Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft: In the early 2000s, Microsoft was all-in on robotics. By the middle of that decade, the company seemingly had all but abandoned the robotics space.
But this may be the year that Microsoft may be ready to get back into robotics, on multiple fronts.
When Microsoft founder Bill Gates was still involved in the day-to-day operations of the company, robotics was slated to be one of Microsoft's next big things. Microsoft built a programming model and framework for developers working on anything from Lego robots to industrial-scale robots. However, that product, "Microsoft Robotics Studio," never really went beyond the academic and hobbyist communities and the company's ambitions in this space withered.
Cut to 2017. These days, the home for a good chunk of the Microsoft current robotics work is apparently in Microsoft Research (MSR) -- specifically in the AI + Research (AI+R) Group under executive vice president Harry Shum. (I say "apparently" here because Microsoft officials declined to answer any of my questions on the company's robotics initiatives.) Shum is known for his work in computer vision and graphics and has a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon. Cont'd...
UCSD: Underwater robots developed by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego offer scientists an extraordinary new tool to study ocean currents and the tiny creatures they transport. Swarms of these underwater robots helped answer some basic questions about the most abundant life forms in the ocean—plankton.
Scripps research oceanographer Jules Jaffe designed and built the miniature autonomous underwater explorers, or M-AUEs, to study small-scale environmental processes taking place in the ocean. The ocean-probing instruments are equipped with temperature and other sensors to measure the surrounding ocean conditions while the robots “swim” up and down to maintain a constant depth by adjusting their buoyancy. The M-AUEs could potentially be deployed in swarms of hundreds to thousands to capture a three-dimensional view of the interactions between ocean currents and marine life. Cont'd...
Oscar Williams-Grut for Business Insider: The government is putting cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G wireless internet, "smart" energy technology, and robotics at the heart of its new post-Brexit industrial strategy.
Theresa May is set to launch the government's "Modern Industrial Strategy" on Monday at a regional meeting of the cabinet in the North West.
The Prime Minister announced in a release on Sunday evening that the strategy would be focused around ten key strategic pillars, the first of which is: "Investing in science, research, and innovation." Cont'd...
Hanson Robotics Launches Kickstarter Campaign for Professor Einstein, an Expressive Robot that Teaches Science
Liu Zheng for China Daily: A China-made mobile robot is set to begin mass production for consumers later this year.
Ninebot (Beijing) Tech Co Ltd, backed by Smartphone maker Xiaomi, unveiled its self-balancing two-wheeled robot on Thursday in Beijing.
Named "Loomo", the robot was transformed from the Ninebot Mini series scooter, which was first launched in October 2015, months after the company made an announcement to acquire the 12-year-old US-based balancing-scooter pioneer Segway Inc, and became one of the largest patent holders in the industry.
The acquisition followed an $80 million investment in Ninebot by Xiaomi, Sequoia Capital and other investors. Cont'd...
Phys.org: An open-source 3D-printed fingertip that can 'feel' in a similar way to the human sense of touch has won an international Soft Robotics competition for its contribution to soft robotics research.
Pushing the boundaries of soft robotics, the open-source tactile fingertip, known as TacTip, is a 3D-printed tactile sensor that has been developed by the Tactile Robotics Team from Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL).
The fingertip meets the need for a cheap, robust, versatile tactile sensor to give robots an artificial sense of touch. The sensor has a unique design in which a webcam is mounted inside a 3D-printed soft fingertip to track internal pins that act like touch receptors inside our own fingertips, making it cheap to build and highly customisable. Cont'd...
Via Yahoo Finance: This robot arm is a fraction of the price of similar robots you might see in factories. It’s called CTRL and was developed by Robotics Evolved to be an affordable robot arm.
Unveiled at CES 2017, this desktop-sized robot arm aims to make robotics more accessible to the masses. The device is open-source and can be run on the programming language of the user’s choosing. For those unfamiliar with code, CTRL can also learn to replicate movements when manipulated by hand.
CTRL is currently equipped with a gripping tool but the company plans to expand attachment offerings to include options like spray nozzles and engraving tools.
Robotics Evolved is currently seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign and you can reserve your very own CTRL robot arm for just over $500. Kickstarter page:
Robart Wows the North American Market and Partners with Its Low Cost Artificial Intelligence Robotic Unit at CES 2017
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