May 22, 2018

Stickman Explores the Physics of Flying Through the Air

Disney Research is teaching this skinny robot how to perform a variety of somersaulting stunts Image: Disney Research This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles has a signature move that is named after her because she is the only woman on earth capable of performing it. The move starts as a layout double flip, but more than […]
May 19, 2018

Video Friday: Andy Rubin on Robotics, Dynamic Exoskeleton, and Two Robot Heads

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Image: Flash Robotics 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!): ICRA 2018 – May 21-25, 2018 – Brisbane, Australia Dynamic Walking Conference – May 21-24, 2018 – Pensacola, Fla., USA RoboCup 2018 – June 18-22, 2018 – Montreal, Canada RSS 2018 – June 26-30, […]
May 16, 2018

Feel What This Robot Feels Through Tactile Expressions

Inflatable spikes and goosebumps help this robot communicate Photo: Cornell We humans think we’re pretty clever with all of the different ways that we have of communicating with each other. We vocalize, we have expressive faces, we gesture. It seems like plenty of modes of communication, but we’re missing out on a few that are routine for animals, including texture: Animals can express emotional states through skin changes, like when cats cause their hair to stand up, or when a […]
May 16, 2018

Crossbar Pushes Resistive RAM into Embedded AI

Deal with Microsemi and foundries means its nonvolatile embedded memory can be integrated into the most advanced chips Photo: Crossbar Resistive RAM technology developer Crossbar says it has inked a deal with aerospace chip maker Microsemi allowing the latter to embed Crossbar’s nonvolatile memory on future chips. The move follows selection of Crossbar’s technology by a leading foundry for advanced manufacturing nodes. Crossbar is counting on resistive RAM (ReRAM) to enable artificial intelligence systems whose neural networks are housed within […]
May 15, 2018

Hiding Information in Plain Text

Subtle changes to letter shapes can embed messages Image: Columbia University Computer scientists have now invented a way to hide secret messages in ordinary text by imperceptibly changing the shapes of letters. The new technique, named FontCode , works with common font families such as Times Roman and Helvetica. It is compatible with most word-processing software, including Microsoft Word, as well as image-editing and drawing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Although there are obvious applications for espionage […]
May 15, 2018

Laser-Powered Robot Insect Achieves Lift Off

Everything is better with lasers, especially tiny robot insects Photo: University of Washington For robots of all sizes, power is a fundamental problem. Any robot that moves is constrained in one way or another by power supply, whether it’s relying on carrying around heavy batteries, combustion engines, fuel cells, or anything else. It’s particularly tricky to manage power as your robot gets smaller, since it’s much more straightforward to scale these things up rather than down—and for really tiny robots […]
May 15, 2018

Making Radio Chips for Hell

Mixer IC works at 500 degrees Celsius, so it can take the heat on the surface of Venus, inside a natural gas turbine, or in the bowels of a 6-kilometer deep oil well Photo: KTH Royal Institute of Technology/University of Arkansas/IEEE There are still some places the Internet of Things fears to tread. Researchers at the University of Arkansas and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in Sweden, are building a radio for those places. This month, in IEEE Electron […]
May 11, 2018

Video Friday: Atlas Jogging, Drive.ai Launch, and Robotic Warehouse

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Image: Boston Dynamics 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, 2018 – Pensacola, Fla., […]
May 10, 2018

Intel Starts R&D Effort in Probabilistic Computing for AI

Seeks ways to help self-driving cars and autonomous robots deal with the uncertainty of the real world Photo: iStockphoto Intel announced today that it is forming a strategic research alliance to take artificial intelligence to the next level. Autonomous systems don’t have good enough ways to respond to the uncertainties of the real world, and they don’t have a good enough way to understand how the uncertainties of their sensors should factor into the decisions they need to make. According […]
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 […]