Items tagged with robots

Starship isn’t just the name of a rocking 80’s band or an interstellar spacecraft -- it is also the name of a new company by former Skype co-founders which intends to improve local deliveries through self-driving, autonomous robots. A friendly little robot could soon be delivering your pepperoni pizza instead of a moody neighborhood teen. Ahti Heinla, a Skype co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies remarked, “Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact. We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications.” Starship... Read more...
The robot revolution will just have to wait, at least if Mercedes has anything to say about it. In a refreshing change of pace, Mercedes is handing out pink slips to part of its automated robotic work force, giving those jobs instead to actual human workers. Mercedes is essentially flipping the script on modern trends, and it has good reason to do so. As it turns out, robots can't do quite everything better than human hands can. This is especially pertinent to Mercedes' highly customizable S-Class sedan, which is loaded with options like heated and cooled cup holders, no less than four types of... Read more...
Maybe we should cease development of artificial intelligence. Why? View it as a precautionary measure for the day when robots completely replace humans in the workforce. Think about it, do we really want to be bound by mechanical overlords who might one day decide we're more trouble than we're worth? Sounds crazy now, but check back in 100 years to see where things are at. But first things first, robots have to increase their ranks, and Samsung is going to help them do that. With 6.75 billion won (around $14.8 million in U.S. currency) in funding from South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry,... Read more...
We all fear the day when humans end up under the mechanical thumbs of our eventual robot overlords, but for now, it's us who still reign over them. Such is also the result of a joint effort involving the Volvo Group and several partners to develop a robot that picks up trash under the supervision of a garbage truck driver. The project is called ROAR (Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling) and it's being developed by the Volvo Group, Chalmers University of Technology and Mälardalen University in Sweden, Penn State University in the United States, the waste recycling company Renova. What Volvo is... Read more...
Sexual fembots don't exist outside of Hollywood movies, but just in case they ever become a reality, robot ethicists (yes, there's such a thing) are already campaigning against having sex with robots. Those who support the "Campaign Against Sex Robots" feel that shagging with a scrap of parts resembling a person is unethical and "will contribute to gender inequalities in society." The campaign was borne out of a research paper by Kathleen Richardson, a senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. In it she points out that there are several initiatives... Read more...
The hitchhiking robot hitchBOT has traversed multiple countries by relying on the generosity of strangers, but its adventuring came to an abrupt and disastrous conclusion shortly after it arrived in the U.S. The place of hitchBOT’s demise turned out to be Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, which apparently doesn’t extend its goodwill to robots. HitchBOT caught more than a ride and ended up headless on the street. HitchBOT, which started as a project at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, was capable of speaking, though it had a limited vocabulary. The funky-looking robot featured a bucket... Read more...
Just a few days after Steve Wozniak stirred fears with comments about the inevitability of humans becoming pets for superior robots, the Twittersphere has found further “evidence” that humanity’s end is nigh. A robot at an automotive plant in Germany killed a worker this week and the reporter who first covered the news is named Sarah O’Connor. Lop the “O” off her name, and you have the lead character of the original Terminator movie (and its sequel). Now would probably be a good time for sci-fi fans everywhere to take a collective deep breathe and chill the heck out. The Volkswagon employee apparently... Read more...
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn't the only one envisioning a world where artificially intelligent systems rise up and rule over mankind. So Dr. Stuart Armstrong, an academic at the Future of Humanity at Oxford University. According to Armstrong, we're precariously close to creating computers that will ultimately wipe out mankind, though if it comes as any consolation, they'll have good intentions. "Humans steer the future not because we're the strongest or the fastest, but because we're the smartest," Dr. Armstrong told The Telegraph. "When machines become smarter than humans, we'll be handing... Read more...
Foxconn CEO Terry Gou spoke out at a shareholder’s meeting to set the record straight on comments made at the beginning of the year about robots. It turns out that the era of robot-powered factories isn’t quite as near as the head of Foxconn seemed to imply in February and he’s holding the media responsible for misquoting him. “It should be that in five years, the roots will take over 30 percent of the manpower,” Gou told shareholders this week. Reports earlier in the year indicted that Gou expected 70 percent of assembly line work around 2018, which would likely have had a huge impact on jobs... Read more...
A group of French and American scientists publishing in the science journal Nature are reporting success in their attempt to develop software that allows damaged robots to quickly overcome many sustained injuries and continue with their tasks.  A major problem in robotics has long been the inability of the machines to deal with unexpected circumstances, and in the case of damage suffered in the performing of their duties, they will usually just ignore the problem and thus make the it all the worse. Now, though, with inspiration drawn from nature itself, the scientists... Read more...
Imagine going to the water's edge, wading into the sea, and dragging out...a blue whale. And not an easy to wrangle (comparatively speaking) baby blue whale either, but a fully grown, mature mammalian beast of the sea. This is the equivalency being offered to describe the astounding power of the oh-so-small MicroTug robot. Designed by engineers David Christensen and Elliott Hawkes at the Biomimetics and Dextrous Manipulation Lab at Stanford University, MicroTugs are tiny robots — some just a measly 9 grams — that are capable of pulling objects that tip the scales at 2000 times their weight. Taking... Read more...
Score a win for the robot species, which will soon be joining Foxconn's flesh and blood workers to help assemble Apple's forthcoming iPhone 6 device. So says Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, who announced the plan at a recent shareholder meeting, adding that Apple will become the first company to use the service. Citing a Chinese-language news report, MacRumors says that each robot -- or "Foxbot," as Foxconn is calling them -- will be responsible for assembling about 30,000 iPhone 6 devices. Foxbots, which are currently in their final testing phase, run $20,000 to $25,000 a pop, with Foxconn planning to... Read more...
Google is now the proud owner of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that specializes in building dynamic robots and software for human simulation. You may have seen some of Boston Dynamics' creations already, especially if you've spent any amount of time browsing YouTube videos -- a 2 minute demonstration of the company's WildCat robot has over 15 million views since being uploaded in the beginning of October. The technology here is very cool. Boston Dynamics has a stable of robots that always seem to defy expectations. They have an incredible sense of balance and, in some cases, absurd speed,... Read more...
Amazon isn't taking any chances with our future robotic overlords. To show that it's willing to play ball under a mechanical regime, Jeff Bezos recently went on "60 Minutes" and unveiled plans to use delivery drones to drop off packages to flesh and blood customers (or "servants," as robots will call them after the uprising). Of course, the logistics of drones is still a ways off, but in the interim, Amazon is turning to robot helpers in its warehouses. The e-commerce site is putting to use its acquisition of Kiva Systems, a company that builds these robot things that can zip shelves full of merchandise... Read more...
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