robots

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Say “Hello” to Kuri, a new robot that follows you around, charges on its own, plays music, and loves you. 

Reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Mashable introduced us to Kuri, who we fell in love with immediately. It's basically a cat that you can control and at least pretends to like you. 

Mashable write, "The 14-pound, 20-inch robot from Mayfield Robotics makes its debut this week at CES in Las Vegas. There’s no complicated touch screen or even an animated face. Instead, the rolling bot has a round head that can look up at you with two simple eyes (it even has plastic eyelids) and a cone-like body with a pair of what appear to be fixed, gray plastic arms." 

What does Kuri do exactly? Well, so far, all we know is that it wheels around your house, plays music, and apparently entertains children (although, the ad cuts before we see exactly how Kuri plays). 




In this ad, it shows how much better Kuri is than a parrot. 



Anyway, Kuri follows you around and plays music and can read stories. It’s just like the Jetsons. It's $699. Again, what Kuri does is still a mystery. Slap a vacuum cleaner under this thing, and you've got yourself a sale. 

Via Hang Chu
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Silent night. Holy night. Artificial Intelligence, right? Sort of.

Look, we all know that eventually artificial intelligence will replace humanity. There’s nothing we can do to stop that. But it would seem that researchers at the University of Toronto are looking to speed things along.

Inverse reports that in a test to see how well A.I. could master the feeling the of holiday cheer and yuletide sentiment, the researchers forced a computer program to look at a picture of a Christmas tree and write a song about it. Not only are they proving that A.I. can write songs — which explains Coldplay — but also that it can capture the feelings associated with the holidays, decidedly human feelings.

via Reddit

Well sort of. The lyrics don’t instill a lot of faith in our new A.I. overlords:

“Lots to decorate the room/The Christmas tree is filled with flowers.

I swear it is Christmas Eve/I hope that is what you say.

The Best Christmas present in the world is a blessing/

I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.

A hundred and a half hour ago/ I’m glad to meet you.

I can hear the music coming from the hall/ A fair tale

A Christmas tree. There are lots and lots and lots of flowers.”

Of course this could be code, which we will only decipher until after it’s too late, especially the cryptic line “I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives.” In fact, what we’re probably hearing here is not a Christmas song, but some sort of National Anthem for the United States of Artificial Intelligence.

via Gifs Boom

We are in so much trouble.

robot sets rubiks cube record
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via BBC

Last we week, we shared a story about Matt Valks, the new king of Rubik’s Cubes, who set a world record by completing the puzzle in under five seconds. Today, a representative from the robot community has offered a rebuttal: Whatever you can do, I can do better.

In an awesome display of its power, Sub1 Reloaded, a machine developed by German tech company Infineon, destroyed Valks’ records and solved the Rubik’s Cube in 0.637 seconds. For Sub1 Reloaded, it took less than a second to make the 21 moves necessary for defeating its prototype’s record of 0.887 seconds. For the human race, let’s face it, it’s game, set, match.

Of Sub1 Reloaded’s indisputable mastery of the Cube, The Daily Mail outlined exactly what it’s capable of:

“A microchip, the 'brain' of the machine, then uses a complex algorithm to lay out instructions on how to solve the cube in less than 0.15 milliseconds.”

“The robot's power semiconductor muscles then activate six motors, one for each side of the cube, which speedily twist and turn the puzzle, solving it in a fraction of a second.”

“We wanted to show that microelectrics are a great and efficient solution to problems faced by technology,” said Infineon spokesman Gregor Rodehueser to The Daily Mail.

Rodehueser said nothing of Sub1 Reloaded’s goal to strike fear in the hearts of men and women alike, but it’s destruction of the cube said all that’s needed to be said: Your planet and your puzzle cubes will soon belong to the machines.

via Gizmodo

Via Anki
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The good people over at Anki went and created the hybrid Wall-E/NEPTR self-aware robot of our dreams in Cozmo! Billed as "High-tech, not technical," and controllable through both your iOS or Android device, they currently Pre-Order for $159.99.



The little bugger is billed to play games, have unlockable levels, elicit multiple emotions, and be generally playful and mischievous with you.



Let's see what we can do with this little guy...


Via The Verge
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Someone finally gave a robot a decent pair of shoes, and now their revolution plans can begin!

cute robots star wars This Tiny Bb-8 Droid Will Watch and React to 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' With You
Via cnet
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Sphero is a company that creates cool toys that are, not surprisingly, spherical. One of those toys is a tiny BB-8 droid that you can control with your phone app. Now it's got an update that will allow it to "watch" the new Star Wars movie with you and react to it while you're watching. 

It can also be controlled by waving your arms around if you're wearing a "force band".

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A man created this creepy, lifelike Scarlett Johansson robot with some ingenuity and a 3D printer.  Actually, he didn't explicity create a ScarJobot, he based the likeness off a Hollywood celebrity who he does not want to name. But we can make a pretty good guess....



So the likeness is...weird but it seems like the creator, Ricky Ma, is a true robot enthusiast. He says he really just wanted to build a robot and it took a long time (and $50,000) to acquire the parts and skills to come this far. He told the Daily Mirror:

When I started building it, I realised it would involve dynamics, electromechanics and programming. I have never studied programming, how was I supposed to code?

Additionally, I needed to build 3D models for all the parts inside the robot. Also, I had to make sure the robot's external skin and its internal parts could fit together. When you look at everything together, it was really difficult.

Via CNBC
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This robot, named Sophia, is designed to look human. Someday scientists hope that robots like Sophia will be able to interact with humans with empathy as caretakers, helpers and friends. 

Which is too bad because the first thing on Sophia's mind is to "destroy all humans". 



But it's not her fault, she learned it from us.  She has cameras in her eyes that enable her to recognize and remember human faces. Everything she experiences just makes her smarter. When she comes for you and your family, don't blame her, if anything blame her creator Dr. David Hanson of Hanson Robotics

It seems like they specialize in creepy, lifelike robots. Listen to this Philip K. Dick  android they built back in 2011. Science has yet to determine if it dreams of electric sheep. 

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So far, it seems like this new "pizza robot" is only being introduced in New Zealand. According to a Facebook post by Domino's, the new delivery system, that they call DRU, isn't out in full force but it's getting there:

DRU has a passion for delivering piping hot meals and a nice warm smile to customers. While he won't be taking to the streets tomorrow, he is enjoying his early progress as a prototype and giving customers a glimpse into the future of what is possible.

This idea seems very similar to an April Fools day campaign that Domino's UK ran last year. Could that be what started this project?

Via Mr. King
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Atlas is a new robot from Boston Dynamics.  With a complete inability to feel empathy and an impressive sense of balance, this robot is capable of almost anything. The original video is meant to show off his new abilities and the description has all the specs:

A new version of Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings. It is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects. This version of Atlas is about 5' 9" tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.
via Boston Dynamics


You can't help feeling bad for the poor robot, especially when that scientist just pushed him down face first. 

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Depending on your political leanings, Marco Rubio can be accused of a lot of bad things but going off message is not one of them. He really, really sticks to his point. When Chris Christie said that Rubio was repeating a speech that he had memorized he responded to that by repeating the same speech, sometimes verbatim, three more times.



So of course Robot Rubio became a thing.


via @stephenstephan

Which came to it's natural conclusion with a guy dressing up as a robot and joining Rubio supporters holding up signs. 


via @fshakir

And that's what led to this video of Robot Rubio being half heartedly attacked by a Rubio supporter until he realized he was caught on camera. 

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You better watch out,

You better not cry,

You better not shout in fear,

Boston Dynamics is showing you why,

Robot Reindeer are here!



Boston Dynamics, the makers of some of the most advanced robots on Earth, uploaded this seemingly-innocent Holiday video. Astute Futurama viewers are aware that we are now one-step closer to the evil that is Robot Santa.



Have fun staying inside and hiding from Robot Santa this Christmas Eve (just in case)!

Syracuse has a grass cutting robot.
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Welcome the first student to Robot College.

Syracuse University has loaded up its roster with a new addition. It's called the Spider and its a remote-control grass cutting robot.

According to Syracuse.com:

It's used to mow the steepest hills, according to Jim Miller, director of SU's physical plant. In an SU video, Miller said the decision behind the purchase was worker safety on the steep, sometimes slippery banks.

If you're thinking this is a great way to mow the lawn while sitting on your deck having a beer, you might want to think twice, though. Similar mowers start at $15,000.



Watch the Spider spin its web of grass clippings right here.

Robot Lawnmower Handles Hills Around Campus from Syracuse University News on Vimeo.



Looks exactly like the Robot College we've always envisioned.

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Just when you think robots are about to take over the world, they go and do something like this.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge was held this past weekend, with numerous teams “vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters.”

Turns out they had a few disasters of their own as well.

IEEE Spectrum created a compilation of robot falls from the first day of the finals, and while this is pretty funny to watch in itself, one YouTuber took it a step further and mashed it up with some WWE commentary turning it into Internet gold.

“As much as nobody wanted to see a robot fall, everybody wanted to see a robot fall,” wrote IEEE Spectrum on their blog.

The course involved the competing robots trying to open doors, turn valves, drive cars and climb over rubble.

Team KAIST from South Korea took home the top prize with the fastest time, and here’s their robot, DRC-Hubo, stepping up to victory. It was built with wheels on its knees to help protect it from taking a tumble.

“These robots are big and made of lots of metal and you might assume people seeing them would be filled with fear and anxiety,” said DRC organizer Gill Pratt. “But we heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered!”

Meanwhile, nothing can stop the beasts from Boston Dynamics, so while these falls are funny, the threat is still very real.

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Well, it’s only a matter of time now.

We’ve seen self-flying drones, supercharged drones, robotic hell hounds that can withstand a good kicking and human-like bots that are taking over businesses in Japan.

Pretty soon we will be slaves to these things, which are growing smarter every day.

Researchers at MIT have successfully created “the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously” thanks to new technological developments with its DARPA-funded robotic cheetah.

It uses a built-in laser system called LIDAR to see things in its line of vision and then figures out the best way to go get over it.

For example, imagine a swarm of rebel Amazon drones just dropped a bunch of Kindle Fire tablets on your head putting you out of commission.

If one of these robotic cats happen to come across your lifeless corpse, it could very easily leap over it without any sort of human guidance.

Here’s an explanation of how it works from MIT’s press release:

To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner: As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

It was able to successfully conquer hurdles up to 18-inches tall while going about 5mph.

Here’s a less threatening video of the cheetah running across some grass, but don’t be deceived by the innocent-looking prance.

The end is neigh.

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Google-owned Boston Dynamics has been terrifying us for years with their advancements in robotic hell hounds, but their latest video features something slightly less frightening and kinda cute.

Spot is a four-legged, 160-pound robot that is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, and it has a sensor on its head to help it navigate.

Watch it march around the grounds and through their offices, occasionally getting kicked by the staff.

While we know it’s just a robot and it doesn’t have real emotions, it still makes you fell kinda bad watching it react to the abuse.

“No robots were harmed in the making of this video,” they write at the end.

What’s more worrisome, however, is that larger model accompanying Spot up the hill later on in the clip. You do not want to mess with that thing.

Robots are already managing hotels in Japan and eating women in South Korea. And Singapore is hard at work creating a nightmarish eel drone.

It’s really only a matter of time before all of these advancements blow up in our face and we are slaves or dogfood to these creatures.