These fun robots will help teach your kids how to code.
Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun join Jeff Gamet CES 2018 in Las Vegas to talk about technology trends and share some of the interesting products they saw at CES Unveiled.
Check out Justin, a robot designed by German space agency DLR (via Wired). Justin is pretty special, starting with the fact that he was designed to make housing and other buildings on Mars. He’s powered by AI that allows him to do things he hasn’t been programmed to do, and he has three fingers and a thumb, each with eight joints, allowing him to handle a wide variety of tools. He can clean and maintain machinery, and in a recent test repaired a solar panel in minutes. Justin can also lift 31 pounds with each arm, which will go even further on Mars, which has a lower gravity. Oh, and he can make coffee and tee, thank you. Wired has more, and it’s very interesting.
Check out this crazy-cool invention called Inception Drive by Alexander Kernbaum of Stanford Research Institute (SRI), the same organization that developed Apple’s Siri. It’s an actuator, but one that uses a pulley-within-a-pulley to produce an infinitely-variable transmission. This technology could be used to make robots move more efficiently, and perhaps even make them safer. While Mr. Kernbaum’s focus is robotics, his invention could be applied to any number of uses where things move, and that’s just way cool. The IEEE Spectrum has more on the invention, including the video below. I love how Mr. Kernbaum is casually hanging out in a hallway with demo models of something that could change the way humanity’s machines move.
Christopher Caen is the Head of Marketing at Ecovacs Robotics, a company well know for its robotic vacuum cleaners and window cleaners. Christopher has a balanced academic background, being both accomplished in English as well as computer science. His first job was as an summer intern at Atari where he worked in marketing, something that immediately appealed to him. Later, at Paramount, he co-founded the Paramount Technology Group which developed interactive programming and games. Christopher’s career-long expertise in marketing took him to Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Informix and NEC. We talked a lot about internet of things (IoT), modern security practices, and how modern IoT products create a business model that requires a new understanding of and relationship to the customer. If you’re interested in robotics and IoT, this is a must listen.
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.