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Video Friday: Robot Cube, Drone Fight Club, and the Rest of 2013

2014 is here, but we still have a little bit of catching up to do from last year

3 min read
Video Friday: Robot Cube, Drone Fight Club, and the Rest of 2013

Well, as you may have noticed, we took a little bit of a break over the last week or two. Hopefully you can agree (at least a little bit) that we earned it; after all, it takes time to recover from the massive sunburnand millions of mosquito bitesthat we suffered at the DRC

So now that we're back, and now that it's Friday, we've got a post full of videos to get you all caught up on the end of 2013.

We've been following Cubli for ages, and somehow Gajan Mohanarajah managed to secretly finish building a working version that's able to stand itself up without exploding:

"For us, it is just a cool little cube that can jump up, balance, and walk." Just, they say.

You can read lots more technical detail about how Cubli works on Robohub.

[ ETH ]



Another project that we've been following for ages isTU Delft's DelFly micro aerial vehicle. A new minuscule stereo vision system and lightweight onboard processing allows the flapping wing robot to keep itself entertained for about 10 minutes without crashing into anything, no external computers (or humans) necessary:

[ DelFly ]




We're going to have much more for you on the DRC over the next month or so, but in the meantime, our friends over a Clearpath Robotics have a couple recap vids with some interesting team interviews:


[ Clearpath ]



You remember Budgee, right? We met it at RoboBusiness forever ago. And by forever ago, I mean October. It's now on Kickstarter, and you can preorder one for $1,300:

[ Kickstarter ]



These two videos are student projects from MIT's "Biomimetics, Biomechanics, and Bio-Inspired Design" class, taught by Sangbae Kim, who definitely knowsa thing or two about biorobotics.

Team RoboBlade (Tian Gan, Fang-Yu Liu, and Matthew Gilbertson)


Kanga (Spencer Boone, Otto Briner, Saya Date, and David Wise)


These were just a few of our favorites; you can see more at the MIT Biomimetics YouTube channel.

[ YouTube ]



A Drone Fight Club, you say?

As long as these drones truly are as indestructible as the video claims, this looks like it could be a lot of fun.

[ Game of Drones ] via [ Robots Dreams ]



3D Robotics put on a slightly less destructive UAV demonstration on board the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in Oakland:

[ 3D Robotics ]



And for some totally non-destructive UAVs, this is a swarm of them that can actively avoid running into a human:

Note that there's a Vicon motion capture system in use here.

[ Illinios ]



That crazy gymnastics robot is rapidly approaching (or maybe even surpassed) the point at which humans are comfortable competing:

[ YouTube ]



Here is a robot that lifts things if you ask it nicely. Rather a lot of things, in fact:

[ YouTube ]



At UPenn, taking a class called "Design of Mechatronic Systems" is really just a thinly veiled excuse to play with hockey robots for a semester:

Throughout the school year, members of the class, led by Jonathan Fiene, director of laboratory programs for the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, design pint-sized robotic hockey teams that face off in an annual competition known as The Robockey Cup. Each team produces three robots that skate on wheels, shoot with pistons, and see the puck, the goals, and each other using a variety of sensors.

[ UPenn ]



ABB is trying to teach robots to cut things out of stone, and it looks like they're doing a halfway decent job at it:



It's Team Blacksheep's 2013 retrospective. Come for the music and the visuals, stay for the occasional buzzing of law enforcement and farm animals:

[ Team Blacksheep ]



Let's wrap with a video from the National Science Foundation and NBC, who got access to Google's autonomous car program:

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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