GITAI aims to bring autonomous robot workers to space

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An artist’s rendering brings to life GITAI’s vision of robots working on the International Space Station.

GITAI will conduct a technical demonstration of autonomous robot, S1, aboard the ISS in 2021.

Upon hearing the phrase, “robots in space,” one might have an image flash of a corny 60s sci-fi movie, but startup GITAI has its sights on making that a reality in 2021. The space robotics company, which was founded in 2016, is on track for conducting a technical demonstration on the International Space Station (ISS), in collaboration with Nanoracks.

Since its start, GITAI has focused its efforts on various robots for space. Its G1, which is a humanoid torso, was its most advanced machine. It was designed to be controlled by an immersive telepresence system. For the technical demonstration, the company is moving toward more autonomous methods with its S1, a mountable robotic arm with 8 degrees of freedom and 1-meter reach that has an integrated sensing and computing system.

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Robot reapers and AI: Just another day on the farm

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Pressures on agriculture have forced a technological revolution that are driving a new age of farming.

The agriculture industry has hit a turning point. Faced with a massive labor crunch and environmental instability, aggressive technology deployments are no longer an option for outliers in the sector, but a necessary and critical element in the success of the farm.

Enabling the transformation are a host of new developers, but also legacy companies with deep roots in agriculture. Smart technology from companies like John Deere, for example, is helping farmers to produce more with less and create more successful crops, all while having a smaller impact on the land and environment. In contrast to prevailing wisdom that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, John Deere is employing AI and machine learning in its equipment to identify and enable needed actions at a scope and speed beyond human capacity, automating farming actions through smart robotics to enable consistent and precise actions at large scale, and providing precise, geospatial intelligence generated with machine technology and coupled with cloud-stored data to enable sustainable farming.

In other words, it’s like farming with technologies that might be more commonly associated with NASA than a tractor company. I caught up with Dr. Cristian Dima, Lead of Advanced Algorithms, John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, to discuss the changes underway in the farming sector and what we can expect going forward.

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Insect-inspired robots that can jump, fly and climb are almost here

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Roboticists who designed these robots, called Tribots, took inspiration from the real-life trap-jaw ant’s locomotion strategies.

Did you envision a giant machine assembling cars, Data from “Star Trek,” C-3PO from “Star Wars” or “The Terminator”? Most of us would probably think of something massive — or at least human size.

But a whole arm of robotics is focusing on bug-size ‘bots (and smaller).

It’s not just the size of tiny insects that are inspiring roboticists; it’s also the many complex tasks and physical feats that comprise the everyday lives of many fleas, flies and other six-legged creatures.

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The future is cyborg: Kaspersky study finds support for human augmentation

 

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LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly two thirds of people in leading Western European countries would consider augmenting the human body with technology to improve their lives, mostly to improve health, according to research commissioned by Kaspersky.

As humanity journeys further into a technological revolution that its leaders say will change every aspect of our lives, opportunities abound to transform the ways our bodies operate from guarding against cancer to turbo-charging the brain.

The Opinium Research survey of 14,500 people in 16 countries including Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain showed that 63% of people would consider augmenting their bodies to improve them, though the results varied across Europe.

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Future autonomous machines may build trust through emotion

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Future autonomous machines may build trust through emotion

Army researchers found that the effect of emotion expressions is moderated by strategy. People will only process and be influenced by emotion expressions if the counterpart’s actions are insufficient to reveal the counterpart’s intentions.

Army research has extended the state-of-the-art in autonomy by providing a more complete picture of how actions and nonverbal signals contribute to promoting cooperation. Researchers suggested guidelines for designing autonomous machines such as robots, self-driving cars, drones and personal assistants that will effectively collaborate with soldiers.

Dr. Celso de Melo, computer scientist with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory at CCDC ARL West in Playa Vista, California, in collaboration with Dr. Kazunori Teradafrom Gifu University in Japan, recently published a paper in Scientific Reports where they show that emotion expressions can shape cooperation.

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Self-learning robot autonomously moves molecules, setting stage for molecular 3D printing

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If you know even just a little bit about science, you probably already know that molecules are often referred to as “the building blocks of life.” Made of a group of atoms that have bonded together, molecules make up all kinds of materials, but behave totally differently in regards to macroscopic objects than atoms do. Picture how a LEGO model is made of many teeny tiny bricks—it’s easy for us to move these bricks around, but if you think of molecules as these bricks, it’s much more difficult to do so, as each one basically requires its own separate set of instructions.

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Robot dogs join US Air Force for major exercise, could be ‘key to next-gen warfare’

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US Air Force exercised robot dogs last week

The robot dogs — four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures — were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada.

New Delhi: In a bid to increase use of artificial intelligence in the military, the US Air force conducted a major exercise with robot dogs trained to scout for threats before their human counterparts enter the field.

The four-legged, headless, mechanical creatures were made to exit an aircraft and look for signs of danger at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US state of Nevada last week.

They are part of an Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) that the US Air force is building, which will use artificial intelligence and data analytics to detect counter threats to the US military.

“Valuing data as an essential war fighting resource, one no less vital than jet fuel or satellites, is the key to next-gen warfare,” Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told CNN.

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New silicone 3D printing opens up applications for robotics, medicine, wearables

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The fabrication of soft devices is evolving further, with the completion of recent research performed by US scientists. With the results published in “3D printable tough silicone double networks,” the authors explain how soft materials can be fabricated with micron resolution for complex systems like robotics, as well as new types of wearables.

Soft materials are produced industrially for many applications, with soft matter deployed for shock absorption, conformal requirements, energy recapture and robotics, where devices must be able to deform. Cross-linked materials like silicone rubbers (more formally known as poly(dimethylsiloxanes)) are popular for use due to strong mechanical properties, and temperature and chemical resistance. Most methods for using such materials with traditional techniques like injection molding are extremely limited though, and only suitable for creating basic geometries.

Previous research has shown success with liquid silicone rubber material for 3D printing ink, yielding more complex shapes. Challenges have been noted, however, in terms of structures being printed with overhangs, as well as those with a “high aspect ratio structure,” due to lack of stability like “slumping” before curing. Other experimental techniques have resulted in a lack of resolution, inferior mechanical properties, or slower printing speed.

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This tiny robot tank could one day help doctors explore your intestine

With a bulky, armored appearance, heavy duty treads for gripping, and a claw arm on the front, the Endoculus robot vehicle looks like it belongs on the battlefield. In fact, it’s just 3 cm wide, 2.3 cm tall, and designed for an entirely different kind of inhospitable environment: Your intestine.

“[This] robotic capsule endoscope, Endoculus, is a tethered robot designed for colonoscopy applications,” Mark Rentschler, a mechanical engineering professor in the Advanced Medical Technologies Laboratory at the University of Colorado, told Digital Trends. “The goals are twofold: design a platform for a robot endoscope in the gastrointestinal tract, and enable autonomous capabilities to assist physicians with disease diagnosis and treatment during these procedures.”

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New autonomous sustainable robots could mine the deep sea

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Pliant Energy Systems says its C-Ray robot could be used as a less invasive ocean mining tool.

Mining companies are ready to tackle two new frontiers like never before: space and the deep sea.

The deep ocean is a place that’s not only rich in sea life, vast swathes of it are also abundant in metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, zinc, which are essential to making smartphones, electric vehicles, and solar panel parts.

The problem is that marine scientists and environmentalists strongly oppose the invasive methods proposed by these mining companies as they might irreversibly damage fragile ecosystems. Renewable energy firm Pliant Energy Systems thinks it has the solution to this problem.

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Scientists create a robot made entirely of living cells

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A Xenobot, 650-750 microns in diameter. The “legs” help it shuffle around in the petri dish.

 ‘Xenobots’ could be used to clean up microplastics or deliver medication in the body

Scientists have unveiled the first ever “living robot,” an organism made up of living cells, which can move around, carry payloads, and even heal itself.

“All of the computational people on the project, myself included, were flabbergasted,” said Joshua Bongard, a computer scientist at the University of Vermont.

“We didn’t realize that this was possible.”

Teams from the University of Vermont and Tufts University worked together to build what they’re calling “xenobots,” which are about the size of a grain of salt and are made up of the heart and skin cells from frogs.

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Are robots eating our jobs? Not according to AI

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Automation has been gradually transforming the workplace for years (think Excel spreadsheets or chatbots). As artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and deep learning systems that can learn from each other become more prevalent and smarter (think Alexa or IBM Watson), they continue to replace more manual, repetitive job tasks. Consequently, automation and robots are changing more jobs globally at breakneck speed.

A McKinsey Global Institute report suggests that between 400 million to 800 million jobs worldwide will be lost due to automation by 2030. The report claims that the U.S. could lose between 16 to 54 million jobs by 2030. The pace at which robots are entering our workforce is staggering. Oxford Economics expects robots and automation to replace 20 million (8.5%) global manufacturing jobs by 2030.

Keep in mind that these predictions came before anyone predicted the Covid-19 pandemic or its impact on our workforce. The pandemic has made the need for digital transformation and automation more urgent as the critical need to work from home, physical distancing and contactless become the new normal.

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