UkuRobot is a programmable ukulele player. Here, it plays the haunting theme from Requiem for a Dream, since used in a kajillion movie trailers. In the video below, there's a second shot of its mechanisms. Read the rest
This is the Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON, aka DRAGON. Designed at the University of Tokyo, this modular bot can rearrange its shape, from an agile snake to a spiral to a flying "L" shape. From IEEE Spectrum:
What’s exciting, though, is why this robot was designed to transform in the first place. The video, which—spoiler alert—is actually a teaser for a 2018 IROS paper, shows the robot changing its shape in order to squeeze through a small gap, and we were told at ICRA that DRAGON is able to autonomously decide how to transform when given the constraints of the space it needs to pass through. There’s more potential here than just fitting through small spaces, though: The researchers conceptualize this robot as a sort of overactuated flying arm that can both form new shapes and use those shapes to interact with the world around it by manipulating objects. Eventually, DRAGON will wiggle through the air with as many as 12 interlinked modules, and it’ll use its two ends to pick up objects like a two-fingered gripper. And we can imagine DRAGON wrapping itself around stuff to move it, or using direct contact with the environment to do other exciting things.
A team from Italy recently broke the Guinness World Record for the "most robots dancing simultaneously." At an event in Rome, 1,372 Alpha 1S robots danced and dabbed in unison earning Team TIM S.p.A. the title.
Digital media artists Makio&Floz use their AxiDraw drawing machine, which they have dubbed "Jojo le robot," to create plotted portraits. They are currently offering these signed and numbered "Plottraits" to the first 100 people who order.
About "Jojo," in the artists' words (translated from French):
Jojo, disciple of the greatest masters of his time, underwent a rigorous and intense training. He attaches an extreme importance to the quality of his line, but also to the quality of his material. As a result, the paper used has been specially selected for its grain and its particularity to put forward the work by offering a contrast between shadow and optimal light. Calibrated felts were also chosen for their finesse and the durability of the works.
The original, iconic and much replicated Robby the Robot suit is up for auction.
In 1970, Robby and his Jeep were purchased privately from M-G-M by Jim Brucker and both were displayed throughout the 1970s at Movie World/Cars of the Stars. By 1979, Robby had fallen somewhat into disrepair; filmmaker and collector Bill Malone, who had previously built the first full Robby replica, acquired him that year. Using original spare parts included with Robby, Malone restored him to his full glory. (Robby's current hands are recasts from his original hands; the originals were rubber and naturally deteriorated over time. The "bubble" dome on Robby's head is not an original but was made from an original M-G-M studio mold. An original Robby dome is included which has yellowed with age.)
After Robby's restoration, he occasionally cameoed in films like Gremlins (1984) and periodically made public appearances at conventions, screenings, and other events, including the 2016 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. He has been replicated countless times as toys, model kits, and other memorabilia. Robby was also recently honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a special retrospective of Forbidden Planet; he remained on display at the Academy for two months. The original Robby is fully operational, has been carefully maintained for nearly four decades, and is as stunning as ever.
I prefer B9. Read the rest
The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) developed a control algorithm enabling Boston Dynamics' Atlas humanoid robot to walk across a short stretch of rocky terrain. It's much harder than you might think.
"After each step the robot explores the new foothold by shifting its weight around its foot," IMHC explains. "To maintain balance we combine fast, dynamics stepping with the use of angular momentum (lunging of the upper body)."
Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) developed VertiGo, a mobile robot that can roll up walls. It uses two tiltable propellers that keep it rolling and also provide the thrust that keeps it against the wall when moving vertically.
“About why Disney is interested in this area, I am not able to say specifics as you can understand," Disney Research scientist Paul Beardsley told IEEE Spectrum. "But just speaking in general, one can imagine that robots with lighting effects could be useful for entertainment effects or for wall games. This also relates to the question of why the ground-wall transition is useful. If you have to manually place a robot on a wall at the start of a deployment, and manually remove it at the end, then that's taking manpower and it's not flexible. If the robot can make those transitions automatically, then you are a step in the direction of autonomous deployment, and that makes the technology more powerful. We are motivated by making a practical device, so it is real-world feedback and challenges that drive our work.”
MIT researchers developed this "Soft Cube Capable of Controllable Continuous Jumping." From IEEE Spectrum:
Inside of the robot there are two motorized rotors, each connected to one end of four flattened loops of spring steel. Activating the rotors causes the spring steel loops that I’m just going to go ahead and call tongues to get pulled through rectangular openings (mouths) into a round cavity inside the body of the robot, compressing them. As the rotors continue to turn, eventually the compressed tongues get pulled all the way around back to the mouths, at which point they spring out, releasing that elastic energy all at once and causing the robot to jump.
"With some light-weight payloads, such as miniature cameras, the robot can be used for exploration tasks," write the researchers. "Moreover, a wireless sensor network can be automatically deployed and reconfigured for outdoor surveillance by using a group of our jumping robots."
Next, they hope to increase the robots' power so the cubes can jump higher and cover more ground.
"MIT's Cube Robot Uses Springy Metal Tongues to Jump" (IEEE Spectrum)