June 14, 2018

AI Drone Learns to Detect Brawls

A drone surveillance system trains to watch out for humans stabbing or punching each other Images: University of Cambridge/National Institute of Technology/Indian Institute of Science/IEEE Drones armed with computer vision software could enable new forms of automated skyborne surveillance to watch for violence below. One glimpse of that future comes from UK and Indian researchers who demonstrated a drone surveillance system that can automatically detect small groups of people fighting each other. The seed idea for researchers to develop such a drone […]
June 14, 2018

Stealthy Startup Aims to Reinvent AI for Manufacturing

Some 400 engineers are working under the radar at AutoLab AI with former Autodesk CEOs leading the pack Illustration: iStockphoto What exactly is the “future of autonomous manufacturing?” According to venture capitalist and AutoLab AI cofounder Lior Susan, stealth startup AutoLab AI is building it, but isn’t defining it yet, at least not publicly. That kind of cryptic chatter doesn’t usually get Silicon Valley talking—more likely yawning, or at most mumbling about vaporware. But AutoLab AI, according to Axios, already […]
June 11, 2018

Verity Studios Raises $18M for Safe Swarming Drone Displays

Safe and reliable swarming drone tech could be making its way into consumer drones Photo: Cirque du Soleil/Richard TermineIn 2016 Verity Studios worked with Cirque du Soleil to bring flying lampshade drones to its show Paramour. Verity Studios, which took precision drone swarm technology from ETH Zurich and turned it into a spectacular live event display system, has announced a round of Series A funding totaling US $18 million from Fontinalis Partners, Airbus Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund, and Kitty Hawk. This […]
June 8, 2018

Video Friday: Curiosity Rover, Giant Crab Robot, and Drone Umbrella

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Image: NASA 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!): RoboCup 2018 – June 18-22, 2018 – Montreal, Canada RSS 2018 – June 26-30, 2018 – Pittsburgh, Pa., USA Ubiquitous Robots 2018 – June 27-30, 2018 – Honolulu, Hawaii MARSS 2018 – July 4-8, 2018 – Nagoya, Japan […]
June 7, 2018

Can a Robot Be Divine?

Researchers explore whether robots can become useful sacred objects in a religious context Photo: Gabriele Trovato/Waseda UniversityA robot with the appearance of a Christian Catholic saint can pray together with users and cite parts of the Bible and stories of the life of saints. Robots appear to be in the middle of a gradual but persistent transition from automated tools that perform specific tasks to artificially intelligent entities that we interact with socially and emotionally. It’s not at all clear […]
June 5, 2018

The Importance of Teaching Robots to Hug

Knowing how to give good hugs is an important life skill, even for robots Image: Alexis Block Hugs make us feel warm and safe and comforted and loved. They’re pretty great, if you’re into that sort of thing. If we need a hug and another human isn’t available, we can sometimes get a little bit of satisfaction from hugging inanimate objects like stuffed animals, but it seems like robots (that can hypothetically hug us back) might be able to be […]
June 4, 2018

Firefighting Robot Snake Flies on Jets of Water

Using steerable jets of water like rockets, this robot snake can fly into burning buildings to extinguish fires Image: Tohoku University/National Institute of Technology Fires have an unfortunate habit of happening in places that aren’t necessarily easy to reach. Whether the source of the fire is somewhere deep within a building, or up more than a floor or two, or both, firefighters have few good options for tackling them. They can either pour water into windows (which doesn’t always work […]
June 4, 2018

Medical Imaging AI Software Is Vulnerable to Covert Attacks

An attacker could manipulate medical software to rig a clinical trial or justify unnecessary procedures Illustration: iStockphoto Artificial intelligence systems meant to analyze medical images are vulnerable to attacks designed to fool them in ways that are imperceptible to humans, a new study warns. There may be enormous incentives to carry out such attacks for healthcare fraud and other nefarious ends, the researchers say. “The most striking thing to me as a researcher crafting these attacks was probably how easy […]
June 1, 2018

Video Friday: Skydio's Car Follow, Telexistence, and Tick-Killing Robot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Photo: TelexistenceTokyo-based robotics startup Telexistence unveils its Model H robot and control system. 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!): RoboCup 2018 – June 18-22, 2018 – Montreal, Canada RSS 2018 – June 26-30, 2018 – Pittsburgh, Pa., USA Ubiquitous Robots 2018 – June […]
May 31, 2018

Simple Robots Perform Complex Tasks With Environmental Modifications

Robots learn to modify their environment to make the impossible possible Photo: University of Pennsylvania/ModLab There’s an expectation in robotics that in order to be useful, robots have to be able to adapt to unstructured environments. Unstructured environments generally refer to places outside of a robotics lab or other controlled or semi-controlled situation, and could include anything from your living room to a tropical rainforest. An enormous amount of effort and creativity goes into designing robots that can reliably operate […]