Video Friday: Robot Training

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A red bipedal robot with wheels for feet and hands stands upright at the top of steps with the city of Philadelphia in the background

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IEEE ARSO 2022: 28–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!


Finally, after the first Rocky movie in 1976, the Robotic Systems Lab presents a continuation of the iconic series. Our transformer robot visited Philly in 2022 as part of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation.

[ Swiss-Mile ]

Human cells grown in the lab could one day be used for a variety of tissue grafts, but these cells need the right kind of environment and stimulation. New research suggests that robot bodies could provide tendon cells with the same kind of stretching and twisting as they would experience in a real human body. It remains to be seen whether using robots to exercise human cells results in a better tissue for transplantation into patients.

[ Nature]

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University took an all-terrain vehicle on wild rides through tall grass, loose gravel and mud to gather data about how the ATV interacted with a challenging, off-road environment.

The resulting dataset, called TartanDrive, includes about 200,000 of these real-world interactions. The researchers believe the data is the largest real-world, multimodal, off-road driving dataset, both in terms of the number of interactions and types of sensors. The five hours of data could be useful for training a self-driving vehicle to navigate off road.

[ CMU ]

Chengxu Zhou from the University of Leeds writes, “we have recently done a demo with one operator teleoperating two legged manipulator for a bottle opening task.”

[ Real Robotics ]

Thanks, Chengxu!

We recently hosted a Youth Fly Day, bringing together 75 Freshman students from ICA Cristo Rey All Girls Academy of San Francisco for a day of hands-on exposure to and education about drones. It was an exciting opportunity for the Skydio team to help inspire the next generation of women pilots and engineers.

[ Skydio ]

Legged robotic systems leverage ground contact and the reaction forces they provide to achieve agile locomotion. However, uncertainty coupled with the discontinuous nature of contact can lead to failure in real-world environments with unexpected height variations, such as rocky hills or curbs. To enable dynamic traversal of extreme terrain, this work introduces the utilization of proprioception to estimate and react to unknown hybrid events and elevation changes and a two-degree-of-freedom tail to improve control independent of contact.

If you like this and are in the market for a new open source quadruped controller, CMU’s got that going on, too.

[ Robomechanics Lab ]

A bolt-on 360 camera kit for your drone that costs $430.

[ Insta360 ]

I think I may be too old to have any idea what’s going on here.

[ Neato ]

I’m not the biggest fan of the way the Stop Killer Robots folks go about trying to make their point, but they have a new documentary out, so here you go.

[ Immoral Code ]

This symposium hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and National Institute of Standards and Technology, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), and the FinRegLab, brought together leaders from government, industry, civil society, and academia to explore potential opportunities and challenges posed by artificial intelligence and machine learning deployment across different economic sectors, with a particular focus on financial services and healthcare.

[ Stanford HAI ]

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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