The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Video Friday: StickBot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
An image of a robot made of a small sticks tied together with a tangle of colorful wires, batteries, actuators, and electronics

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

From Devin Carroll, who brought us a robot made of ice, is a robot made of sticks.

[ UPenn ]

Amazon Astro can now check on your pets for you. Not sure how the pets feel about that, though.

[ Amazon ]

Soft robot hugs for everyone!

[ Paper ]

Scythe’s upgraded M.52 autonomous robotic mower can now handle more complex obstacles and terrain, with big enough batteries to behead grass all day long.

[ Scythe ]

Thanks, Jack!

Agility CEO Damion Shelton and CTO Jonathan Hurst discuss artificial intelligence and its role in robot control. They also discuss the capability of robot learning paired with physics-based locomotion, Cassie setting a new world record using learned policies for control, and an exploration of the future of robotics through Dall-E.

That new version of Digit is looking slick!

[ Agility Robotics ]

Intel gives an update on RealSense at a recent ROS Industrial meeting, and the part you’ll probably want to listen to starts at 3:50.

[ ROS-I ]

Local navigation and locomotion of legged robots are commonly split into separate modules. In this work, we propose to combine them by training an end-to-end policy with deep reinforcement learning. Training a policy in this way opens up a larger set of possible solutions, which allows the robot to learn more complex behaviors.

That box climbing, right?

[ RSL ]

Neura Robotics is building a new humanoid. Most of this video is CG, but since there does appear to be a physical robot at the very end (albeit one that doesn’t do much), we’ll let it slide.

[ Neura Robotics ]

Dino Robotics will help you teach your robot to make hard-boiled eggs, which will make it a better chef than I am.

[ Dino Robotics ]

You know what sucks for robots? Lidar in blowing snow.

[ Paper ]

This research is banned in the United States.

[ Shadow ]

We often get asked about how Starship robots navigate around the community and those within, so we wanted to give a little insight—and some tips on what to do if you come across one on your journey. Have a look at how our robots navigate around various obstacles throughout their delivery journeys.

[ Starship ]

AIIRA’s vision is to create new AI-driven, predictive digital twins for modeling plants, and deploy them to increase the resiliency of the nation’s agricultural systems.


On 22 September 2022, Ryan Eustice of Toyota Research Institute talked to robotics students as a speaker in the Undergraduate Robotics Pathways & Careers Speaker Series, which aims to answer the question “What can I do with a robotics degree?”

[ Michigan Robotics ]

This Maryland Robotics Center Seminar is by Michael T. Tolley at University of California, San Diego, on biologically inspired soft mobile robots.

[ UMD ]

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