Best Robot Videos of the Week: Handle Robot, Minitaur Outdoors, Autolivery

A look at the week's best robotics videos for your weekend viewing pleasure.

The Weekly Video Roundup compiles some of the best robotics videos of the week for your weekend viewing pleasure. If you come across a cool video, send it our way for consideration for next week’s roundup.

Atop this page is our favorite video of the week, and it shouldn’t be a surprise. Boston Dynamics this week officially unveiled Handle, a research robot that combines the efficiency of wheels with the versatility of legs. Handle is 6.5 feet tall, travels 9 MPH and can jump 4​ ​feet in the air. ​It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge.

Boston Dynamics says there currently are no plans to commercialize Handle. We hope that changes, of course.

Ghost Robotics’ Minitaur Explores the Outdoors

We first heard about Minitaur from Ghost Robotics in September 2016, when the walking, rolling, climbing, door-opening quadruped was unveiled. This new video shows Minitaur using its direct-drive legs to easily conquer slopes, uneven rocky terrain, tunnels, and ice.

Better yet, Ghost Robotics CEO Jiren Parikh tells Robotics Trends that Minitaur now has customers, including Army Research Labs, Carnegie Mellon, Google, and the University of Pennsylvania, which is the school company co-founders Avik De and Gavin Kenneally attended.

Ford Autolivery Concept

Ford unveiled a new concept called “Autolivery,” which is similar to the UPS drone delivery truck and the Mercedes-Benz vans that will carry delivery robots from Starship Technologies. Autolivery, which at this point has only been shown in VR at Mobile World Congress, combines self-driving vans and drones to pick up and drop off goods and packages in urban areas.

Cobalt Robotics Introduces Indoor Security Robots

Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup Cobalt Robotics this week unveiled its indoor security guard robots.

Cobalt’s security robots are equipped with 60 sensors, including LiDAR, ultrasound, depth sensors and cameras, as well as wide-angle day and night cameras to detect people and problems around them. The robots also have built-in microphones and two-way video so human security personnel can remotely interact with someone the robot approaches.

Insect-Inspired Mechanical Resilience for Drones

Researchers from Floreano Lab, NCCR Robotics and EPFL have discovered a new way to build crash-resilient drones. The team developed a quadcopter using the dual stiffness properties seen in insect wings.

Insect wings are composed of sections made of cuticle, a stiff material that takes the load bearing portion of the wing, connected with flexible joints made of the protein resilin that have evolved to be shock absorbant and compliant. These two factors together allow insect wings - and drones - to be both strong and load bearing, and compliant and durable.


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