Starship robots
Photo: Starship

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!):

HRI 2021 – March 8-11, 2021 – [Online Conference]
RoboSoft 2021 – April 12-16, 2021 – [Online Conference]

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

We're proud to announce Starship Delivery Robots have now completed 1,000,000 autonomous deliveries around the world. We were unsure where the one millionth delivery was going to take place, as there are around 15-20 service areas open globally, all with robots doing deliveries every minute. In the end it took place at Bowling Green, Ohio, to a student called Annika Keeton who is a freshman studying pre-health Biology at BGSU. Annika is now part of Starship’s history!

Starship ]

I adore this little DIY walking robot- with modular feet and little dials to let you easily adjust the walking parameters, it's an affordable kit that's way more nuanced than most.

It's called Bakiwi, and it costs €95. A squee cover made from feathers or fur is an extra €17. Here's a more serious look at what it can do:

[ Bakiwi ]

Thanks Oswald!

Savva Morozov, an AeroAstro junior, works on autonomous navigation for the MIT mini cheetah robot and reflects on the value of a crowded Infinite Corridor.

[ MIT ]

The world's most advanced haptic feedback gloves just got a huge upgrade! HaptX Gloves DK2 achieves a level of realism that other haptic devices can't match. Whether you’re training your workforce, designing a new product, or controlling robots from a distance, HaptX Gloves make it feel real.

They're the only gloves with true-contact haptics, with patented technology that displace your skin the same way a real object would. With 133 points of tactile feedback per hand, for full palm and fingertip coverage. HaptX Gloves DK2 feature the industry's most powerful force feedback, ~2X the strength of other force feedback gloves. They're also the most accurate motion tracking gloves, with 30 tracked degrees of freedom, sub-millimeter precision, no perceivable latency, and no occlusion.

[ HaptX ]

Yardroid is an outdoor robot "guided by computer vision and artificial intelligence" that seems like it can do almost everything.

These are a lot of autonomous capabilities, but so far, we've only seen the video. So, best not to get too excited until we know more about how it works.

[ Yardroid ]

Thanks Dan!

Since as far as we know, Pepper can't spread COVID, it had a busy year.

I somehow missed seeing that chimpanzee magic show, but here it is:

[ Simon Pierro ] via [ SoftBank Robotics ]

In spite of the pandemic, Professor Hod Lipson’s Robotics Studio persevered and even thrived— learning to work on global teams, to develop protocols for sharing blueprints and code, and to test, evaluate, and refine their designs remotely. Equipped with a 3D printer and a kit of electronics prototyping equipment, our students engineered bipedal robots that were conceptualized, fabricated, programmed, and endlessly iterated around the globe in bedrooms, kitchens, backyards, and any other makeshift laboratory you can imagine.

[ Hod Lipson ]

Thanks Fan!

We all know how much quadrupeds love ice!

[ Ghost Robotics ]

We took the opportunity of the last storm to put the Warthog in the snow of Université Laval. Enjoy!

[ Norlab ]

They've got a long way to go, but autonomous indoor firefighting drones seem like a fantastic idea.

[ CTU ]

Individual manipulators are limited by their vertical total load capacity. This places a fundamental limit on the weight of loads that a single manipulator can move. Cooperative manipulation with two arms has the potential to increase the net weight capacity of the overall system. However, it is critical that proper load sharing takes place between the two arms. In this work, we outline a method that utilizes mechanical intelligence in the form of a whiffletree.

And your word of the day is whiffletree, which is "a mechanism to distribute force evenly through linkages."

[ DART Lab ]

Thanks Raymond!

Some highlights of robotic projects at FZI in 2020, all using ROS.

[ FZI ]

Thanks Fan!

iRobot CEO Colin Angle threatens my job by sharing some cool robots.

[ iRobot ]

A fascinating new talk from Henry Evans on robotic caregivers.

[ HRL ]

The ANA Avatar XPRIZE semifinals selection submission for Team AVATRINA. The setting is a mock clinic, with the patient sitting on a wheelchair and nurse having completed an initial intake. Avatar enters the room controlled by operator (Doctor). A rolling tray table with medical supplies (stethoscope, pulse oximeter, digital thermometer, oxygen mask, oxygen tube) is by the patient’s side. Demonstrates head tracking, stereo vision, fine manipulation, bimanual manipulation, safe impedance control, and navigation.

[ Team AVATRINA ]

This five year old talk from Mikell Taylor, who wrote for us a while back and is now at Amazon Robotics, is entitled "Nobody Cares About Your Robot." For better or worse, it really doesn't sound like it was written five years ago.

Robotics for the consumer market - Mikell Taylor from Scott Handsaker on Vimeo.

[ Mikell Taylor ]

Fall River Community Media presents this wonderful guy talking about his love of antique robot toys.

If you enjoy this kind of slow media, Fall River also has weekly Hot Dogs Cool Cats adoption profiles that are super relaxing to watch.

[ YouTube ]

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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