The Week's Best Robot Videos: Swinging Bots

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 1 2012 5:38 PM

The Week's Best Robot Videos: Swinging Bots

Every Friday, Future Tense rounds up the best robot videos of the week. Seen a great robot video? Tweet it to @FutureTenseNow, or email us.

This week, we see robots make some music and try to replace your conscience.

Advertisement

The Swinging Bot
Using little more than two electromagnets, this bot swings like a gymnast to get from point A to point B. Developed at Northwestern University in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, the bot, named Gibbot, latches onto a metal sheet and times its magnets to propel itself from one side to the other. The motion emulates brachiation, which is similar to how primates swing in tree branches or children move on monkey bars. According to IEEE Spectrum, the key challenge for researchers is perfecting when the magnets grab the wall so the bot moves as quickly and efficiently as possible. And if there’s any doubt about how great brachiating can be, this gibbon should put that to rest.

Via PopSci.

The Shoulder Bot
If simply imagining your conscience on your shoulder isn’t enough to make the right choices, this “miniature humanoid” might do the trick. MH-2, developed at Japan’s Yamagata University is a telepresence robot that sits on one person’s shoulder and transmits video to someone in another location. Using a sensor like Microsoft’s Kinect, the bot can then mimic the actions of the distant person, ostensibly letting two people in different places share the same experience. (The person wearing the robot gets the added experience of a 22-pound backpack.) The project’s ultimate goal, shown at the end of the video, seems odd, but could be an interesting step forward in telepresence technology.

Via MSNBC.

The Ensemble Bot
We’ve seen robots play music before, but Sound Machines 2.0 throws some creativity in the mix. The collection of five single-stringed instruments is attached to a computer that analyzes a melody and uses its characteristics to improvise a new song. Festo, the German engineering firm that build the machine, describes it as “an artistic interpretation of the factory of the future.” The different parts of Sound Machines act independently, but “listen” to one another—a process that translates to decentralized, autonomous operations on the factory floor.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Adam Sneed is a researcher for Future Tense at the New America Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @atsneed.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

Are the Attacks in Canada a Sign of ISIS on the Rise in the West?

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Is It Offensive When Kids Use Bad Words for Good Causes?

Fascinating Maps Based on Reddit, Craigslist, and OkCupid Data

Culturebox

The Real Secret of Serial

What reporter Sarah Koenig actually believes.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 23 2014 1:51 PM Is This the ISIS Backlash We've Been Waiting For?
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 23 2014 2:36 PM Take a Rare Peek Inside the Massive Data Centers That Power Google
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 23 2014 1:34 PM Leave Me Be Beneath a Tree: Trunyan Cemetery in Bali
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 23 2014 1:46 PM The Real Secret of Serial Has Sarah Koenig made up her mind yet? 
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.