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.
A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
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]
What Jobs Will The Robots Take? Eight Ways Robots Stole Our Jobs In 2013. Who is next? Soldiers? Rescue teams? Managers? Astronauts? [more inside]
Double is the ultimate tool for telecommuting. From anywhere in the world, you have a physical presence in the office and can speak to co-workers at anytime. Double is a remotely controlled, mobile teleconferencing system, enabling conversations to happen anywhere and anytime.
Throwing and Catching an Inverted Pendulum with Quadrocopters. From Robohub, a website about all things robotic.
Today I am sharing a video of a woman with quadriplegia who has trained her brain to use a robotic arm to feed herself chocolate. Merry Christmas!
Korean robot prepares salad... very slowly. It also is (apparently) capable of loading a dishwasher, although there's no video of that.
Boston Dynamics is getting close to mastering quadrupedal motion with Big Dog and Cheetah (previously). And are working on bipedal motion with Petman (previously), but how about a robot that is able to leap (up to the top of) tall buildings in a single bound? Sand Flea! [more inside]
Soft robotics are inspired by animals which don't have hard internal skeletons, like squid, worms, and starfish. Developed at Harvard, with funding from DARPA, this particular soft robot, "not only walks, it knows several different gaits and can deflate to stuff itself through tiny little gaps." Another design here, and another (also), and another. In addition to movement, soft robotics can also be used for grip. More information about the Harvard lab is available here (with a student describing the research here).
"Cubelets is a robot construction kit; by combining sensor, logic and actuator blocks, young kids can create simple reconfigurable robots that exhibit surprisingly complex behavior." Watch the Cubelets Engineering Prototypes demo (1.01) on Vimeo. [more inside]
Braindriver is a car that allows you to steer, accelerate and decelerate with nothing more than the faint electrical signals generated by the brain.
One small step for a robot, one giant leap for robot-kind... but not yet. The Robonaut R2 (sic) will have to wait at least another three weeks, as the final mission of Space Shuttle Discovery is delayed.
Sure, guys, that’s totally based on an elephant’s trunk, and not from an overwhelming desire to have the greatest Comicon outfit ever.
Self-assembling robot. A self-assembling chair. A swarm of robots attempting to assemble. (All you-tube links.)
David Byrne writes three thoughtful essays on robots, song, and the uncanny valley on the occasion of the creation of a robot which sings in his voice at a Madrid museum: Visiting the robot factory in Texas, regarding the uncanny valley, on machines and souls.
The uncanny valley just got deeper. "Treat yourself to the perfect woman."
Amazing video of BigDog. Described by its developer, Boston Dynamics, as "The Most Advanced Quadruped Robot on Earth."
Remember that X-files episode? The one with the robot cockroaches from outer space? Well, scientists in Belgium have created robots that act like cockroaches, and are accepted by the real cockroaches because they smell sexy to them. Better yet, the scientists were able to use the robots to change how the cockroaches behaved. [more inside]
New surgical robots are not only capable of working more precisely than human hands, but they have no metal or electrical parts, so will work under MRI machines on tumors that would otherwise be invisible. The NeuroArm will set you back $27 million, but may confer more karma than that trip to space.
Dr. Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington has created a brain-computer interface that allows a human to control a small humanoid robot (video link) through brain activity alone.
Cockroach Controlled Mobile Robots — Overview: an experimental mechanism that uses a living Madagascan hissing cockroach atop a modified trackball to control a three-wheeled robot. If the cockroach moves left, the robot moves left. Infrared sensors also provide navigation feedback to the cockroach, striving to create a pseudo-intelligent system with the cockroach as the CPU. Garnet Hertz, creator of Fly with Implanted Webserver and Cockroach with Wireless Video, has used Gromphadorhina portentosa on three generations of autonomous roachbots (YouTube video and Ars Electronica 2005 gallery).
Perhaps you'll remember one of the most popular bits of actual home robotics from the distant past, the venerated Heathkit Hero -- as seen on the teevee show Whiz Kids and other geek-facing programming. As I kid I thought they looked RAD and would nearly killed for one. Those days of everyman robo-lovin' I thought were well past, their niche filled with Aibo and other toy-based robots. Until today, however. The White Bot Robotics 914 rekindles dreams of a telerobotic presence lovingly slaved to robust hardware. Sadly, reports put the pricetag enticingly out of reach at $10K and the thing by default runs on XP, but in theory it's expandible. Also, the same report cites an $1,200 "less featured" model that "may" be forthcoming. Via
With My Special Partner, I can drink my way back to the 7th Millenium BCE for ancient music, and the fish’ll tell me how to get home.
DUBAI (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates is to mount robot jockeys on racing camels later this year after a ban on using children in the region's popular sport.
Honda has upgraded Asimo. They've added jogging, autonomous continuous movement, some new joint designs, and better intelligence, expanding the range of humanoid robots, which includes, the Qrio from Sony, Isamu, and Toyota's offering that entered the fray earlier this year (previously discussed). (More)
Koolio is a traveling autonomous refrigerator robot ... a cross between R2D2 and a vending machine.
Towards a robot-based economy. Lots of interesting ideas here regarding what might happen and possible solutions to economic and social problems when robotics and automation become as cheap as computers did in the 90s.
The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot When David Hanson set out to build a robotic head, he saw no reason not to make it look just like a human. Then he stumbled into the Uncanny Valley. (For contrast and comparison, a similarly-themed prior post).
But what about the terrible secret of space? Inteligent robot escapes, then gets run over by a car. The driver makes a bad joke.
The robot with the mind of an eel. Doesn't this scare you just a little bit?
The best idea for a PDA in a long time! I love my palm but I think this would be even better yet.