Video friday robot with scissors, cassie on a segway, and atlas kicking – ieee spectrum

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!): NASA Swarmathon – April 17-19, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA RoboSoft 2018 – April 24-28, 2018 – Livorno, Italy ICARSC 2018 – April 25-27, 2018 – Torres Vedras, Portugal NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 14-18, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 – Brisbane, Australia RSS 2018 – June 26-30, 2018 – Pittsburgh, Pa., USA Ubiquitous Robots 2018 – June 27-30, 2018 – Honolulu, Hawaii MARSS 2018 – July 4-8, 2018 – Nagoya, Japan AIM 2018 – July 9-12, 2018 – Auckland, New Zealand


Cassie Blue is controlling the motion of the Segway by body lean, just as a human rider would do. Because the speeds here are low, the amount of body lean is almost imperceptible to the naked eye. When we apply a connection between the robot’s legs and the central bar, turning will be possible.

We present a conceptually simple RL framework that enables simulated characters to learn highly dynamic and acrobatic skills from reference motion clips, which can be provided in the form of mocap data recorded from human subjects. Given a single demonstration of a skill, such as a spin-kick or a backflip, our character is able to learn a robust policy to imitate the skill in simulation. Our policies produce motions that are nearly indistinguishable from mocap.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Allison Okamura and her collaborators at Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, are building soft robots inspired by vines. Collaborators on this research include Elliot Hawkes of University of California, Santa Barbara, and Sean Follmer and Jonathan Fan of Stanford University.

The form and nature of vines are ideal for threading through narrow spaces, whether those spaces are within the human body or at a disaster site. Imagine a vine robot becoming a water hose that grows to a fire or an oxygen tube that grows to a trapped disaster victim. The team is also engineering vine robots with the ability to configure themselves into three-dimensional structures, such as manipulators and antennae for communication.

Vine robots are one type of soft robot, an emerging area of robotics engineering. Soft robots incorporate versatility, adaptability, and pliability to function more like natural organisms, and to allow humans and soft robots to work safely together.

Be a Maker is an all-new companion app that teaches kids how to program by allowing them to code for their Jibo robot. Be a Maker not only helps kids practice programming but also challenges them to use logic, problem solving, and computational thinking—skills that can be applied to any field, not just technology. Based on the open-source Scratch programming language, Be a Maker lets kids create customized programs for their Jibo robot.

The Aquabotix SwarmDiverTM is a Micro Diving USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicle) which utilizes swarming technology to act as a single entity. SwarmDiverTM is capable of synchronous vertical diving, is easy to deploy, and has a max dive depth of 50 meters.

CoBlox is a project by a team from the University of Maryland, CMU, University of Chicago, and ABB to explore a block-based interface for programming industrial robots. They’ve recently released a paper presenting the results of a study with 67 adults who were new to programming robots and used CoBlox to program a one-armed industrial robot, comparing the results to two programming approaches widely used in industry.

A new wave of collaborative robots designed to work alongside humans is bringing the automation historically seen in large-scale industrial settings to new, diverse contexts. However, the ability to program these machines often requires years of training, making them inaccessible or impractical for many. This project rethinks what robot programming interfaces could be in order to make them accessible and intuitive for adult novice programmers.

The results show participants using the block-based interface successfully implemented robot programs faster with no loss in accuracy while reporting higher scores for usability, learnability, and overall satisfaction. The contribution of this work is showing the potential for using block-based programming to make powerful technologies accessible to a wider audience.

Overview of our first hackathon on the Pepper robot that took place on our Paris office from March 23 to 25 (2018). During 48 hours, around 70 developers, UX designers, students (and more profiles) from 12 countries brought their ideas to life, around the theme “Pepper for well-being?”

David tells us that he rotoscoped over 3,000 frames by hand (!) to create the light-saber effects. “It was painstaking but well worth it,” he says, and we agree, especially since we just get to see the result and not the suffering involved in creating it.

The Skunk Works® purpose-built MQ-25 unmanned tanker concept is designed to deliver robust refueling capability to support our combat strike fighters and extend the range of our aircraft carriers. Our offering builds on our unmanned systems legacy including the RQ-170 to bring proven low-risk approaches to our design.

Paul Ekas talks about his EZGripper and how he designed it to be low cost, lightweight, robust, and to offer a reliable grip of small and large objects. The EZGripper is a tendon-based gripper using Dyneema tendons and aluminum oxide eyelets to make it durable and able to handle rough environments. The EZGripper is under-actuated, and the fingers stay straight when picking up small objects and wrapping around large objects. You can control position and torque, allowing you to grip soft or hard objects and to do so gently or firmly.