Robotics News

Boston Dynamics' robots won't be held back by puny humans

Robots@Engadget - 20 February, 2018 - 23:51

Are you looking for the exact moment when the robots decide to turn on their human creators? You might want to mark this day on your calendar. Boston Dynamics has posted video of a SpotMini test where it gauged the bot's ability to adjust to interference -- in this case, from a pesky human. The quadruped managed to open a door despite a human pushing its hand down with a hockey stick, pushing the door closed and even tugging on its 'tail.' It clearly struggled, but its ability to adapt and rebalance left it unfazed.

Source: Boston Dynamics (YouTube)

Categories: Robotics News

Robots that pick up and sort objects may improve warehouse efficiency

Robots@Engadget - 20 February, 2018 - 21:26

Sorting and organizing may not always be the most difficult tasks, but they can certainly get tedious. And while they may seem like prime examples of something we might like robots to do for us, picking up, recognizing and sorting objects is actually a pretty difficult thing to teach a machine. But researchers at MIT and Princeton have developed a robot that can do just that and in the future, it could be used for things like warehouse sorting or cleaning up a disaster area.

Via: MIT

Categories: Robotics News

Air Hogs' Supernova packs motion controls in a kid-friendly drone

Robots@Engadget - 19 February, 2018 - 22:01

Toy drones have been cheap and plentiful over the past few years, but it's really hard for new products to stand out from the pack when they need to keep the price down and can't throw in premium features like a 4K camera. But that hasn't stopped Spin Master from trying new things with its Air Hogs line: At this week's Toy Fair, the company is debuting its first motion-controlled model, the Supernova. It's not quite DJI's Mavic Air, but it's still got some sweet moves to show off in a more kid-friendly form factor.

Categories: Robotics News

NASA’s Opportunity rover sees its 5,000th day on Mars

Robots@Engadget - 19 February, 2018 - 20:24

This weekend, NASA's Opportunity rover spent its 5,000th day on Mars. While that is a feat in and of itself, it's even more impressive when you consider that it was only planned to last 90 Martian days, or sols. Both Opportunity and its companion rover Spirit were launched towards Mars in 2003, landing on two different parts of the planet in January 2004. Neither were expected to make it through Mars' harsh winter though, which lasts about twice as long as ours and is severely lacking in light, but NASA's team discovered that pointing the rovers towards the north and towards the sun was enough to keep them powered through the winter. Further, making sure the rovers were on north-facing slopes each winter helped to keep them going for years longer than they were ever intended to function.

Via: The Verge

Source: NASA

Categories: Robotics News

Mattel's 'Jurassic World' dino-bots are surprisingly realistic

Robots@Engadget - 18 February, 2018 - 15:00

Mattel's last Kamigami STEM robot was an adorable DIY lady bug. Now, the toy company is aiming for something bigger with its new Jurassic World bots. You'll still have to put them together first, but what you end up with is a complex robo-dino with realistic movement. And, just like before, they'll also help kids bone up on their STEM chops.

Categories: Robotics News

Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on DJI's Mavic Air

Robots@Engadget - 17 February, 2018 - 15:00

If you have a checklist for a camera drone, it probably includes things like portability, image quality, battery life and cost. DJI has been in the game long enough to know the things you want, and the result is the Mavic Air. Not to give you any spoilers, but the Mavic Air does well on all the above, and offers a whole lot more to boot. It's not all up-sides though (okay, it is mostly upsides, but you'll probably want to watch our "pros and cons" video above all the same).

Categories: Robotics News

littleBits launches more accessible $40 'Hall of Fame' kits

Robots@Engadget - 17 February, 2018 - 14:00

littleBits kits are a great way to teach kids how to build their own toys and electronics, but they're not exactly cheap. The Star Wars Droid inventor set, for instance, will set buyers back $100, while others could cost as much as $300. Now, the startup is lowering the barrier of entry by debuting four "Hall of Fame" kits priced at only $40 each. Upon taking a look at littleBits' offerings on its website, we only saw one set priced at $40, and it's only a three-module hardware development bundle for more experiences users. All the others cost $80 and more. These products will give more people the chance to get one for their kids or themselves and to try out the company's electronic building blocks.

Source: littleBits

Categories: Robotics News

Sony's STEM-focused coding toy is ready for classrooms

Robots@Engadget - 14 February, 2018 - 14:30

The first product from Sony's Global Education division, a candy-colored robot-building toy called Koov, is now ready for all of us to order. The toy, which is Sony's attempt to topple Lego Mindstorms' dominance in the STEM toy market, comprises of blocks that you can put together with motors and sensors. Once you've constructed something, you can then head over to the iOS, Windows or OS X app to program its behavior.

Source: Sony

Categories: Robotics News

Robots had their own skiing competition at the Winter Olympics

Robots@Engadget - 13 February, 2018 - 17:34

The Olympics aren't just an event for the most talented athletes to strut their stuff on the world's stage. No, The Games are where robots can find honest work and leisure, too. Some 85 robots (spread across 11 different models, humanoid and otherwise) have been serving drinks, cleaning floors, swimming around fish tanks, guiding lost visitors at the airport and even skiing according to regional publication Korea JoongAng Daily. "We applied three yardsticks in choosing the robots to use at The Games -- how stable, new and useful they are going to be," Park Hyun-Sub, of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology said.

Source: Korea JoongAng Daily, The Guardian

Categories: Robotics News

The Skydio R1 might be the smartest consumer drone in the sky

Robots@Engadget - 13 February, 2018 - 14:00

Autonomous features in commercially available drones are nothing new. Heck, I'm old enough to remember when DJI Phantoms didn't even offer follow-along technology. Shorter version: Most every drone worth its rotors possesses some level of autonomy. But then there's Skydio's R1, which ratchets things up a notch. Or two.

Categories: Robotics News

Boston Dynamics' robots are the politest 'pets' you'll meet

Robots@Engadget - 12 February, 2018 - 23:38

We hope you weren't planning on sleeping tonight. Boston Dynamics has posted a video showing that its SpotMini robot can hold the door open for its fellow automatons. If one bot needs a helping hand, it'll signal to another machine nearby that can pry the door open and let it through. It's very polite... and more than a little unsettling, especially since it's not clear they'll extend the same courtesy to humans. At least the robots will have manners when they take over.

Source: Boston Dynamics (YouTube)

Categories: Robotics News

Researchers use nanorobots to kill tumors in mice

Robots@Engadget - 12 February, 2018 - 23:07

Our current methods of fighting malignant tumors are wildly inadequate. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments, while sometimes successful, come with massive side effects, mainly because every other cell in the body is also getting bombarded with chemicals and radiation even though the main targets are the tumor cells. Finding a way to specifically target tumor cells while leaving healthy cells alone is something that many researchers are working towards and a new study out today demonstrates that nanorobots made out of DNA could be an effective option.

Source: Nature Biotechnology

Categories: Robotics News

Rugged e-skin can heal its cuts and scrapes

Robots@Engadget - 12 February, 2018 - 19:39

Scientists dream of prosthetics and robots with electronic skin that can convey heat and pressure just like the real thing, but there's a big problem getting in the way: the outside world. Bumps and scrapes can damage these sensors, and it's not really practical to toss these skins in the trash when they're no longer useful. UC Boulder researchers hope to fix that. They've developed an e-skin that can communicate temperature and pressure, but is both self-healing and fully recyclable. You could take a cut on a synthetic arm without panicking, and reuse any damaged 'tissue' to make replacements.

Via: Newsweek

Source: UC Boulder, Science Advances

Categories: Robotics News

AI facial analysis demonstrates both racial and gender bias

Robots@Engadget - 12 February, 2018 - 18:46

Researchers from MIT and Stanford University found that that three different facial analysis programs demonstrate both gender and skin color biases. The full article will be presented at the Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency later this month.

Source: MIT

Categories: Robotics News

Amazon is reportedly designing AI chips to improve Alexa

Robots@Engadget - 12 February, 2018 - 16:41

Amazon has begun designing its own AI chips, according to an exclusive report from The Information. The hardware is designed for anything powered by Alexa, including the Echo, and would allow the virtual assistant to respond more quickly by adding speech recognition directly to the device.

Source: The Information

Categories: Robotics News

MIT CSAIL’s drone is never quite sure where it is

Robots@Engadget - 12 February, 2018 - 05:00

The current generation of autonomous drone navigation and flightpath planning systems are almost too precise, demanding hundreds of measurements be taken so that the UAV knows exactly where it is in space at any given moment. And if those readings are off by even a little, then the drone is in for an impact. What's more, all that data collection is computationally intensive -- especially for smaller drones where the space and weight capacities are limited.

Categories: Robotics News

'The Red Strings Club' explores the morality of transhumanism

Robots@Engadget - 9 February, 2018 - 18:30

If you had the ability to turn off all the negative emotions in your mind -- depression, anxiety, rage -- would you do it? Would you eagerly implant a device in your body that eliminates these feelings, or would you pause and consider the consequences? Without anxiety, would your drive to succeed stagnate? Without rage, would your body be primed to fight or flee in a sticky situation? Without depression, would you appreciate joy?

Think about it for a moment. We'll wait.

Categories: Robotics News

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $130 on Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones

Robots@Engadget - 8 February, 2018 - 21:01

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

Categories: Robotics News

Drone catchers and face-detecting planes will guard the Olympics

Robots@Engadget - 5 February, 2018 - 02:31

South Korean authorities are adopting some pretty high-tech security measures for the upcoming Winter Olympics, including the deployment of drone-catching-drones and a tactical plane with facial recognition. The drones they're using to patrol the event won't chase away rogue drones that get too close to the venues: they'll cast nets to catch any UAV that shows up on the the security team's radar.

Source: Defense One, Hankyoreh

Categories: Robotics News

'Westworld' season two trailer shows us what comes next, and when

Robots@Engadget - 5 February, 2018 - 02:11

While Netflix dropped a day-and-date trailer for its Cloverfield flick, HBO has a more traditional reveal for season two of Westworld. Its Super Bowl spot (the first one HBO has ever aired for a specific series) showed off the network's "most-watched freshman series ever" with some new scenes that were interesting without revealing too much about where the show will go.

Source: HBO (YouTube), HBO (Medium)

Categories: Robotics News
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