All posts by Evan Ackerman

Video Friday: This Robot Wants to Talk to You

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-hiroshi-ishiguro-erica-android

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!):

ICRA 2020 – June 01, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, Greece
ICRES 2020 – September 28-29, 2020 – Taipei, Taiwan
ICSR 2020 – November 14-16, 2020 – Golden, Colorado

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


High-Speed Robot Arm Hands Off Package to Delivery Drone

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/drones/high-speed-robot-arm-hands-off-package

Urban delivery drones have their work cut out for them. We’re not really sure whether the whole business model for urban delivery by drone will ultimately make sense, but for it to have a chance at working, drones will certainly benefit from being as energy efficient and time efficient as possible. The biggest waste of time and energy happens during pickup and delivery, where the drone is hovering rather than moving. Hovering is necessary since these drones may be often delivering things (like food and beverages) that need to be kept mostly upright and not delivered by a parachute or something.

If you were imagining the ideal drone delivery system, though, it would involve drones flying about at full speed, somehow picking up and delivering items safely without ever having to slow down. The pinpoint accuracy required by something like this isn’t something that we’re likely to see on a drone anytime soon, but what if we instead did all of that hard work on the ground, using a high speed vision system and robot arm to attach a package to a drone as it flies past? The Ishikawa Group Laboratory at the University of Tokyo has already made it happen.

Swiss Startup Developing UV Disinfection Robot for Offices and Commercial Spaces

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/rovenso-uv-disinfection-robot

When Rovenso’s co-founder and CEO Thomas Estier started thinking about how autonomous security and monitoring robots could be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, adapting them for UV-C disinfection seemed like it made a lot of sense—while you patrol at night, why not also lower the viral load of shared areas? But arguably the first question that a company has to ask when considering a new application, Estier tells us, is whether they can offer something unique.

“For me, what was also interesting is that the crisis motivated us to consider existing solutions for disinfection, and then understanding that [those solutions] are not adapted for large workshops and offices,” he says. “Instead, it would make sense for a robot to ‘understand’ its environment and act intelligently and to better spend its energy, and this loop of sense-analyze-act is the essence of robotics. When you use the full power of robotics, then you can really innovate with new use cases.”
 
In three weeks, Estier and his team developed what he’s calling “a hack,” turning their highly mobile security robot into an autonomous and efficient coronavirus destroyer. 

Video Friday: This Robotic Basketball Hoop Won’t Let You Miss

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-robotic-basketball-hoop

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!):

ICRA 2020 – June 01, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, Greece
ICRES 2020 – September 28-29, 2020 – Taipei, Taiwan
ICSR 2020 – November 14-16, 2020 – Golden, Colorado

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


Wiggly Wheels Could Help Keep Rovers from Dying on Mars

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/space-robots/wiggly-wheels-could-help-keep-rovers-from-dying-on-mars

Eleven years ago this week (or very nearly), the Spirit rover was noodling around in Gusev Crater on Mars when it drove over a thin hard crust of soil and broke through into a layer of soft sand underneath. The rover was already a little bit hobbled (understandable, since Spirit was something like 2,000 days into what was originally planned as a 90-day mission), and after months of trying, it became clear that Spirit wasn’t likely to move again. Unable to reach a position where its solar panels could be tilted toward the sun, Spirit froze to death during the Martian winter.

Larger rovers like Curiosity don’t have to worry about solar power, but getting stuck in soft surfaces is still a concern, since the options for getting a rover unstuck are limited—all you’ve really got to work with is the rover’s own mobility system.

In a paper published today in Science Robotics, researchers from Georgia Tech’s CRAB Lab led by Professor Daniel Goldman describe how they’ve worked with a NASA rover design to enable new mobility behaviors with actuated wheels that can avoid getting stuck. How do the wheels do that? By wiggling.

Dogs Obey Commands Given by Social Robots

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-software/dogs-obey-commands-given-by-social-robots

One of the things that sets robots apart from intermittently animated objects like toasters is that humans generally see robots as agents. That is, when we look at a robot, and especially a social robot (a robot designed for human interaction), we tend to ascribe some amount of independent action to them, along with motivation at varying levels of abstraction. Robots, in other words, have agency in a way that toasters just don’t. 

Agency is something that designers of robots intended for human interaction can to some extent exploit to make the robots more effective. But humans aren’t the only species that robots interact with. At the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2020), researchers at Yale University’s Social Robotics Lab led by Brian Scassellati presented a paper taking the first step towards determining whether dogs, which are incredibly good at understanding social behaviors in humans, see human-ish robots as agents—or more specifically, whether dogs see robots more like humans (which they obey), or more like speaker systems (which they don’t).

Inflatable E-Bike Fits in a Backpack

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/transportation/alternative-transportation/inflatable-ebike-fits-in-a-backpack

The trend towards communal sidewalk-based personal mobility systems (like shared bikes and scooters) has resulted in some amount of actual personal mobility, but also a lot of cluttered sidewalks, injured riders and pedestrians, and questionable business models. Fortunately, there are other solutions to the last-kilometer problem that are less dangerous and annoying, like this prototype for an inflatable e-bike under development at the University of Tokyo. From a package of folded-up fabric that fits in a backpack, Poimo (POrtable and Inflatable MObility) can be quickly inflated with a small pump into a comfortable and intrinsically safe mobility system that can be deflated again and packed away once you get where you’re going.

Video Friday: Robot Startup Refraction AI Testing Contactless Food Delivery

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-robot-startup-refraction-ai

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!):

ICRA 2020 – June 01, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, Greece

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


Boston Dynamics’ Spot Robot Gets Even More Capable With Enhanced Autonomy, Mobility

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/spots-new-upgrades-bring-enhanced-autonomy-payload-integration-and-stair-smarts

Boston Dynamics’ Spot has been out in the world doing useful stuff (and some other things) for long enough now that it’s high time for a software update packed with more advanced skills and new features.

Spot Release 2.0, launching today, includes improvements to navigation, autonomy, sensing, user programmability, payload integration, communications, and more. Some of that more is an improvement to Spot’s physical capabilities—namely, the robot is better at dealing with slippery surfaces (something Boston Dynamics has always excelled at) and now has a better understanding of stairs, the nemesis of legged robots everywhere.

We’ll take a look at what’s new with Spot, and talk with Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert as well as Zack Jackowski, lead robotics engineer on Spot, about some of the highlights of the 2.0 update, how Spot now understands what stairs are, and when we’ll finally be seeing that arm hit commercial production.

Video Friday: Startup Unveils Agile Robot Dog That Costs Less Than $10k

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-unitree-robot-dog-a1

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!):

ICRA 2020 – June 01, 2020 – [Online]
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, Greece

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


Moxie: A Social Robot for Childhood Development

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/home-robots/moxie-a-social-robot-for-childhood-development

The first generation of social home robots (like the first generation of many other new applications of technology) were not particularly successful. A series of very high valuations followed by mediocre sales and reviews leading to several company shutdowns has made it much more challenging to develop in this space. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if we’re honest— it’s become clear that social home robots are very, very difficult to get right, and any company who wants to make one at this point needs to have both the technical capability and (more importantly) a long-term business case that’s more comprehensive than just making a robot into a part of the family or a best friend.

Today, a social robotics startup called Embodied is launching a new robot called Moxie (no relation to this or this), a social companion for children aged 6ish to 9ish “designed to help promote social, emotional and cognitive development through everyday play-based learning and captivating content.” In some ways, it’s like all the other social robots we’ve seen in the past, but in others, it’s different enough that it could find success— especially right now, when both kids and parents are in need of some extra help.

Akara Robotics Turns TurtleBot Into Autonomous UV Disinfecting Robot

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/medical-robots/akara-robotics-turtlebot-autonomous-uv-disinfecting-robot

UV disinfection is one of the few areas where autonomous robots can be immediately and uniquely helpful during the COVID pandemic. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of these robots to fulfill demand right now, and although companies are working hard to build them, it takes a substantial amount of time to develop the hardware, software, operational knowledge, and integration experience required to make a robotic disinfection system work in a hospital. 

Conor McGinn, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Trinity College in Dublin and co-leader of the Robotics and Innovation Lab (RAIL), has pulled together a small team of hardware and software engineers who’ve managed to get a UV disinfection robot into hospital testing within a matter of just a few weeks. They made it happen in such a short amount of time by building on previous research, collaborating with hospitals directly, and leveraging a development platform: the TurtleBot 2.

Video Friday: Waymo Unveils 5th-Gen Self-Driving Car

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-waymo-5th-gen-self-driving-car

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!):

ICRA 2020 – June 01, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia
ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, Greece

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


NASA Funds Project for Spacecraft That Make Make Their Own Landing Pads

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/space-flight/nasa-landers-instant-landing-pads

Planetary landings are a messy business that can be dangerous for anything nearby, but they can also be risky for the landers themselves. Engine plumes can kick dust, dirt, and rocks back up towards the spacecraft, endangering engines, science payloads (this happened to a weather instrument on the Curiosity Mars rover), and potentially even astronauts.

We’ve managed so far because most unmanned probes, and even the Apollo lunar landers, have been light enough that their engine plumes have been relatively mild. But as we look towards scaling up our presence on the moon, we’re going to need rockets that are much, much bigger. NASA’s proposed Artemis landers will be somewhere between double and quadruple the mass of Apollo, and modeling suggests that one of these could displace something like 470 tons (!) of lunar soil during landing.

Through NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NAIC) program, the space agency is funding a creative new approach towards making planetary landings safer for large spacecraft. Masten Space Systems is developing a concept for “Instant Landing Pads,” where a spacecraft builds its own landing pad as it descends towards the surface. By not requiring landing pads to be constructed in advance, this technique would be safer, cheaper, and help us establish a base on the moon as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In all of the renderings of lunar landings that we’ve seen so far (from folks like Blue Origin, Boeing, SpaceX, and NASA itself), the landers themselves have touched down on the lunar surface directly, without a landing pad. It’s certainly possible to do this with large landers, if you’re choosy about where you land and add enough shielding to your vehicle for it to be able to withstand whatever it might kick up. And depending on the size and power of the engine (or engines) and the surface that they’re interacting with, this can be a lot of material—Masten has been doing some testing on Earth, and you can see how much of a problem this can be:

Finding the right landing location to avoid effects like this, and adding enough shielding to protect the lander, would be restrictive to any lunar program. Shielding is a significant amount of mass that takes away from payload, and if there’s no safe landing area near where you want your moon base to be, you’re out of luck.

The conventional solution is to send smaller landers first, and use local material to construct a landing pad. A project called PISCES is working on doing this with robots, for example. This could certainly work, but you’re adding months or years of lead time to your overall mission, and Masten estimates that it would cost over $100 million for every dedicated lunar pad building or preparation logistics mission.

What Masten wants to do instead is to put a pad, instantly, on a planetary surface underneath any rocket just a few seconds before landing. 

The system that Masten is developing with NIAC funding is called FAST, or in-Flight Alumina Spray Technique. Here’s how it would work: a few hundred meters above the surface of the moon (or Mars, or anywhere else you want to land), your lander comes to a hover. Alumina pellets are then fed into the engine exhaust nozzle, where they get partially melted in the engine plume and blasted down onto the surface. Most planetary surfaces that a spacecraft would be landing on are cold enough that the alumina cools and hardens on contact, and over the course of about 15 seconds, something like 300 kg of alumina gets layered into a totally functional landing pad. You then land as normal, ablating the pad a little bit but not digging a crater under yourself or blasting dirt and rocks all over the place. 

Masten has been testing rockets on Earth for years; their fleet of terrestrial test vehicles has accumulated more than 600 rocket powered landings (on landing pads). This idea came directly out of testing how rocket engine plumes kick up material, Masten Chief Engineer Matthew Kuhns tells us. “I started brainstorming ideas around ways you could land without needing a precursor mission to create landing pads. Lots of crazy ideas later, this one stood out.” 

NIAC is all about funding ideas that seem crazy, but that have enough technical feasibility that they could ultimately pay off.

“We will spend the next 9 months looking at how this would benefit the Artemis moon landings,” Kuhns says. “NIAC projects as a rule are very ambitious and usually 10+ years out to use, but in this case since we can build on a terrestrial technology I think we can move a bit faster.”

Masten will be teaming up with Honeybee Robotics to figure out exactly how engines can be modified to use FAST. FAST requires a system to transport the landing pad material into the engine, which is basically the opposite of a pneumatic sampling system that Honeybee has been working on. Testing is still to come, says Kuhns, but with Masten’s rocket experience, we’re hoping that moving “a bit faster” is a bit of an understatement.

We also asked Kuhns if he sees any problem with leaving these instant landing pads scattered about on the moon. “That would be a good problem to have,” he told us. “It would mean many many missions to the moon, a sustainable presence, and lots of science. Depending on their location and material, you could actually do science with the FAST landing pads and use them as laser or radio reflective arrays.” 

NIAC projects are typically funded through three different phases as their technology readiness level increases. A year from now, we hope to see these Instant Landing Pads make it to phase two, which will bring them that much closer to helping us return to the moon.

It’s Robot Versus Human as Shimon Performs Real-Time Rap Battles

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-software/robot-versus-human-shimon-real-time-rap-battles

Last month, Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology introduced the latest version of Shimon, its head-bopping, marimba-playing robot. Along with a new face, Shimon has learned to compose and sing original music with a voice and style of its own. Today, Shimon’s full album will be released on Spotify, along with a series of music videos and a demonstration of a new talent: real-time robot on human rap battles.

New Consortium Mobilizes Roboticists to Help With COVID-19 and Future Crises

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/medical-robots/robotics-for-infectious-diseases-consortium

In 2014, there was an Ebola epidemic in West Africa that killed over 10,000 people. The outbreak was mostly contained to the region, but the rest of the world was (understandably) concerned about what could happen if the virus, which has a mortality rate of about 50 percent, were to spread at some point in the future. In the United States, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation, along with other agencies and academic institutions, held a series of workshops on how roboticists could potentially be useful during an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic, with a focus on West Africa. Since Ebola didn’t turn into a global threat, at the time things didn’t progress much farther than those workshops, but there’s now a renewed and much more urgent interest in using robots to help fight infectious diseases.

Dr. Robin Murphy, an IEEE Fellow and professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, in College Station, helped organize those 2014 workshops. A world-renowned expert in disaster robotics, Murphy has been directing the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) for nearly two decades, and is now working to update that experience and bring it to bear on the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re a roboticist, and you’re wondering what you can do to help, the Robotics for Infections Diseases consortium (R4ID) has some answers for you.

Roombot Swarm Creates On-Demand Mobile Furniture

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/home-robots/roombot-swarm-on-demand-mobile-furniture

For the last decade-ish, EPFL’s Roombots have been modularizing their way towards becoming the only piece of furniture you’ll ever need. These little squarish roundish robotics modules, which can move around and latch onto each other, can collaboratively form chairs, tables, or whatever else you need or want. The idea is that you’d invest in a pile of Roombots, the pile size being proportional to the number of people and animals in your house, and then whatever bits of furniture you desire would be dynamically created (and then “destroyed”) through the intelligent and autonomous cooperation Roombots pile on an as-needed basis.

Roombots are a very compelling idea, especially for those of us who have small apartments. Like, I have a dining room table and four chairs. If I want to have more than a couple people over for dinner, they’d better bring their own chairs, because I don’t have anywhere for them to sit. If my furniture was Roombots, though, my bed could just disassemble itself to make more chairs when I needed them. Or, I could store a bunch of extra Roombot modules in my closet, and bring them out when needed.

In a new Roombots paper, researchers from EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory, led by Professor Auke Ijspeert, have demonstrated some practical (although still very research-y) swarm transformations, while also experimenting with how Roombots can interact with existing furniture to give it new capabilities—chairs that follow you, chairs that flee from you, and tables that can pick objects up off the floor.

Video Friday: This Free-Flying Robot Head Is Like Alexa for Astronauts

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-cimon2-free-flying-robot-head

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!):

ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – [Online or Postponed]
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia

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


Telepresence Robots Are Helping Take Pressure Off Hospital Staff

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/medical-robots/telepresence-robots-are-helping-take-pressure-off-hospital-staff

Robots are hard at work in hospitals doing what they can to help us get through the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to sterilizing rooms and delivering medication and supplies, robots are helping hospital staff to work much safer and more efficiently through telepresence.

iRobot spinoff Ava Robotics has telepresence robots deployed in hospitals, where they’re enabling doctors quarantined at home to stay present in emergency rooms and allowing nurses to see patients without having to worry about personal protective equipment. The robots are lowering the risk of infection while making it possible for hospital staff to stay productive even if they’re at home or under quarantine themselves, adding a little extra slack to an overstressed system.

Video Friday: Quadruped Robot Learns Locomotion Skills by Imitating Dog

Post Syndicated from Evan Ackerman original https://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/robotics-hardware/video-friday-quadruped-robot-locomotion-skills

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!):

ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – [Online Conference]
ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – [Online Conference]
ICUAS 2020 – June 9-12, 2020 – Athens, Greece
RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Online Conference]
CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – Moscow, Russia

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


Whether it’s a dog chasing after a ball, or a monkey swinging through the trees, animals can effortlessly perform an incredibly rich repertoire of agile locomotion skills. But designing controllers that enable legged robots to replicate these agile behaviors can be a very challenging task. The superior agility seen in animals, as compared to robots, might lead one to wonder: can we create more agile robotic controllers with less effort by directly imitating animals?

In this work, we present a framework for learning robotic locomotion skills by imitating animals. Given a reference motion clip recorded from an animal (e.g. a dog), our framework uses reinforcement learning to train a control policy that enables a robot to imitate the motion in the real world. Then, by simply providing the system with different reference motions, we are able to train a quadruped robot to perform a diverse set of agile behaviors, ranging from fast walking gaits to dynamic hops and turns. The policies are trained primarily in simulation, and then transferred to the real world using a latent space adaptation technique, which is able to efficiently adapt a policy using only a few minutes of data from the real robot.

[ BAIR ] via [ Google AI ]


Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a new method that doesn’t require any special equipment and works in just minutes to create soft, flexible, 3D-printed robots. The innovation comes from rethinking the way soft robots are built: instead of figuring out how to add soft materials to a rigid robot body, the UC San Diego researchers started with a soft body and added rigid features to key components. The structures were inspired by insect exoskeletons, which have both soft and rigid parts—the researchers called their creations “flexoskeletons.”

UCSD ]


Working from home means this is the new normal.

That is a seriously heat resistant robot arm.

[ YouTube ]

Thanks Aaron!


In this video we present the ongoing development of a simple robotic system that integrates a 60W UV Germicidal Lamp. The system is a 4-wheel robotic rover that autonomously guides itself and navigates with the help of a LiDAR sensor. This experimental design is made to examine the potential of using such a system for disinfecting purposes during this critical period. The key goal of using a UV germicidal lamp on a robot relates to its ability to position itself at many locations thus providing wide disinfecting coverage.

This development is done cognizant of the fact that it is the health system and the medical professionals who we all rely on during this crisis. We have seen that robots have had such use and investigate the relevant potential. In addition, this development was done based on an existing robot of our lab and while #StayingAtHome as per the official guidelines. This simple test was the only point during which 2 lab members had to be together to coordinate robot deployment and video recording. Members worked while respecting 2m-distance guidelines and using PPE.

[ ARL ]


Sorry doggo, some things, robots are just better at.

[ Franklin Robotics ]


By using its patented technologies, the Aertos 120-UVC can fly stably inside buildings contaminated by the COVID-19 virus, allowing humans to stay safely away from infected areas. Digital Aerolus’ industrial drones do not use GPS or external sensors, enabling them to operate stably in places other drones cannot go, including small and confined spaces. When the drone flies at 6 feet above a surface for 5 minutes, it provides a greater than 99% disinfection rate of more than a 2 x 2-meter surface.

So a 2-by-2-meter surface takes 5 minutes—that is a long time for drones, so the amount of surfaces that this thing can disinfect before it needs a recharge must be pretty limited. Maybe a swarm of them, though?

[ Digital Aerolus ]

Thanks Sarah!


A new autonomous robot developed by engineers at NASA and tested in Antarctica by a team of researchers, including an engineer from The University of Western Australia, is destined for a trip into outer space and could, in the future, search for signs of life in ocean worlds beyond Earth.

[ UWA ]


Robots can be very useful in disinfecting surfaces with COVID-19, which can be a dangerous task for humans. At the USC Viterbi Center for Advanced Manufacturing, we have developed ADAMMS, a robot to do machine tending tasks. We are modifying this robot to perform disinfection tasks in public spaces such as offices, labs, schools, hotels, and dorms. We are calling this ADAMMS-UV.

ADAMMS-UV is a semi-autonomous mobile manipulator that uses UV light wand mounted on a robot arm to reach spaces that cannot be treated by UV source mounted on the mobile base. It can use the gripper to open drawers, closets and manipulate objects to perform a detailed sanitization on hard to reach surfaces. ADAMMS-UV is controlled by a remote operator located far away from the risk zone.

[ RROS ]


Highlight videos from both the systems and virtual tracks of the DARPA SubT Urban Circuit.

[ SubT ]


At Kunming No.3 Middle School and Kunming Dianchi Middle School in Yunnan province, southwest of China, students are returning to school after a prolonged absence due to Covid-19, and are now greeted by a robot, instead of a human. The robot, named AIMBOT, takes students’ temperature and checks their faces for masks, which helps school personnel improve monitoring efficiency while reducing cross-infection risks. The AIMBOT robot can detect people’s temperatures with 99 percent accuracy up to 3.5 meters away by using infrared technology. They can also monitor the temperatures of up to 15 people at once.

[ UBTECH ]


EMYS has way more friends than I do and I’m not sure how to feel about that.

[ EMYS ]

Thanks Jan!


In this video we present results on autonomous subterranean exploration inside an unfinished nuclear power plant in Washington, USA, using the ANYmal quadrupedal robot.

[ ETHZ RSL ]

Thanks Marco!


I need one of these mini snack packaging systems for my kitchen. And I won’t need anything else for my kitchen.

[ ABB ]


On Feb 18-27, 2020, we participated in the Urban Circuit of @DARPAtv Subterranean Challenge held in unfinished Satsop Nuclear Power Plant in Washington, USA. Together as CTU-CRAS-NORLAB, we won the 3rd overall place among 10 participating teams and placed 1st among the teams non-funded by DARPA. In this video, we show various fragments of autonomous UAV path planning, exploration, and mapping obtained during the competition.

[ MRS ]


With humankind facing new and increasingly large-scale challenges in the medical and domestic spheres, automation of the service sector carries a tremendous potential for improved efficiency, quality, and safety of operations. This work presents a mobile manipulation system that combines perception, localization, navigation, motion planning and grasping skills into one common workflow for fetch and carry applications in unstructured indoor environments.

[ ASL ]


This video highlights an exploration and mapping system onboard an autonomous aerial vehicle. An overview of the system is presented in simulation using a mesh of a cave from West Virginia. Hardware results are demonstrated at Laurel Caverns, a commercially owned and operated cave in Southwestern, PA, USA.

Few state-of-the-art, high-resolution perceptual modeling techniques quantify the time to transfer the model across low bandwidth, high reliability communications channels such as radio. To bridge this gap in the state of the art, this work compactly represents sensor observations as Gaussian mixture models and maintains a local occupancy grid map for a motion planner that greedily maximizes an information-theoretic objective function. Hardware results are presented in complete darkness with the autonomous aerial vehicle equipped with a depth camera for mapping, downward-facing camera for state estimation, and forward and downward lights.

[ CMU ]


Our Highly Dexterous Manipulation System is a a dual-arm robotic system that includes two highly dexterous mobile manipulator arms, a moveable torso that can be mounted onto a variety of mobile platforms, and the capability to perform tasks with human-like strength and dexterity in a variety of indoor and outdoor environments.

[ RE2 ]


If you are a manufacturer ramping up production of mission-critical goods, Robotiq wants to help you deploy a cobot application in two weeks. Two weeks! LET’S GO!

[ Robotiq ]

Thanks Sam!


Another Spot video from Adam Savage.

I’d be making videos like these too, but I don’t have a Spot. YET.

[ Tested ]