As a gift for the new year, robotpodcast.com did made the following 2011 best of robotic videos. It gathers a collection of cool demos of robots made either by industrials or by academic laboratories.
Starting from this 35 videos, we provide here a short subjective list gathering what we found as the most impressive and promising technologies. In the actuator section, the Bionic Learning Network with Festo did introduce the Bionic Tripod 3.0, a flexible gripper that adapts to the shape of held objects. This section also includes the Hemispherical Gimbaled Wheel Drive System. This work by Curtis Boirum at Bradley University, is an innovative solution for omni-directional locomotion.
In the flying robots section, AV inc revealed the Nano Hummingbird. This bio-inspired robot mimics birds since it flies by flapping its wings. Other more “conventional” flying robots are quadrocopters by ETH Zurich. They exhibit impressive skills, either alone (e.g. ball juggling) or for collaborative tasks (e.g. construction).
In the colloborative section, beside the quadrocopters by ETH Zurich a unique experience is the Kilobots project. It consists in controlling a fleet of 1024 small inexpensive robots which requires a dedicated infrastructure. They are now commercially available at K-Team.
The last section in this retrospective is about humanoid robots. As we discussed in a previous post, Honda’s Asimo did set a new record in bipedal walk speed to 9km/h. While, Boston Dynamics Petman exhibits an even more realistic human-like gait. Speaking of realistic robots, we find in this category Geminoid, a danish tele-operated Android. With its silicon skin and facial expressions it is astonishingly resembling a human.
We hope that 2012 will bring us even more innovations and breakthroughs.