Video Friday: Robots at Night

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A robot suspended by red cables holding a drumstick descends towards a cymbal in a dramatically lit warehouse

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.

ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON
RoboCup 2023: 4–10 July 2023, BORDEAUX, FRANCE
RSS 2023: 10–14 July 2023, DAEGU, KOREA
IEEE RO-MAN 2023: 28–31 August 2023, BUSAN, KOREA
CLAWAR 2023: 2–4 October 2023, FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL

Enjoy today’s videos!

I don’t know what your robots do at night, but at Fraunhofer, this is what they get up to.

[ Fraunhofer IPA ]

This choreorobotics dance is part atavistic ceremony, part celestial conjuring, and part ecstatic romping. It features three human dancers and two Boston Dynamics Spot robots with original music, choreography, and video. It was the first robot-human dance performed at any Smithsonian building in its history and premiered on July 6th, 2022. This work was created as the culmination of Catie Cuan’s Futurist-in-Residence appointment at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.

[ Catie Cuan ]

Several soft-bodied crawling animals in nature such as inchworms, caterpillars, etc., have remarkable locomotion abilities for complex navigation across a variety of substrates....We have developed a bio-inspired soft robotic model (driven by only a single source of pressure) that unveils the fundamental aspects of frictional anisotropic locomotion in crawling animals. This breakthrough is interesting from an animal biomechanics point of view and crucial for the development of inspection and exploration robots.

A paper on this work, titled “Frictional Anisotropic Locomotion and Adaptive Neural Control for a Soft Crawling Robot,” has been published in Soft Robotics.

[ VISTEC ]

Thanks, Poramate!

Quadrotors are deployed to more and more applications nowadays. Yet quadrotors’ flight performance is subject to various uncertainties and disturbances, e.g., ground effect, slosh payload, damaged propeller, downwash, and sudden weight change, just to name a few. The researchers from the Advanced Controls Research Laboratory at UIUC bring up L1Quad: an L1 adaptive augmentation for compensating for the uncertainties and disturbances experienced by the quadrotor. The video below shows the superior performance of L1Quad in various challenging scenarios without retuning the controller parameters case by case.

[ Illinois ]

Thanks, Sheng!

These robots can handle my muffins anytime.

[ Fanuc ]

This is maybe the most specific gripper I’ve ever seen.

[ PRISMA Lab ]

A little weird that this video from MIT is titled “Behind MIT’s Robot Dog” while featuring a Unitree robot dog rather than a Mini Cheetah.

[ MIT CSAIL ]

When you spend years training a system for the full gamut of driving scenarios, unexpected situations become mere possibilities. See how we consistently put the Waymo Driver to the test in our closed-course facilities, ensuring we’ve built a Driver that’s ready for anything.

[ Waymo ]

Robots attend valves
Opening and closing with grace
Steady and precise

[ Sanctuary AI ]

REInvest Robotics in conversation with Brian Gerkey, cofounder and now former CEO of Open Robotics on his wishlist for robotics.

[ REInvest Robotics ]

This Stanford Seminar is from Aaron Edsinger of Hello Robot, on humanizing robot design.

We are at the beginning of a transformation where robots and humans cohabitate and collaborate in everyday life. From caring for older adults to supporting workers in service industries, collaborative robots hold incredible potential to improve the quality of life for millions of people. These robots need to be safe, intuitive, and simple to use. They need to be affordable enough to allow widespread access and adoption. Ultimately, acceptance of these robots in society will require that the human experience is at the center of their design. In this presentation I will highlight some of my work to humanize robot design over the last two decades. This work includes compliant and safe actuation for humanoids, low-cost collaborative robot arms, and assistive mobile manipulators. Our recent work at Hello Robot has been to commercialize a mobile manipulator named Stretch that can assist older adults and people with disabilities. I’ll detail the human-centered research and development process behind Stretch and present recent work to allow an individual with quadriplegia to control Stretch for everyday tasks. Finally I’ll highlight some of the results by the growing community of researchers working with Stretch.

[ Hello Robot ] via [ Stanford ]

The Conversation (0)

How Duolingo’s AI Learns What You Need to Learn

The AI that powers the language-learning app today could disrupt education tomorrow

9 min read
Vertical
This playful illustration shows Duolingo’s owl mascot, cut away down the midline, showing hidden inside a high-tech skeleton suggestive of some sort of AI robot.
Eddie Guy
Blue

It’s lunchtime when your phone pings you with a green owl who cheerily reminds you to “Keep Duo Happy!” It’s a nudge from Duolingo, the popular language-learning app, whose algorithms know you’re most likely to do your 5 minutes of Spanish practice at this time of day. The app chooses its notification words based on what has worked for you in the past and the specifics of your recent achievements, adding a dash of attention-catching novelty. When you open the app, the lesson that’s queued up is calibrated for your skill level, and it includes a review of some words and concepts you flubbed during your last session.

Duolingo, with its gamelike approach and cast of bright cartoon characters, presents a simple user interface to guide learners through a curriculum that leads to language proficiency, or even fluency. But behind the scenes, sophisticated artificial-intelligence (AI) systems are at work. One system in particular, called Birdbrain, is continuously improving the learner’s experience with algorithms based on decades of research in educational psychology, combined with recent advances in machine learning. But from the learner’s perspective, it simply feels as though the green owl is getting better and better at personalizing lessons.

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