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Video Friday: Watch This Monstrous Robot Tank Bulldoze Its Way Through Obstacles

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Unmanned Robotic Breach Vehicle
The U.S. military recently tested a massive robotic armored vehicle capable of breaching obstacles like mine fields and trenches during an exercise at Yakima Training Center in Washington State.
Image: Defense Flash News via YouTube

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. 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!):

Nîmes Robotics Festival – May 17-19, 2019 – Nîmes, France
Isolierband Robotics Competition – May 19, 2019 – Israel
ICRA 2019 – May 20-24, 2019 – Montreal, Canada
URC 2019 – May 30-1, 2019 – Hanksville, Utah
Dynamic Walking 2019 – June 3-6, 2019 – Canmore, Alberta, Canada
2nd Annual Robotics Summit & Expo – June 4-6, 2019 – Boston, Mass., USA
ICUAS 2019 – June 11-14, 2019 – Atlanta, Ga., USA
Energy Drone Coalition Summit – June 12-13, 2019 – Woodlands, Texas, USA
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 23-26, 2019 – London, U.K.
ETH Robotics Summer School – June 27-1, 2019 – Zurich, Switzerland
MARSS 2019 – July 1-5, 2019 – Helsinki, Finland

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

An algorithm developed by Brown University computer scientists enables robots to put pen to paper, writing words using stroke patterns similar to human handwriting. It’s a step, the researchers say, toward robots that are able to communicate more fluently with human co-workers and collaborators.

Ultimately, [the researchers] envision robots that can leave Post-it Notes, take dictation or sketch diagrams for their human coworkers and collaborators.

[ Brown ]

Thanks Kevin!

We wrote about Purdue’s new robotic hummingbird last week, but here’s a new video of it flying with its fancy hummingbird suit on.

Looks like they're also working on some other small-scale flapping-wing robots, like this bee-sized one:

[ Purdue ]

The Army has a bigger robotic vehicle than you do.

Remote controlled, so not really “robotic,” but still.

[ Yakima Herald ]

Alex Winkler, who recently worked on motion planning for ANYmal at ETH Zurich, wrote in to share this visualization that he created using the Unreal Engine: “After many years of PhD research seeing only ROS/RViz/Gazebo visualizations, these Game Engines really are a different level.”

I think roboticists will find it interesting because nerdy engineers also value aesthetics. At many conferences, after I presented I was asked not a question about the core algorithm, but about what tool I used to visualize my motions. Of course, scientists that invested years of their life in nitty-gritty research are interested in visualizing it in the best light possible. Gaming engines, in this case, Unreal, can be used for this and I think haven’t fully been on the radar of the robotics community. Game engines allow to use photorealistic obstacles, deliberate create light shadows, and move cameras to precisely show what your algorithm can do. Even if these clips are still only virtual, they help the robotics reviewers, investors, and shareholders to see where this research is meant to go and make their decisions accordingly.

[ Github ]

Thanks Alex!

The MAVLab at TU Delft has developed “the smallest autonomous racing drone in the world.”

[ MAVLab ]

Genesis Robotics, a Canadian startup developing compact, high-torque actuators for robots, demonstrated their family of direct drives and gearboxes, along with a new highly backdriveable gear system called Double Helix, at Hannover Messe this year.

[ Genesis Robotics ]

People meet Pepper.

[ SoftBank ]

Few Days before the Vivatech Show in Paris, the team of Pollen Robotics installed Reachy in St James Street in front of Jeux Barjo (Bordeaux). Some kind of street marketing would say some. We had fun for sure. A lot of bordelais came to defy Reachy at Tic Tac Toe, and few even won !!

I like that one guy tries putting something else on the board and Reachy is just like, “no.”

[ Pollen Robotics ]

ANYmal, a quadrupedal robot developed by RSL (ETH Zurich) and ANYbotics, is deployed in the dark and dirty corridors of Edgar Experimental Mine in Idaho Springs, Colorado, in preparation for the Circuits Stage of the DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge.

[ ANYmal ]

Magazino is one of my favorite factory robots, because they’ve decided to focus on shoeboxes and nothing else.

[ Magazino ]

The project ROBINA is an innovative concept of human-robot interaction, designed to support people with disabilities in complex care situations and to increase the patients’ autonomy in their daily tasks.

[ Robina ]

Hank is a robot with flexible robotic fingers inspired by the human hand. Hank uses a pioneering sensory system embedded in its pneumatic fingers, providing a sophisticated sense of touch and slip, meaning it can emulate the human ability to hold and grip delicate objects using just the right amount of pressure.

[ Cambridge Consultants ]

In China, drones with multispectral sensors are being used to spot hidden drains dumping polluted water into rivers.

[ Xinhua ]

Will these tensegrity robots, originally designed for space applications, actually be commercially viable here on Earth? Squishy Robotics thinks so.

[ Squishy Robotics ]

Naver Labs would like you to know that they have robots and are hiring.

“Brainless robot”—we’d like to know more about that.

[ Naver Labs ]

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