Robotics and AI: The future of designing for assisted living

The National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt University is focused on the development and testing of robotics and AI solutions

By Hollie Tye

Designing and manufacturing assisted living technologies, Pressalit were asked to contribute to the work being carried out by the Ambient Assisted Living Lab (AAL) at Heriot-Watt University

Demonstrating how assisted living technologies can help transform lives, solutions from manufacturer and designer, Pressalit, have been chosen to feature in the National Robotarium.

Now open on Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh campus, the National Robotarium houses technology and facilities, central to the development and testing of robotics and AI solutions across three distinct areas; Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Human and Robot Interaction and High-Precision Manufacturing.

Focusing on entrepreneurship, job creation and building digital skills in the workforce, the centre hopes to offer a data-driven approach for industry collaboration where humans and robots work in partnership.

Within the centre, the Ambient Assisted Living Lab (AAL) is focused on reforming the way assisted living care is delivered in the UK, with the help of robotics and AI.

Using a recreated care home setting, scientists and engineers within the AAL will research and create smart technology solutions in a bid to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of people with assisted living needs who strive to live independently.

Designing assisted living technologies for kitchens and bathrooms for almost fifty years, Pressalit were asked to contribute to the work being carried out at the National Robotarium.

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AMP Robotics in Denver, Colorado, has raised $91m to boost the development of its artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies for the waste and recycling industry.

The  Series C financing was led by Congruent Ventures and Wellington Management as well as new and existing investors including Blue Earth Capital, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP), Tao Capital Partners, XN, Sequoia Capital, GV, Range Ventures, and Valor Equity Partners. This new round of funding follows a $55 million Series B financing led by XN in January 2021. 

AMP’s proprietary technology applies computer vision and deep learning to identify and recover plastics, cardboard, paper, cans, cartons, and many other containers and packaging types reclaimed for raw material processing. The company’s AI platform, AMP Neuron, has recognized more than 50 billion objects in real-world conditions, making it the largest known dataset of recyclable materials for machine learning. 

“Advancements in robotics and automation are accelerating the transformation of traditional infrastructure, and AMP is seeking to reshape the waste and recycling industries,” said Michael DeLucia, sector lead for Climate Investing, Wellington Management. “By bringing digital intelligence to the recycling industry, AMP can sort waste streams and extract additional value beyond what is otherwise possible.”

AMP will use the latest funding to scale its business operations while continuing its international expansion from the US.

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Robotics company to introduce the world’s fastest shoe

Get to your destination in less than half the time with a 100 per cent increase in your walking speed

By MARLEY DICKINSON

A U.S. start-up, Shift Robotics of Pittsburgh, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for what they claim is the world’s fastest shoe. The “Moonwalker” apparently let you walk at the speed of a run while maneuvering stairs, through crowds, hills and even getting on public transit.

Late to work, and don’t want to run? The Moonwalkers will help you get to your destination in less than half the time it would normally take you to walk there with a 100 per cent increase in your walking speed. The shoes use artificial intelligence (AI) to measure your gait and react to how you walk, reaching the top speed of 12 km/h in a matter of seconds.

The shoes have two modes, lock and shift–and they only move when you do. This means you can go up and down stairs, step into mass transit, and confidently wait at the crosswalk while the AI switches modes using an algorithm to adapt to your walking gait and environment. The shoes have a hinge system that allows your foot to naturally bend at your toes, preserving your natural gait, mobility and balance.

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This electric autonomous delivery robot can bring pizza to your door

Global mobility technology company Magna has developed an electric autonomous pizza delivery robot, aiming to reduce last mile delivery costs and carbon emissions in cities.

By Roselyne Min

A small, white, three-wheeled vehicle threads its way through parked cars and traffic to the doors of hungry pizza eaters in the US city of Detroit.

The autonomous delivery robot detects and avoids pedestrians and obstacles thanks to its cameras, radar and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) remote sensing technology.

The company that developed the bot, Magna, says it’s exclusively powered by electricity and can travel at speeds of up to 32 km/h. 

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Meet Erica, the laughing robot designed to make AI more empathic humans to give better answers

The humanoid robot can detect when you’re laughing, decide whether to laugh in return, and choose to reciprocate with either a chuckle or a giggle. Creepy or ingenious?

It’s the weekend, and you decide to pay a visit to your grandma, who lives alone. When you arrive, however, you realize she has another visitor, and you hear through the door the two of them laughing. You don’t make anything of it until you walk in and find that the visitor, sitting across the dining table from grandma, is a humanoid robot—and it’s laughing at your grandma’s joke.

This isn’t going to become a reality this year, or in the next 10 years, but it’s exactly the kind of scenario that a team of scientists is working toward. Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan are teaching a humanoid robot how to laugh in response to a human laughing. The robot, named Erica, can detect when a person is laughing, decide whether it’s appropriate to laugh in return or not, and choose to respond with two different kinds of laughs: a small chuckle and a more boisterous giggle.

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Scientists find robotic sensors may be able to improve prosthetics

A groundbreaking project to create advanced sensors for use in robotic systems has the potential to transform prosthetics and robotic limbs, according to a new study.

A groundbreaking project to create advanced sensors for use in robotic systems has the potential to transform prosthetics and robotic limbs, according to a new study. The research project, led by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Integrated Graphene Ltd, and supported by the Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering (SRPe) and the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) Industry Doctorate Programme in Advanced Manufacturing, aims to develop sensors that improve robot dexterity and motor skills through the use of accurate pressure sensors that provide haptic feedback.

Professor Des Gibson, Director of the Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging at UWS and project principal investigator, said: “Over recent years, the advancements in the robotics industry have been remarkable, however, due to a lack of sensory capabilities, robotic systems often fail to execute certain tasks easily. For robots to reach their full potential, accurate pressure sensors, capable of providing greater tactile ability, are required. “Our collaboration with Integrated Graphene Ltd, has led to the development of advanced pressure sensor technology, which could help transform robotic systems.”

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This Robotic Finger Is Covered in Living Human Skin

A robotic finger covered with the epidermis has water-repellent properties.

By Andrew Liszewski

THE SKIN CAN REALISTICALLY BEND, STRETCH, AND WRINKLE AS THE FINGER CURLS AND EXTENDS.

Roboticists from the University of Tokyo have taken a tiny step toward creating the Terminator. They’ve built an articulated robot finger that’s seamlessly covered in living human skin.

There are many reasons why our current attempts to build humanoid robots with lifelike appearances always seem to end up somewhere in the uncanny valley, where their imperfect resemblance to real human beings invokes a strong negative emotional reaction from us. The way a humanoid robot moves certainly contributes to its not-quite-right appearance, but more often than not it’s the artificial materials used to recreate human skin that make humanoids especially creepy.

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Controlling this robotic excavator is like playing a video game

This machine can be operated remotely through augmented reality. 

BY SHI EN KIM

When I dig, you dig—a robotic excavator follows the motions of a remote user to execute digging from afar.

Digging in the dirt is tough business. An excavator will speed up the work, but operating one is tricky and requires years of experience. One that is operable remotely, and comes with an augmented reality system, could make the process easier, more convenient, safer—and, perhaps, more fun. 

“We have made a system that can take someone with no real skills of excavation and make them into an expert operator, way sooner than would normally be possible,” says Reuben Brewer, a roboticist who led the project. His team at SRI International, a non-profit research institute headquartered in California, has transformed an unwieldy excavator into a smart one with a gamified feel. 

Traditional excavators have non-intuitive controllers. To move the scooper up and down, the operator needs to execute a right-left motion on the joysticks and levers from within the vehicle. “There’re so many joints, and they don’t really map up in the right direction,” says Brewer. “It gets so confusing.” Operators also need intensive training to learn how to dodge buried gas lines, water lines, and internet cables to make precise holes in the ground. 

So, the researchers at SRI International have given excavators a robotification upgrade. Their smart digger can now be operated with more intuitive controls, and the operator does not even need to be in the driver’s seat. Users can perform maneuvers on these excavators right next to the vehicle, if they wish, or they can manipulate the machinery from the comfort of home or anywhere around the world, as long as they are connected to the internet. 

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Developing a crowd-friendly robotic wheelchair

Diego Paez, post-doctoral researcher at LASA, tests the Qolo robotic wheelchair in the heart of Lausanne.

by  Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Robotic wheelchairs may soon be able to move through crowds smoothly and safely. As part of CrowdBot, an EU-funded project, EPFL researchers are exploring the technical, ethical and safety issues related to this kind of technology. The aim of the project is to eventually help the disabled get around more easily.

Shoppers at Lausanne’s weekly outdoor market may have come across one of EPFL’s inventions in the past few weeks—a newfangled device that’s part wheelchair, part robot. It’s being used by researchers at EPFL’s Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory (LASA) to test technology they’re developing under CrowdBot, a project led by INRIA and involving a consortium of seven research organizations, including EPFL.

The project has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) section. CrowdBot aims to test the technical and ethical feasibility of having robots move through crowded areas. These robots could be humanoids, service robots or assistive robots. “You hear a lot about self-driving cars, but not about robots that could be moving around among pedestrians,” says Aude Billard, the head of LASA. “However, robotics technology is clearly going in that direction, so we have to start thinking now about all that will imply.”

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The first robot burger chef in the world is slinging meat near NYC

It makes a delicious burger in less than 6 minutes.

By Anna Rahmanan

Ladies and gentlemen, meet RoboBurger, the first fully autonomous robot burger chef in the whole world.

The culinary wunderkid currently sits inside a vending machine at the Simon mall at the Newport Centre in Jersey City, New Jersey—a mere 15 minutes from Times Square!—but it’s about to dispatch similar robot friends across other locations, including a college in NYC and a giant tech company in Seattle.

To create a piping hot burger in less than six minutes, the patented invention actually uses a five-step cooking process that is similar to what chefs rely on at quick-service restaurants. RoboBurger first grills the patty then toasts the bun. Step three includes the dispensation of selected condiments, followed by the assembly and delivery of the food. Pretty cool, huh? 

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Robotic pill can orally deliver large doses of biologic drugs

Preclinical study evaluated treatments for diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions that use injectable meds using an orally administered capsule

Newswise — Biologic drugs—so named because they are typically isolated from a living source, rather than chemically synthesized—are used to treat a wide variety of conditions, including diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and certain types of cancer. However, due to their complex and easily degradable components, the administration of these drugs often requires a self-injection, which can represent burdens for patients, such as necessary training for proper self-administration and the potential for needle stick injuries and pain. Now, NIBIB-funded researchers are developing a robotic pill that, after swallowing, can deliver biologic drugs into the stomach, which could potentially revolutionize the way that certain conditions are treated.

“Due to the inherent drawbacks of injectable medications, many healthcare professionals prescribe less effective oral medications in their place, resulting in suboptimal treatment for many patients,” said David Rampulla, Ph.D., director of the division of Discovery Science & Technology at NIBIB. “An oral pill for the delivery of biologic drugs would not only positively impact those patients who already use injectable medications, but could also benefit patients that are currently delaying their use. This preclinical research is an important step toward the development of such an approach.”

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Take a look inside a robot fast-food kitchen with fully autonomous ovens, freezers, and cleaning systems that don’t require any staff

Hyper Robotics’ kitchens. 

By Kate Duffy

  • Hyper Robotics’ kitchens can make fast-food using autonomous robotic machines.
  • The 40-feet kitchens have ovens, freezers, and metal detectors that don’t need human help.
  • The first kitchen was built for a Pizza Hut location in Israel, which can make 50 pizzas an hour.

Hyper Robotics is building 40-feet robotic fast-food kitchens filled with fully autonomous machines which don’t require human staff.

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