The Third Offset Must Update Asimov's Laws of Robotics

JG Randall for The National Interest:  Things tend to happen in threes. An unlikely triumvirate on the surface, it would appear that Asimov’s laws on robotics and the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) will outflank the Third Offset—the nation’s search for its next silver bullet in war fighting is robotics—knowing that many nations will agree on moral grounds. These nations will reject Asimov based on semantics, and though the debate might be perceived as strictly academic, or even rhetorical, it is worth discussing for the sake of a good cautionary tale. Because, whether we like it or not, killer bots are coming to a theater of operation near you. Before we get deep in the weeds, let’s get some clarity. First, let’s outline Asimov’s robotic laws. The Three Laws of Robotics are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. They were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround,” although they had been foreshadowed in earlier stories.   Cont'd...

Artificial muscle for soft robotics: Low voltage, high hopes  Soft robots do a lot of things well but they're not exactly known for their speed. The artificial muscles that move soft robots, called actuators, tend to rely on hydraulics or pneumatics, which are slow to respond and difficult to store. Dielectric elastomers, soft materials that have good insulating properties, could offer an alternative to pneumatic actuators but they currently require complex and inefficient circuitry to deliver high voltage as well as rigid components to maintain their form—both of which defeat the purpose of a soft robot. Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a dielectric elastomer with a broad range of motion that requires relatively low voltage and no rigid components. They published their work recently in Advanced Materials.   Cont'd...

Robot Vision vs Computer Vision: What's the Difference?

Unlike pure Computer Vision research, Robot Vision must incorporate aspects of robotics into its techniques and algorithms, such as kinematics, reference frame calibration and the robot's ability to physically affect the environment.

The ABC of RPA, Part 5: What Is the Cost of Automation and How Do I Justify It to the Leadership Team?

We've put together a breakdown of the cost of automation, and how to justify it to the leadership team.

Ford's new robots can build cars, make coffee

Ford Motor Company announced today its early testing of a new type of assembly line robot that were co-developed with German robotics company KUKA Roboter GmbH with the intention of assisting human line workers. Two of these three-foot-tall machines are in use at the Cologne, Germany factory, where they assist human workers to install shock absorbers on Ford Fiestas. These workers would have originally had to juggle the shocks and tools to install them, but now the robot helps them position and install the parts.   More...

How Using the Latest 3D Simulation Software for Vision Guided Robotic Applications Will Save You Time and Money

It is easy to imagine the time saved by using the latest simulation tools to develop vision guided robotic applications.

Anki To Release Game-changing Cozmo SDK

For developers interested in lower-level control of Cozmo, the SDK provides direct access to low-level controls such as driving the robot's treads, moving the head and lift, displaying bitmaps on his screen, reading accelerometer and gyroscope data, processing images from his camera, and communicating with the power cubes (lights, accelerometer, tap detection).

Robotics Gone Wild: 8 Animal-Inspired Machines

Thomas Claburn for InformationWeek:  Among programmers, there's a principle called DRY, which stands for "Don't repeat yourself." It's an attempt to avoid writing code that duplicates the function of other code. DRY embodies the same resistance to needless repetition as the more common idiom, "Don't reinvent the wheel." Among those making robots, a group that includes software and hardware engineers attempts to adhere to these principles, as can be seen in designs that borrow from nature, from the evolved forms of life on Earth. Biomimicry and bioinspired design provide a way to avoid reinventing the wheel. The biological systems of living things have been honed through eons of Darwinian user testing. Borrowing aspects of animal physiology isn't the only option or necessarily the best option for robot designers. For some purposes, something new may be necessary. For others, biomechanically systems can't be easily duplicated.   Cont'd...

Cozmo Is an Artificially Intelligent Toy Truck That's Also the Future of Robotics

CADE METZ for WIRED:  HANNS TAPPEINER TYPES a few lines of code into his laptop and hits “return.” A tiny robot sits beside the laptop, looking like one of those anthropomorphic automobiles that show up in Pixar’s Cars movies. Almost instantly, it wakes up, rolls down the table, and counts to four. This is Cozmo—an artificially intelligent toy robot unveiled late last month by San Francisco startup Anki—and Tappeiner, one of the company’s founders, is programming the little automaton to do new things. The programs are simple—he also teaches Cozmo to stack blocks—but they’re supposed to be simple. Tappeiner is using Anki’s newly unveiled software development kit—an SDK, in coder parlance—that he says even the greenest of coders can use to tweak the behavior of the toy robot. And that’s a big deal, at least according to Anki. The company claims the SDK is the first of its kind: a kit that lets anyone program such an intelligent robot, a robot that recognizes faces and navigates new environments and even mimics emotions. With the kit, Tappeiner says, “we’re trying to advance the field of robotics.” He compares the move to Apple letting people build apps for the iPhone.   Cont'd...

The New Police Arsenal - Robots

Bomb robots were designed to help detonate and remove Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), not to deliver payloads. But the Dallas police improvised and attached a bomb delivery system to the robot.

Intuitive Machines Used 3w-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform for Flights in Antarctica

The flight of Intuitive Machines illustrated and proved that an excellent developed UAV like the Tiburon Jr, equipped with a powerful and reliable engine can be an efficient alternative to manned airplanes and helicopters, even in hazardous environments.

Standardizing Collaborative Robots: What is ISO/TS 15066?

Samuel Bouchard for  Collaborative robots (also known as cobots) are changing how robots and humans interact in our factories and manufacturing facilities.  No longer separated by cages, humans and cobots can work beside each other on complex tasks from picking and placement to assembly and logistics.  Human-cobot systems bring together the best of human capabilities (complex reasoning, ease of learning new tasks, pattern and object recognition in cluttered environments) and robot functionality (the ability to perform complex, tedious tasks 24/7 and with high precision).  The close proximity between humans and cobots and its advantages are exciting for manufacturers, SMEs, and the robotics industry, but it also brings a unique set of safety challenges. Enter ISO/TS 15066 – the world's first specifications of safety requirements for collaborative robot applications.   Cont'd...

Logistic companies Swisslog, Dematic, Egemin and Intelligrated have all been Acquired

All these companies are logistics and material handling vendors and times are changing in logistics and fulfillment

The ABC of RPA, Part 4: Choosing the right robotics and automation software to get the job done

In part four of the ABC of RPA series, we discuss how to choose the right software to suit your automation requirements.

I, Snowbot

From New York Magazine:   Snowden’s body might be confined to Moscow, but the former NSA computer specialist has hacked a work-around: a robot. If he wants to make his physical presence felt in the United States, he can connect to a wheeled contraption called a BeamPro, a flat-screen monitor that stands atop a pair of legs, five-foot-two in all, with a camera that acts as a swiveling Cyclops eye. Inevitably, people call it the “Snowbot.” The avatar resides at the Manhattan offices of the ACLU, where it takes meetings and occasionally travels to speaking engagements. (You can Google pictures of the Snowbot posing with Sergey Brin at TED.) Undeniably, it’s a gimmick: a tool in the campaign to advance Snowden’s cause — and his case for clemency — by building his cultural and intellectual celebrity. But the technology is of real symbolic and practical use to Snowden, who hopes to prove that the internet can overcome the power of governments, the strictures of exile, and isolation... (full article)

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