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Videos: Walking Paper, Bionic Ankles, & Swiss Quadruped

Another week, another robot video round-up!  To start off with let’s take a look at an impressive arts and crafts project: a walking paper robot!  Of course, Japan has a long history of making cool things out of paper: from traditional origami to the more detailed papercraft models, but this takes things to a new level.  Although it does make use of some wooden shafts and elastics for power, we’re going to let that slide.

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Kikousya’s mechanical paper model is incredibly complex, but if you’d like to build one for yourself you can try to purchase the design and instructions from his website here for around $40. I don’t know if he’ll ship outside Japan, so you’ll have to figure that part out yourself.

[source: TheDoorIntos @ YouTube] via [Robots Dreams] via [TheVerge]
Next up is a video from IEEE Spectrum showcasing the BiOm, a robotic ankle for amputees.  From the video description:

The BiOm, one of the world’s most advanced ankles comes from the cutting-edge prosthetics company iWalk. The company was founded by MIT professor Hugh Herr, who directs the biomechatronics group at the MIT Media Lab. Herr is himself a double amputee: As a young man, he lost both legs below the knees after being caught in a blizzard on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. That accident—and the rudimentary prosthetic legs he was fitted with—convinced him to study biomechanics, and to work on building more advanced prosthetics that mimic the design of the human body. 

iWalk has received funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, and some veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have already received their bionic ankles. The company has also begun to distribute the BiOM as a commercial product through dozens of advanced prosthetic centers around the country.

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It’s sort of amazing that it has taken this long for a company to come along and do this, but I’m glad they did!

[source: IEEE Spectrum] & [SpectrumMag @ YouTube]

Finally, here is a video of the StarlETH quadruped which has been in development for several years at ETH Zurich.  Although it looks like a miniature version of Boston Dynamics’ AlphaDog, StarlETH actually came first and fixed some of the problems associated with BigDog.  For example it is able to right itself even if it falls onto its back, and the position of the hip joints makes it more flexible.  In the video, you can see it trotting at a speed of 2.5 kph (1.5 mph) and watch how it handles obstacles.

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We plan to have further coverage of StarlETH in the future.

[source: ASLteam @ YouTube]