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

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  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.