AI News, Video Friday: Robotic Kitchen, Swarming Drones, and Robots Want Your Blood

Video Friday: Robotic Kitchen, Swarming Drones, and Robots Want Your Blood

Programming a robot to operate in an unstructured environment like a kitchen and teaching it to use tools designed for humans to create a gourmet meal is an absurdly difficult problem.

start-upMoley Robotics has skipped a bunch of the hard stuff by using motion capture to record a professional chef cooking dishes, and then playing back those motions in an optimized robot-friendly kitchen with a pair of robotic arms and anthropomorphic robotic hands.

The robo-chef uses two UR5 robot arms from Universal Robots and a pair of Shadow robotic hands.Here’s the plan, according to the company: Obviously, this robot isn’t making dinner any faster than you could make dinner, but that’s really not the point: as far as I’m concerned, this robot could take 12 solid hours to cook crab bisque, because who cares?

The Moley website suggests that in 2017 you’ll be able to buy a stand-alone robot cooking “cell” of sorts for $72,000, which (being a constrained environment) seems barely plausible.I’d love to have a robot like this cooking me dinner, but if it’sin my kitchen in under two years for $15k, I’ll eat my hat.

Nautilus Live ] via [ Gizmodo ] What’s unique about Oregon State University’s ATRIAS robot is that it can make its way over rugged terrain while being bombarded by bouncy balls, all without any sort of vision or step planning: you just tell it the direction that you want it to go in, and it goes, and somehow manages to not fall over (usually):

SRI Robotics ] UMD’s Robo Raven has been upgraded with as many solar panels as it can handle, and while they don’t allow for continual flight, they do boost the flight time of the robot, despite the added weight and complexity:

It’s a prototype for a UAV that can be launched through a tube using compressed air, and the idea is that you can launch a whole bunch of them “to autonomously overwhelm anadversary.” In 2016, 30 of them will swarm in a ship-based demonstration, but for now, seeing eight at onces is pretty cool.

ONR ] Soccer aficionado and RoboCup champion DARwin-OP and robotics expert Alex Leonessa recently sat down with Thi Le in the NSF library to talk about robots of all kinds, and discuss how research in robotics could help do much more than just build better robots.

Boston Dynamics is trying to make its robots less terrifying - but is it working?

It could be equipped with a robot arm that sat on top of the SpotMini's back—allowing it, for example, to place a glass cup in a dishwasher, dump trash into a wastebin, and rather hilariously, fetch a can of soda to a human person like a dog might.

SpotMini is a smaller version of Boston Dynamics's larger four-legged robot called Spot, which could stand and still walk, despite taking a kick from a human.

Video Of Incredible Backflipping Robot Goes Viral, And Everyone Is Making The Same Joke

It is electrically and hydraulically powered, and can leap from box to box with incredible grace and precision – the likes of which we've never seen from a humanoid robot.  As many people have been joking, if it ever puts this dexterity into killing all humans, it may well be the end of us.

Creating robots that move like humans is extremely difficult to achieve – it's why most robots you see tend to be on wheels, have four legs, or else move incredibly slowly.  Practical applications for the bipedal robots (before they rise up against us) could see them used in rescue efforts where it's not safe for humans to enter and where a wheeled robot can't access, e.g. a collapsing building.

Machine Learning Is Making Video Game Characters Smarter And Robots More Competent

It will allow non-playable characters, through trial and error, to develop better, more creative strategies than a human could program, says Lange, using a branch of machine learning called deep reinforcement learning.

The software can also speed up the development of real-life robots, like self-driving cars, says Lange, by training them relentlessly in sprawling, computer-generated—but lifelike—virtual landscapes.

Google’s DeepMind, for instance, has used deep reinforcement learning to teach AI agents to play 1980s video games like Breakout, and, in part, to master the notoriously challenging ancient Chinese game Go.

Unity showed an example of deep reinforcement learning’s potential earlier this year with a simplified knock-off of the Unity-based mobile game Crossy Road, itself a knock-off of 1980s hit Frogger.

Boston Dynamics' Atlas Robot Does Backflips Now and It's Full-Tilt Insane

And that’s after it leaps from platform to platform, as if such behavior were becoming of a bipedal robot.

It's extremely difficult to make a bipedal robot that can move effectively, much less kick off a tumbling routine.

The beauty of four-legged robots is that they balance easily, both at rest and as they’re moving, but bipeds like Atlas have to balance a bulky upper body on just two legs.

Accordingly, you could argue that roboticists can better spend their time on non-human forms that are easier to master.

If you have to explore a contaminated nuclear facility, for instance, you’ll want something that can climb stairs and ladders, and turn valves.

What's new, Atlas?

What have you been up to lately, Atlas?

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