If there’s a theme to this week’s Particle Debris, it’s how some companies are struggling with technology decisions while others, like Apple, seem to have smooth sailing.
Apple kind of announced a new Mac Pro and professional display, but Bryan and Jeff want to know how we got here. They also take another look at how politics increasingly intersect with a tech giant like Apple, and discuss our robot welfare future.
Have you ever prepared a salad and thought to yourself, “I wish a robot could do this!” Well you’re in luck, because a company called Chowbotics Inc. created a salad robot called Sally. The robot is more of a tosser than a chef, as a human must load the device with prepared ingredients. (A word of caution though: the robot apparently can’t handle avocado very well.) It’s main selling point is that the customer can specify their ingredients and even the calorie count of a salad. Plus, the jack-a-nape in front of you doesn’t get to graze on the salad bar with his grimy fingers. The salad robot costs US$30,000 right now and is aimed towards small businesses and grocery stores. Eventually Chowbotics hopes to shrink the technology down to a household-friendly size. Sally is really little more than a stepping stone towards our robot welfare state (as John Kheit says), but it’s interesting to see those steps laid out in front of us.
If you love robots, there are a bunch of robotics competitions happening across the United States right now. Jeff Butts has all of the details about this steamworks-themed event pitting high school students against the clock and their opponents.
Lorek the robot represents a big step in robotics because it can understand human language, as well as the gestures we make in conversations. Researchers from Brown University pulled off this feat of understanding by programming uncertainty into the robot. Andrew Orr explains why this is a big deal.