That’s right! You better not run, you better not hide, you better watch out for brand new robot holiday videos on Robohub! Drop your submissions down our chimney at email@example.com and share the spirit of the season, like these vids-of-Christmas-past. . .
Enabling robots to act autonomously in the real-world is difficult. Really, really difficult. Even with expensive robots and teams of world-class researchers, robots still have difficulty autonomously navigating and interacting in complex, unstructured environments.
The Humanoids 2017 conference earlier this month hosted an excellent photo competition. I was lucky to be one of the judges, along with Erico Guizzo from IEEE Spectrum, and Giorgio Metta as awards chair.
The European Robotics Week 2017 (ERW2017) Central Event organised in Brussels saw the “Robots Discovery” exhibition hosted by the European Committee of the Regions on 20-23 November, where robotics experts from 30 European and regionally-funded projects outlined the impact of their work on society.
Not all robots will take over human jobs. My colleagues and I have just unveiled a prototype care robot that we hope could take on some of the more mundane work of looking after elderly and disabled people and those with conditions such as dementia. This would leave human carers free to focus on the more personal parts of the job. The robot could also do things humans don’t have time to do now, like keeping a constant check on whether someone is safe and well, while allowing them to keep their privacy.
Shortly after SoftBank acquired his company last October, Marc Raibert of Boston Dynamics confessed, “I happen to believe that robotics will be bigger than the Internet.” Many sociologists regard the Internet as the single biggest societal invention since the dawn of the printing press in 1440. To fully understand Raibert’s point of view, one needs to analyze his zoo of robots which are best know for their awe-striking gait, balance and agility. The newest creation to walk out of Boston Dynamic’s lab is SpotMini, the latest evolution of mechanical canines.
The Robotics Hub, in collaboration with Silicon Valley Robotics, is currently investing in robotics, AI and sensor startups, with checks between $250,000 and $500,000. Current portfolio companies include Agility Robotics, RoBotany, Travelwits and Ariel Precision Technologies.
In Imitation Learning (IL), also known as Learning from Demonstration (LfD), a robot learns a control policy from analyzing demonstrations of the policy performed by an algorithmic or human supervisor. For example, to teach a robot make a bed, a human would tele-operate a robot to perform the task to provide examples. The robot then learns a control policy, mapping from images/states to actions which we hope will generalize to states that were not encountered during training.
Wanda Tuerlinckx and Erwin R. Boer have fused their scientific and photographic interests in robots and traveled the world since 2016 to visit roboticists to discuss and photograph their creations. The resulting set of photographs documents the technical robot revolution that is unfolding before us. The portfolio of photographs below presents the androids from Wanda’s collection of robot photographs.
The acquisition and processing of a video stream can be very computationally expensive. Typical image processing applications split the work across multiple threads, one acquiring the images, and another one running the actual algorithms. In MATLAB we can get multi-threading by interfacing with other languages, but there is a significant cost associated with exchanging data across the resulting language barrier. In this blog post, we compare different approaches for getting data through MATLAB’s Java interface, and we show how to acquire high-resolution video streams in real-time and with low overhead.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of the State of New York declared last month that New York City will join 13 other states in testing self-driving cars: “Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives, and we are proud to be working with GM and Cruise on the future of this exciting new technology.” For General Motors, this represents a major milestone in the development of its Cruise software, since the the knowledge gained on Manhattan’s busy streets will be invaluable in accelerating its deep learning technology. In the spirit of one-upmanship, Waymo went one step further by declaring this week that it will be the first car company in the world to ferry passengers completely autonomously (without human engineers safeguarding the wheel).
The culmination of work by Alistair C. McConnell (lead-researcher) through his PhD and the SOPHIA team, the Soft Orthotic Physiotherapy Hand Interactive Aid (SOPHIA) forms the foundation for our future research into Soft Robotic rehabilitation systems.
At #WebSummit 2017, I was part of a panel on what the future will bring in 2030 with John Vickers from Blue Abyss, Jacques Van den Broek from Randstad and Stewart Rogers from Venture Beat. John talked about how technology will allow humans to explore amazing new places. Jacques demonstrated how humans were more complex than our most sophisticated AI and thus would be an integral part of any advances. And I focused on how the current technological changes would look amplified over a 10–12 year period.