What is this? Video Wednesday?! Shocking, I know. Apparently, there's some U.S. holiday on Thursday celebrating explosives or something, and I have been told that both Thursday and Friday are therefore "days off" at IEEE Spectrum (and most of the rest of the U.S.). I'm not entirely sure what a "day off" is, but because two of them are happening anyway, we're going to stuff all of this week's robot videos into Wednesday instead.

The Third Annual Robot Film Festival is festivaling on July 20 and 21st, and the best thing about it this year (the very best thing) is that it's in San Francisco! (Yep, I live nearby :) To help maximize its awesomeness, RFF has a little Kickstarter going, essentially as a ticket pre-sale. There's some swag thrown in as well, along with the opportunity to attend hands-on workshops. All the film festival is looking for is a relatively modest $3k, so if you're in SF and you're planning on going, right this second is a fantastic time to pledge for some tickets.

[ Robot Film Festival ]



Ever wonder what a day in the life of Suitable Technologies looks like? Turns out, it's much like a day in the life of any other office, except there are lots of robots driving around with people inside them. Metaphorically, that is. Just don't get them wet or feed them after midnight.

That time lapse was captured during Suitable's first ever Hack Day. The winner was, obviously, Super Beam Mario Kart:

The only thing missing is all the power-ups: like, when someone in a beam fires a virtual red shell, a human needs to run up and smack the leading robot across the screen with a baseball bat. Good luck catching up now, bwahahaha!

Oh, and here was the prize for first place, by the way. Epic.

[ Suitable Technologies ]



RoboCup 2013 is over and done with, and that means videos of the finals! Here's how it went down in the humanoid leagues:

RoboCup 2013 Kid Size FINAL: IRAN / USA


RoboCup 2013 Teen Size FINAL: GERMANY / JAPAN


RoboCup 2013 Adult Size FINAL: TAIWAN / JAPAN


Humanoids are nice, but the non-humanoid leagues are my favorite, because they're just so much better at playing soccer. It's incredible to see these robots support each other across the field, string together passed, and beat defenders to make aggressive shots on goal. 

RoboCup 2013 - Semi Final: Tech United vs CAMBADA




What can you do with an Arducopter? You can freakin' SAVE LIVES, MAN!

[ Flite Test ] via [ DIY Drones ]



For those of you with giant boxing robots, here's something you probably shouldn't do with them:

I dunno why the film opens with that "somewhere in Eastern Europe" line, 'cause this is what goes on in my basement every weekend.

Platige Academy ]



I know it sort of seems like we close with a Rodney Brooks talk every other week around here, but seriously, the dude is a tremendous speaker, and even though by now we know what he's getting at from the very beginning, it's still worth listening to what he has to say. Somehow, as generally jaded on robots as I am, Rodney Brooks manages to convince me that robots are going to save humanity every single damn time.


[ Rethink Robotics ]

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?

Keep Reading ↓Show less