Teresa Escrig

News and oppinion about Cognitive AI & Robotics

Archive for the ‘companion robots’ tag

How would your life be enhanced by wearing a virtual personal assistant?

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Poster of the movie "Her"

Poster of the movie “Her”

I love comparing the intelligence of a device that appears in a movie with the reality of AI.  It can give us a visual glimpse of a very real possibility.

What do you think? Would you like to have a (wearable) virtual personal assistant helping you to make informed decisions? I certainly would. The human race could take a huge leap in evolution with such extended intelligence capabilities.

The movie ‘Her’ is a beautiful example of just that: Below is an excellent article with a very deep analysis of current and near future AI results.  It’s a great read, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please, leave comments.

Can we Build “Her”?: What Samantha tells Us About the Future of AI

By Vlad Sejnoha, Nuance

What will the next generation of intelligent computing look like?

The movie Her has captured the public imagination with its vision of a lightning-fast evolutionary trajectory of virtual assistants, and the emotional bonds we could form with them. Is this a likely future?

The film’s narrative arc shows the evolution of the Samantha operating system and her relationship with her user, Theodore, transforming from a competent assistant, to a literary agent that proactively arranges the publication of Theodore’s letters, to an ideal girlfriend, and ultimately to an entity that loses interest in humans because they have become unsatisfying companions. Throughout, Samantha is an impressive conversationalist with a perfect command of language, a grasp of the broader context, a grounding in common sense, and a mastery of the emotional realm.

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The new Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) is able to change size of body and arm

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Toyota's Human Support Robot

By . September 22, 2012

Toyota has unveiled a new assistant robot designed to help the disabled live more independently. Called the Human Support Robot (HSR), it represents the latest initiative in Toyota’s Partner Robot program and is intended to help out around the home by fetching things, opening curtains, and picking up objects that have fallen to the floor.

The HSR can be controlled using a simple graphical user interface via tablet PC. HSR has also an arm of 2.5 feet length and gripper. When not in use, the robot’s single arm is designed to fold in tightly to reduce its body’s overall diameter to just 14.5 inches

The robot has a telescopic body, which gives it a height of 2.7 to 4.3 feet.

The robot appears to have both a Prosense (Microsoft Kinect) sensor and stereo cameras in its head, which would allow it to sense depth and visually identify people and objects.

Expected price of the robot is unknown, but given that Japanese public health insurance will cover 90% of associated costs (a law designed specifically for robot technology that was passed recently), it seems HSR will have a decent shot at becoming a real consumer product, though it may take another couple of years of development.

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Will elderly embrace robot health care?

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By THOMAS ROGERS, 08/20/2012

“Full robots with arms are still very expensive,” says Ashutosh Saxena, a professor in the department of computer science at Cornell, “but they are getting cheaper by the day.” He predicts that armless robots — capable of communicating verbally with the elderly and observing them in case of accidents — will hit the market within the next five years.

There’s just one hiccup: the elderly themselves.

Despite manufacturers’ hopes, robotic technology has proven to be alienating for many older people — even, the BBC reports, in Japan, a country with an intense, long-term love of all things robotic.

Alexander Libin, scientific director of simulation and education research at Medstar Health Research Institute, argues that one of the biggest challenges is that the elderly need to be able to communicate easily with them. Although many robots (and mobile phones) can now recognize voice commands, nonverbal cues pose a much bigger challenge. Libin, who has worked extensively on robot-patient interaction, believes that touch-sensitive technology — like the one used by Paro, the therapeutic seal robot — will play a large role in making robots palatable to seniors.

“The Japanese want robots to be like them,” says Libin, noting Japan’s long tradition of treating inanimate objects like living beings. In the United States, we’re more comfortable treating machines as machines. “We want things we can control.”

The path toward robot acceptance may also require  patience. Like other forms of social change, robot acceptance may simply require one generation to replace the previous one.

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Willow Garage’ s PR2 robot giving the disable independence

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Great job from Willow Garage. This is a nice example of the utility of robots in the near future. PR2 is too expensive to be acquired by a regular disable citizen, but you get the idea…

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Hanson Robokind unveils latest version of its Zeno humanoid robot

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by August 2, 2012

Built by Hanson Robotics, Zeno’s open-platform software allows for custom tinkering by the purchaser, but the robot is currently programmed for a number of functions as well as speaking 26 languages. In the video, it asserts that it can carry on “conversations” and show “compassion.” It can also “deliver education curricula,” provide autism treatment therapy and can answer questions. It demonstrated the last of these by fielding spoken questions on astronomy, sports and films.

Zeno will be joined by a “female” counterpart called Alice in August of 2012. Neither, however, will be selling for the US$300 that Hanson had hoped for five years ago. Though no price has been set, current Hanson RoboKind robots are valued on its website at up to US$16,750. However, the company is still keen on breaking into the mass market and plans to roll out smaller, cheaper “cousins” for Zeno sometime in 2013.

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There is a huge amount of work done in this platform. Congratulations to the team. This platform brings robotics closer to the public.

 

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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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.

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?

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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Robotic glove developed by NASA and GM

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While Robonaut 2 has been busy testing its technology in microgravity aboard the International Space Station, NASA and General Motors have been working together on the ground to find new ways those technologiescan be used.

The two groups began working together in 2007 on Robonaut 2, or R2, which in 2011 became the first humanoid robot in space. NASA and GM now are developing a robotic glove that auto workers and astronauts can wear to perform their respective jobs, while reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries. Officially, it’s called the Human Grasp Assist device, but generally it’s called the K-Glove or Robo-Glove.

In this image, Robonaut and a spacesuit-gloved hand are extended toward each other to demonstrate the collaboration between robots and humans in space.

Image Credit: NASA

How this robotic glove can be used for other apps?