Video Friday: BirdBot

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23–27 May 2022, Philadelphia
ERF 2022: 28–30 June 2022, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
CLAWAR 2022: 12–14 September 2022, Açores, Portugal

Enjoy today’s videos!

A team of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and the University of California, Irvine constructed a robot leg that, like its natural model, is very energy efficient. BirdBot benefits from a foot-leg coupling through a network of muscles and tendons that extends across multiple joints. In this way, BirdBot needs fewer motors than previous legged robots and could, theoretically, scale to large size.

They’ve actually built a large version of one of these legs that looks to be about ostrich-sized, which I’m really getting a kick out of.

[ Science Robotics ] via [ MPI ]

ElliQ is now available!

As always, keep in mind that videos like these are only representative of the best case performance of a robot like this. But for some people (with the proper expectations) it seems like it could be very useful. Starting at $250, plus $30/mo.

[ ElliQ ]

Why build just one robotic giraffe half, when you can instead built two and have them neck-fight each other?

[ Suzumori Endo Lab ]

Thanks, Ryuma!

Why you should care about MAB Robotics’ Honey Badger quadruped.

The MAB’s Honey Badger quadrupedal robot is a perfect solution for many demanding industrial and outdoor scenarios. It is a lightweight and small construction with a water and dustproof body. The MAB’s robot can operate without additional sensors like cameras or lidar. There is level 2 autonomy implemented—the operator gives the direction and speed commands, the robot decides how to move legs and keep the balance. The quadruped has all in-house developed software and hardware. The main goal of the robot is to become a universal carrying platform capable of inspection and maintenance tasks, especially in inaccessible underground infrastructures like water and sewage networks and mines.

[ MAB Robotics ]

Thanks, Jakub!

National Robotics Week-ish is April 2-10, 2022!

[ NRW ]

Kazumichi Moriyama has been doing an incredible job covering iREX in Japan. These are just a couple of the robots he’s spotted, but check out the rest of his excellent coverage on YouTube at the link below.

[ Kazumichi Moriyama ]

Thanks to their agility, widespread usage, and limited cost, drones are the perfect platform to investigate these questions. To incentivize and facilitate research on this topic, we are organizing the Vision-based Agile Drone Flight competition (aka DodgeDrone Challenge).

[ DDC ]

This gets a little weird at about 1:10.

[ RoboDesign Lab ]

TAKARATOMY and JAXA are collaborating on this tiny, spherical lunar rover.

[ RobotStart ]

I think Extend Robotics need to rethink calling this “speed stacking,” although putting the video on 2x does help.

[ Extend Robotics ]

NASA’s rovers are putting their gears in drive on Mars, making discoveries along the way. NASA’s Curiosity rover captured some interesting images on Mount Sharp while heading toward an area called Greenheugh Pediment. Over in Jezero Crater, NASA’s Perseverance rover and Ingenuity Mars Helicopter are both gearing up for a new destination. Perseverance is wrapping up its first science campaign on the floor of Jezero Crater and, with the help of sophisticated self-driving abilities, will head toward the remnants of a fan-shaped deposit of river sediments known as a delta to collect more samples. Ingenuity is planning updates to its software to improve operational safety.

[ NASA ]

This does not bother me at all.

A child-type patient robot developed for critical care training. In addition to fluttering movements and sudden changes in medical conditions that dislike treatment, dental treatment and changes in pulse, breathing, and complexion can be reproduced in detail, and training that is close to the actual treatment site can be performed.

[ Impress ]

Having trouble managing the tether on your drone? Just add more drones!

[ HiPeR Lab ]

NASA Armstrong’s Flight research center is honoring 75 years of advancing technology and science through flight. For the next year there will be monthly reoccurring videos released to help tell the past 75 years of NASA Armstrong. This month’s theme is autonomy!

[ NASA Armstrong ]

This UPenn GRASP SFI talk is by Ted Xiao, Robotics at Google, on “A Panorama of End-to-end Robot Learning.”

[ UPenn ]