Proactive Computing | Optimizing IT for usability, performance and reliability since 1997

Category: #Robots (Page 1 of 2)

Auto Added by WPeMatico

New Robots Could Use Synthetic Bat Ears to Pinpoint Sound Sources 🦇

2f0598e3.png
Led by mechanical engineering professor Rolf Mueller, a team of researchers at Virginia Tech developed a new, bat-inspired technology to help robots accurately determine a sound’s origin. The team hopes that its new technology will improve robotics for agriculture, environmental surveillance, and of course, defense and security.

Read This Article on Review Geek ›

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/78323/new-robots-could-use-synthetic-bat-ears-to-pinpoint-sound-sources-%F0%9F%A6%87/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Contractors, Beware: This Robot Is Coming for Your Job

dovvkaz7neo9ghek36bn.jpg

It’s been hard to automate construction and home improvement. While there is plenty of room for robots on the worksite, I doubt any of us have seen anything quite like the Baubot, a construction bot that can carry heavy loads, lay bricks, and even sand sheetrock, feats once only performed by folks in hardhats and…

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/contractors-beware-this-robot-is-coming-for-your-job-1846681399
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: John Biggs

Talking robots with Ford

Before we get too far into this week’s roundup, I want to kick things off with an interview we haven’t published anywhere else. Earlier this week, we noted that Ford will be deploying some 100 researchers and engineers to the new $75 million facility at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

The automaker told TechCrunch the set up is not an incubator, so much as “an extension of our global research and advanced engineering network.” Beyond the autonomous driving research, the company will be devoting a lot of research to how it can use third-party robots like Boston Dynamics’ Spot and Agility’s Digit, the latter of which was the centerpiece to a partnership Ford announced a couple of CESes ago.

Currently, the company currently has two Digit robots, purchasing the first two commercial units. Based on how the partnership pans out, Agility could, perhaps, be a prime acquisition target for a company more actively engaged with the robotics community.

Shortly after the event wrapped up, we hopped on the phone with Ford’s Technical Expert Mario Santillo, who will help head up the expanded robotics efforts. Some highlights below.

Ford Agility Robotics

Ford is partnering with startup Agility Robotics to research and test the use of is bipedal Digit robot. Image Credits: Ford/Agility Robotics

What kind of work is Ford doing in robotics, beyond the autonomous driving space?

We’re really looking at all area of robotics. My team is focused anywhere from the manufacturing environment to more customer-facing applications, like Digit getting out of some delivery vehicle to deliver a package to your doorstop. Working with University of Michigan, they’re really looking for us to provide better use cases. We would like to — not necessarily develop the robots — but use robots like Digit or Spot to make them smarter and deliver things that Ford really cares about and to ultimately help humanity.

How close are you actually working with the team at Agility?

We’re working very closely. We’re in almost daily stand-ups in terms of getting everything up and running. We just got our Digit in Dearborn, just a couple of months ago. We have another Digit, which is sitting out in Palo Alto, so they’re a little ahead of us, in terms of actually getting real use cases. We work very well with Agility Robotics. There’s nothing hidden from either side. We just want to come together in a partnership and similar to the University of Michigan, we want to come together to make this thing better, useful and safe.

In terms of the actual research, what role does the university play?

The university is starting with the teaching of the next generation of roboticist, so that’s a huge role. The work they’re doing really spans all areas of robotics: air, land, sea, space, you name it. It’s amazing to see how interconnected things are. The walking lab, they’re specifically focusing on doing rehabilitation robotics, and that can directly lead into our Digit being more capable walking over rough terrain.

For the moment, Digit is a primary focus.

Digit is a clear, direct link, but Ford has a lot of wheeled robots, and a lot of work can feed into how we might better use these, based on research that’s going on at the University of Michigan.

Is Ford actively looking into acquiring startups or technologies in the robotics space?

I think Ford is always interested in evaluating new needs and companies as they come. I wouldn’t necessarily say, “no.”

Image Credits: University of Waterloo

Some cool research coming out of the University of Waterloo in Canada, where a team of researchers are exploring wearable cameras and machine learning to help robotic exoskeletons and prosthetics interact more naturally with their users. Per one of the researchers, “Our control approach wouldn’t necessarily require human thought. Similar to autonomous cars that drive themselves, we’re designing autonomous exoskeletons that walk for themselves.”

A number of companies are currently producing exoskeletons for mobility and rehabilitation purposes. Work like this could be a key step toward removing the need for a smartphone app or other external control.

Image Credits: HAI Robotics

In fundraising news, Hai Robotics completed a “nearly” $15 million Series B+ that adds to the Series B it announced late last year. The Shenzhen-based producers of the Haipick shelving system are one of a number of Chinese logistics robotics manufactures worth following. The system is tall and skinny, capable of moving up to eight boxes at once.

The company says it’s capable of improving warehouse operating efficiency by up to 4x. Like a number of entrants in the category, the pandemic has proven a big opportunity, as more people turn to e-commerce and companies look toward automation to avoid unnecessary shutdowns.

Image Credits: Surfacide

And just because I’m excited about baseball happening again, the Red Sox announced that they’ll be deploying UV disinfecting robots at Fenway this year. At the moment, the team appears to have only purchased three robots from Surfacide (also the legal name for the murder of a proprietary Microsoft tablet). So this will likely be a small part of a larger effort focused on, “disinfecting close quarters like team clubhouses, training rooms, as well as higher-traffic fan areas such as suites and restrooms.”

The robotic umpires, meanwhile, will have to wait a while longer for their MLB debut.

Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA Techcrunch?i=D5JuyHP88xw:tPrWnE4gM5g:-BT Techcrunch?i=D5JuyHP88xw:tPrWnE4gM5g:D7D Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/18/robotics-roundup-4/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Brian Heater

Minor League Baseball Reportedly Experimenting with Robot Umpires

lkgtyykdum6oq2n9zuzt.jpg

The seeds of the robot apocalypse are apparently being sown in Minor League Baseball. Or rather, the minor leagues appear to be one more sector of society where automation is being used to “augment” and then potentially replace human labor.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/minor-league-baseball-reportedly-experimenting-with-rob-1846467879
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Lucas Ropek

This is Catfish Charlie, the CIA’s robot spy fish

In the 1990s, the CIA’s Office of Advanced Technologies and Programs built Charlie, a remote-controlled robotic fish to surreptitiously collect water samples. According to the CIA Museum, the 61cm long robofish “contains a pressure hull, ballast system, and communications system in the body and a propulsion system in the tail. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/03/05/this-is-catfish-charlie-the-cias-robot-spy-fish.html
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: David Pescovitz

Artists outfitted robot dog Spot with a paintball gun in commentary on futuristic killer robots, just as NYDP deploys the same robot

On Tuesday, the New York Police Department reportedly unleashed Spot, the state-of-the-art robotic dog from Boston Dynamics, to do reconnaissance at a home invasion crime scene in the Bronx. Then yesterday (coincidentally?), art collective MSCHF launched their “Spot’s Rampage” installation in which the robot dog was outfitted with a paintball gun that the public could control via this Web interface. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/02/25/artists-outfitted-robot-dog-spot-with-a-paintball-gun-in-commentary-on-futuristic-killer-robots-just-as-nydp-deploys-the-same-robot.html
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: David Pescovitz

MSCHF mounted a remote-control paintball gun to Spot

I’ve piloted Spot a number of ways in a number of different settings. I had the chance to control the robot for the first time at one of our Robotics events a number of years back, and drove one around an obstacle course at Boston Dynamics’ headquarters. More recently, I navigated it via web browser as a test of the robot’s new remote interface.

But a recent test drive was different. For one thing, it wasn’t officially sanctioned by Boston Dynamics. Of course, the highly sophisticated quadrupedal robot has been out in the world for a while, and a few enterprising souls have begun to offer a remote Spot walking experience through the streets of San Francisco.

The latest project form MSCHF isn’t that. That should come as no surprise, of course. The Brooklyn-based company is never that straightforward. It’s the same organization that gave us the “pirate radio” streaming service All The Streams.FM and that wild Amazon Echo ultrasonic jammer. More than anything, their events are comments — on privacy, on consumerism or this case, a kind of dystopian foreshadowing of what robotics might become.

Like the rest of the world, the company was fascinated when Boston Dynamics put Spot up for sale — but unlike most of us, MSCHF actually managed to cobble together $75,000 to buy one.

And then it mounted a paintball gun to its back.

Image Credits: MSCHF

Starting Wednesday, users will be able to pilot a Spot unit through MSCHF’s site, and fire off a paintball gun in a closed setting. The company calls it “Spot’s Rampage.”

“The stream will start Wednesday at 1 PM EST,” MSCHF’s Daniel Greenberg told TechCrunch. “We will have a four-camera livestream going and as long as you’re on the site on your phone, you will have an equal chance of being able to control Spot, and every two minutes the driver will change. It should go for a few hours.”

Ahead of the launch of Spot’s web portal, the company built an API to remotely control both Spot’s SDK and the paintball gun mounted to the robot’s back. It’s a setup Boston Dynamics isn’t particularly thrilled with. Understandably so. For a company that has long been dealing with the blowback of cautionary science fiction like Black Mirror, the optics of a third-party mounting a gun — even one that shoots paint — are less than ideal.

Boston Dynamics tells TechCrunch that it was interested in working with the company early on.

“They came to us with the idea that they were going to do a creative project with Spot,” a rep told TechCrunch. “They’re a creative group of guys, who have done a bunch of creative things. In our conversations, we said that if you want to cooperate with us, we want to make it clear that the robots will not be used in any way that hurts people.”

Boston Dynamics balked when paintball gun entered the conversation. On Friday, it issued the following statement through Twitter:

Today we learned that an art group is planning a spectacle to draw attention to a provocative use of our industrial robot, Spot. To be clear, we condemn the portrayal of our technology in any way that promotes violence, harm, or intimidation. Our mission is to create and deliver surprisingly capable robots that inspire, delight & positively impact society. We take great care to make sure our customers intend to use our robots for legal uses. We cross-check every purchase request against the U.S. Government’s denied persons and entities lists, prior to authorizing a sale.

In addition, all buyers must agree to our Terms and Conditions of Sale, which state that our products must be used in compliance with the law, and cannot be used to harm or intimidate people or animals. Any violation of our Terms of Sale will automatically void the product’s warranty and prevent the robot from being updated, serviced, repaired or replaced. Provocative art can help push useful dialogue about the role of technology in our daily lives. This art, however, fundamentally misrepresents Spot and how it is being used to benefit our daily lives.

The statement is in line with the language in Spot’s contract, which prohibits using the robot to do anything illegal, or to intimidate or harm people. The company says it does additional “due diligence” with potential customers, including background checks.

Image Credits: MSCHF

The application is something of a gray area where Boston Dynamics is concerned. MSCHF approached the robotics company with its idea and Boston Dynamics balked, believing it wasn’t in-line with the stated mission for the quadrupedal robots. The official Spot’s Rampage site notes:

We talked with Boston Dynamics and they HATED [emphasis theirs] this idea. They said they would give us another TWO Spots for FREE if we took the gun off. That just made us want to do this even more and if our Spot stops working just know they have a backdoor override built into each and every one of these little robots.

Boston Dynamics says the company’s “understanding of the interaction” is “inaccurate.”

“We get approached by marketing opportunities all the time to create a really fantastic and compelling experience,” the company adds. “Selling one robot is not that interesting. Creating an amazing interactive experience is really compelling for us. One of the things they pitched to us was an interactive idea. It’s an expensive robot and they wanted to create an interactive experience where anybody can control the robot. We thought that was super cool and compelling.”

Boston Dynamics says it pitched the idea of using Spot’s robot arm to paint the physical space with a brush, rather than using the paintball gun. The company also offered to send technicians to the site to help maintain the robot during the stream, along with a few models as back up.

MSCHF’s inclusion of the paintball gun is, ultimately, about more than simply painting the canvas. The image of the robot with a gun — even one that only shoots paint — is menacing. And that’s kind of the point.

“It’s easy to look at these robots dance and cavort and see them as cute semi-sentient little friends,” says Greenberg. “They’re endearing when they mess up and fall over. We’ve adopted the trappings of that scenario by creating a ‘bull-in-a-china-shop’ scenario. Still, it’s worth remembering the big versions of Spot [Big Dog] were explicitly military mules, and that their public deployments tend to be by city agencies and law enforcement. At the end of the day, Spot is a terrestrial UAV – when you get to drive this robot and experience the thrill of pulling the trigger your adrenaline spikes — but, we hope, a few minutes later you feel a distinct chill. Anyone in their right mind knows these little cuties will kill people sooner or later.”

While early Boston Dynamics robots were, indeed, funded by DARPA for use as transport vehicles, the company is quick to distance itself from even the remotest hint of ominous imagery. Boston Dynamics came under fire from the ACLU after showcasing footage of a Spot being used in Massachusetts State police drills onstage at a TechCrunch robotics event.

Image Credits: MSCHF

The company told TechCrunch at the time:

Right now we’re at a scale where we can pick and choose the partners we engage with and make sure that they have a similar deployment and a vision for how robots are used. For example, not using robots in a way that would physically harm or intimidate people. But also have a realistic expectation for what a robot can and cannot do.

As MSCHF prepares to launch its event, the company is echoing those sentiments.

“I turned down a customer that wanted to use Spot for a haunted house,” Boston Dynamics tells TechCrunch. “Even putting it in that context of using our technology to scare people was not within our terms of use and not how we imagined the product being beneficial for people, and so we declined that initial sale. Had this concept been brought to us while we were in the initial sales discussions, we probably would have said, ‘there’s Arduino quadruped that you could easily put this activation together. Go do that. This isn’t representative of how we view our technology being used.’ ”

Image Credits: MSCHF

But the question of whether the company can put the toothpaste back in the tube remains. In cases of violations of the Terms of Service, the company can opt not to renew the license, which effectively deactivates it the next time a firmware update is due. Other cases could essentially void the warranty, meaning the company won’t service it.

A paintball gun being fired in a closed space likely doesn’t fall under harm, intimidation or illegal activity, however. So it’s not entirely clear whether Boston Dynamics has a direct course of action in this case.

“This is something we’re evaluating now, around this particular use case,” Boston Dynamics says. “We do have other terms of service in there, regarding modification of the robot in a way that makes it unsafe. We’re trying to understand what the implications are.”

Boston Dynamics (whose sale to Hyundai is expected to close in June) has devoted a good deal of time to showcasing the various tasks the robot can perform, from routine inspections at hazard sites to the complex dance moves it’s performed in a recent viral video. MSCHF’s primary — and, really, only — use is an interactive art piece.

“To be honest, we don’t have any further plans [for the robot],” says Greenberg. “I know we won’t do another drop with it as we do not do repeats so we will just have to get really creative. Maybe a waking cup holder.”

Techcrunch?d=2mJPEYqXBVI Techcrunch?d=7Q72WNTAKBA Techcrunch?d=yIl2AUoC8zA Techcrunch?i=cpdlZlhKGDQ:J5Pi5kwjW-w:-BT Techcrunch?i=cpdlZlhKGDQ:J5Pi5kwjW-w:D7D Techcrunch?d=qj6IDK7rITs

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/22/mschf-mounted-a-remote-control-paintball-gun-to-spot/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Brian Heater

Air-powered robot uses no electronics

University of California San Diego engineers have created a soft quadruped robot that doesn’t require any electronics to work. The robot only needs a constant source of pressurized air to perform all of its available functions, including control systems and locomotion. Researchers on the project say that the work represents a fundamental step towards fully-autonomous electronics-free walking robots. The device … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/air-powered-robot-uses-no-electronics-18660078/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Shane McGlaun

« Older posts