Sep 272017
 

Robot holding human skullFrom Vienna Bienalle 2017, taking place this week in Austria, comes a new take on Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.  The head of the project, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, says the update was necessitated by:

…the need for benign intelligent robots and the necessity of cultivating a culture of quality committed to serving the common good!

That sounds a lot like Asimov’s reasoning, but the new laws are certainly worthy of consideration and debate.

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Jun 092017
 

Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics, the MIT spin-off and self-proclaimed maker of “nightmare-inducing robots“, has been sold by its parent company Alphabet (aka Google) to the Japanese tech behemoth SoftBank. No specifics regarding the price or the terms of the sale have been announced which is not surprising given we still don’t know how much Google paid for the company when it purchased it four years ago.

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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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