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We're at IROS 2017 to Bring You the Most Exciting Robotics Research From Around the World

We'll try to attend over a hundred talks plus poster sessions and competitions and keynotes and plenaries and forums and the expo

1 min read
IROS 2017 robotics conference
Image: IROS 2017

The 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Vancouver this week. Things kick off this morning, with 18 technical tracks all running at the same time.

IROS robotics conferencePhoto: IROS 2017 via Instagram

There are over 1,200 papers being presented this year, meaning that we have a packed schedule over the next three days, trying (as we always do) to attend over a hundred talks plus posters and competitions and keynotes and plenaries and forums and the expo even though it’s physically impossible to do everything. We’ll happily die trying, though, and if there are specific things you’re interested in (check out the conference website to see what’s going on), leave a comment or ping us at @BotJunkie and @AutomatonBlog on Twitter and we’ll do our absolute best for you.

This week (and over the next few weeks as well), you can expect posts featuring the best technical papers from IROS, as well as a special Video Friday full of weird and amazing new robots. And as always, if you’re at the conference, let us know what cool things you’ve seen so that we can help bring them to the rest of the world.

[ IROS 2017 ]

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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