September 7, 2018

Will Foreign Agents Rig the U.S. Midterm Elections through Social Media?

Samantha Bradshaw, an expert on computational propaganda, weighs in on whether Facebook, Twitter, and others are doing enough to curb political social media bots On 5 September, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee held its fourth and final public hearing on the manipulation of social media by foreign agents to influence American politics. The hearings were prompted by the discovery, largely by academic researchers, that Russian botnets and fake accounts had targeted U.S. voters in the run-up to the November 2016 […]
September 6, 2018

New Roomba i7+ Has Persistent Maps, Selective Room Cleaning, and Automatic Dirt Disposal

iRobot’s newest vacuum can clean just the rooms you want it to, and then offload its dirt bin into a special dock and keep on going Today, iRobot is announcing the fanciest, most amazing, and most expensive addition to its line of Roomba robot vacuums. The Roomba i7+ can do two big things that no other Roomba can do: The navigation maps that it makes persist between cleaning sessions, meaning that the robot “remembers” the layout of your home and […]
August 31, 2018

Neato Introduces New Robot Vacuums, Adds Zone Cleaning to D7

Persistent maps enable another useful feature for Neato’s flagship Botvac D7 At IFA in Berlin this week, Neato Robotics is, as we speak, making a bunch of announcements that promise to make the lives of people who like clean floors just a little bit better. In addition to a pair of new(ish) and more affordable(ish) Botvac models, Neato’s ultra-fancy D7 Connected is getting a new feature that allows it to clean specific zones that you specify, meaning that “robot, go […]
August 29, 2018

U.S. Senator Bans Funding for Beerbots That Don’t Exist

Jeff Flake’s “beerbot” budget amendment cuts funding for robotics research Last Thursday, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona introduced the following amendment to the U.S. Department of Defense appropriations bill currently in Congress: None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be obligated or expended for the development of a beerbot or other robot bartender. This sounds like a joke, but it’s not: Legislation prohibiting Department of Defense funding of robot bartenders is on its way […]
August 24, 2018

How to Print an Electric Motor

An axial flux motor uses printed-circuit-board traces for electromagnetic coils Video: Carl Bugeja I started out by just wanting to make a very small drone. But I quickly realized that there was a limiting factor in just how small and light I could make any design: the motors. Even small motors are still discrete packages that have to be attached to all the other electronic and structural elements. So I began wondering if there was a way to merge these elements […]
August 23, 2018

Sony's Aibo Robot Dog Is Coming to America

Packed with powerful sensors and AI, the new Aibo is smarter and cuter than ever but comes with a hefty price tag This past November, Sony announced that it was reviving its robot dog Aibo. The iconic robotic pet, introduced in 1999, won a lot of fans all over the world but had been discontinued for over a decade. The company said the new Aibo, with more advanced mechatronics and AI, would be available for purchase early this year, but only in Japan. Now Sony is […]
August 15, 2018

Haru: An Experimental Social Robot from Honda Research

The Honda Research Institute gives an in-depth look at the design of their newest social robot prototype Social robots have had it tough recently. There are lots of reasons for this, but a big part of it is that it’s a challenge to develop a social robot that’s able to spark long-term user interest without driving initial expectations impractically high. This isn’t just the case for commercial robots—social robots designed for long-term user interaction studies have the same sorts of […]
August 8, 2018

Anki's Vector Is a Little AI-Powered Robot Now on Kickstarter for $200

Is this the personal home robot we’ve been waiting for? No, but Vector will make you smile San Francisco-based robotics company Anki is launching today a new robot called Vector. It drives on little tank treads, has an expressive LCD face, and is constantly moving around, making beeps and bloops. Vector resembles Anki’s previous robot, Cozmo, but is packed with more technology—and character. Anki says Vector is designed as a robot companion and helper for people at home. But don’t expect much: The robot […]
August 7, 2018

Explore New Worlds With JPL's Open Source Rover

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has adapted a Mars rover design into something that you can build in your garage NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars rovers have a special place in my heart. I loved seeing pictures of Sojourner nuzzling up to rocks, and I still wonder whether it managed to drive around the Pathfinder lander after contact was lost. Spirit going silent was heartbreaking, and Opportunity continues to inspire so far beyond its expected lifetime, even as a dust storm […]
August 6, 2018

Boston Dynamics Is Getting Ready to Produce Lots of SpotMinis

But what are they going to do? At CEBIT back in June, Boston Dynamics’ CEO Marc Raibert mentioned in a talk that they’re currently building about 100 SpotMinis, and that they’re planning on scaling that up to be able to build something like 1,000 SpotMinis by the end of 2019. This has attracted some attention recently, since it seems like Boston Dynamics is ready to “productify” its robots on a commercial scale, and Raibert even mentioned some areas in which they’ve had […]