robotics

Video Friday: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Tries Dexterous Robot Hands

Photo: Shadow Robot Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos controls a pair of dexterous robot hands using haptic feedback gloves at Amazon’s re:MARS conference. Advertisement Editor’s Picks Amazon Uses 800 Robots to Run This Warehouse Brad Porter, VP of Robotics at Amazon, on Warehouse Automation, Machine Learning, and His First Robot Amazon’s New Prime Air Drone Features a Weird Tailsitter Design 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): RSS 2019 – June 22-26, 2019 – Freiburg, Germany Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics – June 23-26, 2019 – London, U.K. ETH Robotics Summer School – June 27-1...

T-RHex Is a Hexapod Robot With Microspines on Its Feet

Photo: CMU T-RHex uses microspines on its feet to grip onto rough surfaces like bricks, wood, and concrete. Although it can’t yet climb vertical walls, it can hang from them. Advertisement Editor’s Picks RHex Does Parkour All Over UPenn JPL Designing Spiny-Fingered Grippers for Robotic Drilling on Asteroids Here’s How NASA Will Grab an Asteroid Using a Spiky Robot Gripper In Aaron Johnson’s “Robot Design & Experimentation” class at CMU, teams of students have a semester to design and build an experimental robotic system based on a theme. For spring 2019, that theme was “Bioinspired Robotics,” which is definitely one of our favorite kinds of robotics—animals can do all kinds of crazy things, and it’s always a lot of fun watching robots try to match them. They almost never su...

Robotic Animal Agility

Advertisement Editor’s Picks Video Friday: ANYmal Robot, Jibo Unboxing, and Anki Overdrive Fast & Furious Video Friday: ANYmal in Davos, ISS Robot Upgrade, and WALK-MAN’s Soft Hands North Sea Deployment Shows How Quadruped Robots Can Be Commercially Useful An off-shore wind power platform, somewhere in the North Sea, on a freezing cold night, with howling winds and waves crashing against the impressive structure. An imperturbable ANYmal is quietly conducting its inspection. ANYmal, a medium sized dog-like quadruped robot, walks down the stairs, lifts a “paw” to open doors or to call the elevator and trots along corridors. Darkness is no problem: it knows the place perfectly, having 3D-mapped it. Its laser sensors keep it informed about its precise path, location and potential obs...

Research moves closer to brain-machine interface autonomy

Summary: Findings allow for the development of an autonomously updating brain-machine interface, which is able to improve on its own by learning about its subject without additional programming. The system could help develop new robotic prosthetics, which can perform more naturally. Source: University of Houston A University of Houston engineer is reporting in eNeuro that a brain-computer interface, a form of artificial intelligence, can sense when its user is expecting a reward by examining the interactions between single-neuron activities and the information flowing to these neurons, called the local field potential. Professor of biomedical engineering Joe Francis reports his team’s findings allow for the development of an autonomously updating brain-computer interface (BCI) that improve...

Sensitive Whiskers Could Make Small Drones Safer

Image: University of Queensland Researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, have demonstrated a new whisker sensing system for drones. Advertisement Editor’s Picks Shrewbot Uses Whiskers to Map Its Environment Shrewbot Finds Its Way Around With Sensitive Whiskers Next Generation Robotic Whiskers Promise New Capabilities, More Cuteness Animals of all shapes and sizes have whiskers of some sort. Cats and dogs and rodents have them. Seals have them too. Some birds have them, as do insects and fish. Whiskers have shown up across such a diversity of animals because they’re an efficient and effective method of short range sensing. Besides just being able to detect objects that they come into direct contact with, whiskers can also sense fluid flows (like the speed and dire...

Jaco Is a Low-Power Robot Arm That Hooks to Your Wheelchair

Photo: The Nelson Family Advertisement Editor’s Picks Startup Spotlight: Kinova Creating Robot Arms That Improve Lives At the World’s First Cybathlon, Proud Cyborg Athletes Raced for the Gold Moxi Prototype from Diligent Robotics Starts Helping Out in Hospitals We usually think of robots as taking the place of humans in various tasks, but robots of all kinds can also enhance human capabilities. This may be especially true for people with disabilities. And while the Cybathlon competition showed what’s possible when cutting-edge research robotics is paired with expert humans, that competition isn’t necessarily reflective of the kind of robotics available to most people today.  Kinova Robotics’s Jaco arm is an assistive robotic arm designed to be mounted on an electric...

Video Friday: Humanoid Robot Digit Takes a Stroll Downtown

Image: Agility Robotics via YouTube Digit, the dynamic legged humanoid created by Agility Robotics, goes for a walk in downtown Albany, Ore., where the company is based. Advertisement Editor’s Picks This Robot Ostrich Can Ride Around on Hovershoes How Aldebaran Robotics Built Its Friendly Humanoid Robot, Pepper What 17 Prominent Roboticists Think Google Should Do With Its Robots 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!): ICUAS 2019 – June 11-14, 2019 – Atlanta, Ga., USA Energy Drone Coalition Summit – June 12-13, 2019 – Woodlands, Texas, USA RSS 2019 – June 22-26, 2019 – Freiburg, G...

This Robot Ostrich Can Ride Around on Hovershoes

Photo: UC Berkeley Cassie Cal riding a pair of hovershoes around the UC Berkeley campus. Advertisement Editor’s Picks Ford Self-Driving Vans Will Use Legged Robots to Make Deliveries Agility Robotics Introduces Cassie, a Dynamic and Talented Robot Delivery Ostrich Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go Proponents of legged robots say that they make sense because legs are often required to go where humans go. Proponents of wheeled robots say, “Yeah, that’s great but watch how fast and efficient my robot is, compared to yours.” Some robots try and take advantage of wheels and legs with hybrid designs like whegs or wheeled feet, but a simpler and more versatile solution is to do what humans do, and just take advantage of wheels when you need them. We’ve seen a few experiments with this. The ...

Amazon Redesigns Its Prime Air Delivery Drone

Photo: Jordan Stead/Amazon Amazon’s newly redesigned Prime Air delivery drone features obstacle avoidance technology to make it safer in real environments. Advertisement Editor’s Picks Wing Officially Launches Australian Drone Delivery Service In the Air With Zipline’s Medical Delivery Drones
 Amazon Promises Package Delivery By Drone: Is It for Real? Amazon has been working away at its Prime Air urban and suburban drone delivery for years. Many years. It’s been at least half a decade now. And for the entire time, we’ve been complaining that Amazon has been focusing on how to build drones that can physically transport objects rather than how to build drones that can safely and reliably transport objects in a manner that makes economic sense and that people actually want. At its re:MA...

Amazon Introduces Two New Warehouse Robots

Image: Amazon Xanthus, one of two new robots Amazon unveiled today, can be equipped with different modules like conveyor belts and stacks of bins to perform a wide variety of tasks. Advertisement Editor’s Picks Brad Porter, VP of Robotics at Amazon, on Warehouse Automation, Machine Learning, and His First Robot Kiva Systems: Three Engineers, Hundreds of Robots, One Warehouse Can Amazon Build a Home Robot That Is Useful and Affordable? At Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas today, who else but Amazon is introducing two new robots designed to make its fulfillment centers even more fulfilling. Xanthus (named after a mythological horse that could very briefly talk but let’s not read too much into that) is a completely redesigned drive unit, one of the robotic mobile bases that carries pil...

To Fly Solo, Racing Drones Have a Need for AI Speed Training

Gif: University of Zurich/IEEE Spectrum Advertisement Editor’s Picks Event Camera Helps Drone Dodge Thrown Objects JPL’s AI-Powered Racing Drone Challenges Pro Human Pilot Drone With Event Camera Takes First Autonomous Flight Drone racing’s ultimate vision of quadcopters weaving nimbly through obstacle courses has attracted far less excitement and investment than self-driving cars aimed at reshaping ground transportation. But the U.S. military and defense industry are betting on autonomous drone racing as the next frontier for developing AI so that it can handle high-speed navigation within tight spaces without human intervention. The autonomous drone challenge requires split-second decision-making with six degrees of freedom instead of a car’s mere two degrees of road freedom. One r...

VelociRoACH Gets New Shell for Robot-on-Robot Smashing

Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Instead of using a cockroach-like rounded robot, a square-fronted shell allows one robot to simply smash itself headfirst into another robot until it flips it over. Advertisement Editor’s Picks Robotic Cockroach Launches Robotic Bird Off of Its Back X2-VelociRoACH Smashes Speed Record for Tiny Legged Robots Robot Roaches With Tiny Magnetic Winch Cooperate to Scale Steps UC Berkeley’s VelociRoACH robots are something like a decade old—the first one, DASH, was presented at IROS 2009, back when IROS was small enough to fit into a Hyatt in St. Louis, Mo. The upgraded VelociRoACH showed up next year, and we’re still seeing it being used for innovative new research. The great thing about these little robots is that they’re cheap, easy to build (mostly cardboard...