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by   -   September 16, 2020


By Misha Laskin, Aravind Srinivas, Kimin Lee, Adam Stooke, Lerrel Pinto, Pieter Abbeel

A remarkable characteristic of human intelligence is our ability to learn tasks quickly. Most humans can learn reasonably complex skills like tool-use and gameplay within just a few hours, and understand the basics after only a few attempts. This suggests that data-efficient learning may be a meaningful part of developing broader intelligence.

by   -   August 26, 2020

By Lindsay Brownell

Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, in which a surgeon uses tools and a tiny camera inserted into small incisions to perform operations, has made surgical procedures safer for both patients and doctors over the last half-century. Recently, surgical robots have started to appear in operating rooms to further assist surgeons by allowing them to manipulate multiple tools at once with greater precision, flexibility, and control than is possible with traditional techniques. However, these robotic systems are extremely large, often taking up an entire room, and their tools can be much larger than the delicate tissues and structures on which they operate.

by   -   August 12, 2020

One of the biggest challenges in computing is handling a staggering onslaught of information while still being able to efficiently store and process it.

By Adam Conner-Simons

Big data has gotten really, really big: By 2025, all the world’s data will add up to an estimated 175 trillion gigabytes. For a visual, if you stored that amount of data on DVDs, it would stack up tall enough to circle the Earth 222 times. 

by   -   July 28, 2020
Protein-based artificial muscles for soft robotic actuators
Series of protein-based artificial muscles, with performance exceeding that of biological muscle. Other soft robotic parts could include soft grippers and soft actuators. IMAGE: ABDON PENA-FRANCESCH, LEAD AUTHOR OF THE PAPER AND A FORMER DOCTORAL STUDENT IN DEMIREL’S LAB (NOW STARTING HIS OWN GROUP IN UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN).

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Repeated activity wears on soft robotic actuators, but these machines’ moving parts need to be reliable and easily fixed. Now a team of researchers has a biosynthetic polymer, patterned after squid ring teeth, that is self-healing and biodegradable, creating a material not only good for actuators, but also for hazmat suits and other applications where tiny holes could cause a danger.

by   -   July 27, 2020

The DARPA Subterranean (SubT) Challenge aims to develop innovative technologies that would augment operations underground. On July 20, Dr Timothy Chung, the DARPA SubTChallenge Program Manager, joined Silicon Valley Robotics to discuss the upcoming Cave Circuit and Subterranean Challenge Finals, and the opportunities that still exist for individual and team entries in both Virtual and Systems Challenges, as per the video below.

by   -   July 22, 2020

Human thumb next to our OmniTact sensor, and a US penny for scale.

By Akhil Padmanabha and Frederik Ebert

Touch has been shown to be important for dexterous manipulation in robotics. Recently, the GelSight sensor has caught significant interest for learning-based robotics due to its low cost and rich signal. For example, GelSight sensors have been used for learning inserting USB cables (Li et al, 2014), rolling a die (Tian et al. 2019) or grasping objects (Calandra et al. 2017).

by   -   July 18, 2020

RSS 2020 was held virtually this year, from the RSS Pioneers Workshop on July 11 to the Paper Awards and Farewell on July 16. Many talks are now available online, including 103 accepted papers, each presented as an online Spotlight Talk on the RSS Youtube channel, and of course the plenaries and much of the workshop content as well. We’ve tried to link here to all of the goodness from RSS 2020.

by   -   July 15, 2020

By Rachel Gordon
The opposing fingers are lightweight and quick moving, allowing nimble, real-time adjustments of force and position.
Photo courtesy of MIT CSAIL.

For humans, it can be challenging to manipulate thin flexible objects like ropes, wires, or cables. But if these problems are hard for humans, they are nearly impossible for robots. As a cable slides between the fingers, its shape is constantly changing, and the robot’s fingers must be constantly sensing and adjusting the cable’s position and motion.

by and   -   July 15, 2020

This year the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) is being run as a virtual event. One interesting feature of this conference is that it has been extended to run from 31 May to 31 August. A number of workshops were held on the opening day and here we focus on two of them: “Learning of manual skills in humans and robots” and “Emerging learning and algorithmic methods for data association in robotics”.

by   -   June 27, 2020

In times of crisis, we all want to know where the robots are! And young roboticists just starting their careers, or simply thinking about robotics as a career, ask us ‘How can robotics help?’ and ‘What can I do to help?’. Cluster organizations like Silicon Valley Robotics can serve as connection points between industry and academia, between undergrads and experts, between startups and investors, which is why we rapidly organized a weekly discussion with experts about “COVID-19, robots and us” (video playlist).

by   -   June 24, 2020

The newly designed HAMR-Jr alongside its predecessor, HAMR-VI. HAMR-Jr is only slightly bigger in length and width than a penny, making it one of the smallest yet highly capable, high-speed insect-scale robots. Credit: Kaushik Jayaram/Harvard SEAS

By Leah Burrows

This itsy-bitsy robot can’t climb up the waterspout yet but it can run, jump, carry heavy payloads and turn on a dime. Dubbed HAMR-JR, this microrobot developed by researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, is a half-scale version of the cockroach-inspired Harvard Ambulatory Microrobot or HAMR.

by   -   June 24, 2020


Researchers from NCCR Robotics at the University of Zurich and Intel developed an algorithm that pushes autonomous drones to their physical limit.

by   -   June 24, 2020


ICRA 2020, one of the main international robotics conferences, is happening online this year due to COVID-19. That means there is loads of free content you can view from home. It’s a great way to see what’s happening in the field straight from those pushing the state of the art.

by   -   June 24, 2020


Humanized Intelligence in Academia and Industry
September 8, 2020


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