A look at the week’s best robotics videos for your weekend viewing pleasure, including Mark Rober’s Automatic Bullseye Dartboard and Amazon’s MARS Conference.
Welcome to a new feature on Robotics Trends where each Saturday we share our favorite robotics videos of the past week for your weekend viewing pleasure. If you come across a cool video, send it our way for consideration for next week’s roundup.
I stink at darts, so I understand Mark Rober’s pain and frustration. But, if you didn’t know, I’m not an engineer, and I didn’t spend 9 years working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. So if I want to improve, I need to keep practicing. Rober, on the other hand, spent the last three years building the Automatic Bullseye Dartboard.
The Automatic Bullseye Dartboard gets our nod as this week’s best robotics video. The system tracks a dart, predicts its trajectory, and moves the dartboard into position for a bullseye. All this is done in half-a-second and with sub-millimeter precision.
The Automatic Bullseye Dartboard uses six cameras to track a dart moving through the air, a computer to predict its trajectory, and motors to move the bullseye into position. Rober also outfitted darts with retroreflectors so that the six cameras can “blast” the dart with infrared light to track it.
Robots Take Over Amazon MARS Conference
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tested the $8 million, 13-foot-tall Method-2 robot as the MARS conference. Bezos got behind the joysticks of Method-2 to control the robots arms. You can hear Bezos say, “Why do I feel so much like Sigourney Weaver,” referring to the suit she wore in the 1986 Aliens movie.
The invite-only MARS Conference is always a must-attend show. And the robots at this year’s iteration didn’t disappoint. Sasha Hoffman, COO of delivery robot maker Piaggio Fast Forward, was at the MARS Conference and captured some of the robots on video, including this Alexa-enabled Cheetah II robot from MIT.
Check out more robots at the MARS Conference on Hoffman’s Twitter account.
Amazon also demoed its Prime Air drone delivery service, dropping off a bottle of sunscreen at the MARS Conference for its first US demo. Well done, Amazon, well done.
NASA PUFFER Robot
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory built the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) to accompany next-gen Martian rovers in space. Inspired by origami, PUFFER changes shapes to squeeze into small crevasses that are too tight for rovers to reach.
Chess-Playing Robot Powered by Raspberry Pi
We love a good chess-playing robot, and the Raspberry Turk is just that. Named after the 18th century mechanical turk, the Raspberry Turk identifies chess pieces on the board and picks them up to move them. But perhaps the coolest part is that DIYer Joey Meyer documented the entire open-source project in hopes others will follow suit. It’s a fun way to learn about AI, machine vision and robotics.