Terrorists are turning robots into weapons


“Terrorists are turning to robots as weapons, and they aren’t limited to consumer-grade UAVs with small payloads. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorists have deployed VBIEDs (vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices), commonly known as car bombs, to destroy multiple buildings and rock entire neighborhoods, with some vehicles’ containing up to seven thousand pounds of explosives.”

Full story HERE

U.S. Navy will launch up to 30 synchronized drones within one minute from a canon


Well.. “possibly from a canon-like device.” The video shows testing of the LOCUST system. LOCUST – LOw Cost Uav Swarm Technology

From DailyMail

“Soft robots” – cheaper, lighter, safer, and require less energy to work


Saul Griffith is creating new technology. His unconventional approach to robotics is enabling him to create machines which are more portable and require less power than traditional hard robots, and for a fraction of the cost.

“In 2013, Otherlab spawned the Other Machine Company, which makes a desktop industrial mill that can turn out personalized circuit boards, jewelry and other objects. In total, Otherlab has spun off five other companies and is nurturing three others.”

Full nytimes.com article HERE

PD-100 Black Hornet – Small military surveillance MAV weighs about the same as 3 sheets of notebook paper


The inventor of the “Blade Runner,” the first successful indoor toy RC helicopter, used the profits from that venture to create Prox Dynamics. Prox Dynamics has produced a military recon unit with three cameras on it, roughly the size of a finger, capable of travelling about 13 miles.

Article HERE

Hate cooking? Let Moley the robotic chef take care of it


We already have domestic robots that clean floors, windows, and gutters, and mow lawns; in 2017, the robotic chef Moley hits the market, for a predicted cost of about £10,000.

“The launch of this robotic kitchen comes as global demand for so-called ‘personal service robots,’ which range from robotic vacuum cleaners to lawn mowers, continues to rise rapidly.”

Full article HERE.

For the household robot to come about, they must be people-safe – enter ABB’s YuMi robot


Before we all have robot maids in our homes, they must be safe to interact with. (Tall, heavy metal machines on two legs with sharp corners could present some problems.) ABB has designed YuMi to work with humans safely, with padding and no pinch points.

“ABB said its new YuMi robot, with a starting price of about $40,000, can help assemble such products as smartphones, laptops and tablet computers that have been assembled largely by hand by workers in lower-cost countries like China.”

Video of YuMi in action:

Full article HERE

So your child wants to build a robot…


The robots are coming. There are a number of modular systems designed to educate about the basics of robotics, including Cubelets, MOSS blocks, Lego Mindstorm, and Robocore. Columnist Jurica Dujmovic discusses the systems on Marketwatch:

“…you might say, although I’d love to make my own robot, I’m not a coder or a mechanic. With many robot-building kits, you don’t need to be engineering-savvy. Ready to enter the world of modular robotics? Let’s go.”

Jurica’s very informative article HERE.

Cubelets video HERE

Further discussion of killer robots at the UN on Monday

killer robots

The kind of artificially intelligent soldier-robot from the futuristic movie The Terminator may be a long way off, but policy analysts are grappling now with limits on the military use of robots. (Herwig Prammer/Reuters)

On Monday, international discussion of killer robots will resume at the UN. There are obvious advantages to LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems), but also obvious disadvantages. The advantage of being able to remove humans from the dangers of the battlefield are very tempting indeed. But the moral argument seems a bit weightier:

“Allowing robots to have power over life and death decisions crosses a fundamental moral line: the killing of humans by machines is an ultimate indignity in a certain sense, and humans should not be reduced to mere objects.”

Article HERE

Intel CEO uses wearable computer “button” to control robotic spiders


“Intel unveiled a tiny wearable computer, called Curie, that is the size of a small button.

While the Curie hardware is based on Intel’s first purpose-built system-on-chip (SoC) for wearable devices and is expected to ship to manufacturing partners in the second half of this year.

Packed into the tiny computer is Bluetooth, sensors and battery charging capabilities.

It will help firms make smaller smartwatches and other wearables.”

Full article, video at dailymail.co.uk

The article also features a dress with servo-actuated,3d printed robotic spider legs. And as if that weren’t strange enough… the dress senses the wearer’s emotions, and the spider legs go into an up position when the wearer is stressed, returning to a relaxed position when calmness returns. That may just be too many layers of weird! There is a video of the dress in action.

“…but in five years time, computers will be off this chart.”


The previous post linked to the video of a TED talk given by Jeremy Howard, but I think the discussion really warrants its own post. 95% of the talk discusses the remarkable progress made with AI, and the incredible new abilities it has attained recently. The final 5% discusses the unprecedented, potentially cataclysmic potential of artificial intelligence, not 20 years down the road – but now, and five years from now.

And these implications do not assume an AI gone rogue – this is assuming AI just exists, with all the things it has just learned how to do.

TED Talks presents “Jeremy Howard: The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn.”

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