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Video Monday: Robot Snake Monster, Nao in a Ball Pit, and Holidays Are Over

We're spending this week looking for robots at CES, and just in case we don't find any, here's a bunch of post-holiday videos

2 min read
Video Monday: Robot Snake Monster, Nao in a Ball Pit, and Holidays Are Over

What with us taking a little bit of a break for the holidays and all, our last Video Friday post missed out on some holiday-themed robot videos. Since I’m sure you haven’t had nearly enough holiday cheer by now, here’s what we (and maybe you) missed over the past few weeks. Plus more, as we spend the week at CES looking for robots.

According to this video, DJI Phantom 2s have some sort of hidden and not at all creepy autonomous tree-decorating mode:

Now I’m just waiting for someone to actually try this at home, because disaster.

For something slightly more realistic and practical, this next video shows how to assemble DJI's Dropsafe drone-mounted parachute cannon:

[ DJI ]

The University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute (UTARI) convinced their assemblage of research robots to cooperate with each other to wrap and deliver presents:

[ UTARI ] via [ RoboHub ]

Here’s a feel-good video from iRobot, featuring a bunch of people who almost certainly aren’t you getting Roombas for free:

[ iRobot ]

“Peace Joy Robots: 28 Sphero robotic balls all independently programed and controlled by 4 smartphones to Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve / Sarajevo". Each ball had to be precisely choreographed and the complex dance routine written measure by measure.”

I'm now wondering when we’ll see a display made entirely of Sphero robots acting as pixels.

[ Sphero ]

I think I tried to do this once at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but NAO has way better form:

[ TheAmazel ]

And that’s it for the leftover holiday vids, but here’s some more non-holiday stuff to catch up on:

In early 2012, jamming grippers learned to throw stuff. Nearly three years later, we finally have a practical application for the technology, exactly as one of our commenters predicted: 

[ Empire Robotics ]

I would do this to every single drone if only I could jump as high as a kangaroo:

Well, okay, maybe I wouldn’t punch Ikhana, because we like Ikhana.

The Ikhana unmanned aircraft system (UAS) just played a huge role in providing live video coverage on December 5, 2014, of NASA's Orion spacecraft splashdown and recovery. Based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, the Ikhana, which is flown by human pilots in a ground station, is a flying testbed also used for NASA earth science and aeronautics research.

[ NASA ]

It was only a matter of time before someone (CMU in this case) took a bunch of modular snake robots and stuck them all together to make a hexapod that is of course called “Snake Monster”:

Now please add a big pair of googly eyes on the front.

[ CMU ]

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
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

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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