European Robotics Forum, the most influential meeting of the robotics and AI community, held its 10th anniversary edition in Romania. The event was organized Under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and Under the Patronage of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
A new learning system developed by MIT researchers improves robots’ abilities to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a learning-based particle simulator, could give industrial robots a more refined touch — and it may have fun applications in personal robotics, such as modelling clay shapes or rolling sticky rice for sushi.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR), at a press conference here last week, announced preliminary 2018 figures for the industrial sector of the robotics industry. Last year set another record — but just barely. It was only up 1% over 2017. No information was given about service and field robotics.
It’s been two years since the last time I judged the Automate Startup Competition. More than any other trade show contest, this event has been an oracle of future success. In following up with the last vintage of participants, all of the previous entrees are still operating and many are completing multi-million dollar financing rounds. As an indication of the importance of the venue, and quite possibly the growth of the industry, The Robot Report announced last week that 2017 finalist, Kinema Systems was acquired by SoftBank’s Boston Dynamics.
In many animals, tool-use skills emerge from a combination of observational learning and experimentation. For example, by watching one another, chimpanzees can learn how to use twigs to “fish” for insects. Similarly, capuchin monkeys demonstrate the ability to wield sticks as sweeping tools to pull food closer to themselves. While one might wonder whether these are just illustrations of “monkey see, monkey do,” we believe these tool-use abilities indicate a greater level of intelligence.
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Dylan Glas, Senior Robotics Software Architect at Futurewei Technologies and former chief architect for the ERICA android in the ERATO Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project, about his work on ERICA, a realistic android robot. Glas discusses how ERICA was designed, the uncanny valley, the software architecture of ERICA, and some of the research studies that ERICA has been involved in.
by Sandrine Ceurstemont
Semi-autonomous cars are expected to hit the roads in Europe next year with truck convoys following a few years later. But before different brands can share the roads, vehicle manufacturers need to agree on standards for automated functions.
A child who has never seen a pink elephant can still describe one — unlike a computer. “The computer learns from data,” says Jiajun Wu, a PhD student at MIT. “The ability to generalize and recognize something you’ve never seen before — a pink elephant — is very hard for machines.”
In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Ian Bernstein, Founder and Head of Product at Misty Robotics, about a robotics platform designed for developers called Misty II. Bernstein discusses the motivation behind making a robotics platform for developers (relating it to personal computers), Misty II’s hardware extensibility and software “skills,” and the future direction of Misty Robotics.
Last week’s breaking news story on The Robot Report was unfortunately the demise of Helen Greiner’s company, CyPhy Works (d/b/a Aria Insights). The high-flying startup raised close to $40 million since its creation in 2008, making it the second business founded by an iRobot alum that has shuttered within five months. While it is not immediately clear why the tethered-drone company went bust, it does raise important questions about the long-term market opportunities for leashed robots.
By Caitlin McDermott-Murphy, Harvard University Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
A soft robot, attached to a balloon and submerged in a transparent column of water, dives and surfaces, then dives and surfaces again, like a fish chasing flies. Soft robots have performed this kind of trick before. But unlike most soft robots, this one is made and operated with no hard or electronic parts. Inside, a soft, rubber computer tells the balloon when to ascend or descend. For the first time, this robot relies exclusively on soft digital logic.
In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Dor Skuler, CEO and co-founder of Intuition Robotics, about a socially assistive robot for older adults named ElliQ. Skuler discusses the motivation for ElliQ, how it infers context and changes its behavior accordingly, and how ElliQ adapts its behavior over time.
What does a day in the life of a woman working with robots look like? We asked members of WomeninRobotics.org to volunteer “a paragraph and a picture” for this first patchwork representation of the field. And if you’re a woman working in robotics or interested in the field, join us! (updated with content from Odyssey Foundation in Nigeria)