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May 9, 2018

DARPA's Semi-Disposable Gremlin Drones Will Fly by 2019

Dynetics gets funding from DARPA to launch and recover multiple reusable drones from a C-130 Image: DyneticsThis artist’s rendering shows how Dynetics plans to release and catch a swarm of Gremlin drones. We first reported on Gremlins back in 2015, as one of those “DARPA wants” projects that seems like it might be a bit far-fetched—in this case, DARPA wanted swarms of nearly disposable UAVs that could launch and be retrieved from flying aircraft carrier motherships in mid-air. Over the […]
May 6, 2018

Vayyar’s 72-Transceiver Radar Chip Sees Just Enough But Not Too Much

Key applications include privacy-preserving home monitoring Photo: Vayyar Last week, Israeli radar chip startup Vayyar Imaging released a new, higher resolution 3D imaging radar chip it expects will appear in applications as broad as home security, infotainment, and elder care. The resolution is higher, because it packs an unprecedented 72 transceivers on a chip that has its own digital signal processing circuitry. But the image it creates is nothing like a visible light camera’s, and that’s the key, according the […]
May 3, 2018

Video Friday: Security Robot as a Service, Robotic Mining, and Saved by a Drone

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Photo: Mike Collett/Promus Ventures Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): Applied Collegiate Exoskeleton Competition – May 05, 2018 – University of Michigan, USA NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 14-18, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 […]
May 2, 2018

This Rehab Robot Will Challenge You to Tic-Tac-Toe

This robot also encourages functional rehab by taking you on in a cup-grasping contest Photo: Dani Machlis/BGU Physical rehabilitation is not something that anyone does for fun. You do it grudgingly, after an illness or accident, to try and slowly drag your body back toward what it was able to do before. I’ve been there, and it sucks. I wasn’t there for nearly as long as I should have been, however: rehab was hard and boring, so I didn’t properly […]
May 1, 2018

Invisibility Can Be a Superpower, T-shirts Matter, and More Insights From Women in Tech

What’s it like to be a woman in tech? Three generations of IBM women weigh in Illustration: iStockphoto Could a small group of women in tech tell me anything about what it’s like to be a woman in tech today? Earlier this month, IBM’s San Francisco team invited me to give it a try. They set me up on a dinner date with three women—one in her 20s, one in her 40s, and one in her 50s. The three hadn’t […]
May 1, 2018

Misty Robotics Builds on Developer Platform With New Personal Robot

The Misty II personal robot is designed to do whatever you can program it to do, and more Image: Misty Robotics Misty Robotics announced their developer platform, Misty I, just a few months ago. Misty I was a hand-built prototype, with similar essential functionality in hardware and software to a more refined production robot that the company planned to release later in the year. Later in the year has now arrived, and today Misty Robotics is launching a crowdfunding campaign […]
April 29, 2018

Computers Match Accuracy of Radiologists in Screening for Breast Cancer Risk

Commercial software performs as well as doctors in measuring breast density and assessing breast cancer risk Photo: iStockphoto Women with dense breasts have a greater risk of undergoing mammogram screenings that miss signs of breast cancer. That’s why 30 U.S. states legally require that women receive some notification about their breast density. A new study suggests that commercial software for automatically classifying breast density can perform on par with human radiologists: a finding that could encourage wider use of automated breast density assessments. Increased breast density represents […]
April 26, 2018

Video Friday: Cassie on Fire, Disney’s Soft Robot Hand, and Car Humanoid

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Image: Michigan Robotics/Dynamic Legged Locomotion Lab via YouTube Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): NASA Robotic Mining Competition – May 14-18, 2018 – Kennedy Space Center, Fla., USA ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 – Brisbane, Australia Dynamic Walking Conference – May 21-24, […]
April 25, 2018

Houston Mechatronics Raises $20M to Bring NASA Expertise to Transforming Robot Submersibles

Engineers from NASA’s Robonaut and Valkyrie projects team up with industry veterans to develop transforming underwater vehicles Image: HMI Deep ocean robotics is not generally an area where we expect to see much in the way of significant innovation. When we do write about submersible robots, they’re usually confined to very near-surface operations. This isn’t a total surprise: It seems like the only people who really worry about what’s going on in the deep ocean (meaning hundreds or thousands of […]
April 24, 2018

U.S. Spy Agencies Seek Tech to Identify Deadly Chemicals From 30 Meters Away

Three teams are developing rival technologies to combat explosives, nerve gases, and other threats Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA/Getty Images Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA/Getty Images Careful Work: Investigators examine a bench in England for chemical traces of a nerve agent after two victims were found there. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who became a double agent for the United Kingdom, and his daughter, Yulia, weren’t the only people affected by a nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, in March. Nearly 40 others […]
April 23, 2018

Can Amazon Build a Home Robot That Is Useful and Affordable?

Domestic robots are hard, but rumor has it that Amazon wants in Photo: Jeff Bezos via TwitterAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks with SpotMini, created by Boston Dynamics, at a recent technology conference. Amazon’s Lab126 R&D division is reportedly developing a home robot that it wants to start testing in employees’ homes by the end of the year. Yesterday, Bloomberg broke a story that Amazon’s Lab126 research and development group in San Francisco has been working on some kind of mobile home […]
April 22, 2018

Sony Partners With CMU to Develop Food Prep and Delivery Robots

A research agreement on robotics and AI will result in robot waiters and chefs Photo: iStockphoto Last week, Sony and Carnegie Mellon University announced a collaboration “on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics research.” Usually, these announcements pretty much just end there, with the implication being that giant corporation X will support academic research institution Y by funding ongoing research or a string of new initiatives. This Sony/CMU announcement is a bit more exciting because of how specific it is: The project will […]
April 19, 2018

Video Friday: Investing in Robotics, Horrific Westworld Animatronics, and Circus Robot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Image: Rudi Renner Agentur via VimeoCircus artist Martin Riedel performs with an industrial robot arm at Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain 2018 in Paris. Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): RoboSoft 2018 – April 24-28, 2018 – Livorno, Italy […]
April 19, 2018

Marissa Mayer’s New Startup Gets Lucky (a Lucky Building, That Is)

The tech incubator Lumi Labs starts out with a bit of Silicon Valley magic on its side Photo: Tekla Perry Just about everyone in Silicon Valley acknowledges that running a successful startup takes more than a great technology and the right people—it takes a little bit of luck. And Marissa Mayer, former Yahoo CEO and Google employee number 20, doesn’t deny the power a little luck has had on her career. She once told me that she wouldn’t have landed […]
April 17, 2018

Robots Continue Attempting to Master Ikea Furniture Assembly

These robots are slow, careful, and successful, making them way better than humans at assembling an Ikea chair Image: NTU Apparently, one of the standards by which we should be measuring the progress of useful robotic manipulation is through the assembly of Ikea furniture. With its minimalistic and affordable Baltoscandian design coupled with questionably creditable promises of effortless assembly, Ikea has managed to convince generations of inexperienced and desperate young adults (myself included) that we can pretend to be grownups by […]