Video Friday: TurtleBots, Kilobots, and (More) Ikea Furniture Assembly

How many robots does it take to assemble an Ikea table?

2 min read
Video Friday: TurtleBots, Kilobots, and (More) Ikea Furniture Assembly

That is one confident looking robot right there, isn't it? He's walking the walk, because he knows he's on Video Friday, which automatically means fame and fortune. Or at least, as much fame and fortune as we can possibly provide, which (let's be honest) is probably not a lot. But it's something, and you can be a part of it, here and now. Read on!

Okay, so TurtleBot might not be the most powerful platform out there, but with a cloud engine like Rapyuta behind it, it can do complex real-time mapping even with just a WiFi dongle and nothing else:

The actual mapping uses the ccny_rgbd ROS package along with Kinect, a magical mystical unicorn piece of software that nobody (you know who you are, nobody!) can seem to make easy for novices to run on a TurtleBot. And that's really too bad, because I want this on my TurtleBot. Right. Now.

[ Rapyuta ] and [ Github ]

Kilobots go on a picnic!


[ Harvard SSR Lab ]

Here's a  FANUC M-1iA robot that has a serious problem with pills:

Pretty cool, but like, if you didn't program the robot to dump the pills out after, wouldn't it get a lot more done? You know? Guys?


Want to run ROS without having to, you know, run ROS? Try rosbridge, and do it with a web browser:

[ rosbridge ]

I'm not really sure what's so robotic about this "multi-viewpoint robotic camera system," but who am I to argue with the likes of Diginfo News?

[ Diginfo ]

WPI's robot for the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge consists of a Clearpath Husky A200 as a base, with a Kinova JACO 6-DOF manipulator arm as a, you know, manipulator arm. The competition itself started yesterday, and it looks like WPI has a pretty decent shot:

[ WPI ] via [ Clearpath ]

If you don't need something as beastly as a Husky, maybe take a look at Adept's Pioneer LX research platform, which spent some time wandering around the ICRA expo floor:

[ Adept Pioneer LX ]

This is the most realistic walk from a hobby-class robot that I have ever seen:

[ Dr. Guero ]

In conclusive proof that TurtleBot is the best robot ever, it will now deliver you a sammich in a cafe:

[ Yujin ]

There seems to be an epidemic of ineptitude when it comes to Ikea furniture assembly, so it's a good thing we've got robots, isn't it?

Seriously, from all the videos we see you'd think that roboticists are entirely incapable of either fetching their own beers or assembling their own furniture.

[ Willow Garage ]

Let's end the week with a talk by Henrik Christensen at TEDxEmory, in which he promises ROBOTS FOR EVERYBODY! YAY!

[ Henrik Christensen ]

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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