Getting robots to do what we want would be a lot easier if they could read our minds. That sci-fi dream might not be so far off. With a new robot control system, a human can stop a bot from making a mistake and get the machine back on track using brain waves and simple hand gestures. People who oversee robots in factories, homes or hospitals could use this setup, to be presented at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference on June 28, to ensure bots operate safely and efficiently. Electrodes worn on the head and forearm allow a person to control the robot. The head-worn electrodes detect electrical signals called error-related potentials — which people’s brains unconsciously generate when they see someone goof up — and send an alert to the robot. When the robot receives an error signal, it stops what it is doing. The person can then make hand gestures — detected by arm-worn electrodes that monitor electrical muscle signals — to show the bot … [Read more...] about With this new system, robots can ‘read’ your mind
UiPath makes an enterprise robotic process automation (RPA) software platform, including tools for robot licensing, provisioning, scheduling, monitoring and alerting. It has built computer vision and natural language processing into its platform, and integrates with third-party cognitive services from Google, IBM, Microsoft and ABBY. It recently received a $153 million investment from Accel Partners, CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others. … [Read more...] about The biggest AI startup deals of 2018
PHOENIX — Soft robots really get around. Some jump, others swim or crawl on the ground (SN Online: 12/13/16). Now, one can even scale walls. Inspired by an octopus’s suckers, researchers have constructed an inchwormlike robot that uses a pair of suction cups to scoot around vertical surfaces. The bot can clamber across rough and smooth terrain, aboveground and underwater, carrying up to five times its own weight. This kind of free-climbing machine, described April 3 at the Materials Research Society spring meeting, could one day help conduct surveillance or inspect buildings and bridges. Some rigid metal bots are designed to climb walls, too. But those machines are clunkier, more expensive and liable to break if they fall. Soft robots are relatively cheap to make and are lightweight and resilient, so there’s less risk involved with them losing their grip. The new robot is made of silicone rubber — a choice material for building soft, flexible, … [Read more...] about A new soft bot mimics octopuses and inchworms to climb walls
To quickly unfurl and refold their wings, earwigs stretch the rules of origami. Yes, those garden pests that scurry out from under overturned flowerpots can also fly. Because earwigs spend most of their time underground and only occasionally take to the air, they pack their wings into packages with a surface area more than 10 times smaller than when unfurled, using an origami-like series of folds. Springy wing joints let the insects bypass some of the mathematical constraints that normally limit the way a rigid two-dimensional material can be folded, researchers report March 23 in Science. Earwig wings’ folding pattern should be impossible according to mathematical equations that predict the three-dimensional designs that can be made by folding a two-dimensional material like a sheet of paper, says study coauthor Andres Arrieta, a mechanical engineer at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Origami theory assumes that the material being folded is perfectly rigid. But the … [Read more...] about Earwigs take origami to extremes to fold their wings
The age of automation—long talked about as a thing of the future—has already arrived, and it’s here to stay. Emerging technologies like IoT, AI and machine learning are seeing rapid adoption, and existing technologies like big data analytics and the cloud are becoming firmly embedded in the way we do business.But this fundamental shift in how and where we use intelligent technology is only the beginning. We should expect exponential growth and turnover within the next 10 to 15 years, where new technologies will continue to change nearly every aspect of our lives, from the houses we live in, to the devices we interact with, and perhaps most importantly, how we work.As more young generations join the workforce as digital natives, they bring with them a born skillset to thrive and operate in a completely digital environment. In order to stay competitive, relevant and productive, that means the rest of us need to ensure we’re digitally fluent and ready for the next … [Read more...] about The workforce of the future is already here: are you ready?