While Outerspace may not have an extremely useful function, being an art installation, we really enjoyed reading through the build information. Basically, Outerspace is supposed to appear to be curious, exploring it’s surroundings and reacting to your contact. We do enjoy a little bit of personality in robots, so this seems like it could be fun. The head has 5 photo sensors and each piece of the “arm” has capacitive sensors. This allows Outerspace to sense what is going on. The motion itself is controlled by 4 servos in the base pulling cables that run through the body.
The programming seems like it could use a little work to achieve the effect of being “curious”, but we see potential here. You can see a video of it in action here.
Ishikawa Komuro Laboratories are doing some amazing stuff with robots right now. The video above starts out looking like a clumsy and somewhat failed attempt at dribbling a ping pong ball. Once it goes into slow motion however, we see the true action. This robot is dribbling that ball amazingly. Utilizing 1000 FPS cameras, it readjusts and hits the ball on every bounce. As the ball drifts out of the reach of the bot, suddenly we are struck with the lifelike motion. Personification can be a fleeting thing, appearing so strongly as the little bot tries in vain to reach for that ball, then disappearing again an instant later. If you really want to see some personification worthy of the crab fu challenge, check out their tool manipulation by a multi fingered hand video.