The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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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?

NOW YOU KNOW!

[ 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.

Ever.

[ BattleBots ]

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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