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Video Friday: Drone Touchdown, Giant RoboCrab, and Sphero Invades Japan

A Video Wednesday last week means an extra massive Video Friday this week!

3 min read
Video Friday: Drone Touchdown, Giant RoboCrab, and Sphero Invades Japan

With breaking news about giant and expensive humanoid robots from DARPA, it's sometimes easy to forget that the world is full of other amazing robots, isn't it?

Of course it isn't! That's exactly why we have Video Friday.

The other piece of breaking news about giant and expensive robots this week was all about the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV). We've been following this seriously badass looking robotic airplane for years, and if you haven't been, here's some background:

Launching is easy. The hard part is landing, but this week, the X-47B pulled it off flawlessly:

So what happens now? Obviously, now that everything works, the project is over and the X-47Bs are heading to museums (sigh). The technical accomplishments will get passed on to the next generation of UCAV, called UCLASS ("Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike") for which proposals will be solicited soon. A bigger, badassier X-47B may be a contender for the UCLASS program, as well as robotic aircraft from the likes of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

[ Northrop Grumman ]



OSRF got themselves a Baxter, and did a time-lapse unboxing video:

What I want to know is what they did with it after the camera was turned off.

[ OSRF ]



It's the RoboCup 2013 Standard Platform Final: Germany vs. Germany. Spoiler alert. Germany wins.

You know what? Humanoids, schmumanoids! Bring on the middleweights and LET'S SEE SOME ACTION! Here's the Middle-Size League Final of RoboCup 2013: Tech United Eindhoven from the Netherlands up against Team Water from China.

[ RoboCup 2013 ]



Chillax with a flight around Murano, Team Blacksheep suggests. Sure, why not.

[ Team Blacksheep ]



Um, Robot Vacuum Simulator 2013?

This would be more fun if you only got the sensor inputs from the Roomba itself, and you tried to clean rooms based on that alone. Harder than it looks, I bet.

[ Robot Vacuum Simulator 2013 ]



GROVER, the Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, also known as the Greenland Rover, also known as the most adorable little snowbot evar, has been managing not to die up in the cold northern wilderness:




Ever had a nightmare about giant robotic crabs? Now is the perfect time to start:

Here's what it may eventually get up to:

If this thing ever gets as agile as the concept video promises, I really will start screaming.

[ KIOST ] via [ Gizmag ]



Cubelets? Cubelets. Cubelets!

[ Modular Robotics ]



It's been a little while since we've had a micromouse video, so here's a micromouse video, of the 2013 UK finals:

Via [ Robots Dreams ]



"The Nanins are the newest robots of the Naro family. This edutainment robot teaches kids about many things in biology and physics and shall motivate and raise their interests in robotics and research."

Yes. It shall!

Sooo, how do I get one for my bathtub?

[ Naro ]



I have no idea what these Kilobots are up to, but I don't like it. There's just too many of them.

[ Kilobots ]



According to the official Sphero YouTube channel, what you are about to see is a "actually an early Sphero prototype." 

If you have a Sphero in your home, do not panic. Simply contact your nearest Mechagodzilla provider, and then prepare to spend the next several days in the nearest nuclear fallout shelter. If you don't know where your nearest nuclear fallout shelter is, then you may panic.

[ Sphero ]

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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