Items tagged with robots

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 across the warehouse floor to workers as opposed to the other way around. It's already happened... Read more...
The wonderful and terrifying robot future portended by Amazon’s delivery drones isn’t exclusive to the e-tailer giant; Google is getting in on the robot action, too. The company is looking to develop humanoid robots that could perform tasks such as manufacturing electronics, loading up products to ship, and even delivering goods to your front door. Andy Rubin and robots (Credit: Jim Wilson/NYT) Andy Rubin, of Android fame, is heading up the project, and according to a New York Times piece on the subject, the effort is being well-funded by Google, so it’s not just some cute idea that will never see the light of day. However, Rubin acknowledges that this won’t be an easy... Read more...
Believe it or not, it's earning seasons again, and a company that always seems to make things interesting in this regard is Amazon. While it's stock price is soaring, the past few quarters have shown tremendous revenue with next to no profit. This quarter, however, Amazon didn't manage to make a dime. While Q3 2013 sales were up 24% to $17.09 billion, and operating cash flow increased 48% to $4.98 billion, pure profit was down. All told, Amazon posted a net loss of $41 million in Q3, but in some ways, it's actually being viewed as a positive. Why? Because last Q3 the company posted a loss of $274 million, so at least things aren't quite as rough this year. The numbers, however, only tell part... Read more...
You've probably heard the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," but did you ever equate it to being prepared for the inevitable robot uprising that will threaten the human race? Probably not, but that isn't stopping a group of Cambridge researchers from at least entertaining the idea. "Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in AI, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change. The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but... Read more...
Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) may have finally figured out a solution to all those pesky accusations of poor working conditions that keep popping up in headlines -- robots! The human condition being what it is, workers comprised of blood and guts tend to gripe and moan when employers saddle them with low wages, long hours, tedious tasks, and other things that, collectively, drive some to view suicide as a superior alternative. Fine, have it your way. In the face of (reasonable) complaints, Foxconn president Terry Gou last year said he hoped to replace 1 million living and breathing workers with cold, mechanical robots. Apparently he really meant it. According to a translated article from Chinese... Read more...
According to China's Xinhua's news agency, Taiwanese technology bigwig Foxconn (otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision) plans to employ 1 million robots in the next three years to help curtail the rising costs of having to play real life humans, and also to improve efficiency. Terry Gou, founder and chairman of the company, told Xinhua that these metal employees will take up routine tasks like spraying, welding, and assembling, all of which are currently being performed by humans. Foxconn already makes use of 10,000 robots, and will increase that number to 300,000 next year before ultimately reaching 1 million robot workers in three years. These might be the droids Foxconn is looking for. Foxconn... Read more...
The "personal robots" market will explode in the next few years, and we don't mean all over your kitchen. ABI Research expects robots aimed at consumers to create a $19 billion market by 2017. Who wouldn't want one of the two new "personal presence" bots introduced this month by start-ups? Or Panasonic's new hair-washing robot? Vacuum robots have had the most success with consumers so far, but its these types of personal presence robots that ABI thinks will soon take off. "While a truly 'killer app' has yet to emerge in personal robots, security/telepresence and health care-related applications are likely to gain significant traction by the end of the forecast period," says Larry Fisher emerging... Read more...
Not that CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) really needs any additional hype, but the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) wants to make sure that even with CES half a year away, that the media and analysts never forget that their technology extravaganza is on the horizon. The CEA sponsored a mini tradeshow in New York City this last week, called the CEA LineShows.We decided that this would be a good opportunity to not only potentially learn about new products and technologies, but it would also be great real-world test for the Flip UltraHD pocket camcorder we recently reviewed. So we grabbed the camcorder and headed over to the show. All Takes Shot On Flip UltraHD Camcorder We spoke with... Read more...
A team of U.K. researchers have developed robotic fish that they plan to use to detect pollution. The researches plan a trial of five robotic fish in the northern Spanish port of Gijon. If successful, they hope to use the fish in waterways worldwide. Unlike earlier models, which had to be remotely-controlled, these new carp-shaped robots are autonomous. They cost $29,000 each, and are equipped with sensors to detect potentially hazardous pollutants. Data will be transmitted back to the shore using wi-fi. Before anyone says anything, yes, standard wi-fi such as you might find in a home or business, has a limited range. But the actual transmission of data will take place via wi-fi at the charging... Read more...
How would you feel about a robot asking, “Would you like fries with that?” when you ordered a Big Mac? Well, if the National Intelligence Council’s recent Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World is correct, we could be experiencing just that by 2025. Granted, it’s a few years down the road, but the idea that robots could be so capable to replace humans is interesting to think about, that’s for sure. Plus, assuming the robots are programmed to be nice at all times, we like the idea of guaranteed polite service. However, this cool technology won’t come without costs: The NIC notes that these types of robots could disrupt unskilled labor markets and affect immigration patterns by filling some jobs... Read more...
It has been a somewhat slow weekend for tech news, but I just came across an interesting article over at the Live Science site that I wanted to share.  The article centers around a cutting edge MIT robotics project dubbed Nexi.What makes Nexi so interesting is that "she" has been designed to communicate with not only the spoken word, but with facial expressions too."MIT's Nexi robot expresses emotions the same way you do - with your highly mobile face. Nexi's head and face were designed by Xitome Design with MIT. The expressive robotics started with a neck mechanism sporting 4 degrees of freedom (DoF) at the base, plus pan-tilt-yaw of the head itself. The mechanism has been constructed... Read more...
Everything gets automated eventually. At first, businesses strive for efficiency in workers, and then when the work becomes too boring and repetitive, they go all the way to having a machine of some sort do it. But that could never happen to writing software code, could it?  Charles Simonyi thinks it could, and his company Intentional Software is trying to do just that with its Domain Workbench. Simonyi's five-year-old startup, Intentional Software, is making software so smart that you can simply tell it what you want to do. Lay down a few basic parameters, and it will write its own code. No programming skills are necessary. "Experts [in other fields] can be much more innovative... Read more...
According to an article from Engadget, Europe and South Korea are developing a "Robot Ethics Charter" in order to govern the manufacturing and use of robots to including ethical standards. If this wasn't already sci-fi enough, guess where the a great deal of inspiration for the charter is being found? Isaac Asimov's "three principles", a concept from his 1942 book I Robot, is being used as inspiration for both Europe and S. Korea's charters. In the end, when the robots rise, it won't be a cool slathering of mud spread across your thermally trackable meat sack which saves you; it'll be a manifesto. Europe's version is expected next month,... Read more...
Now this is my kind of technology! :)  Perfect fodder for a Sunday evening jaunt across the web. During a recent Robot expo in Vienna, home-brew Robots were invited to demonstrate their skills in categories like mixing cocktails, serving drinks and snacks, bar conversation and smoking cigarettes and cigars. Staring with glowing red eyes at a young woman strolling by, bartender Chapok slowly extends his arm to offer her a gin and orange. She takes the glass, murmurs a flustered "thank you" and walks away while the cocktail-mixing robot turns his attention back to a row of bottles. "People are interacting, they are actually talking to my robot," smiles David Calkins, who teaches... Read more...
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