THE BEST Robots

CableEndy Robot Juggler

CableEndy Robot Juggler

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.

How To Build a Wearable Robot

How To Build a Wearable Robot

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.

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Robot Learns to Climb Terrain

Robot Learns to Climb Terrain

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.

The Strokes: The Adults Are Talking

The Strokes: The Adults Are Talking

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?

Creepy “Realistic” Robot Gazes

Creepy “Realistic” Robot Gazes

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.

Robot Pumpkin Carver

Robot Pumpkin Carver

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.

Thermite Firefighting Robots

Thermite Firefighting Robots

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.

Celluveyor Omnidirectional Conveyor System

Celluveyor Omnidirectional Conveyor System

Traditional conveyor belts can move items along a single axis. But Cellumation’s unique system can shuffle items around in any direction. It uses a series of hexagonal modules, each of which has three sets of wheels. Its controller and software can then be programmed to grab and arrange a payload in any pattern.

Simone’s Musical Teeth

Simone’s Musical Teeth

Simone Giertz has built some strange and wacky devices. Her latest creation is a wall of fake teeth that she rigged up with motors and a MIDI controller so she can use them as a musical instrument. Along the way, she plays amateur dentist, chats with Andrew Huang, goes house shopping, and has a good cry.

Suction Cup Picking Machine

Suction Cup Picking Machine

This fascinating factory machine sits along a conveyor belt as it waits for individual items to arrive on the scene. It then lowers a series of suction-powered grippers to grab each one, then shuffles them along to the next stage in the packing process. The video is also perfectly looped, so you can just sit and watch it all day.

Unmissable Basketball Hoop

Unmissable Basketball Hoop

Do you suck at basketball? Maybe you need a robotic assist. Stuff Made Here has previously built a motorized basketball hoop that deflects a ball into the hoop, but only work if you at least hit the backboard. This new robot solves that problem, letting you toss the ball pretty much anywhere in its general vicinity.

Petoi Bittle Robot Dog

Petoi Bittle Robot Dog

While we’d love to have a Boston Dynamics Spot robot to play with, the $74,500 price tag exceeds our toy budget. The Petoi Bittle may not be as large or sophisticated, but it certainly reminds us of the quadruped. Sold as an easy-to-assemble kit, the tiny robot uses 10 servos and a custom circuit board to control them.

Piloting a Giant Mech

Piloting a Giant Mech

We’ve seen the amazing walking mech from Furrion Exo-Bionics before. The Hacksmith managed to score some seat time piloting this incredible 9,000 pound exoskeletal robot. It’s a bit involved just squeezing inside of the thing, but he learns to make it walk in just seven short lessons. When can we have a go?

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Inside Out and Upside Down

Inside Out and Upside Down

Gadget artist Dr. Katsumoto Yuichiro demonstrates a couple of intriguing robot designs which can shape-shift themselves using a combination of telescoping arms and hinges. The first video shows a cube configuration that turns itself inside out, while the second features triangles that can flip themselves over.

Roombots Modular Robots

Roombots Modular Robots

Developed by engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), these compact robots can work together and assemble themselves into various structures, allowing them to not only to move large objects like furniture, but to become furniture themselves.

Boston Dynamics in the ’90s

Boston Dynamics in the ’90s

Boston Dynamics has made a name for themselves with their humanoid and animal-inspired robots. We’ve previously met Spot, their robo-dog that can handle all kinds of terrain and carry small payloads. Future Punk made this fun video that imagines what Spot might have been like had he come out in the 1990s.

Third Arm Robot

Third Arm Robot

When you’re working on construction projects, you could always use an extra hand. Developed by Createk, Université De Sherbrooke, and Exonetik this waist-mounted robot can do things like use a paint roller, squeegee, a gripper hand, or even a metal fist to break through walls. It’s all a bit silly looking if you ask us.

Wire Stripper Robot

Wire Stripper Robot

If you’ve ever had to strip a piece of coaxial cable or other multi-layered wire, you know how difficult it can be to get things just right. The Nitronic ST730T is way more precise than hand tools. Simply key in the wire thickness and the exact lengths you want each layer stripped to, insert a cable, and it works its magic.

Glass Spacer Robot

Glass Spacer Robot

From the “Satisfying Robots” file comes this video footage of the LiSEC TPA-A, a fully-automated system that applies thermoplastic spacers that provide insulation between panes of architectural glass. The robot securely holds the glass in place using suction, then rolls it along its conveyor as it works its magic.

Power Line Fiber Optic Robot

Power Line Fiber Optic Robot

To help deploy high-speed Internet access to rural areas, Facebook Engineering has been developing a robot which can ride along on existing power lines to install fiber optic cables, saving time and money compared to conventional methods such as digging. The system uses with special cables which resist weather damage.

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DIY Haircutting Robot

DIY Haircutting Robot

Lots of us have been putting off getting a haircut during the pandemic. But Shane Wighton of Stuff Made Here finally decided to bite the bullet. Rather than risking a visit to the barber, he built a scissor-wielding robot to snip his locks for him. It seems like a dangerous idea, and the resulting haircut is right on par with a Flowbee.

Giant Robot Builder

Giant Robot Builder

Goldthread introduces us to Sun Shiqian, a man whose love for robots has turned into an obsession. In his studio in the Chinese city of Dalian, he has built numerous giant robots, including replicas of Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, as well as a huge, wearable mech suit.

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.

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.

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