As drought strikes broad regions of the world, farmers are focusing on the crops that can feed people—not the crops that can power their cars. But what if there was an energy crop that could grow where traditional crops can’t? Even in a drought? Enter the cactus.
John Payne's insight:
There's no obvious connection to robotics here, until you look at the problem of harvesting the seeds. Solve that and the rest is easy.
“The Boston-based Future of Life Institute (FLI) today announced the selection of 37 research teams around the world to which it plans to award about $7 million from Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project as part of a first-of-its-kind grant program dedicated to “keeping AI robust and beneficial”.”
“Having taken on everyone from chess grandmasters to chefs, computers are further exploring their artistic side with computer scientists demonstrating how artificial neural networks can create works of art reminiscent of William Blake on opium using a technique called ‘Inceptionism’.”
“Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is ... the driver. Chris Urmson heads up Google's driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver's seat. He talks about where his program is right now, and shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.”
Machine vision and robotic precision have combined in a new way to further fruit fly research. Scientists at Stanford's Bio-X program have developed a robot that can catch and sort the tiny creatures much faster than a human can, though to the flies themselves it must seem like an alien abduction.
John Payne's insight:
If a robot can pick fruit flies out of the air, picking caterpillars from stems and leaves should be a cinch!
“Tomorrow's nimbler, self-piloted armed bots won't simply be updated tools for old-fashioned air strikes. They'll be vectors for slaughter. More likely, the lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS) to come will show up in a cloud of thousands or more. Each robot will be small, cheap, and lightly armed, packing the bare minimum to end a single life at a time.”
Robots are great at many things, but working together in an unfamiliar setting isn't one of them – until now, that is. A team of researchers from MIT has developed an algorithm that streamlines the way robots collaborate on construction tasks, significantly cutting down planning time.
With an electric motor and a two-stroke motor on each rotor, a quadcopter from German startup Yeair! is claimed to offer a full hour in the air, a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), and a fairly hefty 5 kg (11 lb) payload.
“Science fiction usually narrates how man created the AI monster that would almost wipe it out of existence, but it isn't the act of creating AI itself that would send man's history on a downward spiral. It would be the use of such artificial intelligence that is the more imminent danger. Forget Skynet or the Matrix. AI in the hands of man is already enough to wipe out mankind when it comes down to it. In short, it could be the irresponsible, not to mention unethical, use of artificial intelligence that could eventually lead to a future as dark or even darker than Terminator.”
“Join the Wyss Institute Popup Challenge, a design contest based around the laminate design techniques outlined at popupcad.org. We hope to grow the community of people who can design, build, and operate laminate devices and micromechanisms. If you are a student considering using popups for a class project, a researcher who has an application for a new robot, or simply want to learn about the process, then consider submitting your design to the contest! For more information please visit www.popupcad.org”
“What job is hardest for a robot to do? Mental health and substance abuse social workers (found under community and social services). This job has a 0.3 percent chance of being automated. That's because it's ranked high in cleverness, negotiation, and helping others. The job most likely to be done by a robot? Telemarketers. No surprise; it's already happening.”
“At this week's Rework Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy unveiled a project that uses sophisticated deep learning algorithms to analyze a still photo of food, and estimate how many calories are on the plate. It's called Im2Calories, and in one example, the system looked at an image, and counted two eggs, two pancakes and three strips of bacon.”
“Sonia Chernova wants you to train her robot. Two years ago, Chernova and some of her fellow roboticists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachussets launched a remote robotics lab called RobotsFor.Me, a site where users can log in and teach robots how to function in physical space.”
San Francisco-based Stereolabs has launched a new 3D camera that promises to deliver high quality 3D image capture at a less than astronomical price. The compact, lightweight ZED 3D vision sensor can measure distances out to 20 meters (65 feet) and work indoors and out.
ARM processors have traditionally been used as cores in intelligent peripherals. They are finally starting to show up on traditional single board computers (SBCs) as either the primary processor or in an FPGA with an integrated ARM core. Size, weight, and power (SWaP) criteria have driven choices in the past but what other factors are now being considered when choosing a processor?
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