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Video Friday: Robot Friends

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A teal and white humanoid robot stands on a stage with its arm outstretched

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, Netherlands
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Azores, Portugal

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Kawasaki introduced a bunch of new robots at iREX in Japan. Including this friendly fellow, called Kaleido.

And here, of course, is Bex, the robotic ibex that we wrote about earlier this week. But it’s way weirder on video!

川崎重工 「RHP Bex」人が乗る #2022国際ロボット展

There are some other new robots too! Robotstart was there in person, so check out its coverage at the link below.

[ Robotstart ]

In better times, Ukrainian drone enthusiasts flew their gadgets into the sky to photograph weddings or race drones for fun. Now some are risking their lives by forming a volunteer drone force to help their country repel the Russian invasion.

[ AP News ]

Now on Kickstarter, a robotic cat that will not make you sneeze!

As always, remember that crowdfunding videos like these show only the best possible performance and demonstrate a borderline unrealistic experience. Kickstart accordingly, starting at $1K.

[ Kickstarter ]

Thanks, Marie!

This is a pretty great application for a robot arm, right?

The obvious next step is making the driving autonomous too, so that the operator can take a nap.

[ RMV ]

DRC-Hubo has joined the UMass Lowell NERVE Center, where it’s going to learn how to do useful stuff on boats. I totally get why you’d want (or need!) a biped for boatvironments, but good luck with balancing on the high seas.

[ UML ]

Marsupial robot teams have lots of advantages when exploring unknown environments, as long as you can keep them from stepping on or falling off each other. I love the bungie idea here.

[ ARL ]

Fly Like A Girl is a half-day program that introduces youth aged 10–18 to different aspects of drones and applications behind them.

[ WeRobotics ]

iCub embracing its well-documented obsession with condiments.

[ Paper ]

Quadrotors, meet robot arm!

[ INRoL ]

UAVs have a lot to learn from birds. Although, birds may be able to learn a thing or two from UAVs as well, like how to sound like a swarm of giant bees.

[ UMich ]

Haptic teleoperation of a 6 DoF omnidirectional drone sure seems like a very challenging controls problem.

[ ASL ]

Did you ever hide something in the sand at the beach when you were a kid? This is like that, except for adults and robots.

[ DFKI ]

A mobile robot that can explore, inspect, and apply air-sealing foam in spaces beyond human reach.

[ Northeastern ]

Telexistence, best known for its futuristic telepresence anime humanoid robots, is now working on something decidely more mundane.

[ Telexistence ]

In this work, we make two contributions: (i) we perform the first benchmark comparison of existing learned control policies for agile quadrotor flight and show that training a control policy that commands body-rates and thrust results in more robust sim-to-real transfer compared to a policy that directly specifies individual rotor thrusts, (ii) we demonstrate for the first time that such a control policy trained via deep reinforcement learning can control a quadrotor in real-world experiments at speeds over 45km/h.


Carmel Majidi, Sarah Bergbreiter, and Vickie Webster-Wood talk about the vision for Softbotics: to engineer machines and robots that put humans at the center and are designed for everyday life.

[ CMU ]

The Conversation (2)
Rokon Zaman21 Mar, 2022

Engineers have been after making human like or animal like robots for over a century. But upon creating sensation, why do they disappear? Where is the research challenge? Here is further to it:

naty mag15 Mar, 2022

What if a hacker will hack it's program in future and controlled the robot? In future there's gonna be more hackers and by controlling robots they could get the entire world to be theirs.

How the U.S. Army Is Turning Robots Into Team Players

Engineers battle the limits of deep learning for battlefield bots

11 min read
Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman

“I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.”

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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