This recent news on robots is definitely not the type of story you would expect, and definitely the type of story that will kind of make you scared about the heights of development that robots have reached. A self-learning robot that was being trained at a facility in Russia managed to escape the training compound to go about on its own business. The robot caused quite a traffic jam.
From Microsoft’s AI bot becoming a racist-human-hating robot in 24 hours to DARPHA’s 132-foot “stalker” warship that will hunt the seas for intruders, there have been some peculiar traits being displayed by artificially intelligent (AI) robots in these recent times. Ladies and gentlemen, the age of robotic automation has officially started.
A candy chain is now allowing those of us who love candies and 3D printing to enjoy the two all at once. Partnering with Magic Candy Factory, Dylan’s Candy Bar just installed 3D printers in their shops to allow their customers to create and design their own gummy candies, and print them right away. Currently, these are 100 designs to chose from if you don’t want to make your own special customized one. Operating similarly to a hot glue gun, the 3D printer extrudes a plant-based gummy mixture out of its nozzle prior to heating it up.
Customers of KFC have been served the same secret original recipe for over 60 years now. You can however look out to see a change in one of their usual traditions. Colonel Sanders will be introducing a new concept store in Shanghai, China. The store will allow its customers to order fired chicken from a voice activated robot.
While the robot cannot distinguish other dialects and accents, at least not yet, the robot called ‘Dumi’ is smart enough to handle order changes and substitutes. The store located at the National Exhibition Convention Center, is a collaboration between KFC and Baidu, a Chinese web service. In honor of the brand’s traditional recipe, the duo has named the establishment ‘Original+.’
This new ultra-lifelike animatronic robot named JiaJia puts the creep in creepy. Robot realism has been hitting the curbs of popularity these days. Previously, a robot that was reveal to the public could have been easily called Scarlett Johansson’s clone as it was made to look exactly like the actress. The focus of this new life-like robot from China is to help robot-human social interaction.
The JiaJia was officially launched by the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei on the 15th of April this year. The simple abilities of the JiaJia includes performing various autonomous physical actions and navigations; and holding realistic conversations with humans. A wide range of human expressions are displayed when it communicates. As it interacts, its lips are synced to its speech, and its eyes will move and blink. It also has the calibre to display micro expressions on its face, something many other robots struggle with.
For JiaJia to improve human-to-robot communication as it goes around, an independently developed high-reality emulation technology has been incorporated into its system. The two languages covered by JiaJia are Mandarin and English. Every memory of the robot is stored in a cloud-based system.
RT News reported, “Jia Jia can spout simple phrases such as “hello” and “welcome,” as well as more complex and offhand sentences such as: “Don’t come too close to me when you are taking a picture – It will make my face look fat,” which ‘she’ reportedly told visitors at the robot’s launch in Anhui Province.”
The professor leading this development, Chen Xiao-Ping, shares that he plans to improve JiaJia with deep learning abilities. He and his team are also looking towards placing it on the market in the future, however the plans have not yet been finalized. One of the functionalities that they will be adding is the ability to cry or laugh.
There may no longer be any need for breast cancer patients to volunteer their services to medical students. Japanese researchers have developed a robotic glove that can stimulate the sensation of touching someone’s breast. The researchers aspire to have the device serve as a training tool for medical students to gain experience in palpating the breast when looking for lumps and other examinations that require scrutinizing body parts by touch.
The device is attached to the hands and can simulate the softness of different materials by producing realistic tactile sensations to the individual’s fingertip by haptic feedback. The researchers from the Gifu University of Japan call their invention “a multi-fingered haptic interface robot”.
Medical students require examination practice in locating breast lumps and getting volunteers who are suffering from cancer can be very difficult. The haptic device is able to provide all students with the practice as it replicates different sizes of lumps in different places of the organ.
The researchers expressed that developing the device to stimulate touch and softness has proved a big challenge as the fingertips are very sensitive and produces nuanced sensations that are hard to replicate.
The invention was showcased at the IEEE Internationl Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) held in Hong Kong.
The IEEE website explains the device’s mechanism: “To simulate softness, the sheet of gel is stretched by two tiny rollers with a gap between them, so that a strip of gel is suspended in the air. Your finger rests on this strip. By using a motor and a set of gears to move the rollers, the tension on the strip of gel can be increased or decreased. Increasing the tension (pulling the strip tighter) makes it feel harder under your finger, while decreasing the tension (letting the strip get looser) makes it feel softer.”
This may have been a “touchy” subject before as it regards breast cancer patients but at least now we all know that medical students will still get the “hands on” experience necessary.
The dirt-sucking talents and ability to keep dirt and debris off our floors all on it own, is the mere reason why many of us praise the Roomba robot vacuum. While its functions may be appreciated by many of us that have the typical flooring type used in homes commonly, it might not necessarily be the best cleaning robot for those of us with the unusual types. So, for all our tile and hardwood floor mop needs, the new Roomba Braava Jet is here to offer that.
Tailored to work in smaller apartments and homes, the robot measuring 6.7 x 7 x 3.3 inches is a compact cleaner. This means it is able to squeeze into narrow openings around crowded rooms. This version of Roomba is recommended for use in bathrooms and kitchens, where wet floors can make it difficult for robotic vacuum cleaners to perform their function, however it can still be used in other rooms of the house that ofcourse have hard flooring.
The Roomba Braava Jet perform tasks such as wet mopping, damp sweeping, and dry sweeping with the help of its cleaning pad that is located at the bottom, and a nozzle at the front for spraying water directly on the floor for wet and damp cleaning. There are types of cleaning pads available for different purposes – one for sweeping, another for light mopping, and a last one for deep cleaning stains. The pads are not reusable so when it is through cleaning, you can trash it by pulling a lever under the top handle that will just release it. Like the other Roomba cleaning robots, it comes with sensors and learning talents that allow it to memorize a room’s layout and avoid obstacles.
The Braava Jet is available now for the price of $199.
In a statement made by Domino’s, they shared an interesting announcement. They said:
“Imagine a world in which your pizza is delivered by a driverless vehicle. A world in which you collect your piping hot Pepperoni Pizza and Garlic Bread from the compartment of a four wheeled robot named DRU. It might not be as far off as you first thought.”
Yes, it means exactly what you think and the next time you order pizza the delivery guy that you’re used to might not be the one to make your delivery. The new ‘delivery guy’ by Domino’s is said to be an autonomous pizza delivery vehicle called the DRU (Domino’s Robotic Unit). The quite friendly-looking robot features a heated compartment that aims to keep the pizza hot, and a cooler to keep the drinks cold.
As for navigation, the bot can be controlled through a tablet and it is guided by a base platform sourced from the military. With minimum effort required from employees, the technologies combined created a vehicle with the ability to follow semi-autonomous directions to the customer’s house, make the delivery and return to its base. Domino’s ensured that “surveillance and security” technology will also be incorporated into the pizza-filled robots as there are concerns as to how people on that will share the streets will react to running into one.
While the company has announced the new technology globally, picturing the little robots taking the streets to make deliveries seems somewhat distant. During the company’s test that proved successful, a number of legal issues arose and therefore needs to be resolved by Domino’s before this automaton is put into operation.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time a company has decided to invest in innovative delivery technologies. Last year, Amazon unveiled their new drone delivery system, the Amazon Prime Air.
Look out for a robot the next time you call room service. There is a hospitality robot called Relay that is taking the hospitality industry by storm by serving as a deliverer. The robot by Savioke can bring everything from toiletries to food, and it is already being used by some hotels in the US. Recently, it received a $15 million fund which means the autonomous butlers could soon become a lot more popular.
Employed in major brand hotels such as the Residence Inn by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/ Century Boulevard, there are 12 robots being commissioned around 5 hotels. It stands three feet tall, uses Wi-Fi and 3D cameras to navigate, and has a compartment at the top that can be loaded with items for delivery.
On receiving a call for room service, the goods requested will be gathered by the staff and they will be packed into the Relay robot, which has gained its own nickname at some of the hotels. Summoning the elevator wirelessly and navigating to the room with Wi-Fi and 3D cameras, the robot will head off to work after the items are packed into its compartment and the room number to visit is punched in on its touch screen panel. Upon arriving at the correct room, the robot will call the room’s phone and wait for the guest to meet it at the door. After completing this job, it returns to its charging dock.
The robot was said to gain much fame on Twitter when it was captured delivering a beer on stage at the BusinessWeek Design Conference that was held in April last year. With the recent funding, Savioke can move forward with expanding its fleet and great improvement of human lives with robotic technology could be just around the corner.
Some have argued that the robots are set to replace human jobs, but hotels have asserted that the robots will only allow human employees to focus more on other tasks that need to be taken care of.
So far, Japanese humanoid robot, Pepper, has begun working in financial institutions, car companies, and in food and beverages firms. The latest addition to its list is cell phone retail stores. In an announcement, Softbank shared that they plan to open a pop-up mobile shop that is entirely staffed with four foot-tall robots. The company believes that the humanoids will prove successful selling machines owing to the fact that they are able to read emotions and formulate accurate responses.
“I don’t know how this will turn out, but it should be a quite interesting experiment,” director of Softbank, Ken Miyauchi, said during a two-day exhibition called Pepper World.
According to reports by the Japanese Times, the store in Tokyo’s Omotesando shopping district opens March 28 until April 3, with hours between midday and 7 pm. The robots will be roaming around the store answering customers’ questions, providing directions, and most importantly, selling phones. The brand of phone that Pepper will be working with was not disclosed. Softbanks says that along with the five to six robots that will serve as staff in the shop, there will be humans to intervene when the moment calls for checking people’s IDs for the phone contracts.
Last fall, the commercial version of Pepper was launched and utilized by 500 companies in Japan, including Nestle and Mizuho Bank. For this year, as soon as next month, Softbank will be launching ‘RobotApp Market for Biz’ to allow clients to download apps straight to their Peppers and about 200 firms will work on developing the software. Business customers will be allowed to meet the cyborgs when four retail locations are opened in a few weeks.
Who said the commercial guys are the only ones that could fly a drone in the air to capture photography. Now you can own a small one that can follow you around and take photos and videos of you autonomously. Lily, a quadropter drone, is a concept device that you throw into the air to start flying and hovering around you to capture what you’re doing. The device is perfect for when you’re snowboarding down a hill, diving off a clifftop or just wanting to capture your family’s celebration in the back garden.
As the brain child of several graduates from UC Berkeley’s robotic lab, Lily can film HD 1080p video at 60fps or 720p video at 120fps, as well as generating 12mp images, which are stored on a 4GB microSD card. Just to ensure that Lily knows where you are, a tracking device which can be worn strapped to your wrist, is connected to the Lily. On the account of losing the signal, the Lily will hover in place to try to locate you and it will land once it can’t.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) runs out of battery after 20 minutes of flying time and will land immediately away from the user, and it can only fly a maximum height of 15m but at least 1.75m above you. While Lily’s technology is interesting, it is not the only personal photography drone that is available on the market. The current pre-order price is $799 and will gradually increase to its final retail price of $999.