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Jeff Bezos piloting a giant robot
Yep, that's Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos inside that giant robot.
Photo: Jeff Bezos via Twitter

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):

Automate – April 3-3, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
ITU Robot Olympics – April 7-9, 2017 – Istanbul, Turkey
ROS Industrial Consortium – April 07, 2017 – Chicago, Ill., USA
U.S. National Robotics Week – April 8-16, 2017 – USA
NASA Swarmathon – April 18-20, 2017 – NASA KSC, Florida, USA
RoboBusiness Europe – April 20-21, 2017 – Delft, Netherlands
RoboGames 2017 – April 21-23, 2017 – Pleasanton, Calif., USA
ICARSC – April 26-30, 2017 – Coimbra, Portugal
AUVSI Xponential – May 8-11, 2017 – Dallas, Texas, USA
AAMAS 2017 – May 8-12, 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Austech – May 9-12, 2017 – Melbourne, Australia

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Japan recently announced a major robotics event for next year. The World Robot Summit will feature a series of competitions, talks, and exhibits. We like the theme: “Robotics for Happiness.”  

[ WRS ]

The 2017 NYC Drone Film Festival took place earlier this month, and it’s worth checking out the winners in nearly a dozen categories. Here’s the “best in show” film:

NYCDFF via Fstopppers ]

ICYMI here’s Jeff Bezos piloting a giant mecha at his secret tech retreat. 

Yes, that’s the giant mecha we featured in Video Friday earlier this year and (ahemsuggested it could be CGI. Clearly it’s very real, and hopefully we’ll be learning more about it in the near future. Like, why are they building this?

[ Caleb Harper via The Verge ]

Waymo, the self-driving car company spun out of Google/Alphabet, has posted a video this week of what it says is the “world’s first fully self-driving ride on public roads.” The ride took place in Austin, with one passenger on board and no safety driver.

Waymo—formerly the Google self-driving car project—stands for a new way forward in mobility. In 2015, we invited Steve Mahan, former CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, for a special ride. Steve had ridden in our cars in the past—first accompanied by a test driver in 2012 and then on a closed course in 2014. This time was different. Steve experienced the world’s first fully self-driving ride on public roads, navigating through everyday traffic with no steering wheel, no pedals, and no test driver.

[ Waymo ]

Project Abbie is inspired by the story of Abbie Benford, who succumbed to complications related to anaphylaxis just eight days before her 16th birthday. The Wyss Institute, in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital, is developing a wearable, non-invasive device that could sense anaphylaxis and automatically inject epinephrine in individuals who are unable to do so themselves; a device that could have saved Abbie’s life.

Wyss Institute ]

NASA engineer turned youtuber Mark Rober explains how he built a robotic “auto-bullseye” dartboard using six Vicon cameras, a bunch of servos, and some Matlab code.

[ Mark Rober ]

Here’s how to make an AI mistake a car for a shoe.

[ EPFL ]

The video shows the winning Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC) Grand Challenge trial of team NimbRo, developed at the Autonomous Intelligent Systems group of University of Bonn, Germany. Three tasks are solved simultanously in the same arena: 1) landing a MAV on a moving vehicle, 2) approaching a panel, grasping a wrench, and turning a valve stem, 3) collecting objects and transporting them to a target zone with three MAVs.

[ Team Nimbro ]

CMU spin-off RoadBotics is using vision and AI to take on potholes.

[ RoadBotics ]

DJI has eviscerated the competition in the hobby and prosumer drone markets. Now it’s going after commercial drone sectors like agriculture and search and rescue.

[ DJI ]

Teleport yourself into a four-legged robot and walk around an industrial complex with this 360o video featuring ETH’s ANYmal (fast forward to 2:20 for quadruped FPV).

[ ETH ]

Socibot is out and about entertaining people with its face-changing head and terrible jokes. 

“Siri? She’s an ex-girlfriend of mine.”

[ Socibot ]

And now, “the strange man from Japan.”

[ Hiroshi Ishiguro via CeBIT ]

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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