MORIYA, Japan (AP) — Thousands upon thousands of cans are filled with beer, capped and washed, wrapped into six-packs, and boxed at dizzying speeds — 1,500 a minute, to be exact — on humming conveyor belts that zip and wind in a sprawling factory near Tokyo.
Toyota is introducing a new robotic leg brace called the Welwalk WW-1000 that can help patients with partial paralysis affecting one side of their body walk again. The robotic exoframe is worn on the affected leg, with a large motor component at the knee joint that provides just enough assistance to the patient, letting them recover their own walking ability therapeutically over time.
Continue reading… “Toyota’s new robot leg brace can help those with partial paralysis walk again”
Every summer, tens of thousands of migrant workers swarm a remote area of Northern California — the marijuana-growing capital of the US — to find work as “trimmers” after the weed has been harvested.
Their job is to prune the fluffy, green buds with small pairs of scissors to clear them of leaves before they wind up on dispensary shelves or in dealers’ pockets.
The work is arduous and pays between $100 and $300 a day for 10 to 15 hours of labor on the black market, which generated 87% of pot sales in North America in 2016.
If you want curves like this, you’ll need a robot. Designed by architects Archi-Union, the undulating exterior of the Chi She Gallery in Shanghai was made using an adapted car-manufacturing robot. “We used digital tools to transform geometry data to digital-fabrication data,” says Li Han, chief architectural designer at Archi-Union, who spent five years making the cyborg helper.
Should robots pay taxes?
It may sound strange, but a number of prominent people have been asking this question lately. As fears about the impact of automation grow, calls for a “robot tax” are gaining momentum. Earlier this month, the European parliament considered one for the EU. Benoît Hamon, the French Socialist party presidential candidate who is often described as his country’s Bernie Sanders, has put a robot tax in his platform. Even Bill Gates recently endorsed the idea.
Advancements in the robotics field are helping to transform a number of industries, construction being one of them. Companies that build things can expect to see a host of new machines that perform a variety of tasks — adding efficiency to construction projects as well as reducing injuries to human workers.
Two University of Oxford biomedical researchers are calling for robots to be built with real human tissue, and they say the technology is there if we only choose to develop it. Writing in Science Robotics, Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Andrew Carr argue that humanoid robots could be the exact tool we need to create muscle and tendon grafts that actually work.
Right now, tissue engineering relies on bioreactors to grow sheets of cells. These machines often look like large fish tanks, filled with a rich soup of nutrients and chemicals that cells need to grow on a specialized trellis. The problem, explain Mouthuy and Carr, is that bioreactors currently “fail to mimic the real mechanical environment for cells.” In other words, human cells in muscles and tendons grow while being stretched and moved around on our skeletons. Without experiencing these natural stresses, the tissue grafts produced by researchers often have a broad range of structural problems and low cell counts.
Editing bots on Wikipedia undo vandalism, enforce bans, check spelling, create links and import content automatically, whereas other bots (which are non-editing) can mine data, identify data or identify copyright infringements.
OUT of the way, human, I’ve got this covered. A machine learning system has gained the ability to write its own code.
Created by researchers at Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, the system, called DeepCoder, solved basic challenges of the kind set by programming competitions. This kind of approach could make it much easier for people to build simple programs without knowing how to write code.
When it comes to robot-human relations, the conversation typically centers on the welfare of the sentient. Science fiction paints us as petrified by our own creations; fears of a bot planet have influenced everything from Asimov’s “Laws of Robotics” to HAL 9000’s homicidal impulses to Skynet’s global genocide.
These human-centric anxieties are understandable. However, as our assorted bots and bits gain skills and personalities, should they be afforded some form of protection from us? It’s a question people are starting to seriously ponder.
Jon Zornow, the founder of Sewbo, made waves in September after announcing that he had built the first robot to sew a t-shirt without human intervention. Using a robot arm and an automatic sewing machine, Zornow took some carefully prepared material and ran it through a pre-programmed series of moves.
It worked. Out popped a t-shirt.
In 2012, Futurist Thomas Frey predicted that 2 billion jobs would disappear by 2030, roughly half of all jobs that exist today. Oxford University researchers reinforced this with their estimates that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades. But which ones will robots take first?
First, we should define “robots” as technologies, such as machine learning algorithms running on purpose-built computer platforms, that have been trained to perform tasks that currently require humans to perform.