March 14, 2019

Latest Generation of Lionfish-Hunting Robot Can Find and Zap More Fish Than Ever

It’s round three of invasive lionfish vs. underwater robots It’s always cool to see lionfish while snorkeling or scuba diving. They’re spectacular-looking, and because they’re covered in flamboyant spines, they’re usually secure enough in their invincibility that they’ll mostly just sit there and let you get close to them. Lionfish don’t make for very good oceanic neighbors, though, and in places where they’re an invasive species and have few native predators (like most of the Atlantic coast of the United […]
February 28, 2019

Can AI Detect Deepfakes To Help Ensure Integrity of U.S. 2020 Elections?

Startup Deeptrace is racing to develop automated detection of fake videos and images as U.S. 2020 elections loom A perfect storm arising from the world of pornography may threaten the U.S. elections in 2020 with disruptive political scandals having nothing to do with actual affairs. Instead, face-swapping “deepfake” technology that first became popular on porn websites could eventually generate convincing fake videos of politicians saying or doing things that never happened in real life—a scenario that could sow widespread chaos if such videos are not flagged […]
February 27, 2019

Sandia's Robots Pull Apart Warheads to Recycle Thousands of Micro-Grenades

More than 700,000 bomblets have been turned into recyclable metal thanks to hard-working robots The United States builds a lot of weapons. Unless a lot of really bad stuff happens all at once, we build more weapons than we can possibly use, and since we keep inventing new ones that are better and doing what weapons do, all the old stuff tends to just pile up. These piles of old explosives aren’t aging particularly well, leaving us with few options, […]
February 27, 2019

Animal-AI Olympics Will Test AI on Intelligence Tasks Designed for Crows and Chimps

Experiments drawn from Aesop’s Fables can gauge general intelligence Illustration: Squidoodle Are today’s best artificial intelligence (AI) systems as smart as a mouse? A crow? A chimp? A new contest aims to find out.  The Animal-AI Olympics, which will begin this June, aims to “benchmark the current level of various AIs against different animal species using a range of established animal cognition tasks.” At stake are bragging rights and $10,000 in prizes. The project, a partnership between the University of […]
February 26, 2019

Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go

To be useful around people, robots need to learn how to walk like we do Gif: Dan Saelinger Robots have walked on legs for decades. Today’s most advanced humanoid robots can tramp along flat and inclined surfaces, climb up and down stairs, and slog through rough terrain. Some can even jump. But despite the progress, legged robots still can’t begin to match the agility, efficiency, and robustness of humans and animals. Existing walking robots hog power and spend too much […]
February 26, 2019

MWC Barcelona 2019: 5G Is Putting Robots’ Heads in the Cloud

Low-latency 5G networks could help solve a “critical problem” for smart robots Photo: Michael Koziol Dal.Komm Coffee’s Beat robot provides caffeine sustenance to attendees of MWC Barcelona. I almost missed out on the vanguard of the 5G robot revolution because I don’t drink coffee. The near miss occurred on Monday at mobile network trade association GSMA’s booth at MWC Barcelona (formerly called Mobile World Congress), where Dal.Komm Coffee was demonstrating a coffee-serving robot. Thankfully for non-coffee drinking weirdos like me, […]
February 25, 2019

MIND KIT Is a Modular Robotics Development Platform Now on Kickstarter

This versatile kit includes sensors, servos, and compute modules that can be combined in many different ways From Vincross, the folks who brought you the HEXA robot, is a new Kickstarter for MIND KIT, a modular robotics development platform that you can use to build that robot that you’ve always wanted but doesn’t exist yet.
February 19, 2019

Sphero's New RVR Robot Is More Hackable Than Ever

RVR is rugged, affordable, expandable, and easy to program Sphero is introducing a new robot today on Kickstarter. Called RVR, which can either be pronounced just like it’s spelled or like “rover,” the robot is a development platform designed to be a bridge between educational robots like Sphero and more sophisticated and expensive platforms like Misty. It’s mostly affordable, very expandable, and comes from a company with a lot of experience making robots. 
February 13, 2019

Robot Attempts to Navigate As Well As a Tiny Desert Ant

Desert ants can navigate remarkably well with the aid of the sun, a skill that robots are trying to duplicate Insects in general are unfailingly impressive with how intelligent and capable they are, with an absolute minimum of sensing and computing power. Where things start to get really interesting is when insects have to get clever in order to manage particularly challenging environments. Desert ants are a great example of this: While most ants rely on pheromone trails to navigate […]
February 5, 2019

Penny-Sized Ionocraft Flies With No Moving Parts

A drone powered by electrohydrodynamic thrust is the smallest flying robot ever made Insect-scale flying robots are usually designed to mimic biological insects, because biological insects are masters of efficient small-scale flying. These flapping-wing micro air vehicles (FMAVS) approach the size of real insects, and we’ve seen some impressive demonstrations of bee-sized robots that can take off, hover, and even go for a swim. Making a tiny robot with flapping wings that can move in all of the degrees of […]