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)

How Robots Can Help Us Act and Feel Younger

Toyota’s Gill Pratt on enhancing independence in old age

10 min read
An illustration of a woman making a salad with robotic arms around her holding vegetables and other salad ingredients.
Dan Page

By 2050, the global population aged 65 or more will be nearly double what it is today. The number of people over the age of 80 will triple, approaching half a billion. Supporting an aging population is a worldwide concern, but this demographic shift is especially pronounced in Japan, where more than a third of Japanese will be 65 or older by midcentury.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), which was established by Toyota Motor Corp. in 2015 to explore autonomous cars, robotics, and “human amplification technologies,” has also been focusing a significant portion of its research on ways to help older people maintain their health, happiness, and independence as long as possible. While an important goal in itself, improving self-sufficiency for the elderly also reduces the amount of support they need from society more broadly. And without technological help, sustaining this population in an effective and dignified manner will grow increasingly difficult—first in Japan, but globally soon after.

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