Category: Robots

A critical review of Star Wars AI


Spoiler Alert! This article has spoilers for just about the entire Star Wars universe. Read at your own risk! When it comes to fictional portrayals of artificial intelligence technology, the Star Trek universe stands head and shoulders above all others. Series creator Gene Rodenberry’s vision for the far future seems just as prescient today, in the era of advanced deep learning, as it did in the 1960s when he unveiled it. Unfortunately, this article is about the AI in Star Wars. Read: Star Wars: Battlefront multiplayer returns for May the 4th You know, Star Wars, the media franchise where an evil…

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Is AI already conscious?


The ultimate goal of most high-level AI research is the development of a general artificial intelligence (GAI). In essence, what we want is a synthetic mind that could function the same as a human were it placed into a physical vessel of similar capability. Most experts – not all – believe we’re decades away from anything of the sort. Unlike other incredibly complex problems such as nuclear fusion or readjusting the Hubble Constant, nobody really understands yet what GAI actually looks like. Some researchers think Deep Learning is the path to machines that think like humans, others believe we’ll need…

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Scientists enhance robotic surgery by giving human controllers electric shocks


A new haptic glove can give even clumsy surgeons steady hands — just by sending them a friendly electric shock. The system is designed for robotic arms, which act as physical extensions of a human surgeon. These tools add precision and reach to operations, but they can’t prevent accidents when the human controller slips up. In traditional operations, a surgeon looks at their hands as they operate. But when they’re controlling a robot, they have to follow the procedure on a monitor, which shows footage from cameras attached to the machine. This indirect view diminishes their sense of distance, making it tricky…

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Boston Dynamics is open-sourcing its robot tech to help hospitals fight coronavirus


We’ve seen Boston Dynamics‘ Spot robot walking, running, dancing, and opening doors. Now, the company has assigned it a more important task during the coronavirus pandemic: telemedicine. In this new solution, the iPad mounted on the robot lets health workers communicate with patients remotely, saving time, reducing exposure, and preserving personal protective equipment (PPE). The newly developed application is already under trial in Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts.  [Read: Elon Musk’s 420th Starlink satellite is more than just a weed joke] Boston Dynamics said it’s open-sourcing this applications’ hardware and software design used for developers and robot-makers to develop solutions for  fighting…

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This sweat-powered electronic skin can control your robotic limbs


Scientists have developed an electronic skin that converts sweat into energy to control a robotic arm. The flexible, rubber material is stuck on a person’s skin. It then uses embedded sensors to monitor their health and the nerve signals that control their muscles — without the need for a battery. “One of the major challenges with these kinds of wearable devices is on the power side,” said the device’s creator Wei Gao, an assistant professor at California Institute of Technology. “Many people are using batteries, but that’s not very sustainable. Some people have tried using solar cells or harvesting the power of human motion, but we…

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Why every online store needs a customer service chatbot


In recent times, organizations have been competing with one another to implement chatbots for various reasons, including enhancing customer experience, streamlining processes, and fueling the demand for digital and innovative technologies. Cognitive technologies such as chatbots have become an apt candidate for end-use application as they have high automation feasibility, high potential of accuracy, low complexity and low execution time. Raising the bar through intelligence, virtual assistants have been propelled by advancements of mobile technology. Technology giants are putting their weight on a platform designed to answer ad-hoc queries in real-time and fuel sales as chatbots can remember customer preference…

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The YMCA is trialing robot lifeguards to prevent pool drownings


Coral Detection Systems, an Israel-based AI startup, is in the business of saving lives. It’s “Manta 3,000” is a nifty ray-shaped autonomous camera system that monitors swimming pools for drowning victims. Drowning is the third leading cause of death by unintentional injury, with more than 320,000 annual fatalities worldwide. In the US alone, nearly 400 people die in swimming pools annually. Coral thinks its device can shift the tides and get that number trending in the other direction for the first time in decades. The Manta 3,000 is, essentially, an entirely self-sufficient pool monitor. Once installed, it surveys a 10-meter…

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British Airways is testing self-driving wheelchairs at JFK and Heathrow


British Airways will debut its self-driving wheelchair trial at Heathrow International Airport in London over the next few months. It recently began testing the devices, made by Japanese startup WHLL, at JFK International Airport in New York. According to a press release from British Airways, the trials are part of the company’s involvement with the Valuable 500 Pledge, a business-to-business initiative urging corporate leaders to provide better services for disabled people. Ricardo Vidal, British Airways’ Head of Innovation, said: Over the next few months we will be collaborating on a further trial at our busy home hub at Heathrow Terminal…

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Google algorithm teaches robot how to walk in mere hours


A new robot has overcome a fundamental challenge of locomotion by teaching itself how to walk. Researchers from Google developed algorithms that helped the four-legged bot to learn how to walk across a range of surfaces within just hours of practice, annihilating the record times set by its human overlords. Their system uses deep reinforcement learning, a form of AI that teaches through trial and error by providing rewards for certain actions. This technique is typically evaluated in virtual environments. However, building simulations that could replicate the robot walking on various surfaces would be highly complex and time-consuming, so the…

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Robot uses AI to personalize teaching of autistic children


Researchers have developed a new personalized learning robot for autistic children that uses machine learning to adapt its lessons to each kid’s changing needs. The University of Southern California team put a “socially assistive robot” called Kiwi in the homes of 17 autistic children and set the two-foot-tall, green-feathered robot to give each child personalized classes. Over the course of a month, the children played space-themed math games on a tablet device while Kiwi provided feedback and instruction, such as congratulating them on a correct answer or giving tips after a wrong one. As the lessons progressed, algorithms adjusted Kiwi’s feedback and the difficulty of the…

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