Video Friday: Human to Humanoid

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

HRI 2024: 11–15 March 2024, BOULDER, COLORADO
Eurobot Open 2024: 8–11 May 2024, LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, FRANCE
ICRA 2024: 13–17 May 2024, YOKOHAMA, JAPAN
RoboCup 2024: 17–22 July 2024, EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS

Enjoy today’s videos!

We present Human to Humanoid (H2O), a reinforcement learning (RL) based framework that enables real-time, whole-body teleoperation of a full-sized humanoid robot with only an RGB camera. We successfully achieve teleoperation of dynamic, whole-body motions in real-world scenarios, including walking, back jumping, kicking, turning, waving, pushing, boxing, etc. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration to achieve learning-based, real-time, whole-body humanoid teleoperation.

[ CMU ]

Legged robots have the potential to traverse complex terrain and access confined spaces beyond the reach of traditional platforms thanks to their ability to carefully select footholds and flexibly adapt their body posture while walking. However, robust deployment in real-world applications is still an open challenge. In this paper, we present a method for legged locomotion control using reinforcement learning and 3D volumetric representations to enable robust and versatile locomotion in confined and unstructured environments.

[ Takahiro Miki ]

Sure, 3.3 meters per second is fast for a humanoid, but I’m more impressed by the spinning around while walking downstairs.

[ Unitree ]

Improving the safety of collaborative manipulators necessitates the reduction of inertia in the moving part. We introduce a novel approach in the form of a passive, 3D wire aligner, serving as a lightweight and low-friction power transmission mechanism, thus achieving the desired low inertia in the manipulator’s operation.


Thanks, Temma!

Robot Era just launched Humanoid-Gym, an open-source reinforcement learning framework for bipedal humanoids. As you can see from the video, RL algorithms have given the robot, called Xiao Xing, or XBot, the ability to climb up and down haphazardly stacked boxes with relative stability and ease.

[ Robot Era ]

“Impact-Aware Bimanual Catching of Large-Momentum Objects.” Need I say more?

[ SLMC ]

More than 80% of stroke survivors experience walking difficulty, significantly impacting their daily lives, independence, and overall quality of life. Now, new research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst pushes forward the bounds of stroke recovery with a unique robotic hip exoskeleton, designed as a training tool to improve walking function. This invites the possibility of new therapies that are more accessible and easier to translate from practice to daily life, compared to current rehabilitation methods.

[ UMass Amherst ]

Thanks, Julia!

The manipulation here is pretty impressive, but it’s hard to know how impressive without also knowing how much the video was sped up.

[ Somatic ]

DJI drones work to make the world a better place and one of the ways that we do this is through conservation work. We partnered with Halo Robotics and the OFI Orangutan Foundation International to showcase just how these drones can make an impact.

[ DJI ]

The aim of the test is to demonstrate the removal and replacement of satellite modules into a 27U CubeSat format using augmented reality control of a robot. In this use case, the ‘client’ satellite is being upgraded and refuelled using modular componentry. The robot will then remove the failed computer module and place it in a fixture. It will then do the same with the propellant tank. The robot will then place these correctly back into the satellite.

[ Extend Robotics ]

This video features some of the highlights and favourite moments from the CYBATHLON Challenges 2024 that took place on 2 February, showing so many diverse types of assistive technology taking on discipline tasks and displaying pilots’ tenacity and determination. The Challenges saw new teams, new tasks, and new formats for many of the CYBATHLON disciplines.

[ Cybathlon ]

It’s been a long road to electrically powered robots.

[ ABB ]

Small drones for catastrophic wildfires (ones covering more than [40,470 hectares]) are like bringing a flashlight to light up a football field. This short video describes the major uses for drones of all sizes and why and when they are used, or why not.


It probably will not surprise you that there are a lot of robots involved in building Rivian trucks and vans.

[ Kawasaki Robotics ]

DARPA’s Learning Introspective Control (LINC) program is developing machine learning methods that show promise in making that scenario closer to reality. LINC aims to fundamentally improve the safety of mechanical systems—specifically in ground vehicles, ships, drone swarms, and robotics—using various methods that require minimal computing power. The result is an AI-powered controller the size of a cell phone.