Jun 272016
 
Google Research Logo

Research at Google

Ever since their introduction over eighty years ago, Isaac Asimov‘s Three Laws of Robotics have been the de jure rules governing the acceptable behavior of robots. Even the uninitiated and uninterested are likely to say they know of them, even if they can’t recite a single rule verbatim. When conceived, the Three Laws were nothing but a thought experiment wrapped in a science fiction story, but now, the dizzying pace of developments in the fields of robotics and ai has spurred engineers and ethicists to reinvestigate and rewrite the guidelines by which artificially intelligent entities should operate.  Who better to take the lead in this initiative than Google, the company who just yesterday announced that machine learning will be at the core of everything it does.

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Feb 062016
 
iRobot 710 Kobra

iRobot® 710 Kobra™

In a press release yesterday, iRobot, maker of the impossibly cute Roomba robot vacuum cleaners, announced that they are emancipating their Robot Defense & Security (D&S) unit. The yet-to-be-named new company will continue to serve the current D&S market of defense, law enforcement, and industrial organizations. The existing D&S management team will continue to lead the new company. Financial backing to the tune of $45 million will be provided by Arlington Capital Partners.
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Jul 122015
 

Vex Starter Kit Components in the BoxThis post is a throwback to March, 2006 when I purchased the original Vex Robotics Design System v0.5. I had originally posted these pictures and their respective comments on Flickr.

I had forgotten all about them when I happened to stumble upon them today. Although I think I was more surprised to find that Flickr was still a thing. Either way, I think they belong here. I’m still using this kit so maybe soon I’ll post some of the things I have done with it.

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Jun 302015
 
Toshiba Scorpion Robot

AP Photos/ Shizuo Kambayashi

I admit it. I’ve spent the last 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get a “Rock You Like a Hurricane” reference into the title of the post. As you can see I have failed. Regardless, it’s still worth writing about today’s AP report regarding the ongoing clean up efforts at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, and how Toshiba’s bio-inspired “scorpion” robot will aid in what is predict to be a decades-long decommissioning process.

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Jun 232015
 

hexacopterHackday had a post today referencing an article about the state of drone racing in Australia originally published on DroneWatchDogs.com earlier this month. With so much of the news about drones dedicated to their darker uses: law enforcement, military action, surveillance, etc., it’s pretty easy to forget that majority of the UAVs in the air today are piloted for personal, recreational uses. One such activity that is rapidly gaining in popularity both in Australia and the US is racing. Unfortunately, antiquated laws in both countries are driving the racing scene underground for fear of prosecution by the man.

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Mar 292006
 
TomCat Robot Cat

credit: Alegrobot, Inc.

Still looking to fill the void left since Sony surreptitiously put down their robot dog Aibo, I am always excited to read about any new robotic animals under development. The Raw Feed is reporting today that Illinois-based robotic research group Iguana Robotics Inc. has created TomCat, a headless robot cat whose lack of visual aesthetics is more than made up for by its performance. TomCat is available for purchase through Alegrobot, Inc., the retail corollary of Iguana, for $2750 USD.

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Mar 232006
 
The Roundhouse at Robot City

Future Red Team home at Robot City

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is reporting today that Carnegie Mellon University is planning to build a hi-tech robot research and development facility called Robot City on the site of a former steelworks plant. With the stated mission of moving “robots from laboratory to life,” Robot City will be populated by robots built to handle relatively mundane day-to-day tasks like cleaning, landscaping, snow removal, and security.

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Mar 222006
 

Lego Mindstorns NXT Robot

Gizmodo.com is reporting that retailers will begin taking pre-orders for the forthcoming Lego Mindstorms NXT robot development kit starting April 1st. The system, priced at $249, will not ship until late summer and will be available at Amazon, Target, Fry’s and Wal-Mart. This follows the news from earlier this month that Lego had chosen 100 volunteers from a field of over 9500 applicants to take part in the NXT beta program.

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