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by   -   March 21, 2018

More than 700,000 hectares of land in the EU were destroyed by forest fires between January and September 2017. Image credit – CC0 Public Domain
by Rob Coppinger

Swarms of firefighting drones could one day be deployed to tackle hugely destructive megafires that are becoming increasingly frequent in the Mediterranean region because of climate change, arson and poor landscape management.

by   -   March 21, 2018

In this episode of Robots in Depth, Per Sjöborg speaks with Justin Werfel, senior research scientist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

by   -   March 21, 2018

Credit: Uber

By Bryant Walker Smith

An automated vehicle in Uber’s fleet fatally struck a woman crossing a street in Arizona. A few points pending more information:

by   -   March 21, 2018

Award winners in robot competitions held by the were named on 14 March 2018, during this year’s European Robotics Forum (ERF), held in Tampere, Finland on 13–15 March.

Awards for the ERL’s 2017-18 season were presented at a Gala Dinner to winning teams that took part in all ERL competitions: Service Robots (ERL-SR), Industry Robots (ERL-IR) and Emergency Robots (ERL-ER).

by   -   March 21, 2018

As Mark Hamill humorously shared the behind-the-scenes of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with a packed SXSW audience, two floors below on the exhibit floor Universal Robots recreated General Grievous’ famed light saber battles. The battling machines were steps away from a twelve foot dancing Kuka robot and an automated coffee dispensary. Somehow the famed interactive festival known for its late night drinking, dancing and concerts had a very mechanical feel this year. Everywhere debates ensued between utopian tech visionaries and dystopia-fearing humanists.

by   -   March 20, 2018

Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and from China are in a global competition with Google/Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, Walmart and Amazon from the USA and SoftBank from Japan. All are agressively searching for talent, intellectual property, market share, logistics and supply chain technology, and presence all around the world.

interview by   -   March 19, 2018

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Maja Matarić, a professor at the University of Southern California and the Chief Science Officer of Embodied, about socially assistive robotics. Socially assistive robotics aims to endow robots with the ability to help people through individual non-contact assistance in convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and education. For example, a robot could help a child on the autism spectrum to connect to more neurotypical children and could help to motivate a stroke victim to follow their exercise routine for rehabilitation (see the videos below). In this interview, Matarić discusses the care gap in health care, how her work leverages research in psychology to make robots engaging, and opportunities in socially assistive robotics for entrepreneurship.

by   -   March 14, 2018

The European Robotics Forum 2018 (ERF2018), the most influential meeting of the robotics community in Europe, takes place in Tampere on 13-15 March 2018. ERF brings together over 900 leading scientists, companies, and policymakers for the largest robotics networking event in Europe.

by   -   March 14, 2018

Skydio, a San Francisco-based startup founded by three MIT alumni, is commercializing an autonomous video-capturing drone — dubbed by some as the “selfie drone” — that tracks and films a subject, while freely navigating any environment.
Courtesy of Skydio

By Rob Matheson

If you’re a rock climber, hiker, runner, dancer, or anyone who likes recording themselves while in motion, a personal drone companion can now do all the filming for you — completely autonomously.

Skydio, a San Francisco-based startup founded by three MIT alumni, is commercializing an autonomous video-capturing drone — dubbed by some as the “selfie drone” — that tracks and films a subject, while freely navigating any environment.

by   -   March 14, 2018

It was the last question of the night and it hushed the entire room. An entrepreneur expressed his aggravation about the FDA’s antiquated regulatory environment for AI-enabled devices to Dr. Joel Stein of Columbia University.

I have written a few times about the unusual nature of robocar accidents. Recently I was discussing this with a former student who is doing some research on the area. As a first step, she began looking at lists of all the reasons that humans cause accidents. (The majority of them, on police reports, are simply that one car was not in its proper right-of-way, which doesn’t reveal a lot.)

by   -   March 8, 2018

I recently chaired a UJA Tech Talk on “The Future Of Autonomous Cars” with former General Motors Vice-Chairman Steve Girsky. The auto executive enthusiastically shared his vision for the next 15-25 years of driving – a congestion-free world of automated wheeled capsules zipping commuters to and from work.

by   -   March 8, 2018

In 2010 I wrote that there were three sponsored research projects to solve the problem of safely inspecting and maintaining high voltage transmission lines using robotics. Existing 2010 methods ranged from humans crawling the lines, to helicopters flying close-by and scanning, to cars and jeeps with people and binoculars attempting to scan with the human eye. (2010 article)

by   -   March 8, 2018
“As the momentum builds, developers will be able to set up a ML [machine learning] apparatus just as they set up a database,” says Max Kanter, CEO at Feature Labs. “It will be that simple.”
Courtesy of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems

Today, when an enterprise wants to use machine learning to solve a problem, they have to call in the cavalry. Even a simple problem requires multiple data scientists, machine learning experts, and domain experts to come together to agree on priorities and exchange data and information.

interview by   -   March 4, 2018

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Monica Daley about learning from birds about legged locomotion. To do this, Daley analyzes the gaits of guineafowl in various experiments to understand the mechanical principles underlying gaits, such as energetic economy, mechanical limits, and how the birds avoid injury. She then tests her ideas about legged locomotion on legged robots with collaborators, including Jonathan Hurst from Oregon State University. Daley also speaks about her experience with interdisciplinary collaborations. 

Socially Assistive Robots
March 19, 2018

March 2018

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