Video Friday: Shadow Hand, Table Tennis Death Match, and Happy Valentine's Day

How much do we love robots? All of these videos much!

2 min read
Video Friday: Shadow Hand, Table Tennis Death Match, and Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day in many countries around the world. For Valentine's Day, we're posting robot videos, because we love robots. And we know you love robots too, at least a little bit, or you wouldn't be here, right? RIGHT!

Also, you should all watch WALL-E again, because it's one of the greatest robot love stories ever told. Consider it the final required video for your Video Friday.

To decide the fate of humanity (or, you know, whatever), professional table tennis champion Timo Boll will take on a Kuka KR Agilus robot arm next month:

[ Kuka ]



That ridiculously impressive MorpHex robot is getting some upgrades, and Zenta has a teaser for us:

[ Zenta ]



Controlling robot with your brain is something that is becoming mainstream enough that we're actually getting close to putting it into practice. At this point, it's so easy that an undergrad can do it:

[ University of Minnesota ]



Robotiq's beautiful underactuated gripper (which saw a great deal of use in the DRC Trials last December) has been upgraded with tactile sensors:

[ Robotiq ]



As far as robotics companies go, Yaskawa Motoman is kind of a big one. This (admittedly corporate) video gives you a sense of what they're up to:

[ Yaskawa Motoman ]



This seems like some sort of cruel and unusual punishment for robots, but it's impressive enough that I'm willing to watch it suffer:

[ DrGuero ]



Mercedes has a new (as of last year) autonomous driving system called S 500 Intelligent Drive. Here's a video from FZI showing what the system sees and how it makes decisions in a mind-bending amount of very colorful detail:

[ Mercedes Benz ]



How much do robots and Olympians have in common? More than you might think:

[ NSF ]



So they remade RoboCop. That's cool. What's cooler is an actual RoboCop:

[ FIU ]



Did you know that there's an online training curriculum for ROS Industrial?


[ ROS Industrial ]



I'm not entirely sure what it is about this Shadow Hand video that creeps me out, but I think its movements are simultaneously close enough to and far enough from being human that it hits some kind of Uncanny Valley chord:

[ Shadow Robot Company ]



This Fanuc three-axis delta robot can pick and place batteries so fast that it makes my teeth hurt:

[ Fanuc ]



RoboCup 2014 is in Brazil this year, in late July. We're starting to see some qualification videos show up on YouTube for the @Home competition:

[ UNAM ]

I think ToBI deserves extra points for not crushing that human into a festive red smear against the wall of the elevator.

[ ToBI ]

[ Eindhoven ]



RoboCup also features robot soccer. Competition is getting serious, and remember, this is completely autonomous:

[ Eindhoven ]



More from BattleBots season 5, because it's not like watching robots obliterate each other ever gets old.


[ BattleBots ]

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

“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.

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

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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