Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Archive for June, 2012

Shimi the dancing robotic smartphone dock

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Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology have developed a one-foot-tall (30 cm) smartphone-enabled robot called Shimi, which they describe as an interactive “musical buddy.”

Shime is going to be unveiled tomorrow (June the 28th 2012) at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.

Shimi can analyze a beat clapped by a user and scan the phone’s musical library to play the song that best matches the rhythm and tempo. The robot will then dance, tapping its foot and moving its head in time with the beat. With the speakers positioned as Shimi’s ears, the robot can also use the connected phone’s camera and face-detection software to move its head so that the sound follows the listener around the room.

Future apps in the works will allow users to shake their head when they don’t like the currently playing song and tell Shimi to skip to the next track with a wave of a hand. Again, these gestures are picked up using the phone’s built in camera. Shimi will also be able to recommend new music based on the user’s song choices.

Shimi was created by Professor Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology, who hopes third party developers will get on board to expand Shimi’s capabilities further by creating their own apps. He developed the robot in collaboration with Professor Guy Hoffmann from MIT’s Media Lab and IDC in Israel, entrepreneur Ian Campbell and robot designer Roberto Aimi.

“We’ve packed a lot of exciting robotics technology into Shimi,” says Weinberg. “Shimi is actually the product of nearly a decade of musical robotics research.”

By , June 27, 2012

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GM studies driver attention in semi-autonomous cars

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General Motors researchers, such as Innovation Program Manager Jeremy Salinger, are studying driver behavior in semi-autonomous driving situations. He points out that in semi-autonomous cars, it’s necessary to remain focused on driving, and on the road.

However, when the driving process requires less of our active attention, it becomes boring to just observe how the semi-autonomous device is operating our car.

Self-driving features are moving from concept vehicles to the production line. The 2013 models of the Cadillac XTS and ATS sedans will include a Driver Assist Package, which includes features such as full-speed range adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

“Driver assist features such as adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking are paving the way to self-driving automobiles,” says Salinger. “Some things are coming out this year that are basically the precursors to allowing cars to drive themselves.” These technologies focus on safety features, warning systems and crash avoidance and are the stepping stones that will allow future cars to drive autonomously.

By , June 21, 2012

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Written by Teresa Escrig

June 27th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

The rapidly evolving world of robotic technology

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June 25 (Bloomberg) — Stanford University’s Marina Gorbis discusses the rapidly evolving world of robotic technology and how humans will interact with them, and learn from them over the next five to ten years. She interviews with Adam Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Rewind.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Marina Gorbis is the Executive Director of Institute for the Future.

Marina’s biography – During her tenture at IFTF, and previously with SRI International, Marina has worked with hundreds of organizations in business, education, government, and philanthropy, bringing a future perspective to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. A native of Odessa, Ukraine, Marina is particularly suited to see things from a global perspective. She has worked all over the world and feels equally at home in Silicon Valley, Europe, India, or Kazakhstan. Before becoming IFTF’s Executive Director in 2006, Marina created the Global Innovation Forum, a project comparing innovation strategies in different regions, and she founded Global Ethnographic Network (GEN), a multi-year ethnographic research program aimed at understanding daily lives of people in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Silicon Valley. She also led IFTF’s Technology Horizons Program, focusing on interaction between technology and social organizations. She has been a guest blogger on BoingBoing.net and writes for IFTF and major media outlets. She is a frequent speaker on future organizational, technology, and social issues. Marina holds a Master’s Degree from the Graduate School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

DARPA looks at developing robots to sew uniforms

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U.S. military uniforms may not be the most fashionable of clothes, but there are a lot of them. Every year, the Pentagon spends US$4 billion on uniforms and over 50,000 people are employed in their production. In an effort to cut costs and increase efficiency, DARPA has awarded a US$1.25 million contract SoftWear Automation, Inc. to develop “complete production facilities that produce garments with zero direct labor is the ultimate goal” – in other words, a robot factory that can make uniforms from beginning to end without human operators.

Sewing is a very complex task. I would love to know how they are going to do it!

 

By June 18, 2012

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ESA tests autonomous rover in Chilean desert ahead of ExoMars mission

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With remote control of rovers on Mars out of the question due to radio signals taking up to 40 minutes to make the round trip to and from the Red Planet, the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed a vehicle that is able to carry out instructions fully autonomously.

With Mars lacking any GPS satellites to help with navigation, the rover must determine how far it has moved relative to its starting point. However, as ESA’s Gianfranco Visentin points out, any errors in this “dead reckoning” method can “build up into risky uncertainties.”

To minimize any uncertainties, the team sought to fix the rover’s position on a map to an accuracy of one meter (3.28 ft). To build a 3D map of its surroundings, assess how far it had traveled and plan the most efficient route to avoid obstacles, Seeker relied on its stereo vision.

“We managed 5.1 km (3.16 miles), somewhat short of our 6 km goal, but an excellent result considering the variety of terrain crossed, changes in lighting conditions experienced and most of all this was ESA’s first large-scale rover test – though definitely not our last.”

“The difficulty comes with follow-on missions, which will require daily traverses of five to ten times longer,” he says. “With longer journeys, the rover progressively loses sense of where it is.”

By , June 19, 2012

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The Future of Robotics: personal point of view

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The future of robotics is advancing towards the incorporation of increasing intelligence.

Intelligence includes, among other things, perception (interpreting the environment and extracting the most relevant information from it), reasoning (inferring new knowledge from the one we perceive, i.e. if we know that A implies B, and B implies C, then we can infer that A implies C), learning (as many people have pointed out in this thread already) and decision making to implement solutions to particular applications (such as security, companion, tele-presence robots, autonomous scrubber machines, vacuum cleaners, etc).

At Cognitive Robots, we have developed the first embryonic brain called “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics” -CR-B100-, which integrates all these four aspects, in a patent pending software.

We have tested the “brain” in several “bodies” with excellent results.

Please, check this post for more information.

We are actively looking for partnerships and investment capital to bring our company Cognitive Robots to the next level.

If you know of a visionary mind with capital to invest, please, pass that person my email: mtescrig@c-robots.com

We are planning on going to crowdfunding resources like KickStarter and offering our own robotic platform (brain and body) for research and a smaller version for education. What are your thoughts on that?

Bosch enters the “robo-mower” market, with the Indego

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Indego takes about 20 minutes to mow each 200 sq m – this is actually up to four times quicker than other robotic mowers, claims the company. Every 20 minutes the robotic mower needs to recharge the battery. It is able to find that charger on its own, and takes 90 minutes to fully recharge.

It mows in orderly sequential rows. By contrast, some other robotic mowers move more or less randomly all over the place, the idea being that they’ll eventually get the whole lawn done. It is also able to sense obstacles or “no-mow” surfaces such as gravel, and automatically figures out how to adjust its mowing pattern in order to avoid those. Certain other mowers must be programmed with the location of such areas, or require them to be cordoned off with wire.

So far, it appears that the mower is only available in Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia, although presumably a wider release is in the works. Its suggested retail price is 14,995 Krona (US$2,121).

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Cognitive Robots enhances Kompai’s capabilities by incorporating its “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics”

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Since February 2011, Cognitive Robots and Robosoft have been collaborating on the framework of a European project, the ECHORD C-Kompai. The objective of the project is to enhance the companion robot Kompai with the cognitive capabilities provided by the “Cognitive Brain for Service Robotics ®” – CR-B100 – of Cognitive Robots.

The intent behind the improvement of the Kompai platform is to better serve the users – the elderly.

We have identified 3 aspects of the Kompai’s functionality to be improved in this project:

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Flying Robot running partner for solo joggers

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Another example of practical apps for robots: A research team from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology has modified a commercially-available quadrocopter and turned it into an autonomous, flying running partner for solo joggers.

Researchers from RMIT in Melbourne, Australia have developed a flying running companion called Joggobot. The system uses the built-in camera on a commercially-available Parrot AR Drone quadrocopter to track the position of a jogger, and fly a few feet out in front. While the current version has some serious limitations, there is huge potential for the development of a fully interactive training partner or coach in the very near future.

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Written by Teresa Escrig

June 12th, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Buble micro-robots for biomedical research

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Robots can work in a macro-scale as well as in a micro-scale.

Published on May 23, 2012 by

A team of scientists from the University of Hawaii are creating these tiny bubbles of air is manipulated through a saline solution, directed by heat produced by infrared laser light. Its creators see this most simple of robots as a potentially ground-breaking tool for biomedical research.