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Video Friday: Venus Aerobot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
A silver balloon with a robotic payload drifts high above a desert landscape

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

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.

ROSCon 2022: 19–21 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

In July 2022, technologists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and Near Space Corporation in Tillamook, Ore., carried out two successful flights of an aerial robotic balloon, or aerobot, over Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The prototype is a scaled-down version of an aerobot that could one day take to Venus’s skies, exploring an atmospheric region too low for orbiters.

[ JPL ]

UC Berkeley researchers debut EMBUR (EMerita BUrrowing Robot), a unique robot inspired by Pacific mole crabs. Hannah Stuart, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Ph.D. student Laura Treers demonstrate one of the first legged robots that can self-burrow vertically, the way Pacific mole crabs bury themselves in beach sand.

[ UC Berkeley ]

A full-length documentary on one of the bravest robots to ever roll the Mars? I will watch the crap out of this.

In theaters 4 November and streaming on Amazon Prime Video 23 November.

[ Amazon Prime Video ]

The Sapien 6M intelligent manipulator offers speed, dexterity, precision, and strength in a compact, lightweight package. With six degrees of freedom, an optimized strength-to-weight ratio, embedded intelligence, and a sleek hardware design that can withstand extreme temperatures and environmental conditions (IP66), the Sapien robotic arm can be used for a variety of complex outdoor and indoor applications.

[ Sarcos ]

Nothing new from Spot in this video, but it’s always cool to watch it go through doors.

[ NRG ]

For the harvest of small tomatoes, the qb SoftHand Industry adapts naturally to the shape and gently exerts the appropriate force to be able to perform the assigned task.

[ QB Robotics ]

The next generation of LoCoBot is here. The LoCoBot is a ROS research rover for mapping, navigation, and manipulation (optional) that enables researchers, educators, and students alike to focus on high-level code development instead of hardware and building out lower-level code.

[ Trossen ]

If you’re at IROS and have some spare time in Tokyo, the Maid Robot Cafe is now open in Akihabara.

[ RobotStart ]

This week’s CMU RI Seminar is from Ankur Mehta at UCLA, on “Towards $1 Robots.”

Robots are pretty great—they can make some hard tasks easy, some dangerous tasks safe, or some unthinkable tasks possible. And they’re just plain fun to boot. But how many robots have you interacted with recently? And where do you think that puts you compared to the rest of the world’s people? In contrast to computation, automating physical interactions continues to be limited in scope and breadth. I’d like to change that. But in particular, I’d like to do so in a way that’s accessible to everyone, everywhere. In our lab, we work to lower barriers to robotics design, creation, and operation through material and mechanism design, computational tools, and mathematical analysis. We hope that with our efforts, everyone will be soon able to enjoy the benefits of robotics to work, to learn, and to play.

[ CMU RI ]

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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