Robotics

Cobalt’s autonomous security robot is more serious than it looks

Cobalt’s autonomous security robot is more serious than it looks

Robots make the best and the worst security guards. On the one hand, they’re efficient, precise, and unswayed by emotions. On the other hand, they’re also cold, impersonal, and unyielding. They are best used for security-related tasks that require more attention to detail but not so much human interaction. That’s what Cobalt Robotics is attempting with its autonomous mobile robot that can navigate around the area, recognize people, read IDs, and report any suspicious activities, potential security issues, and possible hazards. All without looking like a Terminator set to kill.

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Boston Dynamics’ newest robot is a rollerblading kangaroo

Boston Dynamics’ newest robot is a rollerblading kangaroo

The newest robot from Boston Dynamics rolls on two wheels and has legs like a kangaroo. Or a dog - or any number of other bent-legged creatures who would all look equally wild aboard a pair of one-wheeled shoes. This robot is the latest in a long line of balancing, walking, or otherwise moving robots from the folks at Boston Dynamics.

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DJI M200 is no toy, built for professional use

DJI M200 is no toy, built for professional use

It seems that drones have come almost full circle. Originally created more for industrial and military purposes, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones as they are more popularly called, have become a hobbyist product that came in all sizes and prices. With that market almost saturated, drone makers like DJI have turned their attention to even bigger customers. The DJI Matrice 200, or M200, line of drones isn’t something you’ll be able to play with, even if you can afford it. This drone is all work and no fun, targeted at companies and industrial customers, but has a bigger potential to improve the lives of its users significantly.

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StyleShoots Live smart studio doesn’t need a (human) photographer

StyleShoots Live smart studio doesn’t need a (human) photographer

Dutch company StyleShoots has introduced its new StyleShoots Live, a so-called ‘smart studio’ that can take videos and stills all on its own. The idea here is that traditional photography shoots require (human) photographers, but as with all things, those humans are being made redundant by artificial intelligence and robotics. With this smart studio, technology handles everything from lighting to adjusting the shots, leaving humans to handle the reviewing and, if necessary, post-processing aspects.

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First self-driving Roborace test race ends in a crash

First self-driving Roborace test race ends in a crash

This weekend, at the Formula E racing series Buenos Aires ePrix event, the organizers behind Roborace held their first on-track test between two specially-designed electric self-driving cars. While not quite as exciting as a race between human drivers, the cars, known as DevBots, still managed to reach speeds as high as 115mph. But as is often the case during tests like this, an accident did occur when one of the cars crashed while navigating a turn.

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Elon Musk says humans may need to merge with AI to stay useful

Elon Musk says humans may need to merge with AI to stay useful

Elon Musk has had quite a bit to say about artificial intelligence over past years, and he’s not done yet. Speaking today at the World Government Summit held in Dubai, Musk said that humans must learn to merge with machines in the future to address some big potential issues surrounding the rise of artificial intelligence. Among other things, the proliferation of machine intelligence that outpaces human intelligence may result in a ‘usefulness problem,’ not to mention concerns about whether humans will remain in control in the future.

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Agility Robotics showcases ‘Cassie’ as future of walking robots

Agility Robotics showcases ‘Cassie’ as future of walking robots

Oregon State University’s robotics program has been spun off its own company, Agility Robotics, and it aims to ‘revolutionize’ the future of robotics mobility. The new company is based out of both Oregon and Pennsylvania, and it says it already has ‘several’ customers in the pipeline. The company’s current crowning achievement is ‘Cassie,’ a bipedal robot that is able to walk around untethered on its own two legs.

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MIT gel robot is nearly invisible underwater, fast enough to grab fish

MIT gel robot is nearly invisible underwater, fast enough to grab fish

Researchers at MIT have created a new robot using hydrogel that, when placed underwater, is nearly invisible to the naked eye. Despite being made of transparent gel and powered by water, the robot is capable of reasonably fast movements, including grabbing a live fish, holding on to it, and then releasing it safely back into the water. Such a precise but gentle touch could one day have many applications, including surgical assistance.

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300 Intel drones light up Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl act

300 Intel drones light up Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl act

From smartphones to wearables to smart appliances, and now, to drones. That seems to be the journey that Intel has taken as it tries to gain some ground in markets outside its traditional PC silicon market. Although it's not exactly taking on more established drone makers like DJI head on, it is aiming for a more niche segment where it might actually stand uncontested for some time. And what better way to make a big splash than by launching 300 of those drones above the Super Bowl Halftime show.

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Bat Bot is the drone you probably want to but can’t fly

Bat Bot is the drone you probably want to but can’t fly

If you think that flying robots are still science fiction, that’s probably because you may have not realized that the popular quadcopter drones are, technically speaking, flying robots. If that doesn’t meet your criteria of a robot and would prefer something less industrial looking, then you might be interested in B2 instead. Short for “Bat Bot”, B2 is a robot that tries to mimic, and learn from, the flying capabilities of bats, resulting in a contraption that is both fascinating and yet creepy at the same time.

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Boston Dynamics’ Handle is a two-legged robot with wheels

Boston Dynamics’ Handle is a two-legged robot with wheels

Boston Dynamics is a name well-known in the Robotics field for its self-balancing, self-correcting robot “dogs” that don’t look anything like dogs. It is also well-known for robots that, in all honesty, look more like post-apocalyptic nightmares. While parent company X (of Alphabet) has cut loose its robot dogs, that doesn’t mean the company has given up on its dreams, as this leaked video so clearly shows. Meet Handle, a robotic nightmare on two legs and two wheels.

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Ocado tests gentle robot hands for picking and packing fruit

Ocado tests gentle robot hands for picking and packing fruit

The UK online grocery store Ocado is testing a new technology that may trim the number of human warehouse workers it needs: a robotic arm/hand that both picks and packs vegetables and fruit. The robot has been developed in partnership with Disney Research and a number of other institutions, and the end result is the testing of two different types of robotic hands, both designed to accommodate the random sizes of fruits of vegetables, and to handle them without damage.

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