The Anki Vector Robot is Coming Back

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Anki built little companion robots like Vector and Cosmo. But in early 2019 the company ran out of money and shut down. But the CEO of Digital Dream Labs announced it had purchased Anki’s assets and will continue to develop the Anki Vector robot.

1)  We will develop an “Escape Pod”.  This will, safely, expose settings and allow the user to move and set endpoints, and by doing so, remove the need for the cloud server.

2)  We will develop a “Dev Vector”.  Many users have asked us for open source and the ability to do more with their Vector even to the point of hosting him on their own servers.  With this feature, developers will be able to customize their robot through a bootloader we will develop.

Robotics Video: Evan Rachael Wood Meets Sophia

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Westworld robot (HBO)

Mashable writes about an upcoming short film featuring two famous robots, one of whom is an actress and one is real.

Unless you live under a rock, you might know of the world’s most famous real-life humanoid, Sophia, the robot…

An enticing trailer for has recently come out for a short film called SophiaWorld starring HBO’s Westworld actress Evan Rachael Wood…

Television’s most famous Robot, actress Evan Rachel Wood, and arguably the world’s most famous real-life humanoid, Sophia the Robot, have a chance encounter in a swanky NY hotel bar…

The short film will premiere on September 4 on Futurism.com.

Neato Robot Vacuums Can Use Siri Shortcuts

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Neato robotic vacuums can use Siri Shortcuts and HomeKit, like starting, pausing, and stopping cleaning later this year.

Zone cleaning lets you deploy the vacuum to specific, targeted areas of your house so they get cleaned more readily, and it sounds like you’ll be able to set up Siri shortcuts for specific zones. That should let user use voice commands to send the vacuum to different parts of the house, a pretty handy feature. And if you’re not so much into the voice commands, Siri Shortcuts will enable the Neato app to learn and suggest times to send out your vacuum with lock screen suggestions.

Future Historian Steve Carper - TMO Background Mode Interview

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Steve Carper is a Future Historian, researching how the dazzling future that dominated the Golden Age of science fiction was created—starting with the technological frenzy of the late 19th century.

Steve writes a bi-weekly robot column at BlackGate.com and his latest book, published in June 2019, is Robots in American Popular Culture. This book examines society’s reactions to robots and androids such as Robby, Rosie, Elektro, Sparko, Data, WALL-E, C-3PO and the Terminator in popular culture.

Steve and I discussed his new book, covering some of the most famous robots of fiction and then all aspects of robot technology in our culture: robots as servants, enemies, lovers, children, successors and doubles. Where will the evolution of robots take our society next? Klaatu barada nikto.

An Example of How Robots Will Augment Not Replace Jobs

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From FastCompany: “A hospital introduced a robot to help nurses. They didn’t expect it to be so popular”

That means nurses don’t even have to remember certain tasks that used to be part of their daily job, which is a meaningful way to reduce their cognitive load. “They don’t have to think about telling the robot to do things,” says [Vivian] Chu, who has a PhD in robotics from Georgia Tech.

This kind of optimized offloading will help workers focus on being even more productive. That is, if employers figure that out. [Image credit: FastCompany.]

Robots Company Anki Shuts Down

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Robotics company Anki announced that it’s shutting down, and close to 200 employees would be paid a week of severance. The company said it was left without “significant funding” to support its goals.

“Despite our past successes, we pursued every financial avenue to fund our future product development and expand on our platforms,” a company spokesperson said. “A significant financial deal at a late stage fell through with a strategic investor and we were not able to reach an agreement. We’re doing our best to take care of every single employee and their families, and our management team continues to explore all options available.”

Sad to see. I remember first seeing Anki announced at Apple’s keynote back in 2013.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Takeoff Technologies President Max Pedró

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Max Pedró on Background Mode

Max Pedró is an eCommerce and financial services entrepreneur. Today, Max is the Co-Founder and President of Takeoff Technologies Inc.

Takeoff Technologies aims at transforming on-line grocery retailing by developing a marketplace of efficient automated robotic fulfillment centers to solve the cost and immediacy issues of grocery shopping.

I asked Max all the tough questions about having a robot pick groceries off the shelves and prepare for pickup or delivery. What about customer preferences for just the right piece of fruit or cut of meat? What about perishables? What about the security of the iOS app? Will they sell customer data? Can we use Apple Pay? And finally, how does the grocery chain obtain an ROI? Max has the answers in this fascinating interview.

An Amazing Basketball-shooting, 3 Point Specialist Robot [Video]

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Toyota's Cue 3 robot

Business Insider writes: “Toyota built Cue 3 to demonstrate the robot’s use of “visual feedback” when shooting. Cue 3 can’t run, dribble, or execute the other fundamentals necessary to play alongside humans.” But maybe soon! And the skills demonstrated here will, no doubt, someday be absorbed into more well-rounded robots. (Image credit: BI/Toyota.)

Augmented Reality, Practical Robots, and Modern Cabling, with John Kheit - ACM 505

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Bryan Chaffin and John Kheit don their futurist caps and look for the killer app in Augmented Reality. Spoiler: they have different ideas on what form it might take. They also explore the near-term future of practical robots, starting with today’s vacuumbots. They cap the show looking at the slow pace of progress when it comes to modern cabling. Let’s get that Cat 8 and 40 GB/s throughput!

You'll do Backflips When You See This Robot do Backflips

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MIT Cheetah robot

As bits and pieces of robot dexterity come together, soon we’ll see some remarkable robot athletes. It’s a glimmer of things to come. The Verge writes:

MIT is back with the latest version of its Cheetah quadrupedal robot, the Mini Cheetah, and it’s got a new trick up its sleeve: it can do backflips.

Robots, Apple Robots, Autonomous Vehicle Robots, and Foldable Phones with John Martellaro - ACM 503

· · Apple Context Machine Podcast

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This episode is all about robots! Apple robots, military robots, delivery repots, preacher robots, manufacturing robots, and self driving car robots! Bryan Chaffin is joined by guest host John Martellaro to deep into what’s happening with robots today and what they expect for robots in the future. Put your SciFi futurist cap on for this one. They also talk about foldable phones, or as they like to think of it, the netbook of 2019.