“The core of the 90.2 mm x 95.3 mm Creator CI20 SBC is its Ingenic JZ4780 system-on-chip, which integrates a pair of MIPS32 cores clocked at 1.2GHz, a PowerVR SGX540 GPU, and an IEEE754 FPU. The Ingenic SoC is accompanied by 1GB of DDR3 DRAM and 8GB of NAND flash memory, and there’s also an one SD card slot and a set of signals for a second SD interface resides on an expansion connector.”
“Dyson is teasing a big announcement for September 4, and it released a new video teaser to get people thinking about what might be unveiled. The video shows a lab as seen from the perspective of a particularly wide-angle lens, along with quick bursts of schematic imagery that’s somewhat suggestive of robotic vacuum designs, with a circular device even depicted rolling along the floor at one point in the video.”
“At MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Caleb Harper’s CityFARM demonstrates the future of food production. He grows plants through aeroponics, a system that produces plants without soil. Plants are hooked up to servers and misting mechanisms. LEDs fill in for the sun and ladybugs (purchased on Amazon) occasionally make an appearance. Plants are periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist that provides optimal pH balance. Light and temperatures are closely monitored. The environment nurtures plants that have twice the nutrient density of their conventional counterparts. Lettuce, bok choy, and tomatoes have already fed the scientists in the lab.”
“The sheer density of the rainforests in Australia's far-north creates a slight problem for local conservationists. With incursions by invasive plants posing a threat to the native flora, inaccessibility for people makes it a difficult and time-consuming task to monitor the region. Now researchers from the CSIRO have developed two mini helicopters capable of hunting down the dangerous weeds from the air, significantly reducing the resources needed to preserve local plant life.”
“Google has created what it calls a "Matrix-style," virtual version of California's road system that it's been using to test self-driving cars before sending them out onto the actual road, according to the Guardian. Google is apparently so thrilled with its simulation that it asked California's government earlier this year, in a letter obtained by the Guardian, whether it could use these virtual simulations in place of actual driving tests when certifying a vehicle for public road tests — and it seems that it may be able to.”
“MIT researchers have come up with a two-pronged approach that significantly reduces the computation associated with lengthy delivery missions. The team first developed an algorithm that enables a drone to monitor aspects of its “health” in real time. With the algorithm, a drone can predict its fuel level and the condition of its propellers, cameras, and other sensors throughout a mission, and take proactive measures — for example, rerouting to a charging station — if needed.”
"New research coming out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) suggests that letting robots have control over human tasks in manufacturing is not just more efficient — it’s actually preferred by workers."
John Payne's insight:
At a guess, I'd say this would be true because it frees the human workers from thinking about time/motion efficiencies while doing work requiring detailed motor skills.
“Earlier this month, a storied, and highly reputable research think tank released an unprecedented work of speculative fiction. Officially, the Pew Research Center’s “AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs” is a report, the result of a survey of some 2000 technology experts on the topic of how automation will impact the economy by 2025. But the responses are pure techno-divination, many of them revealing how profoundly difficult it is to talk about robots, without making irrational, unsupported assumptions.”
“Gartner believes that most emerging technologies go through a natural process in which they are triggered by some innovation, then they rise to a peak of inflated expectations. As the technologies mature, markets generally become disillusioned by them, before they start to become mainstream and just part of everyday technology.”
The Gimball drone is surrounded by a spherical cage that separates its propellers from objects and people, allowing it to utilize insect-like flight methods such as bumping into things to adjust its trajectory. This makes it both safe and super easy to pilot. Doc North drops into Lasanne, Switzerland to talk to its creators in the lab where it was developed.
"Robots created by a team working at the University of California, Santa Barbara are able to look through solid walls using just Wi-Fi signals. With potential applications in search and rescue, surveillance, detection and archeology, these robots have the capability to identify the position and outline of unseen objects within a scanned structure, and then categorize their composition as metal, timber, or flesh."
“There’s a robot making its way across Canada right now. It’s not very advanced — just a Nexus tablet attached to an Arduino, really. Yet it’s already made its way from Halifax to Toronto in about a week, and stands a good chance of making it to British Columbia before long. That’s because its most powerful feature is its cuteness.”
“After Microsoft started offering the Xbox One without the Kinect sensorearlier this year to better complete with Sony's PS4, it was only a matter of time before a standalone Kinect was released. That time has now arrived, with a standalone Kinect to be available from October 7. ... The standalone Kinect sensor for Xbox One will be priced at $150 ...”
“A collection of autonomous robots designed to scuttle around on distant planets looking for resources and materials in much the same way that members of insect colonies do on Earth are currently being tested by NASA engineers. The robots, dubbed "swarmies," are designed to individually survey an area, signal the others when they have found something of value, and then divide up the task of collecting the material and returning it back to base.”
“Nijenhuis, a 27-year-old based in the Netherlands, is the mind behind Robirds, a line of robotic birds of prey. He’s hoping to sell them to the aviation and waste management industries under the name Clear Flight Solutions. Nijenhuis is currently testing remote controlled Peregrine Falcons and eagles with promising results. By the end of the year, he’s hoping to have fully autonomous robot birds on offer.”
John Payne's insight:
Birds aren't necessarily a nuisance; it depends on the type of bird and the situation. But they certainly can be pests, and for those circumstances having robotic faux-predators available would be very handy.
“Car manufacturers have been using stationary robots to help build their products for years, but airplanes are constructed differently, posing challenges to the use of robotics. ... Trying to squeeze into small enclosed areas, carrying out highly repetitive tasks, retiring with back injuries even while your expertise is needed: these everyday realities of working in aviation construction may become a thing of the past.”
“The laws governing drone use in the US right now are relatively black and white. For the most part, you either can fly, or you can't — and there's no in between. That's really limiting for the parties that can't, and, at the same time, it's really permissive for the parties that can, giving them little guidance as to where they should and shouldn't be flying.”
“Robo Brain isn’t exactly feasting on the internet. That implies a level of choice, or agency. What’s happening to Robo Brain is closer to force-feeding, as researchers from four different universities regularly cram its cloud-based computational system with data collected from the internet. So far, it has digested roughly 120,000 YouTube videos, a million documents, and a billion images.”
“The way this would work is one customer may set the car (which he paid for) to jealously value his life over all others; another user may prefer that the car values all lives the same and minimizes harm overall; yet another may want to minimize legal liability and costs for herself; and other settings are possible.”
“The HexHog is a six-wheeled electric ATV (or all terrain vehicle) designed for wheelchair users. It can tackle very rough terrain at a top speed of 8.5 mph (13.6 km/h) and has a range of around 8 to 12 miles (13 to 19 km), depending on terrain.”
“A team of scientists at Cornell University and IBM Research have gotten together to design a chip that's fundamentally different: an asynchronous collection of thousands of small processing cores, each capable of the erratic spikes of activity and complicated connections that are typical of neural behavior.”
Experts envision automation and intelligent digital agents permeating vast areas of our work and personal lives by 2025, but they are divided on whether these advances will displace more jobs than they create.
John Payne's insight:
This article presents the robotics-related results from Pew's 2014 Future of the Internet canvassing.
“Researchers from the University of North Texas (UNT) have demonstrated an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of supplying Wi-Fi to disaster-struck areas with a range of up to 5 km (3.1 miles). The team says these figures represent a marked improvement on existing solutions and could lead to new forms of wireless communication.”