Video Friday: Quadruped Transformer

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!

I’m nearly convinced that all robots should be quadrupeds and humanoids and have wheels.

Also, I’m sorry, but looking at the picture at the top of this article I now CANNOT UNSEE the bottom half of the robot as an angry red face gripping those wheel limbs in its mouth.

[ Swiss-Mile ]

OTTO Lifter drives nimbly in crowded and dynamic environments and improves safety in warehouses and facilities. With advanced safety sensors and class-leading autonomous driving capabilities, OTTO Lifter works alongside people, other vehicles, and existing infrastructure; providing businesses a safer material handling solution for as low as $9 per hour.

I have mixed feelings about this, because I’ve worked in a factory before, and getting to drive a forklift was my only source of joy.

[ OTTO ]

When you create a humanoid robot that can punch through solid objects and then give it a black mustache and goatee, you are just asking for trouble.

[ DFKI ]

Welcome to feeling bad about your level of flexibility, with Digit.

[ Agility ]

I am only slightly disappointed that the new “ex-proof” ANYmal is not actually explosion-proof, but rather is unlikely to cause other things to explode.

Although I suppose this means that technically any other version of ANYmal is therefore much more likely to cause explosions, right?

[ ANYbotics ]

There is the compilation of robot failure videos I recorded for the past year when I worked on the research projects related with the legged robots. Legged robots are awesome, but the key to success is coping with failure. Because of the hard work by so many researchers in the community, we could see legged robots performing these wonderful agile maneuvers.

Thanks to Steven Hong for recording and sharing these videos, and I hope you’re inspired to share some of your own failures. With the same kind of great commentary, of course.

[ ROAHM Lab ]

The thing to know about this research is that we now have a path towards getting a thruster-assisted 40 ton Gundam robot to run.

[ JSK ]

What makes me most uncomfortable about this video is the sound the eyelids make.

[ Child-type Android Project ]

The OpenCV AI Game Show is a thing that exists, and here’s a segment.

[ OpenCV ]

A long-horizon dexterous robot manipulation task of deformable objects, such as banana peeling, is problematic because of difficulties in object modeling and a lack of knowledge about stable and dexterous manipulation skills. This paper presents a goal-conditioned dual-action deep imitation learning (DIL) which can learn dexterous manipulation skills using human demonstration data.

This is very impressive, but a simpler solution is to just outlaw bananas because they’re disgusting.

[ Paper ]

Presenting the arch-nemesis of bottle scramblers everywhere, the bottle unscrambler.

[ B&R Automation ]

How does the Waymo Driver safely handle interactions with cyclists in dense urban environments like San Francisco? Jack, a product manager at Waymo, shares a couple interactions and the personal connection he has with getting it right.

[ Waymo ]

On Episode 11 of Season 2 of the Robot Brains podcast, we’re joined by entrepreneur and philanthropist, Jared Schrieber. He envisions a world where there are as many elementary and high school robotics teams as there are basketball or football teams. He founded Revolution Robotics; a non-profit dedicated to making robotics hardware and software kits accessible to all communities, to make his vision into a reality.

[ Robot Brains ]

Thanks, Alice!

A 2021 ICRA keynote from MIT’s Kevin Chen, on “Agile and Robust Micro-Aerial-Robots Powered by Soft Artificial Muscles.”

[ MIT ]

This GRASP SFI is from Shuran Song at Columbia University, on “The Reasonable Effectiveness of Dynamic Manipulation for Deformable Objects.”

From unfurling a blanket to swinging a rope; high-velocity dynamic actions play a crucial role in how people interact with deformable objects. In this talk, I will discuss how we can get robots to learn to dynamically manipulate deformable objects, where we embrace high-velocity dynamics rather than avoid them (e.g., exclusively using slow pick and place actions). With robots that can fling, swing, or blow with air, our experiments show that these interactions are surprisingly effective for many classically hard manipulation problems and enable new robot capabilities.

[ UPenn ]