Mary-Ann Russon for International Business Times: When former Boston Dynamics employees released video of humanoid robot Atlas – walking unassisted over difficult terrain, such as rocks and snow – Google was reportedly displeased; despite the research receiving high praise from roboticists while wowing the public. And the real reason Google is selling off Boston Dynamics is, by and large, due to insiders telling Tech Insider that the robotics firm was unwilling to fall in line with the internet giant's vision of a consumer robot for the home. Google reportedly envisioned the firm as one of nine in a division called Replicant. Initially, under the guidance of Android co-founder Andy Rubin, the firms would continue with existing research and Google would see what ideas and innovations they came up with. Cont'd...
MJI, a Japan-based robot developer, is pleased to announce the launch of an AI companion robot, "Tapia," on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
Sony Joins Forces with Cogitai to Conduct Research and Development for the Next Wave of Artificial Intelligence
Sony has invested in Cogitai and the two companies plan to collaborate towards the development of novel AI technologies using deep reinforcement learning with prediction technology that could be used as the basis for the next generation of AI applications and products.
Alison E. Berman for Singularity Hub: If you've been staying on top of artificial intelligence news lately, you may know that the games of chess and Go were two of the grand challenges for AI. But do you know what the equivalent is for robotics? It's table tennis. Just think about how the game requires razor sharp perception and movement, a tall order for a machine. As entertaining as human vs. robot games can be, what they actually demonstrate is much more important. They test the technology's readiness for practical applications in the real world—like self-driving cars that can navigate around unexpected people in a street. Though we used to think of robots as clunky machines for repetitive factory tasks, a slew of new technologies are making robots faster, stronger, cheaper, and even perceptive, so that they can understand and engage with their surrounding environments. Consider Boston Dynamic’s Atlas Robot, which can walk through snow, move boxes, endure a hefty blow with a hockey stick by an aggressive colleague, and even regain its feet when knocked down. Not too long ago, such tasks were unthinkable for a robot. At the Exponential Manufacturing conference, robotics expert and director of Columbia University’s Creative Machine Labs, Hod Lipson, examined five exponential trends shaping and accelerating the future of the robotics industry. Cont'd...
HANNOVER MESSE - President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel Experience Virtual Reality at ifm's Exhibit at Hannover Messe 2016, Germany
President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel experience virtual reality with ifm's 3D camera at the Hannover Messe, the world's largest industrial trade fair.
Benedict for 3Ders.org: Tech startup ZeroUI, based in San Jose, California, has launched an Indiegogo campaign for Ziro, the “world’s first hand-controlled robotics kit”. The modular kit has been designed to bring 3D printed creations to life, and has already surpassed its $30,000 campaign goal. It would be fair to say that the phenomenon of gesture recognition, throughout the wide variety of consumer electronics to which it has been introduced, has been a mixed success. The huge popularity of the Nintendo Wii showed that—for the right product—users were happy to use their hands and bodies as controllers, but for every Wii, there are a million useless webcam or smartphone functions, lying dormant, unused, and destined for the technology recycle bin. Full Article:
Kirsten Korosec for Fortune: Toyota will expand the footprint of its artificial intelligence and robotics research center by adding a third facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, made the announcement on Thursday during his keynote speech at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in San Jose. The Ann Arbor facility will be located near the University of Michigan, where it will fund research in artificial intelligence, robotics, and materials science. Last year, the world’s largest automaker said it would invest $1 billion over the next five years in a research center for artificial intelligence to be based in Palo Alto, Calif. The institute aims to bridge the gap between research in AI and robotics in order to bring this technology to market. The technology is largely being developed for self-driving cars, but the institute is also researching and developing AI products for the home. Cont'd...
Robot avatars programmed to talk with their hands to be understood better
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From Boston Dynamics: A new version of Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings. It is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects. This version of Atlas is about 5' 9" tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.
The rapid pace of artificial intelligence (AI) has raised fears about whether robots could act unethically or soon choose to harm humans. Some are calling for bans on robotics research; others are calling for more research to understand how AI might be constrained.
From Phys.Org: Developing humanoid robotic technology to perform difficult tasks in aircraft manufacturing facilities is the goal of a four-year joint research project, which is being conducted by the Joint Robotics Laboratory (CNRS/AIST) and Airbus Group. It will officially be launched on 12 February 2016 at the French Embassy in Tokyo. The introduction of humanoids on aircraft assembly lines will make it possible to relieve human operators of the most laborious and dangerous tasks, thus allowing them to concentrate on higher value-added ones. The primary difficulty for these robots will be to work in a confined environment and move without colliding with the numerous surrounding objects. This is the first issue researchers will have to solve by developing new algorithms for the planning and control of precise movements. Cont'd...
WPI professor receives nearly $600,000 from the Office of Naval Research to develop motion planning for robot that will fight fires aboard Navy ships
BY ANGELA MOSCARITOLO for PCMAG: SoftBank is giving its Pepper robot a new job with some big responsibilities. The Japanese telecom giant is planning to open a cell phone store in Tokyo this spring staffed primarily by Pepper robots, according to a report from The Japan Times. About five to six Pepper robots will run the store from March 28 through April 3, and be responsible for helping customers and making sales. "I don't know how this will turn out, but it should be a quite interesting experiment," SoftBank CEO Ken Miyauchi told the newspaper. The robots will be able to answer questions about different cell phone options, and when someone's ready to buy, they'll even attempt to complete the sale. SoftBank does plan to have humans at the ready to handle tasks Pepper can't yet do — like checking customer IDs when drawing up a new contract. Cont'd...
Intelligence Squared U.S. Hosts Artificial Intelligence Debate with Lanier, Rothblatt, and more at NYC's 92Y Genius Festival and Online, March 9
Arguing for the motion are Jaron Lanier, named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time, and documentary filmmaker James Barrat, whose most recent book is subtitled Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era.
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DENSO is the world's largest manufacturer - and user - of small assembly robots, employing over 17,000 of its robots in its own facilities. Over 77,000 additional DENSO robots are used by other companies worldwide. The compact, high-speed robots are used in traditional manufacturing sectors, as well as in advanced-technology applications in the medical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Learn more about DENSO Robotics