THE BEST Robots

Spark

Spark

Matt Colglazier and Charles Benevento’s CG animated short film Spark drops us into a factory where robots do all of the work. After one robot is “retired” by some bullying boss bots, one of its components lives on, and brings joy to the warehouse – at least for a little while.

Armpal Tabletop Robots

Armpal Tabletop Robots

Armpal is a unique tabletop game that asks players to move and stack blocks by manipulating a robot arm. Each machine comes as a laser-cut wood kit, with gears, springs, and simple hydraulics to make them move. The arms work with interchangeable heads, including a claw, excavator, and magnetic crane.

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Robot Spy Turtle

Robot Spy Turtle

The nature film experts at John Downer Productions show off another one of their animatronic camera spies. As an eagle drone flies overhead, a robot turtle on the ground infiltrates a bale of 20,000 olive ridley sea turtles coming ashore on a Costa Rican beach to lay their eggs. From “The Tropics” episode of Spy in the Wild 2.

Sand Drawing Robot 2.0

Sand Drawing Robot 2.0

A while back, maker Ivan Miranda built himself a robot which could write words in the sand. He’s back to build an upgraded version of the machine which can draw much faster than the previous one. It uses 50 mini servos to doodle, two mini tanks to drive, and Arduino Mega controllers for its digital brains.

With You, Spot Can…

With You, Spot Can…

Boston Dynamics’ Spot robotic quadruped is finally available for purchase. Starting at just $74,500, you can have one too. To entice buyers from commercial, academic, and engineering worlds, the company put together this video of some of the robot’s capabilities, from climbing to carrying, to self-righting, to working in sync.

3D Printed Soft Robots

3D Printed Soft Robots

Using a high-tech 3D printer that can print up to 8 different materials with a single nozzle, engineers from Wyss Institute and Harvard SEAS are showing how they can create tiny soft robots which use a mix of hard and flexible substances. By introducing a vacuum into its chambers, it’s able to walk without motors.

Autonomous LiDAR NERF Robot

Autonomous LiDAR NERF Robot

Engineer James Bruton is always building amazing things in his workshop. He recently got his hands on a LiDAR scanner unit which can enable 3D computer vision and capture navigational data. He used the device to guide a robot that looks for movement all around it, then turns to fire at what it detected. Demo starts at 17:54.

This Time Away

This Time Away

A bitter and reclusive old man wants nothing to do with anybody, but after yelling at a bunch of no-good kids, he stumbles his way into an unexpected new relationship. Filmmaker Magali Barbé’s award winning short offers an atypically sweet and hopeful view of the connection between man and machine.

Housekeeping Droid

Housekeeping Droid

When it comes to robots, the humble Roomba is one of the most useful. The only thing that would make one of these automated vacuums better is if it looked like a droid from Star Wars. Matthew Scott Hunter decided to do just that, and transformed his Roomba into a new home maintenance droid dubbed “R9-D9.”

Talos: The First Robot

Talos: The First Robot

You might think that robots are a 19th or 20th century invention, but the idea of a humanoid machine dates back way further. TED-Ed looks back to an ancient Greek myth that involved a giant automaton warrior built to defend an island kingdom. It was also the first story about a robot struggling with its humanity.

DIY Rock’em Sock’em Robots

DIY Rock’em Sock’em Robots

Rock’em Sock’em Robots have been entertaining kids since 1964. If you enjoy knocking your friend’s block off, along with the sense of achievement that comes with DIY, The Q is here to show you how to build your own using cardboard, popsicle sticks, rubber bands, bottle caps, and paper clips.

On Max Headroom

On Max Headroom

What started out as a satirical “AI” music video host became one of the most recognizable characters of the 1980s, appearing in Coke ads, a music video, and even a TV series. Space Feather’s comprehensive analysis of the character is well worth a watch for anyone familiar with Matt Frewer’s iconic glitchbot.

Low-budget Surgery Robot

Low-budget Surgery Robot

(PG-13: Language) After seeing the $2 million da Vinci surgical robot, builder Michael Reeves decided that was just too much money. So he set about building his own homebrew robot surgeon. His gesture-controlled, knife-wielding ‘bot isn’t nearly as precise, safe, or reliable, but we applaud his efforts.

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LEGO Bomb Disposal Robot

LEGO Bomb Disposal Robot

This highly-articulated LEGO Technic robot by Shadow Elenter uses 19 motors to move its wheels, arms, snippers and grippers to defuse, pick up, and dispose of a phony explosive payload. We’re not sure we’d use it for a real bomb threat, but we’re still impressed.

Slagwerk-101 Robot Drum Machine

Slagwerk-101 Robot Drum Machine

Designer and maker Love Hultén is best known for his retro-inspired video game and computer builds. But this one is quite different – an electromechanical drum machine that plays rhythms using a MIDI sequencer. Each of its components is modular, so it can be reconfigured to create unique audio sculptures.

Rockubot Sterilizing Robot

This robotic gadget uses an array of sensors to drive itself across various household surfaces, exposing them to powerful UV-C light, which can destroy up to 99.99% of bacteria and other germs, while ultrasonic waves can get rid of mites. It can even drive across your bed or under sheets. Save 26% in The Awesomer Shop.

Inflatable Soft Robot

Inflatable Soft Robot

Engineers from Stanford University have been working on an unusual design for a robot that uses inflatable tubes for its body. It can move about and change shapes by squeezing on its air bladders, and can pack up small when not in use. It’s like the more evolved cousin of the wacky waving tube guy.

Butt-cleaning Robot

Butt-cleaning Robot

With hoarding surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been quite the run on toilet paper here in the U.S. While add-on bidet toilet seats are always an option, Mike of Useless Duck Company thinks he’s got a more thorough solution – though his approach might be just a little more painful. Kids, don’t try this at home.

The First Westworld

The First Westworld

(PG-13: Language) Westworld just returned for its third season, and is off to a typically cryptic start. But 43 years before HBO’s hit sci-fi drama appeared, there was a movie version of Michael Crichton’s dystopian story. While it was pretty creepy in its day, and had some promising ideas, Mr. Sunday Movies is here to laugh at its many flaws.

Robot Dinosaur Factory

Robot Dinosaur Factory

Creature Technology creates incredible large-size animatronics for museums, theme parks, live shows, and other attractions. Bloomberg takes us inside the factory where they make giant mechanical bears, gorillas, and imposing life-size dinosaurs.

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The Octo-Bouncer

The Octo-Bouncer

Electron Dust shows off a nifty machine that can bounce a ping pong ball, while keeping it balanced and centered on its moving platform. It uses combination of open-source image processing software and Arduino-controlled stepper motors to work its magic. More build details here.

0% Food

0% Food

This weird and wonderful very short film attempts to answer the question “what kind of food would androids consume, if they needed to eat?” Apparently, the answer seems to be something very colorful and strangely textured. Directed and animated by Lukas Vojir, with music and sound by Resonate for XK Studio.

LEGO Robot GBC Module

LEGO Robot GBC Module

We’re surprised that LEGO machine expert JK Brickworks has never built a Great Ball Contraption module before, but his first one definitely lives up to his standards. Watch as four tiny LEGO robots work along an assembly line, each passing a ball to the next to move it down the line. It also appears to work as a hypnosis device.

Engineering Living Robots

Engineering Living Robots

Researchers from The University of Vermont and Tufts University have created tiny “xenobots,” which use living cells manipulated to perform tasks. AI algorithms guided the microsurgery used to create these organic machines which could someday clean microplastics from oceans, or repair organs in our bodies.

Matt and Mantis

Matt and Mantis

Guinness World Records introduces us to animatronics and robotics expert Matt Denton, and his prize-winning walking robot, Mantis. This gigantic, diesel-powered hexapod weighs in at nearly 4200 pounds, and can stomp around while an operator rides in its mid-section. Matt also happens to be the co-creator of BB-8.

Adam Savage’s Spot Robot

Adam Savage’s Spot Robot

In December 2019, Adam Savage unwrapped one of the coolest Christmas gifts ever – one of Boston Dynamics‘ four-legged Spot robots. He then took it out for its first walk to learn just how good it is at walking on challenging terrain. Adam and the crew at Tested plan on putting Spot through its paces over the next year.

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