Dear Softbank, please let Boston Dynamics be Boston Dynamics

 Hey Softbank, First of all, congratulations. You’re about to purchase some of the coolest toys in the history of human civilization. Seriously, it’s like Christmas in early June for you all. I’m sure you can’t wait to take one of those big, hulking robots for a spin and make all of your neighbors jealous. I get it. We had Spot on stage at an event last year and for… Read More

Judah vs. the Machines: Blindfolded against a Berkeley robot overlord

 In this episode of Judah vs. the Machines, Judah visits UC Berkeley’s Robot Learning Lab to meet Brett, a robot still in testing that was designed to learn like a human. Brett’s creators hope that he could some day take on menial human tasks with the ability to adapt and learn new ways of accomplishing a goal, something that most other robots are incapable of doing. Read More

Judah Vs. The Machines: In which a robot services a hotel room

 Robots remain a rare sight outside of labs in most of the world, but in Silicon Valley, they have already started taking on service jobs. In this episode of Judah Vs. The Machines, Judah visits the Crowne Plaza hotel in San Jose to check out Relay, a hotel service robot that can autonomously bring guests food and other necessities. After poking Relay’s creator, Steve Cousins about equal… Read More

This robot arm’s AI thinks like we do about how to grab something

 Robots are great at doing things they’ve been shown how to do, but when presented with a novel problem, such as an unfamiliar shape that needs to be gripped, they tend to choke. AI is helping there in the form of systems like Dex-Net, which uses deep learning to let a robotic arm improvise an effective grip for objects it’s never seen before. Read More

This ultra-twee soft robotic gripper was inspired by Venus flytraps

 The problem with tiny robots, if there can really be said to be one, is that you can’t put enough stuff on them. Cameras and motors don’t shrink down very well, meaning if you want your robot to grab something, you’d better come up with a new way to see it and hold onto it. And that’s just what Finnish researchers have done with this bio-inspired, super-small gripper! Read More

3D printing soft legs can help a robot walk across rough and rocky terrain

 A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego have applied the biologically inspired principles of soft robotics in order to develop a robot capable of navigating uneven terrain like rocks and sand. The soft and pliable materials mean the robot’s four legs are capable of conforming to their surrounds, so its on-board sensors don’t need a precise picture of the… Read More

Teleretail built a delivery robot to make on-demand logistics easy for small businesses

 Delivery robots are seen as novelties, job-killers and a gimmicky way for restaurants to reach nearby customers. The newest entrant in this segment of logistics is a Swiss startup called Teleretail AG. The company has put a twist on the personal delivery device—its machines, still in prototype, were designed to cover long distances, up to 50 miles, and to serve rural and suburban… Read More

Echodyne’s pocket-sized radar may be the next must-have tech for drones (and drone hunters)

 Just because we live in an age of many sensors doesn’t mean we always have the right one for the job. One in particular we’ve been lacking is a radar system that can detect obstacles and aircraft hundreds of meters out, yet fit comfortably on a small drone. The laws of physics, it seemed, prevented it — but Echodyne made it work anyway. Read More

Fortem raises $5.5 million to hunt and take down unwanted drones

 After drones became available to private citizens around the world, bad actors found ways to use them for nefarious purposes like spying on corporations, carrying contraband across borders and into prison yards, and sadly, turning the aerial robots into weapons. Drone crashes also put people and property in harm’s way. Provo, Utah-based Fortem Technologies Inc. has raised $5.5 million in… Read More

Made In Space reveals the Archinaut, a robot-operated factory in the sky

 Made In Space is known as the company behind the 3D printers on board the International Space Station. Astronauts have used the startup’s Additive Manufacturing Facility to churn out everything from finger splints to tools — and even other printer parts. Now the company is revealing a video rendering of its larger Archinaut system, a factory in the sky operated by autonomous robots. Read More