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Video Friday: Honda's Huggable Robot, New Artificial Muscle, and Boeing Cargo Drone

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

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 few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):


Video Friday: Rocket RoboBee, Willow Garage, and Caltech's Cassie

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

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!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. A new RoboBee from Harvard can swim underwater, and then launch itself into the air with a microrocket and fly away. At the millimeter scale, the water's surface might as well be a brick wall.


autonomous-robots-plant-tend-and-harvest-entire-crop-of-barley?utm_source=feedburner-robotics&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IeeeSpectrumRobotics+%28IEEE+Spectrum%3A+Robotics%29

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

During the Hands Free Hectare project, no human set foot on the field between planting and harvest--everything was done by robots. To make these decisions, robot scouts (including drones and ground robots) surveyed the field from time to time, sending back measurements and bringing back samples for humans to have a look at from the comfort of someplace warm and dry and clean. With fully autonomous farm vehicles, you can use a bunch of smaller ones much more effectively than a few larger ones, which is what the trend has been toward if you need a human sitting in the driver's seat. Robots are only going to get more affordable and efficient at this sort of thing, and our guess is that it won't be long before fully autonomous farming passes conventional farming methods in both overall output and sustainability.


Video Friday: DARPA's LUKE Arm, Human Support Robot, and Starting a Robotics Company

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

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!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. Dean Kamen's DEKA R&D firm, with support from DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program, designed the advanced prosthetic LUKE Arm to give amputees "dexterous arm and hand movement through a simple, intuitive control system." The LUKE Arm, which stands for Life Under Kinetic Evolution but is also a reference to Luke Skywalker's bionic hand, "allows users to control multiple joints simultaneously and provides a variety of grips and grip forces by means of wireless signals generated by sensors worn on the feet or via other easy-to-use controllers."


Video Friday: Robot Dance Teacher, Transformer Drone, and Pneumatic Reel Actuator

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

The week is almost over, and so is the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Singapore. We hope you've been enjoying our coverage, which has featured aquatic drones, stone-stacking manipulators, and self-folding soft robots. We'll have lots more from the conference over the next few weeks, but for you impatient types, we're cramming Video Friday this week with a special selection of ICRA videos. We tried to include videos from many different subareas of robotics: control, vision, locomotion, machine learning, aerial vehicles, humanoids, actuators, manipulation, and human-robot interaction. We're posting the abstracts along with the videos, but if you have any questions about these projects, let us know and we'll get more details from the authors. Have a great weekend everyone! This letter presents a physical human–robot interaction scenario in which a robot guides and performs the role of a teacher within a defined dance training framework.


Why Rat-Brained Robots Are So Good at Navigating Unfamiliar Terrain

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

If you take a common brown rat and drop it into a lab maze or a subway tunnel, it will immediately begin to explore its surroundings, sniffing around the edges, brushing its whiskers against surfaces, peering around corners and obstacles. After a while, it will return to where it started, and from then on, it will treat the explored terrain as familiar. Roboticists have long dreamed of giving their creations similar navigation skills. To be useful in our environments, robots must be able to find their way around on their own. Some are already learning to do that in homes, offices, warehouses, hospitals, hotels, and, in the case of self-driving cars, entire cities. Despite the progress, though, these robotic platforms still struggle to operate reliably under even mildly challenging conditions.


Video Friday: Brain Scanning Baxter, Burger Flipping Arm, and Elevators with Feelings

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

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!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. Communication with a robot using brain activity from a human collaborator could provide a direct and fast feedback loop that is easy and natural for the human, thereby enabling a wide variety of intuitive interaction tasks. This paper explores the application of EEG-measured error-related potentials (ErrPs) to closed-loop robotic control.


Piaggio's Cargo Robot Uses Visual SLAM to Follow You Anywhere

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Making a fully autonomous delivery robot (whether it's flying or not) is a very hard problem. Your robot has to be prepared to operate all alone in unstructured environments, and it has to do so both reliably and efficiently. A new robot introduced this week by Piaggio Fast Forward (herein abbreviated "PFF"), a division of Italian vehicle manufacturer Piaggio, is getting in on autonomous stuff-moving, but they're taking a slightly different approach. Rather than try to develop a fully autonomous delivery robot from scratch, PFF is instead starting with something simpler: A pleasingly roundish robot called Gita ("gee-tah") that will follow you around, carrying 19 kilograms of tools, groceries, or whatever you want. There are many situations where such a cargo-carrying robot would be handy.


Aggressive Quadrotors Conquer Gaps With Ultimate Autonomy

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Just a few weeks ago, we posted about some incredible research from Vijay Kumar's lab at the University of Pennsylvania getting quadrotors to zip through narrow gaps using only onboard localization. This is a big deal, because it means that drones are getting closer to being able to aggressively avoid obstacles without depending on external localization systems. The one little asterisk to this research was that the quadrotors were provided the location and orientation of the gap in advance, rather than having to figure it out for themselves. Yesterday, Davide Falanga, Elias Mueggler, Matthias Faessler, and Professor Davide Scaramuzza, who leads the Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich, shared some research that they've just submitted to ICRA 2017. It's the same kind of aggressive quadrotor maneuvering, except absolutely everything is done on board, including obstacle perception.


Video Friday: Artificial Evolution, Legged Machines, and Delivery Robots in Silicon Valley

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your soft-bodied 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!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. He is currently a visiting researcher in the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Lab (Vermont Complex Systems Center, University of Vermont, USA) under the supervision of Prof. Josh Bongard. He wrote in to share some of his latest publications and videos, and it's fascinating.