Video Friday: Robots That Fold, Robots That Drive, Robots That Drink

It's a good thing that these origami robots can't fold themselves and multiply, because if they could, the world would have ended by now. It's Video Friday!

2 min read
Video Friday: Robots That Fold, Robots That Drive, Robots That Drink

Have you seen anything so terrifying made of origami? I think not! And even if you have seen something more terrifying, it's unlikely that it's ever chased you down and try to bite you, like this foldable robot bug can. See it skittering around, and more stuff that's almost as cool, in this week's Video Friday.

This is how you pour a beer, robot-style.



And this is how to get your coffee delivered to you in the morning:

[ DIY Drones ] via [ Motherboard ]



The National Science Foundation got a look at some of what Daniela Rus has been up to at MIT, involving inexpensive yet capable robots that pop right out of a printer nearly ready to go, just requiring some origami-type folding to turn them from 2D sheets into 3D machines. The electronics aren't quite printable yet, but they're getting close:

[ DRL ]



UMass Lowell has been working on a rover for NASA's RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops Competition. Check it out:

In this video the rover can be seen traversing different sets of terrain and ramps at the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center. The sand pit in this video is 10 inches deep, and the concrete ramps are 30 degree inclines. This is the mid-point project review; the rover is still in development.

[ UMass Lowell Rover Hawks ]



While interning at Willow Garage, Jen Barry has been developing DARRT, a motion planning algorithm that includes multiple types of manipulation. Why is this cool? Watch the vid, and it'll all make sense:

[ Willow Garage ]



How can you not love Nao and his adorable little car?

And we will continue to love him until he commits microvehicular roboticide.

[ NaoCar ]



This is a video of Roboy singing and having fun, but I'll tell you what, I'd pay good money to see the little dude dance

[ Roboy ]



It is very important that you watch this:

Thanks, Kubi! And if you're super confused, click here.

[ Kubi ]



Here's your Mars Curiosity Rover Report, discussing the rover's recent drilling operations and what it managed to find under the surface.

[ Curiosity ]



If you didn't make it to BarBot earlier this month, Tested has some sweet video, although you'll have to pour your own drinks:

[ BarBot ] via [ Tested ]



Engadget Expand happened last weekend, and they had some top-notch roboticists on the stage. The whole thing was recorded, so we'll finish up this week with a rundown of the "Robopocalypse" presentations and panel, featuring Chris Anderson of 3DRobotics, Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics, and Steve Cousins of Willow Garage.


Chris Anderson

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Marc Raibert

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Steve Cousins

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Panel Discussion

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The Conversation (0)

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

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

"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.

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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