In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Bradley Knox, founder of bots_alive. Knox speaks about an add-on to a Hexbug, a six-legged robotic toy, that makes the bot behave more like a character. They discuss the novel way Knox uses machine learning to create a sense character. They also discuss the limitation of technology to emulate living creatures, and how the bots_alive robot was built within these limitations.
Brad Knox talks bots_alive and a new form of character AI. Much like motion capture for scripted animation, this new technique may revolutionize how interactive characters are created, through observation of authentic human-generated behavior.
Design company After the Flood team-up with author Lloyd Shepherd and illustrator Eunike Nugroho to offer a speculative glimpse of first-contact between a 21st century explorer and a host of wild robots. Are they friend or foe? Where do they come from and what controls them? If we saw one for the first time tomorrow, what would we tell our friends?
In this roundtable edition, we watched the Black Mirror episode “Hated in the Nation” and asked our Robohub team members: with many institutions focused on developing aerial drone technology, and in light of the pressing reality of climate change and bee colony collapse, do we see robotic bees in our future? Would swarms of artificial insects even be desirable?
How can robotics help to enhance the development of the modern arts? Japan’s famous playwright, stage director Oriza Hirata and leading roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro launched the “Robot Theater Project” at Osaka University to explore the boundary between human-robot interactions through robot theater. Their work includes renditions of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”, Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”, and their own play “I, Worker”. Their work has spread internationally to Paris, New York, Toronto and Taipei.
For this interview, we would like to invite their collaboration partner Yi-Wei Keng, director of Taipei Arts Festival, to share his insights on the intersection of robotics and the arts.
Last week Raffaello D’Andrea, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and founder of Verity Studios, demonstrated a whole series of novel flying machines live on stage at TED2016: From a novel Tail-Sitter (a small, fixed-wing aircraft that can optimally recover a stable flight position after a disturbance and smoothly transition from hover into forward flight and back), to the “Monospinner” (the world’s mechanically simplest flying machine, with only a single moving part), to the “Omnicopter” (the world’s first flying machine that can move into any direction independent of its orientation and its rotation), to a novel fully redundant quadrocopter (the world’s first, consisting of two separate two-propeller flying machines), to a synthetic swarm (33 flying machines swarming above the audience).
Thymio is a playful robot designed to help children discover programming, motors, light and motion sensors, and ultimately, logical and inventive thinking – right out of the box. Earlier versions of Thymio are already in use at home or school by tens of thousands of children worldwide. Now Thymio’s development team is crowdfunding to bring you a wireless version of this loveable educational robot.
In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Hunter Lloyd, who is a Professor of Robotics at Montana State University and a comedian. Hunter performs a comedy act for all ages with partner Looney, a NAO Humanoid Robot from Aldebaran Robotics. Lloyd discusses making people laugh with his robot partner, why he does it, and how what he’s learned as a comedian relates to robotics.
Have you ever wanted to attend a conference that was too far away, expensive, or sold out? Whether you’re a penniless researcher, interested youth, or a group of elderly people who want to live in other people’s bodies (like in that weird movie Being John Malkovich), your wish may be granted.
What’s with all the quadrotors in auto advertising these days? And what do quadrotor swarms have to do with cars? Probably not much at all, but apparently associating your auto brand with high-performance quads is de rigeur. Subaru is following the lead of Lexus (which launched its quadrotor ad last November), upping the ante by having the driver of the new WRX STI engage in a pas de deux (or should we say, ‘pas de plusieurs?’) with a swarm of 300 LED-lit quadrotors. It makes for some pretty stunning footage, but before you get too excited, unlike the original Lexus ad (which had at least a decent portion of real footage from Kmel’s impressive quads) almost all of the quadrotor eye-candy in the new Subaru ad is CGI. The automaker’s desire to associate themselves with cutting edge technology may be a sign of just how popular quadrotors have become, but is hyper-realistic CGI enhancement inflating consumer’s expectations of what quadrotors can actually do? (see the video below)
As of yesterday, you can get the adorable and versatile humanoid robot NAO from Aldebaran Robotics for yourself, even if you are not an academic or a hardcore developer. According to Génération Robots, a European partner of Aldebaran Robotics, they are selling NAO Next Gen (that’s the fourth of the four versions of NAOs out there) with the starting price of 5628 €. In North America, the RobotsLab is offering NAO for $7990 – down from $16,000.