Robotics

Growing Jibo: Talking robot families with Cynthia Breazeal

Growing Jibo: Talking robot families with Cynthia Breazeal

The age of robotic butlers and Jetson's-style automation is yet to be delivered, but the team behind Jibo believes it has a more relevant, usable alternative. A robot that integrates into the family, as well as one which could spawn a family of its own, Jibo aims to humanize domestic robotics but without dropping us into an Uncanny Valley of creepy pseudo-skin. I caught up with company founder and MIT robotics expert Cynthia Breazeal to find out how the Jibo you see today is the gateway to a life peppered with electronic companions.

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Adopt a robot? Jibo aims to be part of the family

Adopt a robot? Jibo aims to be part of the family

Domestic robots have been attempted before, but a new company, Jibo, believes it has what it takes to deliver something more autonomous than a remote-control toy, but less complex and more affordable than something like ASIMO. Standing 11 inches high, the WiFi-connected robot can automatically snap family photos or video, work as a personal assistant with voice controlled messages and reminders, and read stories to kids.

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When Google finishes Skynet, only two will survive

When Google finishes Skynet, only two will survive

Google is building Skynet — that much we know. Robotics, location awareness, even self-driving cars. They’re in your home, in your pocket, and will soon be just about everywhere you turn. So, when the machines become self-aware and begin reasoning outside of interactions with humans, who lives? Two people, and only two people.

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SBRICK brings Bluetooth to your LEGO creations

SBRICK brings Bluetooth to your LEGO creations

As LEGO has proven over the past several years, there’s no limit to what this interchangeable interlocking brick system can do in the way of super simple buildings to extra-complex robots. They’re building pieces, after all, and open systems like the SBRICK - or SmartBrick - are coming in to expand the system even further than LEGO has already imagined. Here we’re going wireless with LEGO robotics and remote control.

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Self-driving cars need better people skills says Mercedes

Self-driving cars need better people skills says Mercedes

Self-driving cars like Google's distinctive little pods may not need us to drive them any more, but that just means we'll need a new way of communicating with them if we don't want to be run over in the street. That's the conclusion of new research led by Mercedes-Benz, which is working with robotics experts and linguists on ways that autonomous vehicles and pedestrians - or would-be passengers - might be able to talk with gestures and more.

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ReWalk is the first FDA-approved personal exoskeleton

ReWalk is the first FDA-approved personal exoskeleton

If you're still not used to seeing electric wheelchairs, robotic prosthetics, and other forms of hi-tech assistive technology in public places, it would be best to catch up with the times as a new one just joined the list. The US Food and Drug Administration has just given the thumb up to the ReWalk Personal exoskeleton, paving the way for similar machines that will help those who have lost mobility to get back on their feet.

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NAO robot gets smarter and stronger (but just as cute)

NAO robot gets smarter and stronger (but just as cute)

Research and entertainment robot NAO is getting faster, smarter, and strong: in fact, it's a good job he only comes up to your knees, as otherwise we'd be worried. NAO EVOLUTION, the handiwork of Softbank acquisition Aldeberan, takes the hobby-bot and boosts its awareness of the surrounding environment - including its emotion-recognizing abilities - as well as how well it can interact with it, thanks to things like defter hands.

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SoftBank Pepper emotion-sensing robot headed to retail

SoftBank Pepper emotion-sensing robot headed to retail

SoftBank plans to sell an emotion-sensing humanoid robot, Pepper, in Japan next year, putting the sensor-toting 'bot into customer services duties in stores from this week. Expected to go on sale from February 2015, Pepper can track the emotions of the humans around it through their expressions and voice tones, and then react accordingly depending on what apps and cloud-data are available.

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