Items tagged with robotics

Sure, you can summon Alexa to order a pizza, but if you want a beer, you will have to get up and march your backside to the refrigerator, and get it yourself. Might that change one day? Who knows, but perhaps things are trending in that direction. There is talk of Amazon developing an Alexa-enabled robot that could follow users around the home, like a puppy (but without the pee puddles in its wake). It is called Vesta, and is it is supposedly one of the things being developed by Amazon's Lab126 research and development division located in Sunnyvale, California. Whether Vesta actually sees the light of day or not remains to be seen, but at the very least, the robot is something Amazon is pouring... Read more...
NASA has had an exciting month; it announced early in June that it intended to open the ISS to private astronauts tours for $35,000 per night. In addition, NASA has now announced that on June 14 a robot called Bumble became the first Astrobee robot to fly under its own power in space. Astrobee robots are free-flying systems meant to help researchers test new tech in zero gravity. Robots like Bumble can also perform routine work along with the astronauts living and working on the ISS. NASA sees a future where robots like Astrobee can be caretakers for the NASA lunar gateway and play a part in NASA's future missions exploring the Moon and Mars. Testing Bumble out on the ISS wasn't as simple... Read more...
It was just another day for Boston Dynamics, the engineering and robotics design company that gets its jollies from pushing around its mechanical creations. There is a method to the madness—can these piles of metal and electronics maintain (or regain) their balance when shoved around or hit with a hockey stick? That's how the testing goes, at least for the camera. But then something happened. Something utterly disturbing. On this day, the robot fought back. Well, not really. A company called Corridor posted a humorously disturbing video on YouTube by "Bosstown Dynamics," a spoof on Boston Dynamics, as referenced above. In it, the 'engineers' are doing doing their thing, only ratcheted up... Read more...
MIT has been working on robots going back for years, and with each new generation, the bots get more capable. The MIT Biomimetic Robotics Laboratory has trotted out a new robot that is called the Mini Cheetah, and as the name implies it is a smaller version of the full-size Cheetah robot. MIT has produced a new video that shows the Mini Cheetah prancing around in a deer-like manner. The larger Cheetah robot has various potential uses, including carrying loads for soldiers or workers out in the field. It might also be used for transporting injured people on a battlefield or disaster situation. Mini Cheetah is too small for that sort of work, but it is exceptionally agile. MIT says that the Mini... Read more...
Remote controlled cars are fun, but the ones you may have found at Toys R Us (RIP) back in the day do not hold a candle to the RVR Robot, the latest project by Sphero, a robotics firm that makes an assortment of fun gadgets. Pronounced "rover," the RVR is well on its way to being fully funded on Kickstarter. The RVR is a "go anywhere, do anything programmable" robot. It's a high-torque, all-terrain remote controlled vehicle, but unlike regular RC cars, it's armed with an assortment of sensors and built upon Sphero's Edu app. "RVR is more than just a fun, programmable robot—it’s also highly customizable. We’ve added some incredible features that open up a world of possibilities... Read more...
We tend to associate NVIDIA with graphics cards, and more specifically, the graphics processing units (GPUs) that go inside them, but the company has a much broader focus. For example, NVIDIA is heavily invested in artificial intelligence technologies. As part of that, NVIDIA recently opened up a robotics lab in Seattle near the University of Washington campus to research and develop the next generation of artificially intelligent robots. NVIDIA opened the lab in November with 14 researchers and expects to triple that number by midyear, which also factors in visiting faculty and interns. Dieter Fox, senior director of robotics research at NVIDIA and professor at the University of Washington's... Read more...
Robots are virtually commonplace today, finding use helping in industry, healthcare and lots of other applications. Denver Broncos fans who frequent Broncos Mile High Stadium might get to meet a robot that does something that could be a dream come true for lots of football fans. This bot won't only hold your beer, it will get you a beer. This beer-dispensing robot is called the Bud Light Bot, and it will debut at this weekend's game in the United East Club level where it will hand out draft cold ones during the game. If you are expecting to see a Bender-style robot standing there handing out beers through a door in his shiny, metal chest, prepare for disappointment, however. It's just a robotic... Read more...
Boston Dynamics has wowed us over the years with the capabilities of its robots. From its humanoid Atlas, to its "robotic dog" called SpotMini -- and everything in between -- Boston Dynamics continues to push the envelope for what's possible with our future robot overlords. Last week, we witnessed Atlas jumping over logs and up a three-step platform using a single leg to "push off". This time around, SpotMini is dancing its ass off to "Uptown Funk". We don't think that the SpotMini's dance moves will put Bruno Mars out of a job anytime soon, but it's no doubt impressive to see this four-legged creature doing the running man and hot-stepping all over the place to... Read more...
It's been a while since we've talked about Boston Dynamics here at HotHardware. The last time we checked in with the company, its SpotMini robot dog was walking autonomously through a "mock" house, while the humanoid Atlas was seen taking a causal stroll through the woods. This time around, Boston Dynamics has given us a brief glimpse at the latest iteration of the Atlas, and it's simply amazing. We've seen Atlas perform backflips, climb stairs, pick up objects, jump up onto objects using both feet for launching, and much more. However, in this video, we first see Atlas perform another hop over a log.  In the previous demonstration in May, Atlas had to stop, gather its... Read more...
Just a few weeks ago, Samsung said it was investing $22 billion into several breakthrough technologies over the course of the next three years, including research efforts into artificial intelligence (AI). We're now seeing where some of that money is going—Samsung announced it is building a new AI research center in New York City "to strengthen its AI capabilities." This will bring the number of AI research facilities Samsung owns to half a dozen, with five other facilities already operating in Korea, the US, the UK, Canada, and Russia. The one that is being erected in New York City will focus on AI robotics, It will be led by Daniel D. Lee, Executive Vice President of Samsung Research,... Read more...
We have seen some truly amazing things in the field of robotics, like a dog that can walk itself and a stickman robot that can perform acrobatics. Those are nifty, though not exactly practical for home consumers. What is practical, however, is a new app-enabled robotic ball by Sphero that is designed to help teach programming. It's called the Sphere Bolt, and it's a modern take on the original Sphero, back when the company was called Orbotix. The aim is to "foster creativity through discovery and play, all while laying the foundation for computer science." Or put another way, the Sphero Bolt is supposed to make programming fun for kids and adults alike. "Sphero BOLT is an app-enabled robotic... Read more...
Like any industry, technology follows trends that pave a path into the future. As it stands right, the two biggest trends are artificial intelligence (AI) and, related to that, robotics. It's no surprise that Facebook is increasing its investments into those sectors, both by hiring a handful of top-level computer scientists and by building new facilities. This is all an extension of Facebook's AI Research (FAIR) division, which it created over four years ago to focus on advancing the science and technology of AI. It's a pretty flexible setup for participants—researchers have the freedom to oversee their own projects. They also often collaborate with educational institutions, with Facebook... Read more...
A company called Seismic, a wearable robotics spin-off from SRI International, is showing off a new wearable suit that is meant to help the wearer boost their muscle power by working with the user's muscles. Tiny motors embedded in the suit are designed in a way that contracts like human muscle. These tiny motors are embedded around the joints in the body and attach via grips in the clothing that function like tendons. Computer sensors are also embedded into the suit along with a computer for controlling the sensors allowing the tracking of body movement. The software can tell the artificial muscles in the clothing when to activate. All the hardware in the suit is inside the low-profile hexagon... Read more...
It has been a long time since NVIDIA was singularly focused on graphics chips. These days the company has its tentacles in multiple different markets, with an especially big interest in artificial intelligence. As part of that, NVIDIA is rolling out Isaac, a new platform designed to power the next generation of autonomous machines, injecting AI capabilities into robots for various different tasks. What kinds of tasks? Everything from manufacturing and logistics, to agriculture, construction, and much more. NVIDIA officially launched the platform at this year's Computex convention, noting that Issac features hardware, software, and a virtual robot simulator as part of the overall platform. "AI... Read more...
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