Airbags Could Protect Humanoid Robots From Catastrophic Falls

Walking robots will always turn into falling robots, and wearable airbags could help keep them safe Humanoid robots are generally designed with the expectation that they won’t fall over. And most humanoid robots do, in fact, spend most of their time not falling over, although this is frequently because their creators don’t trust them enough to let them do anything fancy without being tethered to some sort of safety system. You can build your robot to be extra-durable and consequently make falling over less destructive than it would be otherwise, but then you end up over-engineering your hardware by designing it to be able to handle something that (ideally) won’t happen often, if ever. The ideal emergency safety system for humanoid robots would be cheap, reliable, lightweight, easy to integrate, and able to deploy at very short notice during the small window of time between when a robot detects that it’s Continue reading Airbags Could Protect Humanoid Robots From Catastrophic Falls

UBTECH Shows Off Massive Upgrades to Walker Humanoid Robot

The Chinese company demonstrates its consumer bipedal humanoid at CES This week at CES 2019, UBTECH Robotics (which was valued at $5 billion as of mid-2018) is announcing a major update to a walking robot first demonstrated at CES 2018. UBTECH’s Walker has gained a torso, arms, hands, and a head, and is now as humanoid as bipedal robots get. UBTECH has posted a couple of new videos, and answered some questions about Walker’s capabilities and where our expectations should be.

IHMC Teaches Atlas to Walk Like a Human

Humans walk with straight legs and most robots don’t, but IHMC is teaching Atlas to do better Humanoid robots have a very distinctive walk. Knees bent, torso as stationary as possible. Even Boston Dynamics’ own Atlas uses this crouching sort of squat-walk to get around, because those perpetually bent legs are how it keeps from falling over. This sort of gait is so common with humanoid robots that it’s become the “normal” robot gait, but it’s also not at all the way that humans walk. We walk with straight legs, locking our knees with each stride, because it’s much easier to support our weight that way. You can try it for yourself: that bent knee “bipedal robot” walk gets tiring to keep up, because your leg muscles always have to be engaged.  At IHMC, roboticists are busy solving this problem by teaching Atlas to walk more like we do. In addition Continue reading IHMC Teaches Atlas to Walk Like a Human

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