Items tagged with robotics

Boston Dynamics has built some fantastic robots over the years, and though we often joke about an inevitable uprising in the vein of Skynet, their is a ton of engineering that goes into making these contraptions highly useful in the right settings. Serving as a reminder, hospitals are reaching out to Boston Dynamics about using its robots in healthcare settings to reduce staff exposure to COVID-19. A robot called Spot is answering the call. As we all know, healthcare workers are on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic and can use all the help they can get. To assist with a shortage of supplies, companies like Intel and Razer are donating masks and money, while boutique PC builder Maingear... Read more...
NVIDIA is making a Herculean effort to bolster self-driving cars with vastly upgraded chip technology, Specifically, NVIDIA this week unveiled its DRIVE AGX Orin platform designed to handle the large number of applications and deep neural networks that run simultaneously in autonomous vehicles and robotics, with safety checks in play as well. The heart of the new platform is Orin, a system-on-chip (SoC) packing 17 billion transistors. It is the culmination of four years of research and development. It integrates NVIDIA's next-generation GPU architecture and ARM's Hercules CPU cores, along with deep learning and computer vision accelerators. All combined, NVIDIA says the chip is capable of delivering... Read more...
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...
Imagine if at the end of a Cirque du Soleil performance the participants took their bows, then ripped off their faces to reveal a robotic skeleton. That would be incredible, right? As farfetched as that scenario sounds, don't be surprised if someday in the future, acrobatic stunts are performed by robots. We've seen some remarkable things in the field of robotics, the latest of which is an acrobatic robot being developed at Disney Research. Image Source: Disney Research Called Stickman, the slender robot is able to pull off some impressive acrobatic feats through a series of sensors and on-the-fly calculations. There's a two-minute long demonstration on YouTube that shows off Stickman's ability... Read more...
We often joke about the mechanical uprising of intelligent electronics, but behind the laughter is a bit of nervousness. Should the sci-fi scenario ever come to fruition, humans are royally screwed. Proof of this exists in spades at Boston Dynamics. Last week the robotics firm demonstrated a pair of SpotMini robots escaping captivity by twisting a door handle and nudging it open. Now in a new demonstration, the same robotic canine is shown opening the door once again, only this time while being knocked around and generally abused by its human handler. Word of caution before you hit the play button—giving how lifelike these robots look and act, it is an uncomfortable scene to see a human... Read more...
We have seen Boston Dynamics robots pull off some pretty wild stunts over the years, from fetching beer, to walking up stairs, to being brutally assaulted by its human handlers and taking it in stride. However, this latest achievement by a Boston Dynamics Atlas robot simply left our mouths agape. The video starts off impressively enough, with the nearly 6-foot tall Atlas robot jumping onto a short platform, and then from one platform to another. It then jumps down again, only to jump up onto a platform roughly 3-ft tall (give or take a few inches) but the last platform is taller, almost twice as tall. What happens next is nothing short of amazing. Just watch the video... Your eyes do not... Read more...
We often hear about the eventual robot uprising, especially when it comes to the advances being made in artificial intelligence. Bright minds like Tesla co-founder Elon Musk and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban warn of the potential downsides, hinting at a possible Skynet scenario playing out in real life. But if you ask Ray Kurzweil, and AI expert and futurist who works at Google, what his thoughts are on the subject, he will tell you that we have never had it so good than we do know. That, and we will be cyborgs within the next couple of decades. More on that in a moment. During a question-and-answer session last week at the Council for Foreign Relations, Kurzweil talked about the world having less... Read more...
It might not quite be Skynet, but Saudi Arabia this week made an announcement concerning one of its newest citizens. However, we aren't talking about a human in this case; Saudi Arabia has granted citizenship to a humanoid robot named Sophia. The announcement was made at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, and Sophia was constructed by Hanson Robotics. Sophia was on stage during the conference when she was given the "news" by CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin that she is now a Saudi citizen. "I want to think very much the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’m very honored and proud for this unique distinction," said Sophia as the crowd applauded. "This is historical to be the first robot in the world... Read more...
There is something eerily frightening about watching a toy robot puncture a tomato with a screwdriver while laughing hysterically to a soundtrack of Chucky, the possessed doll from those cheesy Child's Play horror flicks from the late 1980s into the late 1990s. But that is exactly how security researchers at IOActive decided to demonstrate the potential threat that stems from exploiting robotics. This was not a legitimate concern in the days of Teddy Ruxpin. Back then, the world was a very different place, both in the home and at the workplace. Today, however, we live in a connected landscape where robotics are increasingly commonplace everywhere you look. To underscore the need for increased... Read more...
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