Robots in Photos: SpotMini, iCub, and More from IROS 2018

Marc Raibert with SpotMini robot from Boston Dynamics Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum

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IROS is over, and we have a huge pile of shiny new robotics research to bring you over the next few weeks. Before we start in on that, here’s a gallery of some pictures from the IROS keynotes and expo floor, featuring robots we know and love along with some brand new robots that we’ve never seen before. Enjoy!

IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum IROS was officially opened by His Majesty King Felipe VI, setting a precedent for every robotics conference from now on. And the King actually bothered to give an interesting and surprisingly well informed speech about the future of robotics in society, which was a very kingly thing to do.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum If you need a roboticist to follow up the King of Spain, it would be hard to choose someone better than Marc Raibert from Boston Dynamics. 


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Marc brought a SpotMini along with him to perform some tricks, and also showed some new footage of the robot conducting autonomous construction inspections in Japan, which seems like it could be the first real use-case for a commercial version of the robot.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum This iCub comes from Daniele Pucci’s lab at IIT— they’re the ones trying to get the little robot to fly by strapping jet engines to it. They’re also working on immersive telepresence, so you can control a physical iCub through virtual reality.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum With the iCub VR system, you see through the robot’s eyes, and when you walk, the iCub walks. When you wave, the iCub waves, too.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Kinova announced a brand new robot arm at IROS, the Gen3. It’s lighter, more powerful, inherently safe, and comes with an integrated vision system.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum We finally got to meet Haru in person! Honda Research’s experimental social robot will be part of a larger project as a hardware platform in the Socially Intelligent Robotics Consortium, and we’ll have more on this for you in the near future.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum ANYmal has been busy lately—at IROS, we saw a whole bunch of pictures of recent testing that ANYbotics has been conducting at an offshore wind farm, with the goal of replacing human workers who are otherwise stuck out there for weeks at a time.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum This incredibly awesome steampunk-ish chest belongs to diverBOT, a transforming humanoid robot submarine from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Check out those thrusters and gauges! We’ll have more on this thing for you soon.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Sweaty, from Hochschule Offenburg in Germany, normally competes in RoboCup. But at IROS, it was performing a classic cups and balls magic trick as part of the Robot Magic competition.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum The qb SoftHand is something you might need if you visit Spain, because it knows how to drive stick. One motor powers 19 degrees of freedom in the fingers for underactuated, flexible grasping.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Toyota’s newer, smaller, sleeker, and smarter HSR practices its grasping—if you want to know what time it is, the robot will happily locate a clock and bring it to you. It’s the future, folks.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Teo was born in 2012 at Carlos III University of Madrid. It has 24 degrees of freedom, a slick chestpiece, and a plate stapled to its forearm, because tapas, I assume.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum PAL Robotics brought a whole bunch of robots to the IROS expo. Along with REEM-C, they also had TALOS and a big pile of TIAGos.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Sneaking up behind this poor little giraffe is SQUIRREL, a robot designed to tidy up rooms. Tested out earlier this year in the place that defines all rooms, IKEA, SQUIRREL can locate out-of-place objects on the floor and place them where they belong.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Shadow Robots ’ hand spent most of IROS ineffectively force-squeezing the heads of far away security guards between its dexterous fingers.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum QTrobot is such a QT. There’s both a research version and a version designed for interaction with autistic children, and the robot has been shown to increase attention while decreasing anxiety.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum SIAR (Sewer Inspection Autonomous Robot) inspects sewers so that you don’t have to. It can expand and contract its wheelbase to keep itself out of the grossness as much as possible.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum Pepper also participated in some IROS competitions, including the European Robotics League’s Consumer Service Robots tournament. I don’t think the tournament challenged the robots to accurately interpret mirrors, although that would certainly have made things interesting.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum EXOTrainer is a little exoskeleton designed for children with spinal muscular atrophy. It can walk and balance on its own, and provide physical therapy for anyone strapped into it.


IROS 2018 Photo: Evan Ackerman/IEEE Spectrum A human shares a moment with Seed Robotics’ RH7D robotic hand. 


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