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Video Friday: Swarm Control

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A photo from a low angle looking upwards of a human in a futuristic suit gesturing at night while hundreds of illuminated drones swarm above him

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!

Imagine being able to control a swarm of drones with just your hands or gestures. In this video, we explore a future concept-of-operations for swarm management and how large groups of robots and drones will be able to interact and work together.

[ Dronisos ]

There’s a new Mini Pupper on Kickstarter, now with ROS 2!

[ Kickstarter ]

Researchers created a method for magnetically programming materials to make cubes that are very picky about who they connect with, enabling more scalable self-assembly.

Paper at IROS next week!


Thanks, Rachel!

This summer, we held a contest seeking ideas robots inspired by nature, that could help the world. And then we made the winning idea into a real working prototype! The winner this year was “Gillbert” by Eleanor Mackinstosh, a robotic fish that filters microplastics using its gills.

[ Natural Robotics Contest ]

Thanks, Rob!

I’ve never seen a real centaur climb up onto a block while carrying a payload, but I bet it would look almost exactly like Centauro doing it.

[ Paper ]

Thanks, Ioannis!

Enjoy our favorite obstacle avoidance highlights from the Skydio community! They make showcasing the intellect of our software sublimely easy. The power of autonomous cinematography is displayed best by our incredible Skydians!

That last clip is especially impressive, since if you look closely, you can see the drone avoiding a wire while flying directly toward the setting sun.

[ Skydio ]

Somehow I missed this adorable little robot of questionable usefulness from Sony.

Meet poiq, your future buddy robot. Its AI gets smarter and more individualized through questions and conversations with users. Sony is reimagining communication and connection, and developing one-of-a-kind friendships between humans and robots in the process.

[ Sony ]

Spot’s got permission to dance! Check out this dance created for the “BTS Yet To Come in BUSAN” concert.

[ Boston Dynamics ]

Awawa, awawa...

[ ICD Lab ]

Ascento, on patrol.

[ Ascento Robotics ]

Here’s what happens if you grab a Wing delivery drone’s cable and start running.

[ Wing ]

Detecting an overheating motor can be the difference between a $1,000 repair or a $50,000 replacement. As a result, routine thermal inspections are a major part of predictive maintenance operations, but collecting this valuable information frequently is still a challenge in many facilities. Agile mobile robots like Spot are transforming condition monitoring with dynamic sensing, so industrial teams can make the most of their predictive maintenance programs.

[ Boston Dynamics ]

Robotnik is specialized in the development of industrial robotic applications based in mobile robots and mobile manipulators. Here [are] some AMR developed and manufactured by us.

[ Robotnik ]

How many robot dogs does it take to explore a football field? Fewer than it would if they weren’t working together, that’s for sure.

[ Deep Robotics ]

During Summer 2022 our group demoed ANYmal and Spot carrying out in the context of construction progress monitoring at Costain’s Gatwick Airport Train Station site. This was the final demo of the MEMMO Horizon Europe Project.

[ Oxford ]

Lex Fridman interviews Kate Darling.

[ Lex Fridman ]

In this week’s CMU RI Seminar, Nidhi Kalra from The RAND Corporation answers the question, “What (else) can you do with a robotics degree?”

[ CMU RI ]

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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