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The State of Robotics – Robotics Over the Holidays

Rhys Davies

on 10 January 2020

This article was last updated 4 years ago.

Canonical closes for the holidays, but robots just get more festive. Roboticists seem to feel the festive spirit, and it turns their projects into festive robots. The Ubuntu robotics team isn’t quite ready to let go of the festive cheer. So we’d like to share with you some of our favourite projects that we saw over the holidays. As ever if you want us to talk about what you’re doing, send an email to and let’s talk. Next month we will be back to usual programming, for now, get look at these!

Pepper the Robot’s Christmas Wish

The Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich put together what should really be described as a short film, show off their robots and granting the wish of their poor robot pepper. The lab is dedicated to the creation of robots and intelligent systems able to autonomously operate in complex and diverse environments. Their primary interests lie in mechatronic design, control of systems, novel robot concepts and festive robotic short films. (One of those might not be accurate

Santa’s Modular Helper

Robo dev’s main aim in this video is to appeal to Santa’s elves. The poor elves have been working away in the North Pole since CocaCola came up with the idea. With Robodev’s modular designs, the elves can finally take some time off. The overall system consists of intelligent mechatronic modules and a software assistant. The combination enables automated solutions that are easy to handle and quickly adaptable.

FZI Christmas Robots

The FZI Research Center for Information Technology is a non-profit institution for applied research in information technology and technology transfer. Based in Germany, they are tasked with providing businesses and public institutions with the latest findings in IT. This video shows off their robots picking, procuring and decorating a tree to a festive track.

Norlab Robots Playing in the Snow

Norlabs, or the Northern Robotics Laboratory, gave their robots some time off for the festive season. Of course, this only meant they made their way outside and rolled around in the snow. Still, maybe next year they’ll build a snowman. Norlabs specialises in mobile and autonomous systems working in northern or difficult conditions. Investigating new challenges related to navigation algorithms for mobile robots in real-life conditions. Their current focus is on localization algorithms designed for laser sensors and 3D reconstruction of the environment.

ABB’s Bloomingdale Festive Robotics

ABB took it all to another level. The videos so far have been robots taking a break or doing some favours. ABB made their robots really work for their holidays. Joining up with Bloomingdales they had their robots working with humans in a collaborative festive robot initiative. Twelve ABB robots interacting with visitors to Bloomingdale’s holiday celebration at their 59th Street flagship store. ABB’s robots were the main attraction in three of Bloomingdale’s twelve-holiday window displays. They’re going a great job in making robotics more retail friendly.


ROS-Industrial in Stuttgart happened at the beginning of December. A place where roboticists and organisations working with ROS came together to present their work in the industrial robotics space. There were plenty of robots being shown off, lots of food and some really engaging talks that will be released soon. Canonical sent Rhys the robotics Product manager to give a presentation entitled “How to maintain a robot that outlives its support.” You can check out a summary of events and a discussion of the whole thing in the blog post.


We love the holidays. So many passion projects come to the forefront of peoples lives, the internet lights up with festivity and robot parts appear under trees everywhere. In January the robotics team is back to work as usual so expect updates on that in February. In the meantime, if you have passion projects or robotics projects you’d like us to highlight in our next blog, send a summary to and let’s talk. Happy 2020 all.

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