Sony’s revamped aibo robotic dog to launch in the U.S.

Sony’s revamped aibo robotic dog to launch in the U.S.

Sony’s adorable aibo robot puppy returns with a hefty price of $2,899

Sony’s robotic pooch aibo is making a return to the U.S., with the “first litter” of aibos scheduled to be released in September, Sony announced in New York on Thursday.

For those unaware, aibo is a series of robotic pets designed and manufactured by the Japanese electronics company, Sony. The first consumer model was introduced in May 1999, but was discontinued in January 2006. Already a modest hit in Japan, Sony has til now sold 20,000 units after the January release in Japan earlier this year.

“The Aibo has been received very well in Japan. We want to keep the momentum when selling it in the United States,” Senior Vice President Izumi Kawanishi told a news conference in New York on Thursday.

The new version, which is the sixth-generation puppy from Sony pairs “cutting-edge robotics” with a new, cloud-connected artificial intelligence (AI) engine and advanced image sensors, giving aibo the ability to learn and recognize faces. This will enable aibo to develop its own unique personality as time passes by. In other words, no two robot pups will grow up to be exactly the same, as its development will be influenced by the approach of its owners.

“Each owner’s approach to raising their aibo shapes its personality, behavior and knowledge, creating a unique environment for growth. In fact, aibo is able to learn new tricks through owners’ interactions, experiences with changing seasons and different events. Not content to sit and wait to be beckoned, aibo will actively seek out its owners and can recognize their faces,” Sony says.

Also, the powerful on-board computer and advanced image sensors makes aibo smarter and more lifelike. The cloud-connected AI engine enables it to recognize its owner’s face, detect smiles and words of praise, and learn new tricks over a period of time. It can also detect words of praise and smiles, as well as react to being petted or scratched on the head.

So, how did Sony develop such a loveable, expressive and life-like robo-puppy?

The company said, it “integrated a wide range of sensors, cameras and actuators to bring aibo to life. Ultra-compact 1- and 2-axis actuators give aibo’s body the freedom to move along a total of 22 axes. Its adaptable behavior is made possible through deep learning AI technology in the form of built-in sensors that can detect and analyze sounds and images. aibo’s whimsical body language is expressed through a combination of eye, ear, and tail movements, as well as different voice sounds. In addition, two OLED displays are utilized for aibo’s eyes and give the appearance of blinking and closing, allowing for diverse, nuanced expressions.”

Using a Wi-Fi connection, aibo uploads all of its day-to-day experiences to the cloud, forming a memory database that enables its unique personality to grow and evolve over time.

“aibo keeps on growing and changing, constantly updating its data in the cloud,” Sony explained.

“Over time, your approach to nurturing aibo will gradually shape its personality – it could be a doting partner, a wild, fun-loving companion, or anywhere in between. It’ll even learn new tricks through interactions with other aibo, experiences with changing seasons and different events,’ the company added.

Through aibo, Sony can showcase its existing technology. With the image sensing and recognition technology, already present in its televisions, cameras, and PlayStation Move, it enables aibo to better understand and remember its surroundings.

“This is truly a one-of-a-kind product designed to connect with its owners on an emotional level,” said Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics North America. “aibo’s charming personality, dog-like behaviors and ability to intelligently interact with family members help to create a personal bond. Bringing aibo back to the U.S. reflects Sony’s broader commitment to provide consumers with products that not only entertain them, but also enrich their lives.”

Costing a whopping $2,899, Sony’s First Litter Edition will be a limited, all-in-one aibo bundle that includes the autonomous robot pup, a three-year AI Cloud Plan, an assortment of toys for the doggy to play with (such as a pink ball and an aibone), an individually numbered commemorative dog tag, paw pads and a charging station. Users can also take their aibo experience to the next level with the “My aibo” app.

Sony says that aibo First Litter Edition will be available for purchase in September 2018 with delivery in time for the holidays. The company is exhibiting the aibo at Sony Square NYC from August 24th to October 14th. The exhibition is open to the public where they can go and experience aibo before it goes on sale next month.

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Kalashnikov unveils 13-foot-tall Humanoid Combat Robot

Now, Kalashnikov Concern, Russia’s most famous weapons manufacturer, unveiled a new state-of-the-art military robot at the Army-2018 international forum at the Patriot park just outside Moscow.

Russia’s ‘new walking robot’ is bulletproof ‘soldier suit’ with claws

Do you remember those bulletproof robots holding weapons in its giant claws in sci-fi movies like Avatar and Robocop?

Now, Kalashnikov Concern, Russia’s most famous weapons manufacturer, unveiled a new state-of-the-art military robot at the Army-2018 international forum at the Patriot park just outside Moscow.

For those unaware, Kalashnikov Concern, a Russian manufacturer known for the AK-47 assault rifle, manufactures around 95 percent of all small arms in Russia and stocks around 27 countries in the world.

Dubbed as ‘Igorek’, the 13-ft tall bulletproof gold killer robot weighing 4.5 tons was revealed as a ‘demonstration of what is to come.’ The ‘controlled bipedal walker’ can reportedly hold and move objects, including weapons with its claws.

There is a cabin behind robot’s glass panels, which allows people to sit and the robot can be controlled from inside. The pilots are protected from aggressors, bullets or debris, by a metal shield and armored glass.

“The promising goal of using the anthropomorphic complex is to solve engineering and combat tasks,” Kalashnikov says on its website.

Vladimir Dmitriev, the temporary head of the Kalashnikov Group, said: “This robot is probably one of the hottest new models of the ‘Army 2018’. Currently, it is only a demonstration of the path we are planning on following.

“We understand that there are robotic machines driving on caterpillar and wheel drive, we also understand that there will be demand for anthropomorphic automatic movable systems.

The robot is still under development and Kalashnikov promises to unveil more about its capabilities sometime in the future. However, a more advanced model is already in the works and it is expected to be displayed at next year’s expo.

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Packaging and Palletizing Collaborative Robots: Frequently Asked Questions Addressed

In 2014, PMMI (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute) published a report indicating that 2 out of 3 manufacturing locations had palletizing robots installed or planned to install the robots at a future date.

Palletizing is basically taking the packaged product and assembling it for transport by loading it on a pallet or similar device. Packaging and palletizing co-bots improve end-of-line efficiency in addition to saving costs.

Most manufacturing plants, having realized the immense benefits have adopted these co-bots. However, if you are still on the fence, then the answers to these frequently asked questions about packaging and palletizing robot arms will put your mind at ease.

Why Should I Invest in Packaging and Palletizing Robot Arms?

  • The co-bots are designed to support heavy loads and repetitive movements. Consequently, work stoppage due to taxing physical effort by human workers is eliminated.
  • Packaging robots and palletizing co-bots eliminate fatigue, injury and the negative effects of repetitive movements.
  • The co-bots increase the speed of production. Some palletizing robots can achieve a speed of 30 bags per minute, definitely faster than human workers.
  • The quality of the finished product. A palletizing robot product will load a pallet error-free and hence quality is always ensured.

What Should I Consider Before Making a Switch to Packaging and Palletizing Co-bots?

First, you ought to determine if the palletizing robot arm will execute only one task or more than one task. It is possible to have a robot system that can only load product on the pallet or have a system that can package the product, load the product on to a pallet and wrap the pallet.

Second, determine if the packaging and palletizing robotics system will have an ROI. Essentially, is you packaging and palletizing throughput high enough that a robot system will save on cost and increase productivity in the long run?

Third, before making the actual purchase, consider your available space. What kind of co-bot would fit best? A floor mounted one, ceiling mounted or wall mounted?

Finally, consult with an expert, particularly the provider you plan to source your co-bot from on the safety issue. For example, all collaborative robots made by Universal Robots are certified IP-54. That means, the co-bots need protection when dealing with corrosive liquids. Having an idea of the safety requirements will permit you to make the best possible purchase.

Which Criteria Should I Use So I Can Select the Best Possible Packaging and Palletizing Robot Arm?

Robot manufacturers and providers offer a wide range of specifications and it is impossible to have a set criterion that encompasses everything.

However, there are four key criteria anyone planning to purchase a packaging and palletizing robot should be aware of.

1. The Robot’s Reach

The reach is the distance from the center of a robot to the furthest extension of the arm. The desired reach will depend on your need because the average range in the market is from 70 to 130 inches.

2. The Robot’s Speed

Speed is critical because it is one of the primary advantages of switching from a manual to a robotic system. Normally, speeds are given in terms rotational speeds and therefore, a bit difficult to understand. Always insist on simulations to determine the speed that will work for you.

3. The Payload

A robot’s payload is the weight that robot’s arm can lift. Maximum payload varies from robot to robot. Before choosing a packaging and palletizing robot, it is vital to determine the maximum weight of your product and measure that against the robot’s payload for maximum results.

4. Axes

An axis configuration can be simply defined as the degree of freedom. Can the robot move horizontally, vertically, or diagonally? In essence, movement along the known axes, X, Y, Z and the rest.

In most cases, a 4-axis robot is ideal, but depending on one’s need, a 5, 6 or 7-axis robot can also be used.

Final Word.

Packaging and palletizing robots keep improving. The speeds keep getting better and the cost affordable. If your company can benefit from such a robot, then it is time to consider investing in one.

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Honda to stop development of its iconic ASIMO robot

Honda to stop development of its iconic ASIMO robot

Honda’s ASIMO robot to breathe its last as development ends

Japan’s public broadcaster, Nikkei Asian Review has reported that Honda, a major automobile manufacturer, has halted the development of the famed humanoid robot “ASIMO”, as it plans to focus on the development of practical robot technology to use in areas such as physical therapy and self-driving vehicles.

For those unaware, ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) is the first bipedal walking robot that was created by Honda in 2000. The seventh iteration, which also happens to be the most-recent model appeared in 2011, measuring 130cm tall with a weight of 48kg and a walking speed of 9kmph. It maintains its upright posture and balance through the use of multiple sensors that study the surroundings, which allows it to shake hands, wave, identify moving objects, and interpret voice commands.

Over the years, the shriveled spaceman went on to become arguably Japan’s most famous robot, be it playing football with Obama in 2014, or dancing for Merkel in 2015, or taking a selfie with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the same year.

However, on Thursday, Honda said that it is scrapping future generations of ASIMO. “We will still continue research into humanoid robots, but our future robots may not be named ASIMO,” Honda spokesman Hajime Kaneko told AFP.

Honda is planning to use the robot’s underlying technology in a hose of other products that could one day see commercialization. “We have obtained lots of technologies while developing ASIMO, and how to utilize them is one issue,” Kaneko said.

According to the Japanese publication, the automaker is developing a physical therapy rehabilitation device using ASIMO’s walking technology, which through the use of motors moves legs and helps them efficiently push off the ground for elderly or disabled patients. Further, the systems used to control ASIMO’s movements are also being used in self-balancing motorcycle and self-driving cars.


The way things are it doesn’t seem that Honda is giving up on robotics overall. According to Nikkei Asian Review, ASIMO’s core development team was recently reborn as R&D Center X, which will lead company’s robotics strategy.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

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Grant Imahara Has a Web Series to Talk About the Future of the Robots

Before getting into this subject, don’t forget to check out the new web series about generation robots that shows companies which developed robots, that are designed to work and communicate with humans.

Movies represent a big part of our lives, and many people have seen many movies, the science fiction kind, with robots that come to Earth with the mission to take our jobs, or even worse – kill us. Some movies even represented them having sex with humans, but let’s be real – real-life robots are not to be feared at all.  They’re actually kind of cute.

About the web series

A former cast member of the science fiction reality shows MythBusters, called Grant Imahara, who is also a robot expert, has a new web series which is called Generation Robot, which helps us in getting to know robots better and understanding how humans can actually deal with the concept of working with robots.

The series is sponsored by Mouser Electronics and, as far as we know, it consists in five parts which show certain companies and even universities that are focusing mainly on making robots feel at home into the real world, among humans and their workplace and typically everything that means the human world.

The first episode, which was posted on the 18th of April 2018, shows Imahara visiting the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines from Georgia Tech University, which is placed in Atlanta. Actually, Georgia tech is the very first university to give a Ph.D. program in the field of robotics.

In this episode, Imahara speaks with the IRIM executive director and robotocist called Magnus B. Egersted. Their discussion hits points of interest, such as robots interacting with humans in the future. In the video, he talks about how all the robots used to be about mechanical engineering in the past, and now (or even in the future), the robots are seen as devices that include some psychology features, since they’re going to work together among humans. This means that modern roboticists are not only going to understand computing and engineering but humans, as well, for things to run smoothly and with no problems.

But wait, you have not seen the best part of the first video which was posted: you will not only get to hear the opinions of experts, which are working at the IRIM, but you’re also going to see a PR2 robot who is trying to feed the nervous Imahara with yogurt, with the help of a spoon.

The whole point of the Generation Robot web series is to show people interviews of roboticists who work in the US, China, South Korea, Japan, and Germany. This way, we’ll get a global opinion about the future of the robots among humans.

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Microsoft’s new AI bot creates drawings based on text descriptions

Microsoft's new AI bot creates drawings based on text descriptions

Microsoft’s new AI tool draws beautiful images from text

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has incredibly evolved over the last few years and is touted to be the next big thing of the future.

Making more headway in that direction is Microsoft Corp. who has been investing in multiple projects relating to AI. The tech giant has created a new AI tool which it calls a “drawing bot” using a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) running on two machine learning models. The bot uses the GAN to generate images based merely on a descriptive caption.

One machine learning model generates images from text descriptions, while the other model known as a discriminator uses descriptions of text to judge the authenticity of generated images, so that it cannot be tricked. Working together, the discriminator pushes the generator toward perfection. By using the GAN technique, AI pays close attention to individual words when generating images from caption-like text descriptions, thereby achieving a three-fold uplift in image quality compared to previous text-to-image method.

According to Microsoft, the bot is even capable of imagining details while drawing that are not specifically mentioned in the text, which indicates that the AI contains an ”artificial imagination”.

For instance, the below image was created by the drawing bot simply from the description of “a bird with a yellow body, black wings and a short beak.” Although it is not specified in the text given, the AI elected to place the bird on a branch using its artificial imagination. Not just birds, the AI tool can draw anything from ordinary countryside scenes, such as grazing livestock, to the bizarre, like a floating double-decker bus.

“If you go to Bing and you search for a bird, you get a bird picture. But here, the pictures are created by the computer, pixel by pixel, from scratch,” Xiaodong He, a principal researcher and research manager in the Deep Learning Technology Center at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington, said in a report on the project. “These birds may not exist in the real world — they are just an aspect of our computer’s imagination of birds.”

Microsoft researcher Pengchuan Zhang said of the research, “You need your machine learning algorithms running your artificial intelligence to imagine some missing parts of the images. From the data, the machine learning algorithm learns this commonsense where the bird should belong.”

The research report, which has yet to undergo scientific review, could act as a sketch assistant to painters and interior designers, says Microsoft. Mr. He imagines the technology could generate animated films based on screenplays, which would ‘augment the work that animated filmmakers do’ by eliminating some of the manual labor involved.

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Sophia the Citizen Robot Is training to Walk: A big revolution in AI

Sophia the Citizen Robot Is Learning to Walk

Sophia the Citizen Robot Is Learning to Walk

Sophia, the famous humanoid robot which had been ridiculed since getting the Saudi Arabian citizenship has now another update to sweep everyone off their feet.

Sophia took her first few steps. It is a big revolution in the domain of AI and robotics.

And of course, this happened in CES 2018, the annual Tech Trade show happening this year in Las Vegas.

A Hong Kong based company, Hanson robotics, founded by David Hanson announced its partnership with Rainbow Robotics and Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab at the same event to help Sophia become a fully-fledged humanoid by integrating with DRC-HUBO body which possseses mechanical legs and ability to walk like a human. In 2015, this DRC-HUBO body has won the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

Dr. Ben Goertzel, Chief scientist of Hanson Robotics said in a statement, “Giving Sophia a more complete and robust embodiment is a key part of our ongoing, rapidly accelerating quest to supply her and our other Hanson robots with general intelligence at the human level and ultimately beyond.”

In March 2016, Sophia was first showcased at South by Southwest by Hanson. He says, “Integrating Sophia with a (robotics) body that can allow her to walk completes her physical form, so she can access the full range of human experiences, which will help her learn to live and walk among us.”

Sophia is able to create over sixty facial expressions, actions of looking straight into people’s eyes, holding human-like conversations. With the kind of material used to create Sophia, she looks real human-like with real skin and skin movements changing like human showcasing different expressions.


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Security Robot Commits Suicide By Drowning Itself In A Fountain

Security Robot Commits Suicide By Drowning Itself In A Fountain

Forget Flying Cars, Robo Cops, We Might Now Have Suicidal Robots

Humans have long been worried about the imminent rise of artificial intelligence and robotics. From the development of AI being “either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity” statement from renowned physicist Stephen Hawking to the more recent comments by Elon Musk that AI could be a potential “existential threat” to human civilization, mankind has always watched the developments in these field keenly. With robots becoming increasingly like-minded like humans, one robot has apparently gone over the edge with the pressures – with people of social media terming the incident as the first robot suicide.

Robot found drowned in a fountain

This tweet ignited the viral news of the robot who apparently lost the battle against a water fountain. This story broke when onlookers at the Washington Harbour – an office complex – discovered the curious sight of a robot floating face down in the fountain. The robot was a Knightscope K5 which has the ability to detect unusual activity and report it for its human handlers to investigate. The robot nicknamed Steve – an acronym for Security Technology Enhancement Vehicle – has been on the complex for about a week where Knightscope would program it on-site while it mapped out the property.

In its days of operation at the complex, the fountain was said to be its first real challenge, which it seems to have failed to overcome. The 5 foot tall RoboCop’s incident is being called an isolated incident and the company has promised a replacement at no extra cost. The company has also played down the incident by posting the following tweet

However, once the news broke out, quite a few people have pointed out similar incidents involving robots in the recent past. Last year, a 16 month old toddler was run over by one such autonomous device in a Silicon Valley shopping center. In another not so serious incident, a man was arrested for attacking a robot – which incidentally also happened to be developed by Knightscope .

However, isolated this incident might be, it just goes to show how fast AI and robots are being developed and the giant strides the field has been making. The company in question here – Knightscope – itself has raised over $17 million in investments from Plug and Play, SeedInvest, Konica Minolta, NTT Docomo Ventures, QueensBridge Venture Partners and Bright Success Capital. While we’re not sure if mankind needs to be worried about AI as yet, at the moment, people are just happy having a laugh at its expense.

Source: npr

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Have you ever wished you could learn how to build your own robot and bring it to life ? Now, you can !

Now you can build your own Arduino Robot with Robobox

Now you can build your own Arduino Robot with Robobox

Robobox allows you to do so even if you don’t have any experience in programming. Each month you will receive a construction kit with a robot waiting for you to become alive.

Each kit brings a new robotics project on Arduino and includes, 3D printed parts, electronic components, and a detailed construction guide. This guide will help you unlock step by step your robot’s potential thanks to its introduction to programming.

Throughout your subscription, projects will become more challenging and even more interesting. With more parts comes more potential and more ways to personalize your robot to your wishes. You will start by learning the basics with an alarm or a robot arm and end up engineering a remote-controlled car or even a drone. After a year, you will become a real maker and will have enhanced your skills and imagination.

You Robobox subscription comes with an access to the member space where a community of enthusiasts will share knowledge, creations, and support you if you get stuck. Tutorials are also available and come in great use when building the technology of tomorrow!

Robobox is available worldwide from 27,93$

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Russian Space Robot Bound For ISS Can Shoot Guns With Both Hands

Russia Is Teaching A Robot How To Shoot A Gun With Both Hands

Russia’s space humanoid is not a Terminator-like killing machine, insists deputy PM

It looked like a scene straight out from the film ‘Terminator’ where a space robot was shown shooting guns from both of its hands and that too with accuracy!!!

Apparently, Russia’s space-bound humanoid robot FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research) that is being developed for space exploration is being trained to shoot twin pistols, according to a video posted by the country’s deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin on Twitter.

He wrote on Twitter: “Robot platform F.E.D.O.R. showed shooting skills with two hands”.

According to its creators, the activity will teach the FEDOR android’s to shoot which in turn help improve their motor skills and decision-making abilities.

The video attracted concerns from artificial intelligence critics over the potential danger it poses for the world. Calming the fears around it and providing assurance, the Deputy PM said that “We are not creating a Terminator, but artificial intelligence that will be of great practical significance in various fields.”

He said it will have a “huge applied value for different spheres of life”.

He added: “Combat robotics is a key to building intellectual machines.

“This is applicable to areas including aviation and space.”

The Russian government plans to get FEDOR working on the International Space Station (ISS) by 2021, and could be the only passenger on board Russia’s Federation spacecraft when it does so.

It is being developed by Android Technics and the Advanced Research Fund, and has been taught a wide range of advanced skills such as how to use keys and a variety of tools, screw in light bulbs, lift weights, drop for press ups and even drive a car.

Currently, Russian scientists are working on methods to enhance its mobility, and also design software that allows the robot to make more of its own decisions.

Originally, the robot was created for rescue work. However, as its abilities have expanded, military uses have also been suggested for the robots.

While the experts have already warned that artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to the end of humanity, only time will tell whether it will be effective enough to replace how humans create and program technology, and understand the way humans do and comprehend.

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