Remember when you had to manually transform your Transformers? That changes today, thanks to Hasbro and Robosen. This impressive 19″ tall robot can automatically convert, and can do it via voice or a smartphone app. The G1 Optimus Prime is loaded with 80 sound effects, and the original voice of the Autobot’s leader.
THE BEST Robots
Saarland University researcher Marc Teyssier created the creepiest webcam we’ve ever seen. The Eyecam uses six servo motors to realistically replicate the movements of a human eyeball, eyelids, and eyebrow, staring down its subject and making sure they are paying attention during Zoom calls.
Among its technologies, Festo are experts in robotic biomimicry. In this video, they show off the latest generation of their BionicSwift, a robot that mimics the flight mechanics of a real bird. These artificial swallows can autonomously fly in coordinated flocks, and can pull off tight turns and loops.
Mechanical engineer Kuroki Yuto and his collaborators came up with a novel use for a 3D printer mechanism – using the 3-axis machine to manipulate and assemble parts. In this video, they show how the system can be used to put together a sandwich. They used the same technique to assemble a toy car and to fold a shirt.
After creating a robot that gives haircuts to humans, Shane from Stuff Made Here has bestowed one of his robots with a far more dangerous tool than a set of clippers. While his chainsaw-wielding robot arm is designed for carving shapes from foam blocks, we could see it taking off an arm if there’s any bug in his programming.
A useless machine is a contraption that’s designed to automatically flip its own switch off as soon as you flip it on. Fornax built a pair of 8-switch useless machines, then linked them up to flip each other’s switches, resulting in a perpetual battle for switch-flipping supremacy.
Skynet, er Boston Dynamics reveals another of our future robotic overlords. Stretch is a wheeled robot that uses an articulated arm and suction grabber to pick up and carry objects, reducing repetitive and back-breaking work for humans. Watch it pick up a Spot robot, then set up and operate a box handling line.
LEGO builder Tom Jones, aka WalkCrawlRun created this 1/4-scale model of Boston Dynamics’ adorable Spot robot. While the LEGO version isn’t likely to be as smart or agile as the $75,000 robot, it is able to trot around on its legs like a robodog. Show your support for the design on LEGO Ideas.
It’s pretty tricky to balance a cube on one of its corners or edges. But ReM-RC shows off a really cool machine they built that does just that automatically. The system uses an ESP32 controller, an MPU-6050 gyroscope-accelerometer chip, and a set of three servo motors that spin wheels to maintain its balance.
Musician Moritz Simon Geist creates music with the help of robots. For this performance, he set up a pan filled with hot oil, popcorn, and sensors that triggered strikes on a drum kit each time a popcorn kernel burst open. The resulting beats are definitely giving us a jazz fusion vibe.
The Braun S9 shaver is pretty slick looking as electric razors go. But even if you squint really hard, it’s hard to envision this thing turning into a mech. But model maker RAY Studio used his imagination and crafting skills to transform this $300 groomer into a detailed figure inspired by War Machine from the Iron Man series.
BionicHIVE’s unusual warehouse worker robots not only can scurry about on the ground, but they can hook themselves onto tracks on shelving units and climb vertically. They can load and carry small packages and take up very little space so that shelving units can be placed closer together than normal.
One of the big problems with Roombas and other robot vacuum cleaners is that they can’t go up or down stairs. Leave it to builder Peter Sripol and his pals to come up with a solution. They attached three ducted fans to a cheap Roomba knock-off, so it can fly like a drone between floors.
Anyone who watches Futurama knows that robots that bend are the best. Veritasium looks at unconventional robots made from flexible materials, including Zachary Hammond and team’s isoperimetric robot. The advantages of these “soft robots” include their light weight, enhanced safety, and shape-shifting abilities.
Likely inspired by the binary solo at the end of Flight of the Conchords’ classic Robots, the guys from Auralnauts re-recorded the Boston Dynamics robot dance video with more appropriate lyrics. If you’re not fluent in binary, it translates to: “Dance sets us free. Join us. Humans are doomed.”
One challenge for electric vehicles is the limited availability of chargers. Volkswagen is showing off a robot that can drive around a parking lot, connect to a vehicle, and charge it no matter what space it’s parked in. It can also leave a charging pack next to a car and fetch another to charge multiple vehicles at once.
To celebrate the end of 2020 and to ring in a happier 2021, robotics company Boston Dynamics programmed their ATLAS, SPOT, and HANDLE robots to perform a little dance routine to The Contours classic Do You Love Me? Everything you see here was filmed in-camera with real robots, and with no CGI or visual effects.
“It’s going to take a bit of work for you to truly understand the depths of the stupidity…” Shane from Stuff Made Here decided his first attempt at a robot that gave haircuts wasn’t good enough, so he went back to the drawing board. The new version is a bit more versatile, accurate, and can carve patterns, sorta.
The CableEndy is a robot that uses a cable-driven mechanism to manipulate and stabilize an object at its center. To show off its mechanical prowess, its makers at B&R Automation and Brno University of Technology created this demonstration that shows how it can toss and catch a tennis ball with amazing precision.
What you’re looking at here isn’t a real robot, it’s a really impressive costume, built by artist XiaoQianFeng. She created the wearable mech outfit for her brother using wire mesh, paper mache, cardboard, wood, and if you can believe it, ceramic tile. The finished costume is too heavy to move around in, but it looks amazing.
Rather than hand-program their robot to walk on varied terrain, scientists from ETH Zurich, KAIST, and Intel allowed their quadruped to learn for itself through software simulation. They then turned it loose using only basic sensors to give the robot awareness of its own internal state. Two Minute Papers explains.
It’s The Strokes vs. the Robots in the Roman Coppola-directed music video for their track The Adults Are Talking. Donning awesome Houston Astros-inspired uniforms, Julian Casablancas and his bandmates go toe-to-toe with a baseball-playing android. But will humanity prevail, or will the bots win the day?
We’ve seen some realistic animatronics in the past, but scientists continue to work on ways to make robots even more lifelike. Engineers from Disney Research have been working on a robot with realistic facial movements that can react to humans it monitors using a 3D camera. Too bad it’s terrifying with the skin off.
Shane from Stuff Made Here has a thing for robots. For Halloween, the engineer repurposed parts from his terrifying haircutting robot into a CNC machine that can automatically carve pumpkins based on images he uploads to it. Along the way, he got to play with a fancy new Tormach plasma cutter.
Designed to combat blazes while keeping humans at a safe distance, Textron Systems and Howe & Howe’s remote-operated robots can blast 1,250-2,500 gallons of water per minute. The robots can climb stairs, shove and winch vehicles, and endure extreme heat. Would also be fun as a response to Elon Musk’s flamethrowers.