaRobotAttack ]



We've seen videos of the X-47B landing on an aircraft carrier, but this is the first one from the point of view of the robot itself, as it makes seven consecutive pinpoint touch and gos:

[ X-47B ]



It takes a lot of work to make a full-size, mostly functional WALL-E robot. A lot of work.

Via [ Tested ]



Freak out every employed biochemist that you know with this video:

[ Andrew ]



If you wanted to, you could hook a robotic face up to a slime mold and get this:

But seriously, why the heck would you want to? Oh, er, I guess it's art? Or something?

Via [ New Scientist ]



More questions with answers: why buy a Baxter? Because you can teach it to do this:

[ Magiclab ]



As we mentioned earlier this week, Curiosity has been on Mars for an entire year now. NASA held a special event at JPL featuring members of the rover team, talking about how crazy the landing was and what Curiosity has been up to since then.

[ JPL ]



If you didn't make it to the Robot Film Festival earlier this month, shame on you, because you missed the chance to applaud at the end of the opening talk I gave. You didn't miss your chance to enjoy all of the videos, however, as they've now been posted online, with the exception of some rare ones from the Oddball archive that were shown on actual film. Here's a few of our favorites, and you can see the rest at the link below.

Dubstep Dispute from Fluxel Media.


e-David Robot Painting from eDavid.



Xilent 'Boss wave' (official music-video) HD from ljudbilden.

[ RFF 2013 Films ]



Let's close out the week with RoboSub 2013: meet the event!


Meet the teams!


Meet the course!


Meet the robots!


And finally, what you've all been waiting for (or really, really not): RoboSub After Dark (!):

[ RoboSub 2013 ]



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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