Headless, Two-Legged Robot Digit Is Now Ready to Take Over Your Duties

by Cristina Mircea

It was “born” in 2019 when its creator, Agility Robotics, first introduced it as a highly-capable robot with legs and arms, suited for both indoor and outdoor use. Now Digit is available for purchase and ready to take over your tedious duties. 7 photos

Digit is a strange-looking humanoid. It is headless, but it has fully functional arms, legs, and a somewhat athletic body. As well it should since Agility Robotics aims to create a fleet of robots that can free humans of their tedious and exhausting tasks, so they can focus on the creativity and decision-making side of things.

The company claims it built Digit as a machine that can work in environments designed for humans. It is why it can climb stairs, navigate autonomously, and perform a variety of tasks with its strong arms.

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Inside NASA’s vision to control space stations with autonomous robots

Our future in space may see ISAAC control space stations, as well as space colonies on the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

“What would happen if an astronaut were to lose a sock inside an air vent?” you may wonder. Well wonder no further, as an Astrobee robot named Bumble solved that very test aboard the International Space Station in April 2021.

Engineers provided the small, cube-shaped robotic attendant with a (fictional) warning of a buildup of carbon dioxide aboard the station. (Such an event in real life could quickly prove dangerous for humans aboard the orbiting outpost).

Bumble quickly traveled to an air recirculation vent, identifying the “blockage” — a picture of a sock, standing in for the real thing. The electronic aide-de-camp then called for human assistance in removing the blockage.

The second test for Bumble involved creating a high-resolution map of Bay 6 of the space station’s Japanese Exploration Module. While doing so, the fluttering cyborg encountered cables around which it had to navigate, while encountering “interruptions” in its communications with ground controllers.

Bumble performed its tasks successfully, along with a little help from humans back on Earth.

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Hobot Technology unveils new window-cleaning robot

BY DAVID EDWARDS 

Hobot Technology has officially launched its new window-cleaning robot, the Hobot-2S. The US launch date is scheduled for October 1, 2021.

Hobot says its window cleaning robots “have been recognized as the world’s standard in robotic technology”, adding that it’s the “most trusted brand of US consumers” due to quality, reliability, and customer support. 

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FedEx testing autonomous delivery robot on Richardson streets

The robot called Roxo is designed to make last minute deliveries, minus the delivery person.

By Teri Webster

An autonomous delivery vehicle recently rolled down the streets of Richardson during a trial run for FedEx.

The prototype called “Roxo” recently made mock deliveries to homes in a neighborhood near Berkner High School, according to an announcement by the city. 

FedEx worked with the Richardson police and fire departments, city engineers and the Marlborough Square Home Owners Association to ensure the testing ran smoothly.

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Simbe’s robots will be deployed across midwestern grocery chain, Schnucks

By Brian Heater

St. Louis-based grocery chain Schnucks (one of those “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good” situations, one imagines) announced this week that it will be deploying technology from Simbe Robotics across its 111 U.S. locations.

The deal comes a year and a half into a global pandemic that has substantially increased interest in automation, particularly around essential businesses — a qualifier that certainly applies to grocery stores.

Simbe’s mobile robots provide inventory scanning, offering a constantly updating picture of what’s on the store shelves and what needs to be restocked. Anyone who’s ever worked retail can almost certainly tell you that doing inventory is one of the biggest headaches in the industry, often requiring hours-long shutdowns or overnight marathons to complete.

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Nanorobots will prevent root canal treatment failures

Nanosized robots will traverse the slender dentinal tubules and target the hard-to-reach bacteria.

By Rajeev Chitguppi

An indigenously developed nanorobotic technology will deploy nanosized robots that will traverse the slender dentinal tubules and target the hard-to-reach bacteria, which are primarily responsible for the root canal treatment failures.

Many root canal treatment cases fail due to incomplete debridement of certain pathogenic bacteria – inaccessible to instrumentation due to their deep location inside the dentinal tubules. Researchers, including those from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, have developed nanorobotic technology to solve this problem. The technology involves nanosized robots that will traverse the slender dentinal tubules and target the hard-to-reach bacteria.

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Skunk Works’ Factory Of The Future Will Use Roaming Robots To Rapidly Assemble Top Secret Aircraft

Skunk Works’ knack for innovation enters the “digital” age with a factory able to spit out advanced aircraft faster and cheaper than ever before.

BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK

Lockheed Martin’s famous Skunk Works advanced projects division has opened a new cutting-edge manufacturing facility at its campus in Palmdale, California, which is part of the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42. The company says that the technologies it will employ in this new “factory of the future,” blandly named Building 648, will help it drastically speed up and otherwise improve how it designs and produces advanced aerospace vehicles, including stealth fighters and drones, hypersonic missiles, and more. Beyond that, however, this factory is the centerpiece of a larger transformation going on within Skunk Works that could potentially revolutionize the development and production of even very advanced aerospace concepts, industrial capabilities that could be increasingly essential for the U.S. military to maintain its competitive edge.

The War Zone was among a select group of outlets given an opportunity to visit Skunk Works and attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 215,000-square foot Building 648, which Lockheed Martin representatives have described as an “intelligent, flexible, advanced manufacturing facility,” on Aug. 10, 2021, as well as tour other relevant portions of the overall facility at Palmdale. The factory is the “cornerstone” of approximately $400 million worth of investments the company has made to help expand its capabilities and capacity at what is formally known as Plant 10 in recent years, which has already led directly to the creation of 1,500 new jobs since 2018

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New Croatian Restaurant Uses Five GammaChef Robots to Make Meals

by Chris Albrecht

Typically when we write about food making robots, they fall into either one of two categories: Smaller countertop devices meant for the home, or larger, more industrial robots meant for restaurant kitchens. But a restaurant called Bots&Pots in Zagreb, Croatia, is combining those two ideas and using a number of GammaChef cooking robots to make meals for its customers. 

GammaChef, also based in Croatia (and also a former Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase finalist), makes the eponymous robot capable of creating one-pot dishes such as stews, risottos and pastas. The device stores ingredients, dispenses them into the pot, and stirs the food as it cooks. According to Total Croatia News, customers at Bots&Pots choose their meal via touchscreen at one of five GammaChefs inside the restaurant and they’ll be able to see their meal prepared. According to the story, with five robots running, the restaurant can make up to 60 meals per hour. Human chefs at Bots&Pots are also creating new recipes for the robot to “learn.”

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Science’s next great leap: using squirrels to teach robots how to ‘parkour’

Researchers studying rodents’ leaping abilities suggest findings could help them create nimble artificial intelligence systems

ByJoe Pinkstone

Squirrels use techniques similar to those of parkour athletes when leaping from one branch to another, a study has found.

Parkour, a form of freerunning, is a popular sport where people jump over and under obstacles at speed and often involves leaping long distances.

A team of US-based researchers at University of California, Berkeley studied the biomechanics of bounding squirrels in eucalyptus trees and observed how and when they flung themselves from one branch to another. 

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Robot Waiters Have Descended on Silicon Valley

Servi at Roger in the new Ameswell Hotel

by Clair Lorell  

At a new Mountain View hotel and restaurant that pays homage to NASA, robot servers will deliver your food.

Ever wanted to glimpse into a future reality — ideal or dystopian, depending on your view — powered almost exclusively by machines? A new hotel and restaurant in Silicon Valley (where else?) gives guests the chance to do just that.

The Ameswell Hotel is an independent hotel in Mountain View that debuted in mid-July along with its restaurant, Roger. Both the hotel and restaurant were developed as an homage to the nearby historic NASA Ames Research Center, and it’s living up to its tech-driven billing — it’s the first hotel in the United States to use Servi, a self-driving, indoor robot server, according to the Ameswell. Eater spoke with Jacky Li, who oversees all food and beverage at the hotel, to learn more about the technology and how it’s being used at Roger. 

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Could you beat this bipedal robot’s 5K run time?

It completed the distance in 53 minutes

By James Vincent

Researchers from Oregon State University have coaxed a bipedal robot off the couch to successfully complete the first ever robotic 5 kilometer outdoors run. The bot, Cassie, completed the route in 53 minutes, untethered and on a single battery charge. So next time you’re out for a jog, remember: that’s the time to beat if you want to out-pace the killer robots.

(For now.) 

Cassie is the creation of OSU spin-off Agility Robotics, which has been pushing the commercial case for bipedal robots for a while. Cassie itself was the company’s first product, manufactured between 2017 and 2019, and now embraced by research labs. Agility now makes an updated bipedal bot, Digit, which has arms to handle packages and has been used by Ford as part of a research project into autonomous delivery robots. 

Bipedal machines are a tricky sell, though. Their big advantage is they can easily navigate spaces made for humans, like stairs and tight corridors. But their bipedalism means they’re inherently less stable, especially compared to quadrupedal robots like those made by Boston Dynamics. It’s just harder to knock something over when it’s standing on four legs.

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Robots have started to share the bike lane in Austin to deliver pizza

By Nathan Bernier

Riley Pakes, with Refraction AI robotics company, monitors a REV-1 delivery robot on South Congress Avenue in Austin, TX on June 16, 2021. Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT News

Austin, Texas, is one of the latest American cities where robots are now making deliveries — and competing with people for space on the road.

A fleet of 10 such robot vehicles, which look like futuristic ice cream carts, has started deliveries for the Austin chain Southside Flying Pizza. 

The company behind the robots is Michigan-based Refraction AI, which has been operating in Ann Arbor since 2019. The company’s REV-1 robot can go up to 15 miles an hour with somebody monitoring journeys over the internet. For now, an attendant follows the robot on an electric scooter while the AI learns Austin’s streets.

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