Robots to Use Internet as a Shared “Robo Brain”
We all rely heavily on the Internet. It tells us the weather, how to get to work and even does our math. But we aren’t the only ones who will benefit from this growing, intelligent brain. Robots are expected to leverage the power of the web as a resource to help them become more effective in the near-future world.
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Developed by researchers at Cornell University, the new system called “Robo Brain” will take data from public Internet sites for use by robots in future interactions. Photographs, YouTube videos and how-to documents are used by the system to store this information in robots, from household robots to self-driving cars, for when it needs it.
The team at Cornell are using crowdsourcing methods to fill in any gaps by showing what the robots know already and asking users to add new information or to correct existing data. 
The researchers presented the project at the 2014 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference in Berkeley in July. Here a video of the presentation: 

Robots to Use Internet as a Shared “Robo Brain”

We all rely heavily on the Internet. It tells us the weather, how to get to work and even does our math. But we aren’t the only ones who will benefit from this growing, intelligent brain. Robots are expected to leverage the power of the web as a resource to help them become more effective in the near-future world.

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Reducing the Digital Distraction with Haptics: Featured Speaker Jack Lindsay
Haptics refers to tactile technology that recreates the sense of touch. Perhaps the most common example of haptics is your smartphone vibrating when you receive a notification. But vibrating phones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this more natural interaction. 
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Imagine a device that you squeeze when you want to know if you have an email or a text. Or to be able to practice CPR on a dummy outfitted with silicon material that mimics the feel of skin. Technology is moving beyond the click of a mouse or the tap on a screen to provide more natural, tactile, haptic feedback. 
Designers of Things speaker Jack Lindsay is an expert on haptics. We caught up with him to talk about the haptics space and how this new interaction with technology will change our relationship with tech and each other. 
Lindsay sees some promising haptic advancements being used in the medical space where he sees the greatest value. Exoskeletons, where the motors restrict or support the muscle movement in order to assist the user in walking, is just one example. He also sees wearable body suits, currently used for VR games, as having the potential to use haptics as a form of physiotherapy to teach users how to move again. This same suit could even potentially be used to coach a user to play a whole new sport, like snowboarding. 

For Linsday, haptics go way beyond a new way to interact with technology. He sees it as a key design change which will shift the paradigm to minimize distractions rather than exasperate them as our current screen-based technology does.
Jack Lindsay will be speaking about impedence matching, a method for designing a haptic-feedback system at the Designers of Things conference in San Francisco this September.
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This article is part of our featured speaker series for Designers of Things Conference which takes place September 23-24, 2014 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. Get your VIP and Tech passes by clicking here.

Reducing the Digital Distraction with Haptics: Featured Speaker Jack Lindsay

Haptics refers to tactile technology that recreates the sense of touch. Perhaps the most common example of haptics is your smartphone vibrating when you receive a notification. But vibrating phones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this more natural interaction. 

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Jibo Wants To Be Your Family’s First Robot
We are dependent on our smartphones to do many things in our family life. These devices set reminders, take pictures, find recipes and let us communicate with one another. But even though they are an integral part of our lives, they don’t feel like part of the family. Meet Jibo, a connected personal assistant that adds a much needed personality to technology making it social. Jibo aims to be your family’s first robot and by the looks of how well it is doing on Indiegogo, there are a lot of family’s that can’t wait to welcome him home.  
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Jibo is a Wi-Fi enabled robot equipped with two high resolution cameras, a 360-degree microphone and sits on three full-revolute axes which lets him turn his head around to face you when needed. Jibo’s cameras use face-tracking which are perfect for picture taking and for more immersive video calling. And the microphone lets you talk to Jibo from anywhere in the room and have him process what you are saying with his natural language processor.
Like Siri or Google Voice, Jibo can be used to make a call, set an alarm or get the weather. Ask Jibo for a recipe, or to order take-out or even read your a story and he will do it. The more you use Jibo the more he gets to know you. Jibo’s algorithms start to learn about the user to adapt preferences based on your life. 
On top of being completely helpful, Jibo is also super adorable. The concept video for Jibo on the Indiegogo campaign brings to life a robot that we would expect to see in a Disney movie.  
The Jibo campaign has raised nearly nine times its funding goal with tons of time on the clock. Early adopters who need to have Jibo in their home as soon as possible can grab one for $499 USD with a shipping date of December of 2015. The campaign just recently unlocked a perk for those more patient which lets them pre-order Jibo for 2016 with only $199 down now to pay the rest closer to the shipping date.

Jibo Wants To Be Your Family’s First Robot

We are dependent on our smartphones to do many things in our family life. These devices set reminders, take pictures, find recipes and let us communicate with one another. But even though they are an integral part of our lives, they don’t feel like part of the family. Meet Jibo, a connected personal assistant that adds a much needed personality to technology making it social. Jibo aims to be your family’s first robot and by the looks of how well it is doing on Indiegogo, there are a lot of family’s that can’t wait to welcome him home.  

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FDA Approves First Wearable Exoskeleton for Personal Use in the USA
A decision from the FDA has the potential to change the lives of an estimated 200,000 people in the USA living with a spinal cord injury, many of whom have complete or partial paraplegia. Last week, the FDA approved the ReWalk Exoskeleton system as the first wearable motorized device to be used for personal use in the USA.
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ReWalk is a device worn over the legs and part of the upper body. The device is an integration of a wearable brace, a computer-based control and motion sensors which help individuals sit, stand and walk.  The ReWalk system passed numerous FDA clinical studies and extensive performance testing before receiving clearance from the regulatory body.
“This revolutionary product will have an immediate, life-changing impact on individuals with spinal cord injuries,” said Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk Robotics. “For the first time individuals with paraplegia will be able to take home this exoskeleton technology, use it every day and maximize on the physiological and psychological benefits we have observed in clinical trials,” he added. “This is truly the beginning of ‘ReWalking’ as a daily reality in the U.S.”
ReWalk was developed by Dr. Amit Goffer, an Israeli inventor who became quadriplegic after an ATV accident in 1997. It was through his own personal experience in utilizing mobility devices for people with spinal cord injury that Dr. Goffer developed the ReWalk.

FDA Approves First Wearable Exoskeleton for Personal Use in the USA

A decision from the FDA has the potential to change the lives of an estimated 200,000 people in the USA living with a spinal cord injury, many of whom have complete or partial paraplegia. Last week, the FDA approved the ReWalk Exoskeleton system as the first wearable motorized device to be used for personal use in the USA.

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Mind Controlled Exoskeleton Kicked Off The 2014 World Cup
It may not have been the longest kick of the first game of the World Cup yesterday but it certainly was the most monumental. A paralyzed adult, identified by the BBC as 29-year-old Juliano Pinto, took to the field wearing an exoskeleton which was controlled using his mind to help him make the first kick of FIFA 2014 which went 6-feet before a ball boy picked it up off the field. 
[[MORE]]This moment was made possible thanks to the Walk Again Project, an international collaboration of over 100 scientists around the world who are working to create light, smart and modular exoskeletons which are controlled using the mind. The project is led by Prof. Miguel Nicolelis of Duke University and the International Institute for Neurosciences of Natal, Brazil
In a statement, the consortium said the World Cup demonstration would be “just the beginning” of a future “in which people with paralysis may abandon the wheelchair and literally walk again”.
The device works by reading brain activity from the wearers mind using a head worn device which is filled with non-evasive EEG electrodes The device interprets the wearers intentions and then uses these commands to move the exoskeleton.
The exoskeleton itself is equipped with sensors which both give feedback to the user and monitor their state to ensure that they are not in distress. The sensors are embedded in what the researchers call CellulARSkin, a surface consisting of flat, hexagonal cells in a honeycomb structure. Each sensor contains a micro-processor, accelerometer, and sensors that can detect proximity pressure, vibration and temperature. The proximity detector, for example, detects when the foot is about to hit the ground to send signals to the users arms to help understand when the foot is about to hit the ground.
Pinto was one of eight paralyzed men and women from Brasil who were selected to train with the Walk Again Project for the FIFA event. But the kick that successfully happened yesterday is just the start for the consortium. 
"I think some people see the World Cup opening as the end," said Prof. Gordon Cheng, TUM Institute for Cognitive Systems, "but it’s really just the beginning. This may be a major milestone, but we have a lot more work to do." He views the event as a public demonstration of what science can do for people. "Also, I see it as a great tribute to all the patients’ hard work and their bravery!"

National Science Foundation Video of the Walk Again Exoskeleton 
Image from Walk Again Project Twitter

Mind Controlled Exoskeleton Kicked Off The 2014 World Cup

It may not have been the longest kick of the first game of the World Cup yesterday but it certainly was the most monumental. A paralyzed adult, identified by the BBC as 29-year-old Juliano Pinto, took to the field wearing an exoskeleton which was controlled using his mind to help him make the first kick of FIFA 2014 which went 6-feet before a ball boy picked it up off the field. 

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Meet Jimmy: The 21st Century Robot Project from Intel
Humanoid robots have always been a symbol of the future. From Star Wars to Astro Boy, we have always been fascinated by creating a mechanical version of ourselves. Luckily, at our current rate of innovation we are getting closer and closer to making this happen. An example of how close we are is a new project from Intel called the 21st Century Robot.
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The 21st Century Robot initiative is an open source robotic kit that lets you create your own humandid robot called Jimmy. Jimmy comes a series of 3D printing files and components including Intel’s Edison chip. He can be completely customized from his physical appearance via 3D printing to what he can do through programming and downloading of apps.
Jimmy is the brainchild of Intel’s futurist Brian David Johnson and has been made possible through a collaboration with developers from USC, Olin College, and Trossen Robotics. He was recently unveiled at the Re/code conference which took place last week in California. 
Intel expects to bring this robotic kit to the market by end of this year with a price tag of $1600 not including the cost of printing materials. They hope to bring this down to around 1,000 in the next five years. A more costly research model will also be available for around $16,000. The consumer model will run using Intel’s Edison chip. 
The real value in Jimmy is in its software. Developers will be able to program apps for the robot and users will be able to download this software to make their robot do what they want.
“It’s like a smartphone with legs,” Brian David Johnson said at the Re/code conference last week. “Your robot will be completely different from mine; you customize it and program the artificial intelligence, not by having a PhD in robotics, but by downloading apps.”
Johnson’s robot was said to be able to walk, talk, dance and live-tweet. What would yours do? 
Watch Jimmy in action here.

Meet Jimmy: The 21st Century Robot Project from Intel

Humanoid robots have always been a symbol of the future. From Star Wars to Astro Boy, we have always been fascinated by creating a mechanical version of ourselves. Luckily, at our current rate of innovation we are getting closer and closer to making this happen. An example of how close we are is a new project from Intel called the 21st Century Robot.

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Google IO Schedule Filled With Robots, Wearables and the Cloud
Google just recently released its schedule for this years Developer Conference with some exciting tracks on emerging tech including wearables and robots which suggests its focus for 2014 and beyond.
[[MORE]]On the wearable side, Google is offering talks and workshops on designing for wearables including a general talk on Android Wear and Glass by Google Product Designer Bob Ryskamp and a workshop sprint specific for Google’s heads-up display looking at the principles that make up great Glassware.
Google is also offering a developer tour of its latest foray into wearables, its wearable operating system Android Wear. This will include walking the group step-by-step in building a contextual app for smartwatches.
Beyond wearables, Googles’ agenda has a strong focus on data and the cloud with sessions titled “The Dawn of Fast Data” and “A New Age of Insights with Monitoring Services on Google Cloud Platform”.
Google is closing its event with a bang with a session on robots presented by Women Techmakers. Google x team members and a lead from Nest will be talking about “Robotics in a New World”, as they discuss their projects in this emerging space. 
For those not able to grab a ticket to the actual event in San Francisco which takes place June 25 & 26, Google is live streaming many of its sessions on YouTube. Check out the full schedule and more details on the dedicated event website.  

Google IO Schedule Filled With Robots, Wearables and the Cloud

Google just recently released its schedule for this years Developer Conference with some exciting tracks on emerging tech including wearables and robots which suggests its focus for 2014 and beyond.

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Researchers Create Superhuman Robotic Arm
One day you just might just be saved by a robot with arms that are able to react with superhuman capabilities. Researchers at EPFL, one of two Federal Institutes of Technology in Switzerland, have created a robotic arm capable of reacting on the spot and catch complex objects in less than five hundredths of a second. 
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The team at LASA (Learning Algorithms and Systems Labratory) have created a system where they can teach the robot to predict moving objects and how to grasp them. They call their unique method of programming, programming by demonstration, as they don’t have to explicitly define each task for the robot but instead have the robot observe the task from its human instructor in order to learn the behavior through a form of imitation. 
Right now the robot arm, which measures about 1.5 meters in length, sits in a room catching objects like milk jugs and tennis rackets but the researchers see some potentially life saving applications including catching people when they fall or falling items before they can harm someone. 
They also see this type of technology integrated into vehicular systems to make cars more reactive to their environment to avoid accidents. And who knows, we may eventually see them on the field playing baseball. 
You can watch the robot in action in this video from EPFL.

Researchers Create Superhuman Robotic Arm

One day you just might just be saved by a robot with arms that are able to react with superhuman capabilities. Researchers at EPFL, one of two Federal Institutes of Technology in Switzerland, have created a robotic arm capable of reacting on the spot and catch complex objects in less than five hundredths of a second. 

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It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s a 3D Printed Drone!
Our skies may soon be filled with drones that we print ourselves. Engineers at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield have successfully printed a 1.5m-wide drone, and it can fly!
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The 2KG thermoplastic nine-part drone was made without supporting materials and was printed and assembled within 24 hours. Its success suggests that disposable drones (or UAVs: unmanned aerial vehicles) could someday be printed out and deployed in remote areas in as little as a day.
With its test flight under its wing (pun intended) the team are already looking to improve upon the 3D printed model to use a new nylon rather than polymer material and incorporate GPS and camera features that would allow operators wearing first person-view goggles to control the device.

Source Gizmodo via sUAS
Image & Video Source sUAS

It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s a 3D Printed Drone!

Our skies may soon be filled with drones that we print ourselves. Engineers at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield have successfully printed a 1.5m-wide drone, and it can fly!

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Hot Cake Sorting Robot Is Mesmerizing
Happy Monday Future Geeks! What better way to start the day than with coffee and pancakes or make that robots and pancakes. We’ve got a video of a hot cake sorting robot for you that will leave you dreaming of maple syrup for the rest of the day.
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The ABB IRB 360 Flexpicker robot is used to efficiently and quickly stack pancakes three high at Honeytop Specialty Foods Inc. It can stack a whopping 450 pancakes a minute and has helped the company achieve a 20% increase in cycle times. The robot has also helped with turnaround times, improved health and safety in the workplace and reduced waste.  

VIA Gizmodo

Hot Cake Sorting Robot Is Mesmerizing

Happy Monday Future Geeks! What better way to start the day than with coffee and pancakes or make that robots and pancakes. We’ve got a video of a hot cake sorting robot for you that will leave you dreaming of maple syrup for the rest of the day.

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Are We Ready for Robots? (Video)

With brands like Amazon, UPS and even online flower shops starting to talk about drone delivery and companies like Google putting a lot of money behind various robots, the day when our lives will be filled with robots may not be too far away. This new PBSOffbook video tackles the impacts these robots may have on our society along with the questions and challenges this new technology raises as it enters our culture

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No Love for Drones This Valentines Day
A Michigan-based online flower delivery service looking to give this Valentine’s Day a futuristic edge by having drones deliver their flowers has had their plans shot down, and it wasn’t from Cupid’s arrow.
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According to CBS Detroit:
“FlowerDeliveryExpress.com said the FAA has informed them that commercial drone use is only allowed on a pre-authorized, case-by-case basis — and told the company to knock it off.”
The online floral delivery company recently launched a beta program to test alternative delivery services to their customers. To celebrate Valentines Day, the company had arranged for free rose bouquets to be delivered to their beta testers using drones. That is until the FAA grounded.
The company was able to film one delivery which took place in downtown Detroit on February 8 which we have posted below. 

No Love for Drones This Valentines Day

A Michigan-based online flower delivery service looking to give this Valentine’s Day a futuristic edge by having drones deliver their flowers has had their plans shot down, and it wasn’t from Cupid’s arrow.

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Turn Your 3D Printer Into The Ultimate Air Hockey Opponent
If you thought your 3D printer was just a tool to create iPhone cases and plastic Yoda heads you will want to get some inspiration from ultimate Maker Jose Julio. Julio turned his RepRap 3D printer into an Air Hockey Robot and it’s pretty awesome.
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Jose built the robot using parts from the RepRap 3D printer which included an Arduino board, motor cables and connectors and a PS3 Eye Camera. And when combined with a hand-made Air Hockey table, the result is magical!
If you are interested in learning how to go about building your own Air Hockey Robot out of a 3D printer head on over to Jose’s instructional Google Doc.
In the meantime, check out the robot’s wicked Air Hockey Defence in the video below. 

Turn Your 3D Printer Into The Ultimate Air Hockey Opponent

If you thought your 3D printer was just a tool to create iPhone cases and plastic Yoda heads you will want to get some inspiration from ultimate Maker Jose Julio. Julio turned his RepRap 3D printer into an Air Hockey Robot and it’s pretty awesome.

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Six-Legged Monster Robot Crab To Crawl The Sea Floor For Treasures
Underwater robots are an important part of the marine research and deepwater exploration ecosystem. In the past we have covered cute little robots that look like sea turtles. Today we introduce you to a monster. The Crabster CR200. 
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Developed by the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), Crabster is a whopping 1322 pounds and takes four people to operate. The robot is as big as a car coming in at 7.9 ft x 8 ft x 6.5 ft. 
The crustacean inspired-design was an important choice made by the researchers who required a robot that could dive deep to the bottom of the ocean and withstand the strong currents which exist on the sea floor. Like a crab, Crabster CR200 steadies itself with it’s six legs and positions its body to face the current head-on. Crabster can also use it’s two front legs like pinchers, grabbing at things it encounters with grippers that can extend to up to 6.6 feet. 
But the design and legs are where the similarities between the actual sea creature and this robotic beast end. Crabster has eleven cameras including an acoustic one that can see through poor visual conditions. And a scanning sonar which can create detailed 3D maps. 
The videos below show KIOST’s concept video of Crabster which was posted almost one year ago and then Crabster’s first underwater test which happened just last year.
  
Sources: IEEE, KIOST & Popular Science

Six-Legged Monster Robot Crab To Crawl The Sea Floor For Treasures

Underwater robots are an important part of the marine research and deepwater exploration ecosystem. In the past we have covered cute little robots that look like sea turtles. Today we introduce you to a monster. The Crabster CR200. 

Read More