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This image of a robot arm, developed by the Stanford Research Institute, is similar to the one that appeared in the 1976 NSF Annual Report. The robotic system used computer vision to identify and make decisions about parts on an assembly line. This is one of several projects from that era aimed at improving the productivity of American manufacturing processes. Credit: SRI International
This image of a robot arm, developed by the Stanford Research Institute, is similar to the one that appeared in the 1976 NSF Annual Report. The robotic system used computer vision to identify and make decisions about parts on an assembly line. This is one of several projects from that era aimed at improving the productivity of American manufacturing processes. Credit: SRI International

The fundamental research in computing and engineering that has enabled robotics to develop in the US has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) since its inception. Yet despite these early investments in sensors, machine movement and computer vision, it wasn’t until 1972 that the first grant with “robot” in the title was funded in the US .

by   -   November 25, 2014

Data from our latest poll suggest that readers are optimistic about the role of robots as care assistants for senior members of their families. The majority of our participants were of the opinion that robots will enable seniors to socialize with other people better, using teleconferencing systems such as Skype/FaceTime. However, opinions are split on whether robots themselves will be able to keep seniors company.

by   -   November 24, 2014

When Rosetta deployed its Philae probe, the first-ever vehicle to land (or rather dock) on the surface of a comet, it was cause for cheer from three intersecting communities who all have a stake in space mining: science, exploration, and commercial interests.

by   -   November 24, 2014

A new book on artificial intelligence as an existential risk - titled SuperIntelligence, Paths, Dangers, Strategies - has been in the headlines since Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that AI is nothing short of a threat to humanity. But Artificial Intelligence may be one of the areas where we overreact.

by   -   November 21, 2014

Need some gift ideas for that special robot geek in your life?  We polled the Robohub team for their favorite ideas, from stocking stuffers to once-in-a-lifetime gifts, so you’ll be sure to find something for every budget. Don’t see what you’re looking for? See our list from last year. Happy shopping!

by   -   November 19, 2014
Jackal on the water ramp at the University of Massachusetts Lowell NERVE Center in Boston.
Jackal on the water ramp at the University of Massachusetts Lowell NERVE Center in Boston.

By Meghan Hennessey

What’s the NERVE Center, you ask? It’s the robot testing facility at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and THE place to be when visiting the Boston area. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the site and test our bots across all NERVE Center courses. 

by   -   November 17, 2014

Is it that time of year already!?!? It must be given that your Editors woke up to snow on the ground this morning. Robohub will once again be featuring robot videos this holiday, so send your submissions to info [at] robohub.org. To get you in the spirit, here are some of our favourite videos from past years …

by   -   November 14, 2014

amazon-echoAmazon, the largest online retailer and Internet company in the USA, sells media, data, software, video games, electronics, food, toys, clothes, furniture, and jewelry. It is a big provider of cloud computing services. The company also produces readers, tablets, TVs and phones. And now Amazon sells a little robot named Echo. This little genie-in-the-bottle is summoned with the word “Alexa.”  Let’s see what kind of genie it might be.

by   -   November 12, 2014

plentiful-ag_800_437_80

Agriculture is one of our most important industries. It provides food, feed and fuel necessary for our survival. With the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, agricultural production must double to meet the demand. And because of limited arable land, productivity must increase 25% to help meet that goal.

by   -   November 11, 2014

Recently there has been a spate of articles in the mainstream press, and a spate of high profile people who are in tech but not AI, speculating about the dangers of malevolent AI being developed, and how we should be worried about that possibility. I say, relax. Chill. This all comes from some fundamental misunderstandings of the nature of the undeniable progress that is being made in AI.

by   -   November 11, 2014
A robot hands a medication bottle to a person. Photo credit: Keith Bujak. Source: Georgia Tech News Center
A robot hands a medication bottle to a person. Photo credit: Keith Bujak. Source: Georgia Tech News Center

One of the driving forces of social, interactive robotics is the issue of impending labour shortage, which is projected to be one of the major and inevitable consequences of the ageing population phenomenon. As previously discussed by Colin Lewis, the world and its ageing workforce need robots: governments and institutions alike are addressing the ageing population as a global concern, and robotics could provide a means to address a number of the social issues that come with it.

by ,   -   November 10, 2014

Future_Starts_here_Scan

Why do we fall in love with some technologies, while others creep us out?  Unravelling this mystery leads Ken Goldberg and Tiffany Shlain to vampires, zombies, and Sigmund Freud. Their new 5-minute documentary film combines cultural references with found footage to explore our ongoing fascination with unfamiliarity.

by   -   November 10, 2014

Transport Canada’s new exemption notification simultaneously signals a relaxation of commercial drone regulations and an increased focus on academic use.

by   -   November 4, 2014

Mobile-Smart-Home

Previously we focused our poll discussions on robots that will enter our domestic environment. But what if the environment that surrounds is itself becoming robotic? In our latest poll, we looked at the topic of smart homes.