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Video Friday: Uncrewed

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A Black Hawk helicopter with the DARPA logo on it flies over the desert with no crew on board

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.

ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Army for the first time how an uninhabited Black Hawk helicopter flying autonomously can safely and reliably perform internal and external cargo-resupply missions and a rescue operation.

[ Lockheed Martin ]

Taking inspiration from nature, SEAS researchers designed a new type of soft, robotic gripper that uses a collection of thin tentacles to entangle and ensnare objects, similar to how jellyfish collect stunned prey. Alone, individual tentacles, or filaments, are weak. But together, the collection of filaments can grasp and securely hold heavy and oddly shaped objects. The gripper relies on simple inflation to wrap around objects and doesn’t require sensing, planning, or feedback control.

[ Harvard ]

Agility Robotics’ Digit does not have bird legs. Birds have robot legs.

[ Agility Robotics ]

At TRI, we are developing robotic capabilities with the goal of improving the quality of everyday life for all. To reach this goal, we define “challenge tasks” that are exciting to work on, that drive our development towards general purpose robot capabilities, and that allow for rigorous quantitative testing.
Autonomous order fulfillment in grocery stores is a particularly good way to drive our development of mobile manipulation capabilities because it encompasses a host of difficult challenges for robots, including perceiving and manipulating a large variety of objects, navigating an ever-changing environment, and reacting to unexpected circumstances.

[ TRI ]

Thanks, Lukas!

On Halloween don’t come empty-handed to the MAB robotics’ basement. This is a spooky season, you’d better have a treat for the honey badger legged robot.

[ MAB Robotics ]

Thanks, Jakub!

The most important skill in humanoid robotics is knowing how to shove your robot in just the right way.

[ IHMC ]

If this is a humanlike workspace, I need to take Pilates or something.

[ Apptronik ]

A Spooky Lab Tour of KIMLAB!


I know I say this every time, but I still cannot believe that this is a commercial system.

[ Tevel ]

Amazon has a prototype autonomous mobile robot, or AMR, for transporting oversize packages through warehouses. Its name is Bluebell.

[ Amazon ]

Using GPT3, Ameca answers user-submitted questions for you in the first installment of Ask Ameca!

[ Engineered Arts ]

If insects can discern up from down while flying without fancy accelerometers, could we develop drones to do the same? In a new article published in Nature, scientists from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands) and Aix-Marseille University (France) describe how insects detect gravity. And how we could perhaps copy from nature.

[ TU Delft ]

We show a new method to handle fabric using a robot. Our approach relies on a finger-tip-size electroadhesive skin to lift fabric up. A pinch-type grasp is then used to securely hold the separated sheet of fabric, enabling easy manipulation thereafter.

[ Paper ]

We present FLEX-SDK: an open-source software development kit that allows creating a social robot from two simple tablet screens. FLEX-SDK involves tools for designing the robot face and its facial expressions, creating screens for input/output interactions, controlling the robot through a Wizard-of-Oz interface, and scripting autonomous interactions through a simple text-based programming interface.

[ Paper ]

D’Manus is a 10 DoF, low-cost, reliable prehensile hand. It is fully 3D printable, and features integrated large-area ReSkin sensing.

[ D'Manus ]

10,000 cheese sticks per hour.

[ Kuka ]

We present UltraBat, an interactive 3D side-scrolling game inspired by Flappy Bird, in which the game character, a bat, is physically levitated in mid-air using ultrasound. Players aim to navigate the bat through a stalagmite tunnel that scrolls to one side as the bat travels, which is implemented using a pin-array display to create a shape-changing passage.

[ UltraBat ]

The next generation of robots will rely on machine learning in one way or another. However, when machine learning algorithms (or their results) are deployed on robots in the real world, studying their safety is important. In this talk, I will summarize the findings of our recent review paper “Safe Learning in Robotics: From Learning-Based Control to Safe Reinforcement Learning”.

[ UofT ]

On October 20, 2022, Kimberly Hambuchen of NASA talked to Robotics students as a speaker in the Undergraduate Robotics Pathways & Careers Speaker Series, which aims to answer the question: “What can I do with a robotics degree?”

[ Michigan Robotics ]

The Conversation (1)
E_Z Points05 Nov, 2022

"an uninhabited Black Hawk helicopter"

Evan, I believe the word you are looking for here is Unoccupied.

Uninhabited means no one lives in it, which I would hope is Always the case.

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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