Video Friday: Cassie’s Star Wars AT-ST Costume, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos 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!): ICSR 2018 – November 28-30, 2018 – Qingdao, China RoboDEX – January 16-18, 2019 – Tokyo, Japan Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Video Friday: Ladder-Climbing Snake Robot, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos IROS has just ended in Spain but our coverage continues and we’ll be bringing you more stories over the next week or two. Today we have a special edition of Video Friday, featuring some of the best videos from the conference. Next week, Video Friday returns to its normal format, so if you have video suggestions, keep them coming as usual. Enjoy today’s videos! International Robot Safety Conference – October 9-11, 2018 – Detroit, Mich., USA Japan Robot Week – October 17-19, 2018 – Tokyo, Japan Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision & AI Conference – October 24-25, 2018 – Santa Clara, Calif., USA ICSR 2018 – November 28-30, 2018 – Qingdao, China

Video Friday: Japan’s New Humanoid Robot HRP-5P, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos 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!): ROSCon 2018 – September 29-30, 2018 – Madrid, Spain IROS 2018 – October 1-5, 2018 – Madrid, Spain International Robot Safety Conference – October 9-11, 2018 – Detroit, Mich., USA Japan Robot Week – October 17-19, 2018 – Tokyo, Japan Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision & AI Conference – October 24-25, 2018 – Santa Clara, Calif., USA ICSR 2018 – November 28-30, 2018 – Qingdao, China Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Calling All Robots

IEEE Spectrum is building the world’s largest, coolest robotics catalog Photo: IEEE Spectrum; Devices: iStockphoto Do you like robots? Of course you do! You’re reading IEEE Spectrum, so you almost certainly love robots. Robots capture our imagination. Robots are the future. Now let us ask you this: What’s your favorite robot? We bet some of you said R2-D2. Or maybe Rosie. Or Robby. Or Johnny 5. Or Data. These are all cool robots. We like them too! But here’s the problem: Those are not real robots. We see this happen often, especially with kids. When you ask them which robots they find inspiring, the answers typically come from science fiction. And why is that a problem? Because we’ve reached the point where it’s clear that robots are going to affect every aspect of our lives. It won’t happen overnight, but most of us will likely see the day when robotics will be Continue reading Calling All Robots

Fusion: A Collaborative Robotic Telepresence Parasite That Lives on Your Back

A robot perched behind you can see what you see and control both your arms Most of the telepresence robots that you can buy are appealing because they offer you some sort of mobile agency—like, the ability to remotely drive yourself around. Robots like these are great if you want to, say, find yourself an elephant, but not all that great if you want to help other people out through collaborative tasks that require physical interaction. Collaboration, especially instruction, often depends on the physical act of one person showing another person how to do something, and even if your telepresence robot has an arm or two, it may not be at all intuitive for a remote user have effective direct interactions. At Keio University in Japan, roboticists have developed a new kind of telepresence robot that’s designed to (as literally as possible) allow you to remotely inhabit the body of Continue reading Fusion: A Collaborative Robotic Telepresence Parasite That Lives on Your Back

Humans Show Racial Bias Towards Robots of Different Colors: Study

Do people display different racial biases towards black robots and white robots? A new study says yes The majority of robots are white. Do a Google image search for “robot” and see for yourself: The whiteness is overwhelming. There are some understandable reasons for this; for example, when we asked several different companies why their social home robots were white, the answer was simply because white most conveniently fits in with other home decor. But a new study suggests that the color white can also be a social cue that results in a perception of race, especially if it’s presented in an anthropomorphic context, such as being the color of the outer shell of a humanoid robot. In addition, the same issue applies to robots that are black in color, according to the study. The findings suggest that people perceive robots with anthropomorphic features to have race, and as a result, Continue reading Humans Show Racial Bias Towards Robots of Different Colors: Study

Asimo Still Improving Its Hopping and Jogging Skills

Honda is teaching its robots to take longer and faster steps to recover from shoves by transitioning to a running gait, which is exactly what humans do if we need to We learned last week that Honda is putting Asimo out to pasture, so to speak, which is a little sad, but not too sad: Honda is doing this because they want to instead focus on the other, more useful humanoid robots that they’ve been working on recently, like E2-DR. Honda learned a lot about humanoid robotics from Asimo, and even though we haven’t seen Asimo do much in the way of new stuff over the past few years, the robot has still been under active development. Or at least, it was, as of 2017, when Honda was teaching it to handle human abuse. Nobody likes to see robots getting pushed or kicked, but we can make exceptions when roboticists Continue reading Asimo Still Improving Its Hopping and Jogging Skills

Honda Halts Asimo Development in Favor of More Useful Humanoid Robots

Honda will focus on elder care and disaster robots rather than improvements to its iconic humanoid Yesterday, NHK (the Japan Broadcasting Corporation) reported that Honda has decided to cancel further development of its flagship humanoid robot, Asimo. A Honda representative who spoke with AFP said, “We will still continue research into humanoid robots, but our future robots may not be named Asimo. We have obtained lots of technologies while developing Asimo, and how to utilize them is one issue.” It’s not like Honda is abandoning robotics completely, or even abandoning the idea of humanoid robots. Instead, it sounds like the company want to start focusing on how to apply the technology that it has to make robots that don’t just promote its brand, but actually help out with things like elder care and disaster relief. But why now, and what’s next? We have some ideas.

The Importance of Teaching Robots to Hug

Knowing how to give good hugs is an important life skill, even for robots Image: Alexis Block Hugs make us feel warm and safe and comforted and loved. They’re pretty great, if you’re into that sort of thing. If we need a hug and another human isn’t available, we can sometimes get a little bit of satisfaction from hugging inanimate objects like stuffed animals, but it seems like robots (that can hypothetically hug us back) might be able to be somewhat more fulfilling. While we’ve seen robots that are actively huggable before, and even a few that can hug you back, it’s not clear exactly how a robot hug compares to a human hug, and whether hugging a robot can confer any of the benefits that we get from hugging people. At the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI) earlier this year, Alexis E. Block and Katherine J. Kuchenbecker Continue reading The Importance of Teaching Robots to Hug