Video Friday: Giant Robotic Chair, Underwater AI, and Robot Holiday Mischief

IEEE Spectrum

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

Image: KAIST HuboLab/Rainbow Robotics/YouTube
FX-2 Giant Human Riding Robot from KAIST HuboLab.

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!):

IEEE IRC 2018 – January 31-2, 2018 – Laguna Hills, Calif.
HRI 2018 – March 5-8, 2018 – Chicago, Ill.

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.


DRC Hubo (and some
humans) are helping relay the Olympic torch to PyeongChang:

[ DRC Hubo ]


This is the FX-2 Giant Human Riding Robot from KAIST HuboLab and Rainbow Robotics, and that’s all I know about it.

[ Rainbow Robotics ]


Yuichiro Katsumoto, a “gadget creator” based in Singapore, wrote in to share this video of the robotic kinetic typography that he’s been working on for the last year. It’s mesmerizing.

[ Yuichiro Katsumoto ]

Thanks Yuichiro!


Oceans makeup 70% of the Earth’s surface, yet we know very little about them. MIT students taking class 2.680: Unmanned Marine Vehicle Autonomy, Sensing and Communications aim to deepen our understanding by developing artificial intelligence for use on autonomous marine vehicles. Their software is put to the ultimate test while running missions of the Charles River.

Someone should tell MIT that the Charles River is not the ocean, though.

MIT ]


FZI Living Lab has the best robot holiday parties EVER.

Note: Please do not try to host a party like this unless you’re a trained professional and are willing to invite me.

FZI Living Labs ]

Thanks Arne!


Look who’s been eating our chocolates. The Meca500, the only industrial robot that can fit in gift box. Happy Holidays!

More importantly, it can fit in a gift box along with a big pile of chocolates.

[ Mecademic ]


Robotnik brings us one of the more… unusual… holiday videos:

Robotnik ]


The high probability of hardware failures prevents many advanced robots (e.g., legged robots) from being confidently deployed in real-world situations (e.g., post-disaster rescue). Instead of attempting to diagnose the failures, robots could adapt by trial-and-error in order to be able to complete their tasks. In that case, damage recovery can be seen as a Reinforcement Learning (RL) problem. However, the best RL algorithms for robotics require resetting the robot and the environment to an initial state after each episode, that is, the robot is not learning autonomously. In addition, most of the RL methods for robotics do not scale well with complex robots (e.g., walking robots) and either cannot be used at all or take too long to converge to a solution (e.g., hours of learning). In this paper, we introduce a novel learning algorithm called “Reset-free Trial-and-Error’” (RTE) that (1) breaks the complexity by pre-generating hundreds of possible behaviors with a dynamics simulator of the intact robot, and (2) allows complex robots to quickly recover from damage while completing their tasks and taking the environment into account.

By Konstantinos Chatzilygeroudis, Vassilis Vassiliades, and Jean-Baptiste Mouret. Full paper at the link below.

[ arXiv ]


Several NCCR Robotics laboratories have been collaborating on this integrative demo project, targeted at rescue missions.

[ NCCR Robotics ]


These small bots are capable of doing useful task by way of external actuation. Shown here are 1 and 2mm “bots”. Applications include micro transportation, micro manipulation and more. Potential use cases include crystal harvesting, manufacture of bio sensors, lab on chip, cell manipulation and surgery.

[ University of Sydney ACFR ]


Simone Giertz takes on bubble wrap with a $100k robot arm. 

Er, I really feel like the Kuka arm should just be totally wrecking this competition. Why is is moving sooo slooowly?

Simone Giertz ]


CMU senior undergrad Alan Jaffe demos his final project, which was to getting a robotic arm to assist a virtual disabled person who needs help with eating.

[ CMU ]


Why do I have to say this every year? If you are a company that makes robots that can do cool things, don’t make a holiday card using animations of your robots doing cool things that they should be able to do in real life.

[ Yaskawa ]


This video shows the ability of iCub to work safely in sharing environment with human. Taking inspiration from peripersonal space representations in humans, we present a framework on the iCub humanoid robot that dynamically maintains such a protective safety zone, composed of the following main components: an architecture for human keypoints estimation in 3D, an adaptive peripersonal space representation, and a controller dynamically incorportating human keypoints as obstacles into a reaching task.

The video is based on the work presented in Nguyen, P. D.; Hoffmann, M.; Roncone, A.; Pattacini, U. & Metta, G. (2018), Compact real-time avoidance on a humanoid robot for human-robot interaction, in ’Proceedings of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)’. [conditionally accepted].

I hope you gave that iCub a proper hug after all of those avoidance experiments.

[ iCub ]


TJBot is an open-source platform built around the Raspberry Pi for exploring artificial intelligence (AI) with IBM Watson. Create recipes on IBM Cloud to hold conversations with TJBot, ask it to dance, turn on a light, or analyze a Tweet.

Watson, tell me a joke that is actually funny.

[ SparkFun ]


TinyWhoop FPV drones look like they’re way more fun to play with than their size would suggest:

You can get a complete ready-to-fly TinyWhoop kit (including the FPV goggles) for just $350.

[ TinyWhoop ] via [ Team BlackSheep ]


How close are we to a Star Wars droid reality? That’s the question we posed to Paul G. Allen’s technical advisor Jeff Kramer. As a Star Wars fan with an extensive background in robotics, he knows a thing or two about beloved characters like C-3P0, R2-D2 and BB-8 and how some of their technological advances can be seen in present day robotics.

[ Vulcan ]


In case you don’t get enough Agility Robotics video by reading this blog, here’s another 12 minutes worth of footage and interviews from Motherboard:

[ Motherboard ]


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is working on a concept to 3-D print custom unmanned aircraft systems on-demand. Join us for an inside look at a project that has Soldiers and Marines using science and technology to bring important mission capabilities to the fight.

[ ARL ]


Kurt Leucht performs exploration research and technology development for NASA KSC, and he’s one of the very few people legit qualified to give a talk entitled “Writing Apps For Mars!”

Mobile app developers and other software developers typically take great pride in their final products. But how does the onboard software for a Mars rover, for example, compare to a good mobile app or business app?

Is it simple and easy to use? Is it efficient? What platform does it run on? How does it typically perform? Does it work seamlessly offline? What language is it written in? Is it supportable and upgradable? Is it designed with the user in mind? How is it developed and tested?

This presentation will explore all these questions and more in an effort to understand the similarities and the major differences between typical business software and software that is designed for the NASA Mars rovers.

[ Oredev ]

Thanks Kurt!


In the latest episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg interviews Ian Bernstein, of Sphero and now Misty Robotics:

Ian Bernstein is the founder of several robotics companies including Sphero. Hi shares his experience from completing 5 successful rounds of financing, raising 17 million dollars in the 5th one. He also talks about building a world-wide distribution network and the complexity of combining software and hardware development. We then discuss what is happening in robotics and where future successes may come from, including the importance of Kickstarter and Indiegogo. If you view this episode, you will also learn which day of the week people don’t play with their Sphero :-).

[ Robots in Depth ]



Source: IEEE Spectrum

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