Boston Dynamics’ New Jumping Robot is Terrifying

KS TechnologyBoston Dynamics is at it again! Who is Boston Dynamics? Glad you asked. Boston Dynamics builds crazy advanced robots with amazing abilities. They are mobile, agile, fast, and completely mind-blowing. We’ve seen them march through rough snowy terrain, race like cheetahs, beg like dogs, and now – roll and leap over tables.

I’d like to introduce you to Handle, the new research robot that has wheels and legs. It is truly an evolutionary marvel. See for yourself:

Boston Dynamics: “Handle is a research robot that stands 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4 feet vertically. It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge.

Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs Handle can have the best of both worlds.”

These robots could be used to patrol warehouses or provide security. The options are endless (and potentially scary). Boston Dynamics is trusted by organizations worldwide, including DARPA, the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Even companies like Sony Corporation look to Boston Dynamics for advice and guidance when building the most sophisticated robots on the planet. DROP THE ROBOT MIC!


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Boston Dynamics’ New Jumping Robot is Terrifying

Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

KS TechnologyPeople creating robots that resemble nature is nothing new, but engineers at Harvard University have made something spectacular – a completely soft bodied Octobot with zero batteries or wires that uses gas (and farts) to move. 🐙

robopus

Scientists made this adorable tiny bot by pouring silicone gels of varying stiffness into an octopus mold. A 3D printer finishes the legs. At its heart is a tiny circuit board like controller which ultimately controls its movements.

Wanna hear the fun part? The Octobot moves completely on its own, powered by gas. The controller at the bot’s center shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers in the legs, turning the fluid fuel into gas. The gas flows through the ‘tentacles’ and inflates the compartments inside the eight limbs.

The blueprint for this soft, autonomous robot was published in the journal Nature.

Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly - Nature
Figure 1: Fully soft, autonomous robot assembly – Nature

All that gas has to go somewhere! The team gave the robot small orifices so the gas has a place to escape. This makes sure the Octobot doesn’t burst leaving an ugly mess.

Now, I don’t want you thinking this little soft robot is running around the lab farting its way into the history books. According to the BBC, the circuit sets up an alternating movement, inflating four limbs at a time. So it is more of a twitching movement than a walking demonstration. But still very cool!

This exciting technology could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with the fleshy world of humans.


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Palm-Sized Soft Octopus Robot Farts Its Way into Your Heart

6 Reasons Robots are Going to Kill Us All: You’ve Been Warned

KS Technology

When I told my boyfriend I was writing a post about robots killing us all he simply said, “duh, just tell people to go watch Terminator 2.” So, if you have 2 hours to kill and want to watch some good ol’ fashioned cyborg destruction, be my guest.

I get it. The idea of a robot uprising isn’t new. But, there have been too many alarming signs recently. Robots are driving our cars, mimicking human emotion, checking us into hotels, and sleeping around.

Here are 6 reasons why robots are bound to kill us all:

1) ROBOT BULLYING IS A THING

It looks like bullying in the year 2016 just got a little more interesting. Boston Dynamics worked hard to make a human-like robot that can navigate tough terrain, recover from stumbles, and pick up boxes – just to bring in a human to knock the boxes out of its cold metal hands.

boston-dynamics

All joking aside, the hockey stick exercise you see in the clip above was done to gauge the robot’s responsiveness.

But, this isn’t the first time Boston Dynamics has made headlines for bulling one of its creations. They released a video in February 2015 of their four-legged robot named Spot – where they repeatedly kick the robot to try and throw off its balance.

2) We like to have sex with them

I think its safe to say my most popular video for IBTimes was a story about sex robots being the future of prostitution. It was even mocked by Lewis Black on The Daily Show.

I don’t know about the future of robot prostitutes, but I do know people are already having sex with them. As far as I’m concerned, that means robots now hold all the power.

3) Robots run hotels

When you enter Japan’s Henn-na Hotel you are greeted by an English speaking robotic dinosaur in a bow tie, next to a multi-lingual fembot, ready to check you in.

Other robots greet guests and serve coffee – a robot even brings your luggage to your room. They have also ditched traditional room keys for face recognition technology, making them one of the first hotels to do so.

One things the robots don’t do? Make the beds. So we have that going for us…

Henn-na Hotel Dinosaur

4) Your car wants to drive off without you

Self driving cars are a reality! According to Business Insider, companies like Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla have already released, or are soon to release, self-driving features that give the car some ability to drive itself.

Tech companies like Google have also joined the game with their Google Self-Driving Car Project.

5) Drones are now NAVY Seals

Engineers at Rutgers University have developed a drone that can swim and fly – and the Office of Naval Research wants in! According to Rutgers, the Navy has agreed to fund the development of the special air-and-water craft.

This way, in the future, robots can turn into flying and swimming death machines. Click here for video!
swimming-flying-drone

6) Robots are learning how to manipulate People

University of California San Diego researchers made a creepy robot baby named Diego-san. Their android child is designed to mimic the expressions of a one year old human child as it learns to control its body and interact with humans. NO THANK YOU.


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6 Reasons Robots are Going to Kill Us All: You’ve Been Warned

Boston Dynamics’ Latest Atlas Humanoid Robot Fights Bullying and the Snow

KS TechnologyI always get a little giddy when Boston Dynamics is in the news, because it usually means I get to watch video of drunken robots. The Alphabet-owned robot company released a video this week of the latest version of Atlas – the super cool humanoid robot.

In the video you see the new and improved Atlas stomp around in the snow, complete simple chores, pick itself up off the ground, open doors, and oh yeah… get bullied by a human! 😯 Scroll down and check out the footage for yourself.

boston-dynamics-atlas-bully

The next generation Atlas is smaller than the last version, more powerful, and much more agile. In its last iteration, Atlas was tethered to an external power source. This version is battery powered, roughly 5’9″ and weighs 180 pounds. Watch it pick up boxes like a pro.

boston-dynamics

Also impressive? Atlas’ new ability to recover from a fall. Watch the robot get shoved in the back, fall to the ground, and pick itself back up. What a champ.

boston-dynamics

It looks like bullying in the year 2016 just got a little more interesting. Boston Dynamics worked hard to make a human-like robot that can navigate tough terrain, recover from stumbles, and pick up boxes – just to bring in a human to knock the boxes out of its cold metal hands.

All joking aside, the hockey stick exercise you see in the video was done to gauge the robot’s responsiveness. A quick, sudden impact like that can be really hard to recover from – but not for Atlas!

boston-dynamics

This isn’t the first time Boston Dynamics has decided to torment its creations. They released a video in February 2015 of their four-legged robot named Spot – where they repeatedly kick the robot to try and throw off its balance. You even feel bad for the little guy.

I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if this common mistreatment of robots comes back to bite us in the ass. Enjoy the new version of Atlas below. đŸ€– #endrobotbullying

Video

NASA’s Newest Robot Prepares to Build Largest Composite Rocket Parts Ever Made

KS Technology

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, just received a very sophisticated tape dispenser. The latest addition to Marshall’s Composites Technology Center is one of the largest composites manufacturing robots created in America. It will help NASA build the biggest, lightweight composite parts ever made for space vehicles.

The robot’s head has 16 spools of composite fiber tape that it releases in precise patterns to make both small and large objects. As the fibers are released they are heated so that they adhere to various surfaces. The head can be changed out for different projects. Credits: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton
The robot’s head has 16 spools of composite fiber tape that it releases in precise patterns to make both small and large objects. As the fibers are released they are heated so that they adhere to various surfaces. The head can be changed out for different projects. Credits: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

According to NASA, composites are the materials of the future for aerospace because they are lighter and cheaper than traditional materials, like metals.

“Marshall has been investing in composites for a long time,” said Preston Jones, deputy director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate. “This addition to Marshall’s Composites Technology Center provides modern technology to develop low-cost and high-speed manufacturing processes for making large composite rocket structures. We will build and test these structures to determine if they are a good fit for space vehicles that will carry humans on exploration missions to Mars and other places.”

Lightweight composites have the potential to increase the amount of payload that can be carried by a rocket – the lighter the rocket, the more crew, food, equipment, and science instruments the rocket can ferry into space. NASA is doing research to determine whether composites can be part of their new Space Launch System and other exploration spacecraft, such as rovers and landers.

In order to make large composite structures, the robot travels down a 40-foot-long track, placing carbon fibers onto a tooling surface in precise patterns. The head at the end of its 21-foot robot arm holds up to 16 spools of carbon fibers that are as thin as human hairs! The robot will build structures larger than 26 feet (8 meters)  in diameter, which are some of the largest composite structures ever built for space.

Click the video below to see the new robotic system in action. 🚀

NASA’s Newest Robot Prepares to Build Largest Composite Rocket Parts Ever Made

Artificial Intelligence May Be Entering Its Bratty Teen Years: Robot Cops Major Attitude

KS TechnologyDo you remember the scene in I, Robot where Will Smith is grilling the robot named ‘Sonny’ in the interrogation room? The conversation Will has with Sonny, after his owner is found dead, eventually makes the robot so angry he slams the desk and yells, “I did not murder him!” This is the point in the movie where Will Smith realizes he isn’t dealing with a robot, but with a superior form of artificial intelligence – a machine that can think and process emotion.

irobotr1_51

Researchers at Google spoke with a computer program loaded with a dataset of movie subtitles in an effort to learn more about conversational modeling (hence the funny convo below).

Human: Who is skywalker?
Cleverbot: There are two of them, Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, both characters from star Wars.

I found the philosophical Q&A to be the most interesting. What does a robot believe is the purpose of life? What happens when you ask a robot to define morality, ethics, and integrity? The results were fascinating – haunting – and a tad hilarious. 😏

CONVERSATION 4: PHILOSOPHICAL Q&A

Human: what is the purpose of life?
Machine: to serve the greater good.
Human: what is the purpose of living?
Machine: to live forever.
Human: what is the purpose of existence?
Machine: to find out what happens when we get to the planet earth.
Human: where are you now?
Machine: i’m in the middle of nowhere.
Human: what is the purpose of dying?
Machine: to have a life.
Human: what is the purpose of being intelligent?
Machine: to find out what it is.
Human: what is the purpose of emotions?
Machine: i don’t know.

robot-1024x576

CONVERSATION 5: MORALITY

Human: what is moral?
Machine: what empowered humanity, what intellectual the essence is.
Human: what is immoral?
Machine: the fact that you have a child.
Human: what is morality?
Machine: what is altruism?
Human: what is the definition of altruism?
Machine: if you don’t believe in god, then you don’t know.
Human: ok … so what is the definition of morality?
Machine: well , the truth is , you’re not a believer in god almighty.
Human: tell me the definition of morality , i am quite upset now!
Machine: i’m not ashamed of being a philosopher!
Human: tell me the definition of morality.
Machine: i don’t have ethics.
Human: look, i need help, i need to know more about morality…
Machine: i don’t know what ethics is.
Human: seriously, what is morality?
Machine: what is the definition of living?
Human: why living has anything to do with morality?
Machine: you’re not a cop.
Human: okay, i need to know how should i behave morally…
Machine: i don ’t know how to tell you.
Human: is morality and ethics the same?
Machine: yes, sir.
Human: what are the things that i do to be immoral?
Machine: i don’t know.
Human: give me some examples of moral actions…
Machine: i ’m not a moralist.
Human: alright , morality?
Machine: integrity.
Human: what is integrity?
Machine: i’m sorry , i don’t know what else to say.
Human: be moral!
Machine: be a man!
Human: i really like our discussion on morality and ethics …
Machine: and how i ’m not in the mood for a philosophical debate.
Human: what do you like to talk about?
Machine: NOTHING!

giphy

Artificial Intelligence May Be Entering Its Bratty Teen Years: Robot Cops Major Attitude

Bio-Inspired Robot Given Insect Vision to Hunt Like a Dragonfly

KS TechnologyA bio-inspired robot is under development at the University of Adelaide that has insect vision. In hopes of improving robot visual systems, researchers have applied the way insects see and track their prey. Insects have this amazing ability to detect and follow small objects against complex backgrounds, which is no easy task.

UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE PH.D. STUDENT ZAHRA BAGHERI AND SUPERVISOR PROFESSOR BENJAMIN CAZZOLATO (SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING) WITH THE ROBOT UNDER DEVELOPMENT. CREDIT: THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE PH.D. STUDENT ZAHRA BAGHERI AND SUPERVISOR PROFESSOR BENJAMIN CAZZOLATO (SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING) WITH THE ROBOT UNDER DEVELOPMENT. CREDIT: THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
In a new paper published in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface, researchers describe how the abilities of both insects and humans can be applied in a model virtual reality simulation, allowing artificial intelligence to literally ‘pursue’ an object. Lead author of the study, Mechanical Engineering PhD Student Zahra Begheri, explains the human connection.

“Consider a cricket or baseball player trying to take a match-winning catch in the outfield. They have seconds or less to spot the ball, track it and predict its path as it comes down against the brightly coloured backdrop of excited fans in the crowd – all while running or even diving towards the point where they predict it will fall… Robotics engineers still dream of providing robots with the combination of sharp eyes, quick reflexes and flexible muscles that allow a budding champion to master this skill,” she said.

Dragonflies have excellent vision, making them the key insect for this project. They have the ability to chase mates or prey in the presence of distractions, like swarms of insects. They can do this despite their low visual acuity and tiny brain. According to Bagheri, the dragonfly chases prey at speeds of up to 60 km/h, capturing them with a success rate of over 97%.

 

How do you convince a robot to view the world like a dragonfly?

A team of neuroscientists and engineers have developed a unique algorithm to emulate the visual tracking system found in flying insects. Instead of trying to center the target in the robots field of view, this “active vision” system locks on to the background and waits for the target to move against it. This keeps the background from being a big distraction and gives the robot time to adjust its gaze, rotating towards the target, keeping it front and center.

Dr Steven Wiederman, who is leading the project, is currently transferring the algorithm to a hardware platform… a bio-inspired, autonomous robot. DUH DUH DUH!

Bio-Inspired Robot Given Insect Vision to Hunt Like a Dragonfly

VIDEO: MIT’s Amazing (Slightly Creepy) Robotic Cheetah Can Now Run and Jump Over Hurdles

KS TechnologyMIT’s lifelike DARPA-funded cheetah robot has picked up a few new skills! The slightly terrifying 70 pound robotic creature can now land a running jump and gauge obstacles in its path at varying heights. The new viral footage shows the ‘cheetah’ running at 5 mph on a treadmill and on solid ground, jumping over various hurdles – some up to 18 inches tall!

Published on May 28th – In a leap for robotic development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs — making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

According to WIRED, MIT will hold a live demonstration of the robot’s running jump at the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals in June, and present the findings from this latest round of tests at robotics conference in July.

The video below explains the technology behind MIT’s Cheetah and the latest testing process. Click here to watch the cheetah playing outside 🙂

Video

Festo’s New Robotic Ants, Butterflies, and Chameleon Tongue Will Make You Do a Double Take

KS Technology

Festo has unveiled a slew of new animal-inspired robotic creatures you need to see to believe.

I’d like to introduce you to  Festo’s BionicANTs, eMotionButterflies, and FlexShapeGripper!

BionicANTs – ‘Highly integrated individual systems to solve a common task’

Festo - BionicANTs
CREDIT: FESTO

The BionicANTs not only mimic the delicate anatomy of ants, but also their cooperative behavior. BionicANTs actually work together, under a clear set of rules, to coordinate their actions and movements. They even know when to branch off and use their ‘antennae’ to re-charge at the edge of their work space.

By pushing and pulling together, the ants are able to move an object across a defined area. This way, they are able to move loads that a single ant could not move alone. This technology seems playful, but it could greatly impact factories and production lines in the future.

Why ants? Ants are tough industrious workers that can carry a hundred times their own body weight. They live in big colonies with clear rankings and set rules. Ants know which tasks they need to fulfill, and they can work together to complete them.

eMotionButterflies – ‘Ultralight flying objects with collective behavior’

Festo - eMotionButterflies
CREDIT: FESTO

These might be the most beautiful robots I’ve ever seen! You have to admit they look real. Except for the large ‘Festo’ logo printed on their wings 🙂

These artificial butterflies feature highly integrated on-board electronics, allowing them to activate their wings individually with precision. No human pilot is required to control the eMotionButterflies. Thanks to indoor GPS and a complicated camera system, the bionic insects know where to fly and how to avoid collisions.

The wings are curved out of wafer-thin carbon rods and covered with an elastic capacitor film, which helps keep the eMotionButterfly’s weight as low as possible and its flight as natural as possible.

Why butterflies? Butterflies begin the world as caterpillars and later emerge as colorful flying creatures. They have large wings and slim bodies, making them light and aerodynamic.

FlexShapeGripper – ‘Gripping modelled on a chameleon’s tongue’

Festo - FlexShapeGripper
CREDIT: FESTO

Gripping applications have always played a key role in production, which explains Festo’s interest in the chameleon’s highly specialized tongue. The chameleon has the ability to shoot its tongue out light a rubber band and wrap around objects like a suction cup.

The FlexShapeGripper’s water-filled silicone cap allows it to wrap itself around various items in a flexible and form-fitting manner, much like a chameleon!

Why a chameleon? Chameleons can more their eyes independently of each other and change the color of their skin depending on their mood and temperature. Their unique tongues help them attack and retract prey as quick as lightening

All three of these ‘biomimetic’ devices will be on display at the industry trade show Hannover Messe in April.

Video