Increasing the roles played by robots in society can conjure various visions of both utopias and dystopias, depending on your level of comfort with and trust in technology.
Case in point: A team of scientists based at the University of Leeds in the UK has developed a semi-autonomous robotic system to perform one of the most intimate and dreaded routine medical procedures around: the colonoscopy.
“What we have developed is a system that is easier for doctors or nurses to operate and is less painful for patients,” explains Pietro Valdastri, a professor of robotics and autonomous systems overseeing the research. “It marks an important step in the move to make colonoscopy much more widely
Bringing a new robot to market is exciting: new capability, new hardware, new services. The problem is when you get to software, where everything feels harder and takes longer than you think it should. Like Tesla’s full self-driving, which has all the hardware and intelligence it needs — with the possible exception of LIDAR — but is perpetually just … about … to … arrive … and even so, was recently savaged by Consumer Reports as buggy and ineffective.
Hardware is necessary, but software provides the animating intelligence that allows it to do useful, efficient, and safe work.
That’s why Nader Elm, CEO of autonomous drone company Exyn Technologies, compared robots today to the iPhone before the App Store: the hardware’s there, but the software layer is immature.
The ground is rocky and uneven. Old, rusted rails that used to carry loads of precious metals run the length of the path. Most wheeled robots would have trouble navigating this uneven surface, but it’s not a problem for Spot.
“This is one of the most advanced robots in the world.” Hao Zhang tells me. He’s a professor at the Colorado School of Mines, and he’s brought his department’s new robotic dog from Boston Dynamics to the Edgar Mine outside of Denver for testing. The school is one of the first customers to buy a Spot robot since the four-legged machines went on sale this summer.
Much of Zhang’s work in robotics involves exploring ways robots can take over dangerous jobs from people, like searching for survivors in a collapsed mine or inspecting nuclear facilities
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The name “Roomba” has almost become synonymous with robot vacuums — and iRobot’s automated house-cleaners are still the best in their class. With so many models to choose from, though — about a dozen, depending on how you keep count — it’s hard to know which Roomba is right for you. Looking at general best practices in choosing a robot vacuum and Roomba’s common properties can make it easier to figure out which one fits your space, needs and budget. Having been testing and writing about tech for more than a decade, I’ve used and played around with enough Roomba robot vacuums
AI researchers say they’ve created a framework for controlling four-legged robots that promises better energy efficiency and adaptability than more traditional model-based gait control of robotic legs. To demonstrate the robust nature of the framework that adjusts to conditions in real time, AI researchers made the system slip on frictionless surfaces to mimic a banana peel, ride a skateboard, and climb on a bridge while walking on a treadmill. An Nvidia spokesperson told VentureBeat that only the frictionless surface test was conducted in real life because of limits placed on office staff size due to COVID-19. The spokesperson said all other challenges took place in simulation. (Simulations are often used as training data for robotics systems before those systems are used in real life.)
“Our framework learns a controller that can adapt to challenging environmental changes on the fly, including novel scenarios not seen during training. The learned controller is
Japanese company Softbank debuted Servi, a new food service robot.
Softbank is the company behind humanoid robot Pepper and the owner of Boston Dynamics.
Servi has already worked at Denny’s and other restaurants amid Japan’s labor shortage.
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Japanese tech giant Softbank is testing out a new food service robot in Japan, Reuters reported. Servi, the appropriately-named robot, has several tiers that can be used to deliver food to customers as an answer both to social distancing because of COVID-19 and Japan’s labor shortage.
Servi will act as a waiter, with the ability to carry food and drinks from the kitchen to tables. It will use 3D cameras and LIDAR technology to navigate around tables and customers, the same technology used by autonomous vehicles. It officially launches in Japan in January but has already been tested by some restaurants
The sport of curling requires such precision and strategy that it’s sometimes referred to as “chess on ice.” Players push 40-pound stones across frozen sheets, rotating the stones just enough that they “curl,” and try to knock opposing teams’ stones out of central rings.
Subtle variables at play—tiny, ever-changing bumps in ice, the pressure exerted by one’s hand, the smoothness of the stone—all impact the outcome, so much that curling requires machine-like precision from its players.
So, it makes sense that an actual machine might have a shot at winning, if it could learn to strategize on its own. Enter Curly: a robot powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that recently competed against professional South Korean curling teams and won three out of four official matches.
Curly’s impressive feat is recounted in an article published this month in Science Robotics by researchers Seong-Whan Lee and Dong-Ok Won of Korea University and
TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank’s robotics arm said on Monday it will bring a food service robot developed by California-based Bear Robotics to Japan as restaurants grapple with labour shortages and seek to ensure social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The robot named Servi, which has layers of trays and is equipped with 3D cameras and Lidar sensors for navigation, will launch in January, SoftBank Group Corp said.
Servi will cost 99,800 yen ($950) per month excluding tax on a three year plan.
The launch leverages SoftBank’s long experience in bringing overseas technology to Japan but reflects the shift away from CEO Masayoshi Son’s earlier focus on humanoid robots.
Servi has been tested by Japanese restaurant operators, including Seven & i Holdings at its Denny’s chain, as the sector grapples with an aging workforce and deepening labour shortages.
SoftBank’s humanoid Pepper robot became the face of the company