Articles about robotics

Is that you, T-1000? No, just a lil robot that can mimic humans on sight

Video Boffins have taught a robot how to imitate the way someone handles objects after watching them just once. While humans and animals are intelligent enough to mimic simple movements they've only just seen, this is beyond today's relatively dumb software. We're nowhere near T-1000 Terminator series levels, yet. Researchers from …
Marching, image via Shutterstock

Storage uber alles: SoftBank chucks $20 mill into Nexenta's hat

Software-defined storage biz Nexenta has picked up another $20m in funding. It is effectively an H-round, following last year's $7.7m G-round and takes total funding, we think, to $141.5m. The main funder in the latest round is SoftBank and there is a strategic distribution and go-to-market agreement between it and Nexenta. …
Chris Mellor, 28 Nov 2017

Why Boston Dynamics' backflipping borg shouldn't scare you

It's alive, it's terrifying, and it does perfect backflips! Boston Dynamics' gymnastic research robot Atlas has caused a minor panic on social media. With skills like this, surely humans are doomed? Here it is. Youtube Video And here's Boston's Mini Spot. Youtube Video But hold on. What could this be? It's one of Boston's …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Nov 2017
Qantas Boeing 737-838, VH-VZR

Boeing borgs robot aeronautics biz Aurora Flight Sciences

Boeing is to snap up manufacturer of advanced aerospace platforms Aurora Flight Sciences, in a bid to further expand its autonomous portfolio. Aurora is a US aeronautics research company which specialises in the designing and building special-purpose unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous systems, in particular systems that …
Kat Hall, 5 Oct 2017
Cyberdyne systems logo

Elon Musk among 116 AI types calling on UN to nobble robo-weapons before they go all Skynet

116 artificial intelligence and robotics experts have put their name to an Open Letter calling for the United Nations to work for a ban on autonomous weapons. “Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare,” the letter says. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale …
Simon Sharwood, 21 Aug 2017
Knightscope K5

Security robot falls into pond after failing to spot stairs or water

A security robot tasked with patrolling an office building in Washington DC has instead driven itself into a water feature. The bot appears to have been a Knightscope K5, a surveillance bot designed to roll around “parking lots, corporate campuses and hospitals” so it can use its video cameras, anomaly detection, live video …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jul 2017
Young robot studying photo via Shutterstock

Gov.UK pops open tin of AI and robotics research cash

The UK government's long-promised Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is open for business. Jumping swiftly on the AI bandwagon, the first lump of cash to be awarded through the multimillion-pound fund will be for robotics and artificial intelligence. The fund, announced back in November 2016, was conceived as part of wider …
Rebecca Hill, 22 Jun 2017
Terminator head

SoftBank-Saudi fund raises world's biggest tech pot at $93bn

The world's biggest tech fund backed by Japan's SoftBank Group has raised $93bn (£71bn) which it intends to plough into AI and robotics. The SoftBank Vision Fund was first announced last year and its backers now include the Mubadala Investment Company of the United Arab Emirates, Apple, Foxconn, Qualcomm and Sharp. …
Kat Hall, 22 May 2017

Rich professionals could be replaced by AI, shrieks Gartner

Rise of the Machines Ball-gazers* at Gartner reckon robots could replace doctors, lawyers and IT workers in the next five years. Panic, all ye faithful. "The economics of AI and machine learning will lead to many tasks performed by professionals today becoming low-cost utilities," said Stephen Prentice, Gartner Fellow and veep. "AI's effects on …
Soft robot photo via Shutterstock

Hertfordshire primary school girls prepare for World Robotics Champs

A pair of primary school girls from Hertfordshire will represent the UK in the World Robotics Championships finals next month – if they meet their crowdfunding target. Emily Duffy, nine, and Beth Thomas, eight, both from Holy Family School in Welwyn Garden City hope their scratch-built robot Roy will help them scoop the …
Gareth Corfield, 29 Mar 2017
Robot hand human skull photo via Shutterstock

MEPs in 'urgent' call for new laws on artificial intelligence and robotics

The European Parliament today called for EU-wide liability laws to cover robotics and artificial intelligence. MEPs also want researchers to adopt ethical standards that "respect human dignity". In a resolution today MEPs noted that several countries are planning robotics regulations and that “the EU needs to take the lead on …

Microsoft offers drone lovers a simulator

Microsoft has created and released a simulator for drone pilots to help them avoid destroying their toys while running machine learning experiments. Not unreasonably, Redmond has figured out that UAV-fanciers would like a way to generate training data for machine learning algorithms governing autonomous flight in a simulator, …

IDC shock prediction: Someone might build Skynet in next few years

Those crazy tech shamans at IDC have been sniffing the data centre cooling system exhausts again, this time breathlessly informing us that in three years "30 per cent of commercial service robotic applications" will take the form of "robot as a service". We have no idea either. IDC's "Top 10 Predictions for Worldwide Robotics …
Starship robot

R2D2 delivery robots to scurry through the streets of San Francisco

An Estonian robotics company is trialling six-wheeled delivery robots that can trundle through San Francisco delivering goods to the local population. The robots are built by Starship Technologies, a company founded in 2014 by Skype cofounders Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla, and can trundle along at 6kph (3.7mph) delivering goods …
Iain Thomson, 25 Sep 2016
Terminator

Robot lung probe wins licence from US authorities

Startup Auris Surgical Robots has formally joined the robotic surgery market, securing a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) license. Don't worry, you're not going to see The Terminator looming over you as the anaesthetic takes hold: the device, from Auris Surgical Robots, is a bronchoscope. Auris doesn't have …
Still from Boston Dynamics video (Robotic mule runs through the forest)

Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Google's parent company Alphabet is fixing to flog its money-munching robotics arm, Boston Dynamics, which it only bought three years ago. Executives at Alphabet reckon that military robotics tech firm Boston Dynamics is unlikely to produce any real revenue in the next few years, reported Bloomberg, and as such has quietly put …

Domino's trials trundling four-wheeled pizza delivery bot

Domino's Pizza's Australian slice has decided wheeled drones trundling down footpaths are the pizza delivery mechanism of the future. The Domino's Robotic Unit sports LiDAR (light detection and ranging) object detection enabling the four-wheels Wall-E lookalike to deliver hot pizza and cold drinks without bumping into …
Darren Pauli, 18 Mar 2016
Phoenix exoskeleton

Berkeley boffins build cut-price robo-crutches, er, sci-fi exoskeleton

Exoskeletons designed to help the paralyzed to walk again are usually expensive and bulky, but a startup from University of California at Berkeley has built a lightweight version that's about half the cost of the nearest competitor. Dubbed Phoenix, the 12.25kg (27lb) exoskeleton uses low-cost motors and some high-end computing …
Iain Thomson, 3 Feb 2016

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