The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Autonomous robot tractor developed by CNH Industrial
Autonomous robot tractor developed by CNH Industrial.
Photo: CNH Industrial

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

NASA SRRC Level 2 – September 2-5, 2016 – Worcester, Mass., USA
ISyCoR 2016 – September 7-9, 2016 – Ostrava, Czech Republic
European Rover Challenge – September 10-13, 2016 – Podkarpackie, Poland
Gigaom Change – September 21-23, 2016 – Austin, Texas, USA
RoboBusiness – September 28-29, 2016 – San Jose, Calif., USA
HFR 2016 – September 29-30, 2016 – Genoa, Italy
ISER 2016 – October 3-6, 2016 – Tokyo, Japan
Cybathlon Symposium – October 07, 2016 – Zurich, Switzerland
Cybathalon 2016 – October 08, 2016 – Zurich, Switzerland
Robotica 2016 Brazil – October 8-12, 2016 – Recife, Brazil
ROSCon 2016 – October 8-9, 2016 – Seoul, Korea
IROS 2016 – October 9-14, 2016 – Daejon, Korea


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

Parrot hasn’t shown off anything new in like... a week... So it’s jolly well time that they entertain us with some new products:

I’m so, so happy that smartphone control has been ditched for an honest RC controller. The Swing (not X-wing, sadly) is $140, including the controller, and if that’s not weaponized enough for you, try this one out:

This one is $120, but you’ll have to pick up the $40 Flypad controller separately.

[ Parrot ]

Tractors have been robotic for a while now, because you can run them in the same well-constrained space over and over again without (much) risk of anything unusual getting in their way. However, robotic tractors have never looked this cool:

It’s just a concept, so I can’t buy one and attach a chariot to the back of it yet. Sigh.

[ CNH ] via [ Gizmodo ]

Youngmok Yun, a Ph.D. student of UT Austin, wrote in to share this video of this hand exoskeleton for rehabilitation/teleoperation that he’s been working on:

Looks like they’ll have a paper on this at IROS next month, so we’ll have more details for you in just a few weeks.

[ ReNeu Robotics Lab ]

Simone Giertz may not be breaking new ground with robotics research or anything, but the robots she invents are some of the funniest, sh***yest things I’ve ever seen.

Brought to you by Skippy: the Firmer Peanut Butter™.

[ Simone Giertz ]

It’s the August edition of the Weaponized Plastic Fighting League, where inexpensive robots turn violent. My favorite competitor is Diminutive Diplodocus, because it has the greatest name.

Huh, they use the same glitter guy as I do.

[ Fetch Robotics ]

At UMass Lowell, here’s Valkyrie walking for over 5 minutes. Without falling over. Not even once!

[ UMass Lowell ]

Does anyone ever get tired of watching drones shooting firey exploding ping pong balls of fire?

Nope, not tired of it yet!

[ NIMBUS Lab ]

As a diver, I prefer to explore the ocean in person. But it’s expensive to do that, and sometimes, you get wet. Fathom’s underwater drone has launched on Kickstarter and is definitely going to reach its goal, if you’d prefer a non-scuba approach to being under da sea:

Starting at $500.

[ Kickstarter ]

SenseFly’s eBee has been the go-to agricultral imaging platform for years, because it’s well-designed and almost impossibly easy to use. Parrot stole the eBee to serve as a basis for Disco, which I guess meant that senseFly needed something new. And this is it!

The eBee SQ is available now, but if you want to know how much it is, you’ll have to go ask. senseFly says it’s “affordable,” which I’m sure it is, if you own your own farm.

[ senseFly ]

If you’ve ever thought of building a solar-powered robot boat, sending it across the Pacific to Hawaii, and then sending it the rest of the way across the Pacific to New Zealand, you’re too late, because someone else is already doing it. Here’s the Hawaii launch:

You can track SeaCharger’s progress every day at the link below.

[ SeaCharger ] via [ Make ]

I don’t think I’ve ever seen robots that are more single-minded or determined than autonomous 500-gram sumo:

[ CIRC ]

If you want to fly your drones beyond line of sight without the FAA sending you to their work camp in Antarctica, talk to PrecisionHawk—they’ve gotten FAA aproval for extended visual line-of-sight (EVLOS) flights using an airspace display technology called LATAS:

[ LATAS ] via [ PrecisionHawk ]

Art.

[ Dragan Ilich ] via [ Gizmodo ]

It takes less than half an hour to completely assemble a Kamigami robot from scratch. Proof:

[ Kamigami Robots ]

All that research. All of those studies, the articles, the discussions. Useless. The trolley problem, that classic ethical dilemma for self-driving cars, has just been definitively solved by a two-year-old:

[ YouTube ]

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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