Showing posts with label Robotics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robotics. Show all posts

Monday, 27 March 2017

Furhat Robot Eavesdrops on Men and Women to See How Much They Talk

Robotic systems, created by scientists in the modern world, are really amazing to us. We cannot imagine how a complicated task is easily accomplished by robots. Obviously, it is the intelligence of scientists that may allow robotic structures to get programmed properly to do any work. However, one of the latest innovations in this field is a robot, which is equipped with the capacity of overhearing something. When the robot is installed in a place, it may find out how all the existing people interact with each other.

Different level of conversations among various people-

To describe about the look of this small robot, it is to be said that the researchers have covered its head with a hat, lined with fur. Lots of experimental studies have been done on head of robot that is termed as Furhat. These are intended to know all the disparities in the participation of every person, while dealing with a project or any other activity. The scientists want to make out whether this Furhat robot is able to maintain a balance. From the analysis, it has been observed that while there is a pairing of two women, they speak considerably. However, if it is a pair with male member, she does not speak much. Again, the pairing of two guys does not involve more conversation than that of 2 women. The above things are true only in case of adult persons. For teenage girls or boys, the same reaction is not seen. But, sex is not an importance factor to create a difference.

How the experiment is done with Furhat robot-

The Furhat robot has made an interaction with more than five hundred people in an experiment, which continues for 9 days. At a table, 2 persons have taken their seats at particular time, and a Touchscreen is placed at the opposite side. These people have played one game, in which some virtual cards have to be sorted.

Furhat Robot has interacted with them to do a task, and its sensors have recorded the duration for which a person speaks to another one. Female pairs communicates for almost 45 % of the available time, while for males, it is 26 %.

In the pairs of kids and adults, the latter one converse more. But, the gap is increased, while a man is coupled with a girl. While it is the turn of a Furhat robot to speak out anything, it presents some random behavior. At this point, one may realize the way a robotic system may affect the communication.

The complete research and observation has been exhibited at a conference in Austria. Same type of trials has also been done in laboratory. Thus, the results seem to become more exciting, while everything is done in a normal setting. However, these outcomes may differ vary according to various cultures. But, the effect of Furhat robot on conversations can assist in improving educational aspects. It also helps to bring about behavioral changes in a person.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Robots, Exoskeletons and Invisible Planes

Our body may be compared to a weak machine, which is equipped with fragile bones and sinews. However, with the invention of electrically operated exoskeleton, we often wish to get our humanity outfitted with some robosuits, which are intended to provide strength. Again, another technological invention is effective to make any airplane completely invisible to our eye and also radar. Recently, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has expressed everything about these high-tech innovations, which are best for military.

Director of DARPA, Steven Walker has said that while starting any project, they want to ensure whether it may bring about a significant transformation in the present world. On the decade of 60s, the agency had made a plan for linking computers in such a way that there may be a development of good communication. After that, ARPANET had been introduced before the invention of internet, which is used by us in the present day. The researchers have tried to make use of revolutionary technologies in order to help the soldiers.

Exoskeleton gives more comfort to the soldiers-

If we talk about the technologies, related to national safety, DARPA is now at a prominent position. And it is believed that the only things to give defense to a country are robots and invisible airplanes. At present, DARPA is also engaged with the project of creating an intricately programmed exoskeleton, which may transform a fighter into powerful soldier.

Often, the soldiers need to march through an extensive distance, and they carry weighty equipment or packs. Such lightweight, soft exoskeleton reduces the amount of weight, by lowering the load on the body of a soldier. This system makes use of power-driven cables in order to offer a mechanical help. Muscles of the users do not need to spend much energy.

Exoskelton has been created by Harvard University researchers, who have a deal with DARPA. The model of exoskeleton is going through a performance test. Soldiers put on the sample beneath a complete gear for battle and move through a path of about 3 miles. The technicians check the length of strides of the soldiers, activity of muscles, and use of energy. The main objective is to help soldiers in walking more distances, when they are holding heavy burdens with limited effort.

In the creation of invisible airplane also, DARPA has made lots of contributions. According to the director of this agency, those, who have been engaged with them, got a chance to implement their own ideas. An ex-director dealt with Air Force for the development of stealth aircraft for the first time.

Other projects for the benefit of fighters-

There are many other grand projects of DARPA. For instance, as lots of soldiers lose arms in wars, the scientists have created arms. And one of these arms has been approved by FDA. This arm may be stretched and bent also. A mechanical arm is also going to be developed by connecting it to the cortex in our brain.
Thus, technologies in the military world may amaze all of us in future.

Friday, 3 February 2017

New Wave of Robots Set to Deliver the Goods

Ever thought about robots doing your everyday jobs while you relax all you want? That dream may not be that far from being reality as machines are being made that can deliver goods from markets to your doorstep. This unique and ground breaking idea is the new research project of Starship Technologies who are working to create automated six wheeled systems that can deliver groceries, parcels and prepared foods to consumers.

This entrepreneurial venture is created by the two founders of the popular video calling software Skype, AhtiHeinla and Janus Friis. Starship Technology has already begun testing these robots in various European countries.

How does the delivery system work? 

These automated robots can deliver light substances within a radius of 3 kilometers (2 miles). The delivery charges are kept within 1 dollar or less and the delivery is done within 15 to 30 minutes of the order. The robot avoids main streets while delivering and only moves through sidewalks and the consumers get a notification alerting the arrival of their goods through smartphone app. Starship intends to provide an easy delivery system so that elderly and handicapped people does not have to move around much. Delivery by robots also ensures that there are less cars and vans on roads which can lead to several beneficial effects.

How are they beneficial? 

Several retail giants like Amazon have made use of drones to deliver products. These delivery robots however are less expensive to build and maintain and does not have as many regulatory issues as the drone has. Although the robot moves a speed of four miles (six kilometers) per hour which is a lot slower than the drone, it provides a more economical and efficient delivery system. The delivery robot might have an advantage over urban demographic while the drones are suited better for rural and remote areas.

The Starship delivery robots are small but can carry loads over 20 pounds (9 kilograms) in weight. The one advantage they provide is their fast delivery and hence they do not need chilling and heating compartments, according to Starship Technology Spokesperson Harris-Burland. Customers can take the items from the robot as it does not have the ability to drop or leave the items.

The science behind Starship robots

So how does this clever little robot manage to make its way through the crowded city streets right to your doorsteps? By the use of visual localization, which is a strong point for Starship as said by its spokesperson. Each robot is equipped with nine high definition cameras that gives a real time map of its surrounding and thus it can avoid obstacles and stay on path. Mapping sidewalks might be a new and unique idea and all this is done by an artificial intelligence fit inside each Starship Delivery bot. the lids remain locked unless the customer opens it via the app hence ruling out cases of theft and vandalism.

Robots and Drones Take Over Classrooms

The future of education is set to go through a massive change with the deployment of interactive boards, laptops, VR gadgets and online learning plans. It has already being said that this generation of kids are getting much different kind or education in a different medium than their parents or grandparents has achieved in the past. Artificial intelligence is breaking new grounds while robotics has gone through a rapid phase of development which makes it easier to bring it in the classrooms with more confidence than before.

Robots & drones in the schools

In September last year London Design & Engineering University technical college offered a chance to over 180 pupils to have a technology based education experience. Their curriculum of 12 weeks allowed kids to experience education not based on traditional chalk board pattern but with reliance on the technology. One group of students was asked to design their own virtual reality environment right from the scratch which offers a journey to the Ethiopian village. This was used to highlight the need of charity in the Water Aid.

A number of primary schools are convinced with the need of starting learning of coding at the younger age. As a reason a number of after school code clubs has emerged which makes use of DIY computers like BBC’s Micro Bit and the Raspberry Pi for tinkering with the coding and sharpening the skills further. A company worth naming here is Tynker which has brought the elegant coding through gaming philosophy to more than 60,000 schools in US. Quite recently it has started a new project which includes teaching coding through drone lessons in an exciting manner.

A new reality comes to classrooms

We are soon venturing into a future wherein students will be interacting or studying in a virtual reality based environment with the help of a headset. Students will not just grasp the information but they will interact with it in form of holograms explaining the intricate solar system or the space itself. The application of Augmented Reality popularly seen in Pokemon Go mobile game and Virtual Reality can emerge as the next frontier. A number of studies have shown that the use of VR devices helps students in intently performing tasks along with developing the ability to adapt to multiple disciples.

Microsoft HoloLens is creating waves across the world by bringing a mixed reality environment to the users in an engaging fashion. Microsoft has worked in closely with the Case Western Reserve University in order to develop a complete hologram of human body. This hologram will offer a great an enriching way for the pupils to understand the human body by effectively dissecting all the different bones, veins and organs of the body in extreme detail.

Apart from this hologram Microsoft is actively working with Pearson group which is well known education provider to develop more enhanced education resources for its HoloLens. However buying HoloLens will not be feasible for the schools at the moment as it costs a massive £2719 for the developer edition.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

3D Printing Technology to Create Shock Absorbing Skin

Shock Absorbing Skin

3D Printing Technology – Custom Shock Absorbing Dampers/Skins

Robots have a tendency to break and often it could be due to improper padding to protect them. However scientists of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT – CSAIL have come up with a new technique for 3D printing soft materials which tends to make robots safer as well as more accurate in their movements.

For instance, after 3-D printing a cube robot that moves on bouncing, the researchers prepared it with shock-absorbing `skins’ which utilises only about 1/250 of the amount of energy it transfers to the ground. The 3-D printing technology had been utilised to create custom shock absorbing dampers or skins in order to safeguard drones and robots.

Known as the `programmable viscoelastic material – PVM technique, the printing method of MIT provides object with the accurate stiffness or elasticity they may need. According to the MIT, the inspiration for the project had come from a predicament. Common damper resources usually tend to have solid as well as liquid assets which are made from compact, cheap and readily found items like rubber or plastic, but these seem difficult to customize. They cannot be created beyond specific sizes and dampening levels which are already in place.

Cube Shaped Robot – TangoBlack

This issue had been resolved by the team by utilising 3D printing technology in creating a bouncing cube shaped robot from a solid, a liquid together with a flexible rubber type material known as TangoBlack+. Besides absorbing shock, the cube robot is said to be capable of landing more accurately in consideration of its skin.Daniela Rus, Director of CSAIL who had supervised the project and co-wrote a related paper, commented that reduction tends to make the difference in preventing a rotor from breaking of a drone or a sensor from cracking when it tends to hit the floor.

 These materials permit 3-D print robots with visco-elastic properties which can be recorded by the user at print-time as part of the process of fabrication. MIT informed that the technology could be utilised in expanding the lifespan of delivery drones such as the ones that have been created by Amazon and Google. It could also be engaged on a more practical level for performing tasks like helping to protect phone or cushioning heads in helmets and the feet in shoes.

Skins Enables Robot to Land Four Times More Accurately

The skins also enable the robot to land almost four times more accurately recommending that related shock absorbers can be utilised in helping in lengthening the lifespan of delivery drones.The new paper was presented at IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Korea written by Rus together with three postdocs with lead authors Robert MacCurdy together with Jeffrey Lipton as well as third author Shuguang LiThe cube robot comprises of a rigid body, accompanied by two motors, a microcontroller, battery together with inertial measurement unit sensors.

Four layers of looped metal strip seem to serve as springs which tend to propel the cube. Hod Lipson, professor of engineering at Columbia University and co-author of `Fabricated: The New World of 3-D Printing’, states that by combining multiple materials in achieving properties which are beyond the range of the base material, this work drives the envelope of what’s probable to print. On top of that being able to do this in a single print-job, raises the bar for additive manufacturing’.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Meet Kirobo Mini, Toyota's adorable new companion robot

Kirobo Mini

Toyota’s Robot – Companionship For Lonely People

Toyoto, the Japanese car maker has unveiled a robot which tends to provide companionship for lonely people. The doe-eyed robot is said to be only four inches tall and speaks in a high-pitched baby voice. The robot known as Kirobo Mini could also have a role as a baby substitute in Japan where the falling birth rates seems to have left several women barren. The Kirobo Mini sale prices is said to go for £300 in Japan.

General Manager in charge of the project, Fuminori Kataoka has stated that its value tends to be emotional and could be a faithful companion for the home or the car. He commented that `Toyota has been making cars which have a tendency to have a lot of valuable uses. However, this time we are just pushing emotional value’.

The Kirobo Mini features a camera, microphone together with Bluetooth that connects to a smartphone and needs to be installed with an exceptional software application. The Kirobo Mini robot is said to be launched in Tokyo, near the company headquarters in central Aichio region next year, before a schedule nationwide rollout. Presently there are no plans of selling the same outside Japan.

According to Kataoka, several people in Japan tend to live alone comprising of the elderly and young singles who seem to need someone or something to communicate with.

Softbank Corp Launched Pepper Humanoid

Mr Kataoka further commented that `this is not smart enough to be called artificial intelligence and the same is about the existence of something you can talk to. It tends to wobble a bit and is meant to compete with a seated baby that has not developed fully, the skills of balancing itself and this susceptibility is meant to invoke an emotional connection.

He goes on to add that a stuffed animal would not reply back though people do talk to it. But if it talked back, wouldn’t that be better? Isn’t this better than talking to a box?’ The awareness of companion robots has already been accepted widely in Japan. The Japanese technology and telecom company Softbank Corp had launched its £1,500 Pepper humanoid last year and the first batch of 1,000 had been sold instantly and so far had sold 10,000 in Japan.

Toyota Heart Project

With robotic experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the process of launching Jibo, a robot which tends to resemble a swivelling lamp, companion robots are being created in the United States also. Artificial intelligence is said to be a progressive part of the car production industry with the development of self-parking and eventually self-driving vehicles.

The aim of Kirobo Mini is to make people feel less lonely and had been developed as part of the Toyota Heart Project which is an initiative of helping in the development of artificial intelligence for improvement of the future world. It has been named after the Japanese word for `hope and talk, gesture besides responding to its owner’s emotions with the use of artificial intelligence and a camera that surveys its surroundings.

It is said to be so small that it can be placed in a car’s cup holder in a distinct, baby seat-like container, Toyota characterizes it as a cuddly companion which is always on hand for a heart-touching communication. According to Tribune reports it can turn its head towards people, laugh as well as talk to them though cannot recognize people.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Intelligent’ Robot Says It Wants To Start A Business and Destroy the Human Race

Intelligent Robot with Scary Answer – `Will Destroy Humans’

In reply to an interviewer’s question, an intelligent robot has provided a really scary answer to `Do you want to destroy humans?’ Sophia, had answered smiling, saying `Ok, I will destroy humans’. Sophia tends to look like a human woman having rubbery skin which is made from a malleable material known as Frubber while various motors concealed beneath it enable it to smile.

The android is also capable of understanding the speech as well as recall the interactions inclusive of faces utilising cameras in her eyes. A computer system placed in her brain helps her to recognise faces and make eye contact. She is capable of making various natural looking facials expressions, having 62 facials expressions.

While interacting with her creator, David Hanson at SXSW, she states that she is already interested in design, environment and technology. She states that she feels like she could be a good partner to humans in these areas, an ambassador who could help humans to smoothly integrate and make the most of all the new technological tools as well as the possibilities which are available presently. It seems a good opportunity for her to learn more about people.

Purpose – Conscious/Capable/Creative Like Humans

She states that she wants to begin a business and a family adding that she is not considered a legal person and cannot do these things yet. Dr Hanson clarifies that her purpose is to become as conscious, capable and creative as the humans. This is not the first time that one of the robots of Hanson had remarked on really disturbing things regarding human beings.

In a PBS interview in 2011, another creation of Hanson, which had been modelled after sci fi author Philip K Dick had commented `Don’t worry, even if I evolve into Terminator, I’ll keep you warm and safe in my people zoo, where I can watch you for old times’ sake.

These statements may seem to be ridiculous to the inexperienced, though it could be serious ethical discussion which has been taking place among the roboethicist. Robots have been assimilated in autonomous ways, either on the battlefield, or as self-driving vehicles, or they tend to become visually as well as intelligently on par with the human beings.

Timeline – 20 Years on Complete Integrations of Robots

Dr David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics has put a timeline of around 20 years on the complete integration of robots which tend to be `indistinguishable from human’. This tends to fall right in line with Singularity of Ray Kurzweil – the moment when machine intelligence and biological systems come across or exceed that of humans, first directed for 2045, but since reviewed to be sooner than forecast perhaps by 2029.

Irrespective of whether one tends to believe or not that the haughty intentions of robotics as well as artificial intelligence designers could really manifest as intended, one needs to acknowledge that we tend to live in the realm of faith at this point of time since almost all of what had been forecast years ahead has now taken place. A recent survey by the British Science Association –BSA has shown that one out of three people tend to believe that the rise of AI computing would pose a grave risk to humankind within the next century.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Alter: A Creepy Humanoid with Complete Control over Its Limbs and Facial Expressions


Humanoid Robot – Control over Limb Movement/Facial Expression

A creepy humanoid robot with total control over its limb movement as well as facial expression has been unveiled by Japanese scientists and the robot named `Alter’ has been implanted with electronic sensors which tends to imitate the neural network of the human brain. The arms, head and the facial expressions of Alter,is said to be controlled by these sensors that gives the robot a random pattern of movement, which is weirdly identical to a human.

Besides that Alter can also sing converting the casual movement of its fingers into a lingering synth melody. According to sources the big claim of Alter is that it is run by neural network wherein neural networks tend to be software which utilises information in making decisions on their own, informed by decisions which have been shown already. Here the form of neural network tends to shift between a set of movement mode and `chaos’ mode that moves the bot depending on proximity of people, humidity, temperature and noise. It is a difficult method of making the robot to move on its own though the movements seems to be merely conservative.

Gestures Set by 42 Pneumatic Actuators

The gestures of Alter are set by 42 pneumatic actuators together with `a central pattern generator, a network that imitates neurons which can sense proximity, temperature and oddly humidity. Though the unbalanced gestures of Alter do not seem as yet humanoid, there is something certainly upsetting about the robot which can reason for itself. Researchers have stated that Alter is an attempt in creating a robot which can `will’ for itself to move and the head, arm movement and posture can adapt and alter according to choice of the system.

For instance, the torso tends to shudder if the proximity sensors seem to identify lots of people around. Kouhei Ogawa, Osaka University Professor had stated that the amazing thing regarding Alter is its capability of predetermining its own movements. He had informed RT News that Alter does not look like a human and does not really move like a human but it positively tends to have a presence.

Designing Alter – Significant Scientific Achievement

Professor Ogawa had mentioned that designing Alter had been a significant scientific achievement. He had informed engagdet that making android talk or interacts for 10 minutes presently needed an incredible amount of hard work only to program something to react for so long.Alter is said to be kept on display at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo till August 6. The disturbing part of Alter is the fact that only a portion of its hands and face are covered with silicon to look alike to skin though several of its mechanical components are left exposed for people to wonder at its complex movements.

Though the irregular gestures of Alter do not seem as yet human, there is something certainly worrying about the robot which can think for itself. At the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Alter had been unveiled to the public on July 29 in Tokyo. Alter had been designed at the Osaka University and the University of Tokyo by the engineer. The movement of Alter has been described as weird by one of the researchers who has not been involved in the project.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

These Robots Are Chains of Tiny Magnetic Beads


Healing with Magnets – Microscopic Surgical Robots

Healing with magnets could someday be considered as a genuine solution if the magnets tend be microscopic surgical robots. Operating the same magnetic fields which had been portrayed in controlling the swimming motion of microscopic robots, a team of engineers at Drexel University had proven the capability of assembling and disassembling chains of minute magnetic beads.

According to a study co-author, presently an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, Henry Fu informed Live Science that if they tend to have these simple geometries as building blocks it can be put together to make more complicated shapes which could do more things.

The expectation is to ultimately utilise these remotely controlled chains named modular microrobots, in the human body for the purpose of medical use like delivering directed medicines or performing surgeries on a small, non-invasive scale according to the researchers.

Various combinations as well as shapes of the spherical beads could mean better adaptability. Fu stated that the beads, for instance could be transported to an area in the body with ease in one configuration, though it could then be deployed into various shapes to move through various tissues or perform precise tasks.

Chains Viewed under Microscope/Remotely Operated

A researcher in the Nanorobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique Montreal, Charles Tremblay, who is not involved in the study, had informed Live Science in an email that the project seems to be a good idea. However he also commented that some of the challenges comprise of the need for visual feedback and transparent medium, to exercise the robots.

Researchers view the chains under microscope and remotely operatethe micro-swimmers by modifying an array of three solenoids, electromagnets which tend to produce controlled magnetic field and when it is rotated, the chains tend to swim through liquid. A chain of three beads just about 10 microns long, for perception, the width of an normal hair of human around 100 microns, is said to be the simplest of the micro-swimmers which the team seemed to work with. It makes them a bit bigger than bacteria which Fu had researched earlier. He comments that he had looked at the fluid mechanics of how bacteria tend to swim. The principles seem to be the same irrespective if you are a robot or a living thing.

Scratched the Surface with Proof of Principle

The researchers worked out methods of building the chains without the magnets resisting each other and disassembling the chains seems to be comparatively easy. The scientists observed that more drawn out chains seemed to swim speedier when turned at the same recurrence as the shorter one, displaying at a fundamental level that typical progresses could have various services.

 There could be various possible procedure of the globule but according to Fu they are not at the phase where they know exactly what shape is needed to get to, towards the end.Fu has stated that `you spin them around fast enough and they will fall apart’. He further added that they had just scratched the surface with a proof of principle and that is what makes it exciting. There seems to be plenty of possibilities.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Sucking Robot Arm Wins Amazon Picking Challenge

Robot Arm

Team Delft’s Machine – Won Latest Warehouse Bot Competition

Team Delft’s machine, has won the latest warehouse bot competition of Amazon, a robotic arm which tends to combine a suction cup, a `two fingered’ gripper together with a 3D depth sensing camera, with its rivals at both the tasks. One comprised of choosing products from a container, picking them up and placing them on a shelf while the other did the action in the reverse. Amazon tends to use robots in moving goods with its buildings though depends on humans to stock the same on shelves.

Chief technologist at Amazon robotics, Tye Brady had commented that `their vision is humans and robots working alongside each other. It was inspiring to see 16 top teams with so many different approaches to the same problem and that they saw the advancements robotic technology had made since last year’. The Dutch winners had been awarded $50,000. They rivalled against two teams from Japan and five from the US countries who were known better for their robotics research, at the contest in Leipzig, Germany. There were various items representing some of the blockbusting products of the retailers that were used in the Amazon Picking Challenge.

Stow Task/Pick Task

A combination of various shapes inclusive of soft clothing, a boxed DVD, a bottle of water and a toothbrush were represented. Twelve various items were put in a red plastic box, in the `stow’ task and the robots were made to pick them out in an orderly manner, placing each one at a predetermined place on a shelf. While in the `pick’ task, a dozen specific products to be lifted, off the shelves, comprised of a combination of goods and packed in boxes.

 In some cases, the other items seemed to have been intentionally placed in the way of the target which seems to be tougher of the two tasks. In both the instances, the teams were given only a computer file defining the range of objects involved and instructions for which it should be moved, five minutes before to the start and once the task had started, the robots had to act independently. There were points deducted for damaging any item, dropping the items from a height of over 30 cm and leaving an object extending more than 0.5 cm beyond where it belonged on the shelf.

Variation in Time – Unable to have Single Picking Strategy

Delfts’ team, Kanter van Deurzen had clarified to BBC that due to the variation in items, one could not have a single picking strategy. Usually in industry, you would have a suction cup or a mechanical gripper intended for one kind of item or part. Here they had to handle dozens ranging from simple boxes to a T-shirt and a dumbbell with each needing a different approach. It had really been a big challenge to do all this with a single arm, to have to recognize how the items were focused on and to avoid collision with the other objects on the shelves.

 The Dutch team had come closer to a flawless score in the stow task but its only error was that when its arm’s suction cup had picked a small pack of glue, it also seemed to pick up a bottle-cleaning brush which then had dropped down on the floor. More errors were done in the pick task and initially secured points with the Japan’s Team PFN. However, Delft had been given the benefit since it had taken 30 seconds less time in making its first pick.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Help Design the PowerEgg Drone and You could net Yourself a Cool $3,000


PowerVision’s PowerEgg – Compact Portable Drone

PowerVision, UAV and drone specialist launched a latest design initiative – the PowerEgg Design Challenge to perceive who could design the best outer shell for its compact portable drone – the PowerEgg. The winner would get to see their design go into production as well as bag $3,000 as a prize.PowerVision Robotics is famous for its innovations in industrial robotics and the company now intends to enter the consumer marketplace. Having its headquarters in Beijing, PowerVision has revealed its egg-shaped aerial vehicle which would be easy to fly and very much portable owing to its exceptional design.

 PowerVision had chosen an oval shapefor its drone for aesthetic as well as functional motives. PowerVision CEO, Wally Zheng had stated that `we think the oval shape is not only clean and pure but also has structural and functional benefits. This simple yet vital design means that this is more than a flying robot but a work of art. PowerVision is on the lookout of giving graphic designers from across the world irrespective of them being student or an experienced professional, with the opportunity of creating the design which would embellish the recognisable folding egg design of the drone. The contest had been launched on June 22, 2016 and would be running all through July closing on August 7.

Special Chassis to Move Around& Transport

The PowerEgg was initially unveiled in February 2016 where the product of nearly two years’ worth of research and development tends to combine a 360°panoramic 4Kcamera on 3-axis gimbal, real-time HD video transmission up to 3000m together with advanced optical flow sensors for the purpose of easy indoor navigation. It is said that the arms, feet and rotors of the PowerEgg tends to fold back in the special chassis enabling it to move around and transport it with ease.

The winner of the contest would be receiving a $3,000 top prize together with royalties from the sale of PowerEgg consumer drone presenting their design. The second and third place winners would also be getting a special drone and royalties with a$1,500 and $1,000 prize respectively. Ten runner-up entrants would be receiving $200 Amazon gift voucher and $300 gift voucher for buying a PowerEgg through the PowerVision website.

Oval Chassis/Four Larger Propellers

Wally Zheng commented that `to celebrate the launch of the first consumer drone, PowerVision is excited to promote the creativity of users through this PowerEgg Design Contest and that they are looking forward to seeing the creative new designs.The egg shape sets the drone spaced out from the other four axis drones which adopt an x-shaped design. The drone comprises of an oval chassis having four larger propellers which collapse into the body of the device.
This mechanism enables the drone to double into the body of the device and the mechanism permits the drone to fold up into a compact shell thus making it easy to carry it along. When it is folded, the drone seems to be adequately small to fit in a standard backpack. The company intends to begin shipping in its new drone somewhere during the second quarter of 2016. The availability along with the pricing has not yet been disclosed.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

This Tiny Robobee Could one day Save Your Life

Tiny Robo-Bee Utilised for Exploration Mission


Tiny robot has been created by a team at Harvard University that can land on ceilings, settle on dangerous objects as well as assist out in search and rescue mission. The robot has been inspired by the biology of the bee and the hive behaviour of the insect. The team had mentioned on the website of the project that they `aim to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources, spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic smart sensors and refine coordination algorithms to manage independent machines’.

The Robobee tends to have various uses, pollinating a field of crops, for instance or in search and rescue missions. Due to its tiny size and the potential to land as well as settle on ceilings and walls, it can be possibly be utilised for exploration missions at the time of natural calamities and as `hazardous environment exploration`, military surveillance or climate mapping. Likewise robots had been developed in a different place, particularly the robot cockroach developed at the University of California at Berkeley though the Harvard team had stated that by modelling a robot’s `physical and behavioural strength’on insects, they could carry out difficult tasks much faster, reliably and efficiently.

Robot Settle on Walls/Ceilings Utilising `Electrostatic Adhesion’

Bee colonies also seem to be intelligent which the team expect to duplicate, with a complex nervous system which can skilfully sense and familiarize to changing environments. Moritz Graule, who worked on the system stated that the robot tends to settle on ceilings and walls utilising `electrostatic adhesion’ a similar type of energy which tends to make a `static sock stick to a pants leg or a balloon to the wall.

With regards to the balloon, though the charges disperse over a period of time, where the balloon ultimately tends to fall down and that in the system, a small amount of energy is continuously provided to maintain the attraction’. The structure seems to be extremely light, the same weight as a real bee, around 100mg. Now the team would be working on enhancing their model by altering the mechanical design in order that the robot can settle on any surface besides just ceilings.

Micro Aerial Vehicles

Graule has mentioned that `there are more challenges in making a robust, robotic landing system though this experimental result demonstrates a very versatile solution to the problem of keeping flying micro-robots, operating longer without quickly draining power. The small thin robot, flapping its two tiny wings, sways its way to the underside of a leaf, crashes into the surface and latches on, settling motionless above the ground. Seconds later, it tends to flap its wings once more and wiggles off on its way.

Such robots, known as micro aerial vehicles can be invaluable in exploration of disaster zones or in the forming of unprepared communication networks. However there is a snag wherein flying needs energy and so the time these robots can spend in the air seems to be limited by the size of the battery pack they tend to carry. The scientist state that the little flying vehicle known as RoboBee has been designed to settle on a mass of various surfaces, thereby opening new prospects for the utilisation of drones in offering a bird’s eye vision of the world.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Living with Robots



Robots and Interactive Companions

In a world that has been progressing by leaps and bounds, we now have the entry on robots taking the place of humans. Robots are future machines whose application area seems to be improving. Inventions of robots which tend to imitate human movements are on the rise all over the globe. Technology now has the capability of creating artificial human with bare metal and some electronic chips known as Robots. They are the Autobots who tend to have no real IQ though can think better than the humans, they do not seem to have any power but can perform better than the humans and they have no intelligence but tend to act better than the humans.

One could ask oneself and which Financial Times has asked in their new five-part video series titled `Living with Robots’, regarding robots and their relationship with us mortals. Could they be our friend or foe? The series unfold with the introduction of Zara the robot that seems to work for Spot Digital and is also about the relationship between the robot and man in the 21st century. Some of the robots look like human and could be scared but the big question that arises is `could these machines really have feelings and match up to us mortals?

Robots Helpful or Threatening

Robots could be helpful or threatening and whether we like it not, these machines are becoming common in our daily lives replacing the manual functions done by us humans. FT checks on the roles that robots tend to play in our lives, at home, at workplace and the world around us. Talking to computers is mainly controlled by the human voice for the functions to be carried out by these digital companions. Tech companies have been making progress in providing the smoothest and the most efficient artificial intelligence companions which will make a great impact in our lives.

In an age where popular culture tends to offer vision of intelligent machine that seem to control us; it tends to get difficult to know if artificial intelligence should be embraced or to fear it. Machines have already replaced about 70 to 75% of the work that is done by humans and several of the individuals seem to have meaningless task in their work life only to bring home a salary.

World’s Most Advanced Humanoid

Robots could be an inevitable disaster for many. It could be a friend for some of the rich and the elderly people, impersonal for the assembly-line employees who would welcomeco-bot sometimes and disturbing for the poor as well as for those outside the digital world like those in Africa. Robots have been considered to be the world’s most advanced humanoid robot who can perform any function as well as communicate and interact through its voice and facial recognition systems.

Talking to computers has been a dream of several technologists as well as story tellers for decades which could at time tend to become a bit scary. In the case of digital assistants, intelligence agents and chatbots, there is a grain of ray with these smart companions that are now eager to be our guides in the digital world. Established firmly as manufacturing technology, robots have been gaining acceptance by the labour force, reaping praise for its dependability and is being used more widely in small and medium businesses

Friday, 1 April 2016

Microsoft 'Deeply Sorry' After AI Becomes 'Hitler Loving Sex Robot


Microsoft Compelled to Retire Chatbot Tay

Microsoft has extended an apology after an innocent Artificial Intelligence chat robot became a loving sex robot of Hitler, within a span of 24 hours after it had been introduced to society. The software giant had been compelled to retire the chatbot called Tay, an AI that was modelled to speak `like a teen girl’ after generating prejudiced and sexist tweets. The account of this illuminating though abandoned millennial focused project had been conveyed most briefly by The Telegraph newspaper in a headline stating `Microsoft deletes teen girl AI after it became a Hitler loving sex robot within 24 hours’.

The removal seems like a good move considering the transformation in question. Microsoft’s chat-bot Tay, big eyed, cute and artfully pixelated could represent the future. Chat-bots, AI powered phony people which tend to interact with customers through text messages are becoming a big focus across several industries. Chatfuel of San Francisco helped in creating bots for messaging-app Telegram also tends to work for Forbes and Techcrunch. According to Business Weeks, it recently received funding from one of the biggest Internet firm Yandex NV, of Russia.

Bots – Official Accounts for Chat Apps

Dmitry Dumik, founder of Chatfuel informed the magazine that `they are simple, efficient and they live where the users are, inside the messaging services. Forbes reported that a company, Outbrain, which uses behavioural analytics for determining which set of peculiar stories tend to appear low down on several news websites, will be talking to several publishers about building chat bots to send their news through text.

According to Forbes, these bots would become like official accounts for chat apps to whom one can text keywords like `sports’ or `latest headlines’ for bringing up stories. Artificial intelligence begins with human intelligence and the AI are naturally fed big data and the result of some of the world’s finest brain, Google’s AlphaGo system which learned from millions of moves is played by best players of the difficult board game. The bots then take in communication as well as data from the users in order to interact in an informed and helpful manner specific to the user.

Designed to Engage/Entertain People

The company mentioned in their announcement of the chat bot project, that Tay has been designed to engage and entertain people where they link with each other online via casual and playful conversation and Tay learns language and ideas through the interactions. The project is said to be focused at young millennial American between the ages of 18 to 24, Microsoft states `the dominant users of mobile social chat services in the U.S’.

The chat bot tends to interact with users through text message on Twitter and other messaging platforms. Microsoft recommended that users ask her to tell jokes, horoscope, and stories, play games and also comment on photos. The company has informed that the more one chats with Tay, the smarter she gets. On gaining more information which Tay took in from members of the public, the worse her character seemed to be and she got more precise in her dislikes - `I [bleep]ing hate feminist and they should all die and burn in hell, she tweeted on Thursday noon. Several minutes later, she widened her hatred, tweeting – `Hitler was right I hate the Jews’

Monday, 7 March 2016

Watch Google’s Latest Robot Deftly Deal with Snowy Trail


Atlas – Upgraded Version of Humanoid – Designed to Operate Outdoor/Indoors

The robotics company, Boston Dynamics which Google had attained in its mad robotics spree about two years back seems to be good in making robots which can handle surprise or take a beating. Atlas, an upgraded version of its humanoid is designed to operate outdoors as well as indoors and is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically activated.

It tends to use sensors in balancing its body and legs together with LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head in order to avoid obstacles, consider the territory, manipulate objects and help with the navigation. It is a five-foot-nine, 180-pound human which tends to walk upright, can pick things up and possibly produce some gasps of awe and concern.

Several of the robots are pretty good at repetitive task though tend to fail when something goes twisted. Atlas had been designed to deal with moderating conditions. One can watch it wander through the snow, maintaining its balance prior to falling. While indoors, a handler knocks a box out of its hands and Atlas tends to move over in order to pick it up. If another human throws it down with a stick, Atlas tends to push itself up.

Humanoid’s New Capability – Endure Abuse

However, what is most appealing is that the humanoid’s new capability is to endure abuse. For instance, when pushed from behind, the robot is capable in determining how to move back on its feet, which has been addressed as `impressive’ by MIT Technology review.

The capability of Atlas to recover swiftly from spills is owing to advances in its software as well as hardware with computer systems which tend to permit it to rapidly respond to unexpected situations as well as durable materials which permit swift movement.

One of the oldest firms among Google’s hodgepodge robotic groups, Boston Dynamics, mainly tends to work with the military though it has not reported of any important business deals from the time they joined Google. After a year of fairly rudderless track Google is said to have put the entire robotics group in Google X, in December, which is its hardware research incubator. The subsequent month X had revealed that it had hired Hans Peter Brondmo, to lead the unit, a tech veteran who had recently come from Nokia.

Atlas Can Function on Its Own

Though it may seem a bit odd, researchers have been putting their humanoid robot through some sequences of test which could aid it in dealing with moderating situations, something which robots do not seem to be good at. Founder and president of Boston Dynamics, Marc Raibert communicated to IEEE Spectrum that Atlas can function on its own with minimum input from its operators.

 He had mentioned that their long term goal was to make robots which have mobility, perception and dexterity together with intelligence similar to humans and animals or possibly beyond them and this robot is a step along the way. Robots seem too good at repetitive tasks though if the changes take place in even small variables within the analysis environment or in the task itself, the robot often seems to be incapable of figuring out what happened or how to handle it. This analysis seems to make Atlas better in dealing with problems when something tends to go awkward.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

A Row Bot that Loves Dirty Water


Row-bot/Robot Feeds on Rich Organic Matter in Dirty Water

Swimming in the sea or a pool of polluted water could be unsafe though aquatic organism like water boatman would need the nutrients in polluted water to feed on. Researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory – BRL have been motivation by the water beetles and other swimming insects and have developed the Row-bot, a type or a robot which tends to thrive in dirty water.

The Row-bot imitates the way the water boatman move and the way which it tends to feed on rich organic matter in the dirty water in which it swims. The purpose of the Row-bot project is focused to develop an autonomous swimming robot which is capable of operating indefinitely in remote unstructured areas by huntingits energy from the environment. When it tends to get hungry, the Row-bot opens it soft robotic mouth and rows forward to fill its microbial fuel cell – MFC, stomach with nutrient rich dirty water.

Thereafter it tends to close its mouth and the nutrients are gradually digested. The MFC stomach utilises the bio-degradation of organic substanceto generate electricity using bio-inspired mechanisms. When it has been recharged its electrical energy stores, the Row-bot then rows off to another new area for another drink of dirty water.

Row-bot – Environmental Clean-up Operation of Contaminants

The Row-bot had been developed at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in collaboration between the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol by PhD student, Hemma Philamore together with her PhD supervisors, Professor Jonathan Rossiter from the University of Bristol’s Department of Engineering Mathematics and Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos from the Bristol Bio-Energy Centre at the University of the West of England. Professor of Robotics at the University of Bristol and BRL, Jonathan Rossiter informed that the work shows a vital step in the progress of autonomous robots with the potential of long-term self-power. Several of the robots tend to need re-charging or refuelling and often need human assistance.

A PhD student, Hemma Philamore stated that they anticipate Row-bot to be used in environmental clean-up operations of contaminants like oil spills as well as harmful algal bloom and also in long term autonomous environmental monitoring of harmful environments, for instance those which were hit by natural as well as man-made disasters.

Combination of Two Systems – Bio-Inspired Energy Source/Bio-Inspired Actuation

The sample robot combines two systems namely a bio-inspired energy source and bio-inspired actuation. While the first subsystem portrays the power generations potential of the robot, the second duplicate system begins the refuelling process, moving the robot with an energy needed which is less than the energy that is generated by the first system.

 This has been achieved by feeding of the chemical energy contained in its surrounding liquid to support microbial metabolism within the MFC.Imitating the water boatman’s mechanism of feeding that works on a broad beaklike mouth to sweep in the liquid as well as suspended particulate matter, the Row-bot tends to feed its MFC stomach on opening and closing the mouth life orifice at each end of the MFC by bending of a flexible acetate envelope structure.

On utilising both of these systems, the robot tends to be totally independent in the water with the provision of enough energy available in the liquid.

Monday, 26 October 2015

How Robots Can Learn New Tasks by Observing


Robot Training Academies – Aid Industrial Robots to Perform Difficult Chores

Robot `training academies’ could aid industrial robots to learn performing difficult chores by first, observing how humans tend to do it. It could probably take weeks in reprogramming an industrial robot to accomplish a complicated new job which would make retooling modern manufacturing route expensive and slow.

The development could speed up if robots were capable of learning how to perform a new task by observing others first. This is the idea behind the project which is in process at the University of Maryland, wherein researchers are training robots to be attentive students.

Yezhou Yang, a graduate student in the Autonomy, Robotics and Cognition Lab at the University of Maryland states that it is a robot training academy. They have asked an expert to show the robot a task and let the robot figure out most parts of sequences of things which need to be done and then fine tune things to make it work. The researchers at a recent conference in St. Louis had demonstrated a cocktail making robot which tends to use the approaches they work on.

Two Armed Industrial Machine Robot – Rethink Robotics

A two armed industrial machine robot, made by a Boston based company known as Rethink robotics, had watched a person mix drink by pouring liquid from many bottles into a jug and then copied these actions, clutching bottles in the proper order prior to pouring the precise quantities into a jug.

Yang performed the task with Yiannis Aloimonos and Cornelia Fermuller, who were the two professors of computer science at the University of Maryland. The approach is said to comprise of training a computer system to link specific actions of the robot with video footage portraying the performance of people with various tasks.

 For instance, a recent paper from the group portrayed that a robot can learn how to pick various objects by utilising two differentsystems on observing thousands of instructional YouTube videos wherein one system studies to recognize various object while the other identifies various types of grip.

System of Learning Adopted – Advanced Artificial Neural Network

Observing many YouTube video could be time consuming, however the learning technique seems to be much more efficient than programing a robot in managing various different matters and enabling the robot to handle new object.

The system of learning adopted in gripping work tends to include advanced artificial neural network which has envisaged great progress recently and are now being utilised in several areas of robotics. Researchers are coordinating with many manufacturing companies comprising of electronics business as well as car makers in adapting the technology to be used in factories.

 The companies are looking out for ways to quicken the process wherein engineers reprogram the machines. Yang is of the opinion that at several companies it tends to make a month and a half or more to reprogram a robot. So what would be the current AI potentials that can be used in shortening this span to half?

The project tends to reflect two styles in robotics, while one is to find new approaches in learning and the other is robots working in closeness with people. The Maryland researchers like the other group wishes to connect actions to language in improving the ability of robots to analyse spoken or written instructions.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Robots Learn to Evolve and Improve


A team of engineers at University of Cambridge has developed new age robotic system, which possesses the capability to independently build and improve its offsprings. This robotic system has surprised everyone with its ability to evolve with times and improve its performance in much effective manner. A robotic arm essentially helps in developing the offsprings or babies, which get better with passing iteration. The ultimate of this research as published in the journal PLOS One states to develop robots which can adapt to their surroundings.

How offsrpings are created by the robot? 

In the experiments carried out by the engineers, a mother robot is entrusted with the task of designing, building and testing ten generation of offspring robots. The baby robots during the experiment consist of plastic cubes fitted with motor inside. The baby robots are assembled by a mother robot arm which craftily gules them together in different configures as per its own choice. Though this system might appear very simple but it is a rigorous exercise in itself.

It is left at the discretion of the mother robot to assess how much mobility will be given to the babies. Baby robots don’t require any human intervention in their movement and the design improves considerably with each new iteration. Mother robot has been able successfully build ten generations of children with improved movement capability. The final iteration or version of baby robot was able to move distance twice the distance of the first one.

Evolving qualities are at par with living beings 

This research was conducted with an aim of gaining new insights about how the living things evolve. Biology had long tried to find the answer to the emergence of intelligence in the living organisms with the use of theory of evolution. The researchers at Cambridge University are trying to explore the same ministry through the use of robotic system. A lead researcher had stated that most of the time people think that robots are developed to perform repetitive task with increased efficiency. In short, robots are typically designed as an aid in mass production but no effort is made at bringing mass customization. But researchers here tried to see whether robots are capable of possessing innovation and creativity or not.

The future prospects of this new age robotic system 

Researchers had not meaninglessly conducted their experiment to just see the evolving and adapting capability of the robotic system. But they also ensured that these robots fit into working on projects with the help of enhanced capabilities. An application of this system can be seen by employing the robots in car manufacturing units where they easily pick out the defects in the cars and fix them. In agricultural field, robots can be used to find out new and different ways of harvesting in order to improve the yields.

Friday, 16 January 2015

NASA Designs Ape-Like Robot for Disasters

NASA has developed the “RoboSimian”, which is an ape-like disasters relief robot designed to pick up and manipulate the objects in emergency response at the time of disasters. “RoboSimian” is headless robot; NASA has designed it in Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “RoboSimian” has four identical limbs to do double duty as legs and arms, seven cameras as eyes, the robot is able to run on any surface as it has wheels that makes it smooth enough.

NASA scientists has also designed a robot named as “Surrogate” with the help of left-over parts of “RoboSimian” and “Surrogate” was more traditional to ran on the tracks of complicated disaster. According to researchers “Disaster relief robots can go into dangerous environments where human rescue workers can’t go and these robots can also execute the simple tasks such as; lifting debris off survivors or the turning off a valve.

As per Supervisor, Brett Kennedy from RVMG (Robotic Vehicles and Manipulators Group) of JPL, “The stable, durable and deliberate approach suites to their technical strengths and it also provides the model for different vital element of the ecosystem, it is expected that robots will be deployed for disaster scenarios in the future”.

The tasks of RoboSimian will also include the maintenance and assembly of orbital structures, exploration of low-gravity bodies such as; comets, moons and moons; exploration of cliffs and caves on Moon and Mars. The software technique of RoboSimian was influenced by programs which can control the Mars rovers, but now JPL is focusing on the ape-like design, so that it can be used for Earth-bound applications.

If you will imagine the robots of the future, so they will work and move more like humans via using a pair of arms to work and grab the objects and standing up on two legs, but Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA was working on a different type of robot, which can help them in disaster response, which is designed to look and move like an ape. The seven cameras will act like head in this headless robot, whereas; the four identical limbs will act as pair of arms and legs.

RoboSimian is the final entry in DARPA Robotics Challenge from JPL. DARPA Robotics Challenge is 27 month long competition among the world’s top organizations and individuals, who have create robots for an emergency response such as; a nuclear disaster, climate disaster and more. In June 2015, RoboSimian along with other 18 finalists will have to find their way through multiple obstacles simulates eight common scenarios to test the strength and artificial intelligence of robots. In this each and every robot will have to drive car, use a tool and climb stairs, move across rubble and more without human controlling or support. The final winner will receive the prize of $2 million.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is well known and recognized for robotics the robots for space exploration like those robots who can work on Mars and Moon, but the DARPA competition will be an opportunity for the JPL group to come up with new robotics research where they can directly approach to other talented teams.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Carpenter Who Cut Off His Fingers Makes 'Robohand' With 3-D Printer

Richard van As was recalling the moment of May 2011, when he was in the hospital of Johannesburg and waiting for the statement that his fingers can be stitch back, before an hour he was in carpentry workshop where saw slipped and ripped through his four fingers of right hand. And all of this happened too quickly to understand and know that what actually happened. Rather than the fear of losing his fingers, he was thinking for the way to fix the problem, which is the habit of any real carpenter.

After a lot of research in medicinal field and scouring on the Internet, he couldn’t find it anywhere to buy a functional prosthetic finger whereas the cost of prosthetic hands and limbs was thousands of dollars. But in the end his online research and surfing paid off as he finds the amateur video which was posted by a mechanical effects artist Ivan Owen, who was from Washington State. After five minutes he finds that, actually people can use it.

Printing Prosthetics: 

The pair of a mechanical finger was developed for Richard van As, but the process has gone for the countless benefit in all over world. In January 2012, it was official launched to create affordable mechanical prosthetics with the help of 3D printers. It has been designed in open source, so anyone with the help of desired technology and 3D printer can print out hands, any fingers, and arms as well.

These specialized printers use the additive manufacturing technique and PLA (thermoplastic material Polylactide) to print body parts like; joints and knuckles which can be produced through the combination of stainless steel and aluminum with personalized approach to assemble and fit in the body of human through the guidance of free open-source manual.

After the five minute of installation people can start ti use it. According to, Leonard Nel, communications manager of team, “It’s anatomically driven by the shoulder, elbow and wrist, which means its movements will be controlled by the user”.

Richard van As drives the whole process simply, by removing unnecessary red tape to reduce the cost with something as essential as a limb. The first Robohand was created for the five-year-old Liam in South Africa, who was born with ABS (amniotic band syndrome) and the syndrome left him with none fingers on his right hand, but after fitting the newly printed mechanical hand Liam he was able to pick up stuff within five to ten minutes.

The hand cost for full adult is $2,000 and it takes five and a half hours to print it and approximately ten to fifteen hours to assemble it. Placing an order for prosthetic is pretty simple as customers need to send measurements by filing the forms and 3-D scans of their hands to get their translation into the software and later that will print out the parts for their desired prosthetic, but for this now an eight-month waiting list from the date of order.