AI News, Video Friday: Thought-Controlled Robot, PackBot With Jamming Gripper, Furby Teardown

Video Friday: Thought-Controlled Robot, PackBot With Jamming Gripper, Furby Teardown

In this edition of Video Friday, we bring you humans controlling robots, humans interacting with robots, humans building robots, and humans tearing robots apart!

A team from theCNRS-AIST Joint Robotics Laboratory showed how a person, wearing a cap with electrodes, could control a HRP-2 humanoid and make it perform tasks such as grasping objects.

Though the range of tasks the robot can perform appears limited—and controlling a robot this way might require significant mental effort—it's nonetheless an impressive demonstration of how the lines between humans and machines are blurring.

Automaton readers probably remember the fascinating (and totally weird) jamming gripper originally invented by a group fromCornell University, University of Chicago, and iRobot.

by applying vacuum to the balloon, researchers could make it harden and conform to the shape of objects, in effect working as a robotic gripper.

Researchers have used the jamming approach to build elephant trunk-like manipulators, dart-shooting robot arms, and even creepy crawling hexapods.

The fully-assembled Robi is about 30 centimeters (12 inches) tall and weighs 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds).

The video below shows how to program the robot to understand speech, detect touch, and respond accordingly.

Rise of the robots is sparking an investment boom ​

In warehouses, hospitals and retail stores, and on city streets, industrial parks and the footpaths of college campuses, the first representatives of this new invading force are starting to become apparent.

A multitude of machines will follow, he says: “A lot of people are going to come in contact with robots in the next two to five years.” The arrival of the robots — and their potentially devastating effect on human employment — has been widely predicted.

From private equity investors looking to build portfolios of robot investments, to new “incubators” such as Playground, started by former Google robotics chief Andy Rubin, the investment options have been proliferating rapidly.

“The computational power required has gone down a lot.” The result is a new class of machines that can operate by themselves in human space, the advance guard of a new robot industry.

“The traditional industrial robots are mainframes — what we’re doing are PCs,” says Scott Eckert, chief executive of Rethink Robotics, a US company whose robots help with packing or tend machines.

Improvements in computer vision, for instance, have made possible many companies like Dispatch, whose machines rely on being able to “see” the world around them, says Chris Dixon, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Machine learning algorithms, which are designed to adapt through an endless process of trial and error, play the biggest part in teaching robots how to navigate a world beyond the normal rules-based systems that computers are designed to handle.

“Today, it’s really dumb intelligence — but that will change quickly.” When it comes to designing the machines for this emerging industry, most robot entrepreneurs and investors are following a similar formula.

One element is to build low-cost machines that tackle specific tasks, rather than attempt to create general-purpose machines — let alone fully humanoid robots — that try to take on too much.

Ones to watch: robot companies that are ​leading the charge See how robots have been created to both sound and look like friends The goal is to build “single-purpose robots that do one thing very well”, says Dmitry Grishin, a Russian who recently raised a $100m fund to invest in robots and other hardware.

If they succeed, these machines quickly lose their status as “robots” and become more part of the fabric of everyday life, he says — like automated vacuum cleaners or cash machines.

Another feature the robot makers are counting on is to be able to use the learning capabilities of their initial products to achieve rapid improvements and gain an advantage over rivals that are slower to get their machines into the market.

“This is happening in almost every hardware product: they are becoming minimal vessels for software.” This technological shift has set traditional robotics leaders in Japan and Germany against nascent industries in countries such as the US and China.

Abu Dhabi: Robot Teachers will soon be instructing students in basic math and other subjects at a private school in Abu Dhabi.

Merryland International School in Mussafah has launched what it claims is the first robotic lab in a UAE school, with more than 30 cutting edge robots including humanoids with built-in intelligence.

Humanoid AISOY Raspberry Pi robot will teach basic addition and subtraction while Nao, the 57-cm tall Evolution Humanoid robot from France, will help special needs children.

The programmable robot can also be used to explore research topics in robotics, computer science, human-machine interaction and even social sciences. Then

have sourced out some of the best and most advanced robots including humanoids, quadrupeds, hexapods, flying robots and pet robots from all over the world, Susheela George, Founder of Merryland, told XPRESS.

The school will have robotics science as a subject integrated to their Cambridge International curriculum, and delivered through physics, ICT and math classes.

NAO Next Gen: Aldebaran Robotics launches a new generation of its humanoid robot Aldebaran Robotics, the world leader in humanoid robotics, has released its latest version of the NAO robot — NAO Next Gen.

The power of NAO Next Gen, the new fully programmable humanoid robot that has the most extensive worldwide use, is opening up new perspectives and fields of application for its users.

Friendly educational robot designed to help kids with autism

Robots could be used to help kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new research project carried out jointly by a university and a robotics startup.

Clinica Universitaria UMH and Aisoy [are working] together for designing and building Bot-apps which use Airos’ capabilities [as well as the] Aisoy1 robot, adapted to children with autism.” Manuel del Río continued that the researchers have not yet carried out in-depth studies suggesting why robots —

are so well suited to this task, but his anecdotal experience suggests it has something to do with the “expressivity of the face” of the robot, which makes it easy for children to “understand and communicate with.” Going forward, the goal is that the robot could also expand to help with other childhood problems, such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms.