Video: Drones, Quadrupeds, Humanoids, and More Robots From ICRA 2013

Here are all the robots you may have missed at ICRA conference

1 min read
Video: Drones, Quadrupeds, Humanoids, and More Robots From ICRA 2013

We saw lots of robots at 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Like, seriously, lots of robots. Seriously. For real. This year's event had the largest exhibition hall (with the most real robots) that we've ever seen, and a lot of the interactive presentations featured real robots as well. We got as much of it on video and in pictures as we could, and smushed everything together in a fabulous montage and gallery, just for you.

Let me just preface this video by saying that not all of these robots are actually from ICRA: I've also mixed in robots from ETH Zurich, EPFL, and DLR. We'll have much more from these places, so in the meantime, just think of this as a teaser.

I should also mention that there were even more robots at ICRA than this, and we couldn't manage to get video of every single one of them, try as we might. The video is a taste, but there's of course no substitute for an in-person ICRA experience. 

Also, special thanks to GoPro, who sent us one of their Hero3 cameras to use at ICRA. A bunch of this footage comes from the GoPro, and it let us do things like this:

Just try that with a regular camera! Or a regular dog, for that matter.

As I mentioned above, we still have more coverage on the way from our other European adventures, including ETH Zurich, EPFL, and DLR, so stay tuned.

Read more of our ICRA 2013 coverage here.

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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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