One month from now, ICRA 2015 kicks off in Seattle, Washington. Are you ready? Got your hotel room? Awesome! We don’t, so let us know if we can crash with you, okay? Okay. Cool.

As we all know, ICRA stands for IEEE Conference of Robotic Awesomeness (or it should, at any rate). To get you excited, as if you weren’t already excited, the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society has put together a video of some of the coolest research that will be presented this year, with versions available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, French, and Italian. See what you have to look forward too, plus all the rest of the week’s videos, because that’s right, it’s Friday.

qalegh qaStaHvIS seattle!

[ ICRA 2015 ]

CMU’s Assistive Dexterous Arm, ADA, demonstrates its ability to autonomously stuff your face with marshmallows:

[ CMU Personal Robotics Lab ]

Jogging is a popular exertion activity. The abundance of jogging apps suggests to us that joggers can appreciate the opportunity for technology to support the jogging experience. We want to take this investigation a step further by exploring if, and how, robotic systems can support the jogging experience. We designed and built a flying robotic system, a quadcopter, as a jogging companion and studied its use with 13 individual joggers. By analyzing their experiences, we derived three design dimensions that describe a design space for flying robotic jogging companions: Perceived Control, Focus and Bodily Interaction. Additionally, we articulate a series of design tactics, described by these dimensions, to guide the design of future systems. With this work we hope to inspire and guide designers interested in creating robotic systems to support exertion experiences.

We wrote about Joggobot when it was first announced back in 2012, but what’s new here is a recent paper that was presented at CHI 2015 in Korea that you can read in its entirety here.

[ Joggobot ] via [ PC World ]

That fully armed and operational BB-8 Star Wars droid that we posted a video of last week can be replicated with a Sphero and some magnets:

The link below shows you how it’s done.

[ cp3d ]

WaterFly was one of the finalists for the Drones for Good competition. Developed at MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab and the University of Toronto, the concept is to use a swarm of robots for water quality monitoring:

[ Waterfly ]

The second generation of PLEN, PLEN2, is on Kickstarter. At $800 each, it’s a costly little robot, but it sure is cute:

[ PLEN2 ]

Need some bolts packed? I know I do!

[ Boltpacker ]

This has got to be one of the most accurate and realistic portrayals of a robot attempting to make breakfast that I have ever seen:

[ Karen X. Cheng ]

It’s a bit of a light week this week, so we’re just ending with a brief tour of Stanford University's Salisbury Robotics Lab by PBS, featuring a special appearance by Tony Pratkanis:

[ Salisbury Robotics Lab ]

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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less