Image: Human-Computer Interaction Lab/University of Manitoba

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

IROS 2020 – October 25-25, 2020 – [Online]
Robotica 2020 – November 10-14, 2020 – [Online]
ROS World 2020 – November 12, 2020 – [Online]
CYBATHLON 2020 – November 13-14, 2020 – [Online]
ICSR 2020 – November 14-16, 2020 – Golden, Colo., USA
Bay Area Robotics Symposium – November 20, 2020 – [Online]

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.

Snugglebot is what we all need right now.

[ Snugglebot ]

In his video message on his prayer intention for November, Pope Francis emphasizes that progress in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) be oriented “towards respecting the dignity of the person and of Creation”.

[ Vatican News ]


Apparently it's supposed to do that—the disruptor flies off backwards to reduce recoil on the robot, and has its own parachute to keep it from going too far.

[ Ghost Robotics ]

Animals have many muscles, receptors, and neurons which compose feedback loops. In this study, we designed artificial muscles, receptors, and neurons without any microprocessors, or software-based controllers. We imitate the reflexive rule observed in walking experiments of cats, as a result, the Pneumatic Brainless Robot II emerged running motion (a leg trajectory and a gait pattern) through the interaction between the body, the ground, and the artificial reflexes. We envision that the simple reflex circuit we discovered will be a candidate for a minimal model for describing the principles of animal locomotion.

Find the paper, "Brainless Running: A Quasi-quadruped Robot with Decentralized Spinal Reflexes by Solely Mechanical Devices," on IROS On-Demand.

[ IROS ]

Thanks Yoichi!

I have no idea what these guys are saying, but they're talking about robots that serve chocolate!

The world of experience of the Zotter Schokoladen Manufaktur of managing director Josef Zotter counts more than 270,000 visitors annually. Since March 2019, this world of chocolate in Bergl near Riegersburg in Austria has been enriched by a new attraction: the world's first chocolate and praline robot from KUKA delights young and old alike and serves up chocolate and pralines to guests according to their personal taste.

[ Zotter ]

This paper proposes a systematic solution that uses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to aggressively and safely track an agile target. The solution properly handles the challenging situations where the intent of the target and the dense environments are unknown to the UAV. The proposed solution is integrated into an onboard quadrotor system. We fully test the system in challenging real-world tracking missions. Moreover, benchmark comparisons validate that the proposed method surpasses the cutting-edge methods on time efficiency and tracking effectiveness.

[ FAST Lab ]

Southwest Research Institute developed a cable management system for collaborative robotics, or “cobots.” Dress packs used on cobots can create problems when cables are too tight (e-stops) or loose (tangling). SwRI developed ADDRESS, or the Adaptive DRESing System, to provide smarter cobot dress packs that address e-stops and tangling.

[ SWRI ]

A quick demonstration of the acoustic contact sensor in the RBO Hand 2. An embedded microphone records the sound inside of the pneumatic finger. Depending on which part of the finger makes contact, the sound is a little bit different. We create a sensor that recognizes these small changes and predicts the contact location from the sound. The visualization on the left shows the recorded sound (top) and which of the nine contact classes the sensor is currently predicting (bottom).

[ TU Berlin ]

The MAVLab won the prize for the “most innovative design” in the IMAV 2018 indoor competition, in which drones had to fly through windows, gates, and follow a predetermined flight path. The prize was awarded for the demonstration of a fully autonomous version of the “DelFly Nimble”, a tailless flapping wing drone.

In order to fly by itself, the DelFly Nimble was equipped with a single, small camera and a small processor allowing onboard vision processing and control. The jury of international experts in the field praised the agility and autonomous flight capabilities of the DelFly Nimble.

[ MAVLab ]

A reactive walking controller for the Open Dynamic Robot Initiative's skinny quadruped.

[ ODRI ]

Mobile service robots are already able to recognize people and objects while navigating autonomously through their operating environments. But what is the ideal position of the robot to interact with a user? To solve this problem, Fraunhofer IPA developed an approach that connects navigation, 3D environment modeling, and person detection to find the optimal goal pose for HRI.

[ Fraunhofer ]

Yaskawa has been in robotics for a very, very long time.

[ Yaskawa ]

Black in Robotics IROS launch event, featuring Carlotta Berry.

[ Black in Robotics ]

What is AI? I have no idea! But these folks have some opinions.

[ MIT ]

Aerial-based Observations of Volcanic Emissions (ABOVE) is an international collaborative project that is changing the way we sample volcanic gas emissions. Harnessing recent advances in drone technology, unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) in the ABOVE fleet are able to acquire aerial measurements of volcanic gases directly from within previously inaccessible volcanic plumes. In May 2019, a team of 30 researchers undertook an ambitious field deployment to two volcanoes – Tavurvur (Rabaul) and Manam in Papua New Guinea – both amongst the most prodigious emitters of sulphur dioxide on Earth, and yet lacking any measurements of how much carbon they emit to the atmosphere.


A talk from IHMC's Robert Griffin for ICCAS 2020, including a few updates on their Nadia humanoid.

[ IHMC ]

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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