Meet Octobot: Squishy, Adorable and Revolutionary [The New York Times] “This squishy eight-armed machine is the world’s first fully autonomous soft-bodied robot. Researchers at Harvard University created the octopus by three-dimensional printing, using silicone gel, which gives it its flexible, rubbery texture. On Wednesday, they unveiled their adorable step toward the robot uprising in the journal Nature [.PDF]. The scientists said in their paper that their creation could be a foundation for the future of soft-bodied robots.”
This robot stingray is powered by genetically engineered rat heart cells. It has an elastomer body and a stiff gold skeleton. Rat heart cells are grown in a specific pattern on the underside, and are activated by pulses of light -- allowing the robot to be remote controlled as it navigates through a liquid with suspended nutrients that keep the cells alive. More details from Science. Even Popular Mechanics doesn't need to do much sensationalizing to this story.
Ten-year-old Eva writes a blog in French about things she does – such as triathlons – and learns – like the symbolism behind hopscotch (Le jeu de la marelle in French). She also writes about programming her fully open-source Thymio robot. She ran into some difficulty coding it, however, and with a usage goal in mind, she applied to the Paris Summer Innovation Fellowship, alongside urban designers, data scientists and hardware specialists. Her application was accepted. [more inside]
Needybot roams the corridors of Wieden+Kennedy, forever seeking help, forever getting stuck, forever searching for a friend.
Japan has a national gift for holding in balance the stateliness of tradition and the marvel of novelty. So it ought to come as no surprise that on the western margin of the archipelago, on a serene bay in a remote area of the Nagasaki Prefecture, there is an enormous theme park dedicated to the splendors of imperial Holland. It follows with perfect logic that the historical theme park’s newest lodging place is the world’s first hotel staffed by robots.
RoboCup is a robotics competition featuring autonomous humanoid soccer-playing robots. The action may be a bit clunky at times, but there are some surprising moments. The project's goal is ambitious and maybe a bit threatening for fleshy carbon-based soccer players:
By the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.
Ricky Ma has built the girl of his dreams: Scarlett Johannson, using parts mostly created using a 3D printer, and as a result has landed right square in the middle of the uncanny valley.
David Hanson and his lifelike robots (the pilfered Philip K. Dick head most famously) have been on the blue a number of times, but they have finally advanced to the point of wanting to destroy humanity. [video]
Autonomous vehicles have been extolled as the first step in a new driverless future, and now New Zealand and Domino's Pizza are experimenting with robotic, autonomous pizza delivery. Capable of carrying 10 pizzas and with a 20
mile km range, the Domino's Robotic Unit (DRU), described as "cheeky and endearing," was developed with technology from Marathon Robots, who also produce robotic live-fire targets. No word on whether a combination target-shooting/pizza-delivery unit will be forthcoming.
“Robots are transitioning from something that’s part of a technological environment to something that’s a feature of our social environment,” she says, “always teetering on this boundary of being really creepy and really likeable. That’s something we need to understand.”
SHARP and Tomotaka Takahashi have announced a new phone, a cute robot that interacts with you. (via)
After a drunk man pummels a Pepper robot greeting customers at a store in Japan, robotics ethicists call for a new type of legal protection that would apply specifically to robots.
As more-advanced robots can already react to basic stimuli, navigate complex environments, and use specialized “intelligence” to accomplish narrowly defined tasks, they present themselves as far from human but also as something rather different from a toaster or basic tool. Weng calls for a set of laws to guide human interaction with robots as they become more common and more social. He argues that they are a “third existence,” after people and property, deserving of their own legal protections.[more inside]
Break On Through by The Doors, played by vintage electronic equipment arranged by James Cochrane. Here's a version with vocals. [more inside]
People of the United Kingdom! Will a robot take your job? (previously for data from the USA) [more inside]
Escaping from Children’s Abuse of Social Robots. "the robot is programmed to run away from people who are below a certain height"
My name is Wyatt Scott and I'm running for parliament as an independent candidate for Mission Matsqui Fraser Canyon. We all know politics are corrupt so lets do something about it. Put an independent in the house.
The family dog is going to die. From 1999 through 2006 Sony produced Aibo, a robotic dog which while not a true artificial intelligence was artfully crafted to inspire feelings of love and affection in its human owners. Sony stopped producing Aibo in 2006 (previously) but kept up a repair service until last year. Now that parts are getting scarce and Sony isn't fixing them any more, Aibo owners are dealing with new feelings for their robotic pals -- grief and loss.
This Terrifying Robot Cheetah Can Now Jump Over Things The jump is accomplished by using a three-part algorithm, which interprets data from the robot's onboard LIDAR system. [more inside]
Origami Robot Folds Itself Up, Does Cool Stuff, Dissolves Into Nothing [yt] - "At ICRA 2015 in Seattle yesterday, researchers from MIT demonstrated [yt] an untethered miniature origami robot that self-folds, walks, swims, and degrades. That's the title of their paper [pdf], in fact, and they delivered on all of those promises: from a flat sheet with a magnet on it, their robot folds itself up in just a few seconds, is immediately ready to zip around on land or water driven by magnetic fields, and then when you've run out of things to do with it, drive it into a tank of acetone and it'll dissolve. This is the first time that a robot has been able to demonstrate a complete life cycle like this, and eventually, it'll be doing it inside your body." (via; previously)
DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, sponsor of self-driving car competitions (one of the winning teams now works on Google's self driving car project) is now sponsoring robotics competitions.
Here are this year's contestants. [more inside]
Here are this year's contestants. [more inside]
When the robotic revolution begins, it will be lead by those that look like young Asian women who use to check you into your room.
The Random Darknet Shopper is an art piece by !MEDIENGRUPPE BITNIK for the exhibtion From Memes to Onionland. So the bot bought 10 pills of Ecstasy (among other things in the name of art and got 'arrested' by the Swiss police. So what happens when a bot gets 'arrested?' It seems robots are starting to break the law and nobody knows what to do about it. [more inside]
"But you can't use toilet paper if it's still attached, so I made this cutting blade here, which I securely attached..." (SLYT)
Time Trap: a short comedy about time travel.
A Worm's Mind In A Lego Body: Timothy Bubisce of the OpenWorm project (previously) has uploaded a neural mapping, or connectome, of the C. elegans worm as software into a Lego robot. The result? It kinda sorta behaves like a worm would. So, not quite the Kurzweillian dream of uploading one's consciousness into a machine, but still fascinating.
Will Killer Robots Destroy Humanity? What The Future Of Robots Reveals About The Human Condition. Peter Thiel says 'Robots Are Our Saviours, Not the Enemy,' via. Brad DeLong reponds with The Rise of the Robots. Don't forget your 'Terrifying Robot Update,' especially when robots grow our food. Or maybe we'll get the Robots of Resistance, with human values. New World Order: Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy. AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs. [more inside]
Though we're not (yet) to the point of actually implementing any strict laws of robotics, the limits for how much workplace robots can accidentally harm their human co-workers are now being discussed by standards-setting agencies. It's easy enough to say robots and humans cannot work in the same space, but once robots start collaborating with people (aka: COBOTS), large companies look to standards for safety measures and risk assessment. That's where the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (German: Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung, IFA) come in, with BG/BGIA risk assessment recommendations according to machinery directive (36 page PDF), based on real-world tests with robots on human subjects.
Sparked is a short film by Cirque Du Soleil about a solitary inventor. And his lampshades.
Remember the floating training remote in Star Wars? Some people have done DIY versions of the remote that can levitate on your desktop. However, leave it to NASA to create the real thing and call it SPHERES: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites: robotic bowling balls (OK, 18-sided polyhedron satellites) with autonomous propulsion, power, avionics, software, communications, and metrology subsystems, that fly freely in the ISS. First tested in 2006, they have been upgraded with Android smartphones, which makes them (for now) the less terrifying item in Google's growing robotic arsenal.
On July 27th, the cross Canada journey of hitchBOT will begin in Nova Scotia and make its way to BC as part of an experiment that looks at the interaction between people and increasingly ubiquitous technology.
A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
The Camera In The Mirror (Via sweetkid)
Inside Edward Snowden’s Life as a Robot. "Since he first became a household name a year ago, Edward Snowden has been a modern Max Headroom, appearing only as a face on a screen broadcast from exile in Hong Kong or Russia. But in the age of the telepresence robot, being a face on a screen isn’t as restrictive as it used to be." Indeed: Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure. [more inside]
"Buy our car, but be aware that it might drive over a cliff rather than hit a car with two people." The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save Two?
Gofor is a Drones-as-a-service concept. "Drones are summoned much like taxis in other popular service apps. Your desired task is either noted at the outset using presets, or customized using voice commands." [more inside]
An actual robot is playing THREES live right now on the internet. It is probably better than you at THREES, but at least your arms are longer, so.
Jordan Wolfson and Spectral Motion take us another step closer to the singularity with a vision of the exotic dancers of 20 minutes from now. [more inside]
What Jobs Will The Robots Take? Eight Ways Robots Stole Our Jobs In 2013. Who is next? Soldiers? Rescue teams? Managers? Astronauts? [more inside]
At the age of 13, Sherwood "Woody" Fuehrer started building a pretzel-can bodied robot named Gismo out of spare parts. [more inside]