Video Friday: Robot Film Festival Highlights

Enjoy these selections from the 2018 Robot Film Festival

1 min read
Zanzibar robot film by Kamaliza/Cape & Monocle
Image: Kamaliza/Cape & Monocle via Vimeo

Even though we do our best to bring you a solid 52 Video Fridays every year (which works out to over 1,000 robot videos annually), we can’t manage to post everything, and sometimes we miss out on some awesome stuff. That’s just one of the reasons why we always look forward to the Robot Film Festival, and the 2018 event took place in July in Portland, Ore.

I showed up and gave a talk (most of which you can see in this article), and then found a seat and watched the film selections. As always, there was an impressive amount of really, really good robot videos that I’d never seen before. The videos have all been posted online, and we’ve picked out a few of the happiest, saddest, scariest, and cleverest to share.

Note that some of these films are mildly not safe for work.

The Nostalgist, by Daniel H. Wilson and Giacomo Cimini

Everything Is Okay, by Cirocco Dunlap

Reach, by Luke Randall

Chicken Licken - Robot, by Greg Grey

Dron’t You Love Me?, by Madeleine Dudley

Zanzibar, by Kamaliza

Extra special thanks to Heather Knight, Marek Michalowski, Andrew McGregor, Chrys Wu, and everyone who attended RFF 2018. Watch all the films here.

[ RFF ]

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
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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
DarkGray

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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