University of Tokyo engineers have taught a robot how to repair itself. Well, they taught it to tighten its own screws. And with that skill, it also was able to self-install a hook for hanging a tote bag from its shoulder. From IEEE Spectrum:
At the moment, the robot can’t directly detect on its own whether a particular screw needs tightening, although it can tell if its physical pose doesn’t match its digital model, which suggests that something has gone wonky. It can also check its screws autonomously from time to time, or rely on a human physically pointing out that it has a screw loose, using the human’s finger location to identify which screw it is. Another challenge is that most robots, like most humans, are limited in the areas on themselves that they can comfortably reach. So to tighten up everything, they might have to find themselves a robot friend to help, just like humans help each other put on sunblock.
And here is their technical paper: "Self-Repair and Self-Extension by Tightening Screws based onPrecise Calculation of Screw Pose of Self-Body with CAD Dataand Graph Search with Regrasping a Driver"
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The fifth annual World Robot Conference was open to the public in Beijing last Thursday, August 22, and this bionic flying bird based on a herring gull was one of the more spectacular sights.
Other robots on show at the annual event in China included robo-superheroes, and Taiji-playing robots.
Rough cut of video from Reuters is here (no reporter narration).
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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.
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Mike from the Useless Duck Company simply wanted to make a dancing and talking banana robot. For his troubles, he got banned from Twitch due to racist and sexist content. Read the rest
Ocado robots zip around simultaneously filling orders without bumping into each other in this fascinating look at a modern warehouse. Read the rest
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.
Video: Watch more than 1,300 robots dance simultaneously to break a world record Read the rest
MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MITCSAIL) created this graceful fishbot that can swim around a lot like a regular fish. Read the rest
People who need custom furniture in the future may be able to feed the design into a program and then have robot-assisted carpentry do the rest. Read the rest
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.
(Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories) Read the rest
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
Swiss researchers have unleashed a robotic eel in Lake Geneva, and their Envirobot successfully detected where the researchers had poured salt along the shore. Read the rest
The Guggenheim has Sun Yuan & Peng Yu’s installation "Can’t Help Myself" on display through March. The robot arm monitors and attempts to contain a viscous blood-red liquid as it spreads out from the base of the arm, spattering more liquid around its enclosure. 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)."
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The Design Museum in London just unveiled Mimus, Madeline Gannon's newest exploration of robot-human interdependence. From its enclosure, Mimus senses visitors and interacts with them. Read the rest
The Ghost Minitaur is the latest iteration of terrifyingly cute agile legged robots. I for one welcome our doglike robot overlords. Read the rest
YouTuber Die Struktur created the first rotating cat automaton that paints to musical accompaniment. Now, instead of "my kid could paint that," idiots can say "my maneki-neko on a turntable could paint that." Read the rest