Remember the robotic Transformer shown off by Brave Robotics at last year's Tokyo Maker Faire? It seems the toy caught the eye of official Transformers toy maker Tomy, which is now working with Brave Robotics to create a commercial line, according to Italian hobby news Web site Hobby Media.
When Apple turns over part of its oh-so-important Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address to an unknown startup, you can be sure Tim Cook and Co. think they're dealing with some very cool technology.
That was very much the case with Anki, which was handpicked for a coveted slot as the poster child for what unknown developers can do with iOS. During its time onstage, Anki showed off what at first appears to be a simple toy car racing game, but what in reality might be the most advanced intersection of consumer-grade artificial intelligence and robotics ever.… Read more
iRobot wants to help you stay away from work meetings, a sentiment we can all applaud.
Developed with Cisco's TelePresence technology, the autonomously navigating machine is like a large, rolling webcam that lets remote users take part in "meetings and presentations where movement and location spontaneity are important." … Read more
In 2012, 83 firefighters died in the line of duty in the U.S. alone, and another 37 fatalities have been reported thus far in 2013. But, with better scouting tools, these numbers could be lowered.
Thank goodness for robots.
A new one out of the University of California, San Diego, may soon help first responders survey a fiery scene with its ability to enter a burning building and immediately transmit data on the state and location of the fire, the building's structural integrity, and the presence of any volatile gases -- all while on the lookout for survivors.… Read more
The emerging field of soft robotics, which involves mimicking the squishiness and stickiness of such creatures as octopuses, starfish, and squid, may be taking its next cue from a different source: plants.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley describe in the journal Nano Letters a new hydrogel that, inspired by phototropism (the phenomenon of plants moving toward light), can actually expand and shrink in a very controlled fashion via light.
"Shape-changing gels such as ours could have applications for drug delivery and tissue engineering," principal investigator Seung-Wuk Lee, associated professor of bioengineering, said in a school … Read more
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In you-knew-that-would-happen news, an adult app store called MiKandi is building apps for Google Glass. A robot refills your beer glass when you're ready for another round. And "Arrested Development" is proving popular, especially with pirates. All that and more on this week's Crave extravanganza. … Read more
When you think of killer robots, you probably imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger running around in a leather jacket and sunglasses, or even ED-209 from "Robocop" causing all kinds of damage. Those sorts of mechanical menaces from film are turning out to be the subject of some real concern in the actual world.
A month ago, Human Rights Watch launched a campaign aimed at stopping killer robots. "Urgent action is needed to preemptively ban lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention," the organization said in a release.
Now, Christof … Read more
Be afraid. Be very afraid of these three letters: LAR.
Lethal autonomous robots is what Christof Heyns, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, wants you to think about. He wants a global ban on the development of machines that can target people and kill them without supervision.
"The possible introduction of LARs raises far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace," Heyns said Thursday during the presentation of his latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. "If this is done, machines and not humans will take the decision on who is alive or dies." … Read more
Robot! Fetch me a beer!
Yes, robots can actually carry out that order. Now, they can even anticipate where to pour your beverage of choice.
Armed with a Kinect 3D camera and a database of 3D videos, PR2 can analyze what it sees by breaking down activities into several steps. Then it anticipates what might happen next with objects it picks out in the scene. It can choose the most likely next step for activities like eating, drinking, cleaning, and putting things away. … Read more
Deutsche Bahn says its trains were defaced about 14,000 times in 2012 alone, costing the operator about $9.8 million in cleanup expenses.
The company will start testing drones at large rail depots, where vandalism frequently occurs at night. The drones will be nearly silent and will have GPS tracking and sensitive infrared cameras to establish evidence for criminal prosecution.
The drones will fly at altitudes up to 492 feet with a top speed … Read more