Video Friday: Nao Boogies Down, Snakebots Climb Up, and Skippy Throws Rocks

Snakebots learn how to attack humans, and we've got video to prove it

2 min read
Video Friday: Nao Boogies Down, Snakebots Climb Up, and Skippy Throws Rocks

Snakebot attacks human, film at 11. Or, right now.

Yes, we've made it through yet another week of awesome robot news, and you've made it through yet another week of reading awesome robot news. Congratulations to us both! To celebrate, here are a bunch of videos, since, you know, it's Video Friday and all. W00t!

Okay, this is seriously somehow one of the greatest things I've ever seen. I don't know how. Maybe I'm just really tired. But it's a Nao doing the entire evolution of dance.

If you're not familiar with Judson Laipply's original performance, it's the second video down, with nearly 200,000,000 views on YouTube. Since the music is the same for both, if you want to get clever, you can put Justin's video on mute and then play them both at the same time to see just how well Nao can bust those moves:



Via [ TheAmazel ]



CMU has taught their robot snake to climb up stuff while automatically adapting its shape as the environment changes: 

LOOK OUT IT'S GOING FOR THE THROAT- Oh. Or you can just turn it off I guess. But one of these days, that robot is going to ignore those paltry little commands and strangle you and then take over the world.

[ Modsnake ]



There's nothing really new in this video from Festo, but it's always cool to see how they're exploring different ways of interacting with machines. There's a bunch of info about their exohand, and some fun footage of someone using brain waves to control a game.

[ Festo ]



Here's ToBI, Universität Bielefeld's RoboCup@Home robot, putting on a demo, including a cup and ball game that it TOTALLY PWNS:

[ ToBI ]



Hey look, it's another attempt at making a humanoid robot more appealing to humans by trying to give it realistic facial expressions!

Swing and a miss, although the choice of music definitely doesn't help things.

Via [ New Scientist ]



From Plastic Pals, the TELSTAR V robot now has tactile feedback that enables a remote user to tell whether the robot is handling paper or fabric, and how warm that paper or fabric is:

We're gonna try and get down to LA to check it out in person at Siggraph 2012 next month.

[ Tachi Lab ] via [ Plastic Pals ]



Finally today, Sun Valley came up with a brilliant (brilliant, I tell you) marketing idea by designing a robot that you can use to skip stones across a lake over teh intarwebz. Meet Skippy, and as long as it's not dark, you can try the little guy out:

[ Skippy ] via [ Suicide Bots ]

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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