Finally: Robots Perform “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Every Friday, Future Tense rounds up the best robot videos of the week. Due to technical difficulties, this post is going up on Monday instead. Seen a great robot video? Tweet it to @FutureTenseNow, or email us.

This week brings us a chorus of bohemian bots and a helicopter that won’t stay down.

The Poor Bots, From a Poor Family
No one—not even robots—can resist “Bohemian Rhapsody.” These robotic heads come from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology’s Center for Intelligent Robotics, where they were created to entertain the elderly through song. The performance gets more complex—and more bizarre—as the song goes on, and the bots are surprisingly good at conveying that certain feeling of despair. (Enjoy, elderly!) By far the hardest thing to understand, though, is why four heads would stop at the exact moment when everybody head-bangs to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Talk about a missed opportunity.

Via IEEE Spectrum.

The Back-At-It Bot
Robot helicopters have built towers, played the James Bond theme song, and done a countless number of other tasks. But what happens to your taco delivery if the robot crashes en route? Not content with bots that merely try to avoid obstacles, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology designed a system to get devices back in flight after taking a tumble. A wire frame shields the rotors, and mechanical kickstands set the bot upright so it can take off again—all to prove you can’t keep a good bot down.

Via PopSci.

The Transformer Bot
The robots that have filled comic books, cartoons, movies, and imaginations for nearly three decades have remained disappointingly fictional. Sure, there have been toys that attempted to re-create Transformers, but none have done it this well. Though there’s not much information about this bot, we know that it was developed by Kenji Ishida of JS Robotics as the eighth version of his robots inspired by the Brave series . It’s remote-controlled, so it can zip around as a car, and it’s hard not to love that little dance it does when it stands up. In a perfect world, this bot would hit the consumer market and become the RC-car of every boy’s dreams.

Via Singularity Hub.

Bonus: The RoboCup is upon us. Beginning next week in Mexico City, robots from around the globe will take to the pitch in fierce(ish) competition to show off the leading edge of robotics technology. But like any emerging technology, there are still a few kinks to work out. Check out “Why You Should Care About RoboCup” on Future Tense, and below find the best robo-soccer highlight reel this side of the Uncanny Valley.