Examples, not instructions
If it feels like we’re in the midst of robot renaissance right now, perhaps it’s because we are. There is a new…
NASA at Structure Data 2015
Quantum computing is still in its infancy, even though the idea of a quantum computer was developed some thirty years ago. But…
BigDog's little brother
Robotics company Boston Dynamics, now part of Google, is showing off its latest robot — Spot, a four-legged robot that can navigate office hallways…
What's for dinner?
These days, you can learn just about anything from YouTube videos — from how to tie a knot to the best way…
But not in time for Juno
They won’t arrive in time for this week’s “historic snowstorm Juno,” but a spate of prototype autonomous snow-clearing devices (aka snow-shoveling robots) might spell…
It's shiny too
Those disappointed by the glacial pace of the competitors in last year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge trials will appreciate the newly updated ATLAS…
Baxter's a millionaire
Rethink Robotics, builder of the beloved Baxter robot, announced a $26.6 million Series D round today, bumping up its total funding to more…
Fly my pretties
Companies delivering packages or farms mapping acres and acres of fields might not want to stop at one drone. A fleet can…
Amazon’s army of 15,000 Kiva robots look a bit like Roombas, but instead of cleaning they carry goods from place to place.
Connected devices are all the rage at hardware accelerators in San Francisco. HAX’s fifth batch of startups debuted a circuit printer, modern answer to a Polaroid camera and lots of robots.
Robots are generally programmed to keep a steady gait. But birds constantly speed up and slow down to accommodate obstacles. Copying their movement could help robots be safer and more efficient.
Around 10 companies will spend four months in the program, which begins in May. Qualcomm plans to distribute $10 million in funding among the startups.
Harvest Automation’s robots are excellent at picking up and moving plants. Its next robot will apply the same skills to warehouses and e-commerce, where there are plenty of other goods waiting to be moved around.
Five Elements Robotics will make Budgee available in the next few months. In 2015, it plans to release a second version of Budgee that would check out shoppers and carry their goods to their car.
The world likes to make fun of Silicon Valley for the seemingly useless ideas its entrepreneurs come up with. But there are startups out there that could fundamentally change how our lives play out day-to-day.
The 360 Eye vacuum cleaner uses a 360 degree camera and infrared sensors to map floors and make sure it hits every spot. It will go on sale next year.
Robots could someday be used in disaster situations to help people out of burning rooms or collapsed buildings. They could also control huge crowds, which herding dogs already do with ease.
Botlr debuted today in the Cupertino Aloft hotel, where it is delivering small items like toothbrushes and newspapers to guests.
Home robot Jibo‘s Indiegogo campaign was scheduled to close over the weekend, but after raising more than $1.75 million the robot’s creators…
Okay, smart home aficionados in warm climates, get out your wallets because Big Ass Fans is ready to ship its new connected fans with a Nest integration.
When heated, flat sheets fold into functional robots that can move and turn. The technology could be used to assemble tiny structures or make it easier to ship robots long distances.
The smart home needs both intelligence and context, so in this week’s podcast we’re discussing data, AI and standards in the home as well as smart light bulbs with LIFX.
Andrew Ng knows a lot about both deep learning and robotics, and he recently presented on how the former might affect the latter. Robot brains will need to train on a lot of data, and deep learning seems like a good way to do it.
Jibo can read messages, tell a dramatic story and beam in live video of a relative. Robots like it could soon bridge the social gap between humans and increasingly intelligent everyday devices.
We are already surrounded by bots in the form of ATMs, GPS systems and Nest thermostats. Our appliances will become autonomous one by one, but we’ll still refuse to call them robots.
Our coverage direction remains the same, but we’ve decided to arrange the furniture a little differently here at Gigaom.
The Associated Press says it will use algorithm-generated content from Automated Insights to produce earnings reports, which has some professional journalists nervous about robots taking their jobs — but in reality such drudgery is better off being done by algorithms than by human beings
There’s a lot of research going on right now about how to teach robots to learn new things, and it all points to the same general conclusion: Without lots and lots of data to train on, an intelligent robot isn’t very smart at all.
Despite its big win in the trials competition in December, the SCHAFT robot will no longer compete. Its maker was acquired by Google earlier this year.
Google hired the noted inventor and futurist to build artificial intelligence that can think like a human. His vision is a computer with a structure modeled on the human brain, giving it a capacity for abstract thought.
The robot invasion has begun, only the form factor may not be what you expected. For example, a ceiling fan company has launched a connected product that learns when to start circulating.
The SPARC partnership between the European Commission and the private sector will create many jobs and help keep Europe competitive, the Commission claims.
A company called Fyusion is trying to redo the photo app with a 3-D imaging technology that captures the spatial features of objects in order to generate multi-dimensional images. Photos, however, are likely just a first step.
The block-like bots attach to each other with tiny hooks. They can also attach to completed pieces of furniture and move them around, which could benefit people with limited mobility.
Around 120,000 people were expected to attend this weekend’s exhibition of the world’s wackiest creations. Attendees had the chance to learn basic electronics skills and pick up that 3D printer they’ve been pining for.
Nine startups pitched everything from a gesture-controlled cousin to Siri to a website for animating images at the first AXLR8R demo day in San Francisco.
The robot solar startup has found friends in two huge power companies.
The Guardian has been experimenting with limited-edition printed newspapers that are produced by algorithms, based on the sharing habits of readers, and is rolling out a new version in the U.S. soon. But is that really what we want from our newspapers?
Drones, humanoids and 3D printers emerged this week to showcase to the public what the country’s best labs are working on.
According to CEO and Willow Garage veteran Steve Cousins, “This is going to be a big one that people are really going to start to see in their lives in the next couple years.”
A new Swiss competition challenges labs to develop robotics hardware and brain-computer interfaces that will help parathletes compete at levels never seen before.
Soft robots can bump into people and obstacles without creating serious damage, which means they can travel faster and more efficiently.
SU targets recent graduates, executives and startups with a curriculum and support focused on fast-changing technologies. Its goal is clear: shape the world’s discourse on inventions that could radically change the way we live.
The five-foot-tall bot can be paired with a software suite that helps officials crunch data from social media, crime reports and the robot.
Many employees of Willow Garage, which pioneered work in “open source” robotics including Personal Robot 2, have moved on, although the company continues to sell and support its robots.
Google continues to push boundaries with new efforts. Case in point: Project Tango, which uses special sensors and chips in a smartphone to measure space and movement around you.
Competing startups can win cash, mentoring and legal services. The winner will be announced May 20.
The robots, built by a Harvard team, each work autonomously. A swarm can have any number of robots and still work exactly the same.
Researchers demonstrated that the robot, which is maneuvered by a set of magnets, could push around soft materials like gel and stiff materials like chips.
Robots are delivering the next generation of assembly lines and manufacturing, and it’s coming out of Silicon Valley.
Swiss researchers tested the prosthetic on a Danish man who lost his hand nine years ago. He was able to feel objects without worrying about crushing them.
The EcoMow powers itself on the same grass that it harvests. While its creators have hit some barriers to entering the consumer market, they might start developing a model for the masses in 2016.
The tongue is made out of a bundle of sensors, which could help robots act as food quality monitors or explore new environments.
The drone closely mimics the landing style of the American kestrel. It could be used for surveillance or to help authorities in the case of a disaster.
Google confirmed the acquisition to Re/code, which reports that it will pay $400 million for the London-based company.
The bot could explore foreign planets or hard-to-reach locations on Earth where researchers can’t predict the type of terrain it will encounter.
University of California-Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers believe the sensors, which are made with carbon nanotubes and silver nanoparticles, could also be used for biological applications or human-machine interfaces.
Being a robot can mean a lot of different things these days. Parrot, EcoVacs and Kickstarter-backed startups are among the companies that showcased interesting applications at CES.
Hate cleaning as much as you hate dirty floors? The Scooba 450 lets you put down the mop and bucket for good — for a price.
If the French team behind the robot can deliver on their promises, Keecker will please both audiophiles and internet of things junkies.
Sphero 2B looks different than the original Sphero balls, and it looks like a lot of fun. But the company is also adding some interesting new apps to play with its robots.
Are you ready for bionic super-strength? Scientists have made a breakthrough in artificial muscles.
The winning teams will move on to the final competition a year from now. In the interim, they’ll work at improving their robots.
Seventeen teams will spend two days navigating robots through difficult scenarios meant to mimic a rescue in a disaster situation.
The Massachusetts lab’s robots are some of the best walkers, runners and climbers in the world. The acquisition means Google now has a well-rounded stable of robotics technologies.
Google(s goog) revealed last week that it was getting into the robot-building game in a big way, in order to push into…
When cockroaches run, they avoid bumping into things by sensing via a different source of information: their antennae. Researchers believe they can develop antennae for robots to help them respond better to their surroundings.
The company has been quietly buying firms to help it build robots that could be used in manufacturing, logistics and quite possibly other sectors, too.
The Internet Unpluggers, Somalia’s Pirate King, How Couchsurfing fell on hard times, Rock star scientist Pardis Sabeti, the rise of Robots and the fall of the House of Moon are all on the menu this week. Enjoy!
A former Willow Garage senior researcher called for an overhaul in user experience, which could make robots friendlier to humans.
Startup Harvest Automation is using new financing to get its nursery and greenhouse robot to a farm near you.
Gimball flies around in an elastic cage, which absorbs the shock of crashing into walls and other obstacles.
Robots that learn from the cloud, aid parkinson’s patients and contribute to science will benefit from the funding.
UBR-1 will likely find a place in research in education. It is easily customizable and safe enough to work around people.
Half robot, half insect, the cyborgs are controlled by a tiny electronics pack that directs them to find and map walls. Ethical questions could arise.
When a robotic leg can only move up and down, it limits a person’s ability to turn or walk over different terrains.
Researchers were able to replicate sensations of pressure and grabbing an object by delivering electrical signals to different parts of the brain.
3D Robotics wants to be ready when commercial applications for drones explode. But it also wants to bring aerial robotics to the average user.
The drone company will use the funding to improve its robots’ aerial surveillance abilities.
Smart thermostats, drones and other consumer goods have to take complex, traditionally expensive components and make them appeal to the average buyer. TechCrunch Disrupt panelists explained their strategy.
Microsoft veteran Tandy Trower thinks robots could someday remind seniors to take their medicine and help them easily interact with technology. But up until now, everyone has been building the robots wrong.
Between 2007 and 2011, the number of surgical robots in U.S. hospitals increased from 800 to 1,400. A better reporting system could help doctors and patients better assess their safety.
The strongest robots ever could make use of stretchy, plastic sheets as muscles. Researchers are developing a robotic arm that could soon beat a much larger human in an arm wrestling match.
They can build some amazing stuff, from chairs to artwork seemingly suspended in mid air. But the average user has to build a robotic printer themselves if they want to use one.
SkySweeper is one of 66 projects competing in the Road to Maker Faire, which launched today. The winning project will receive $2,500 to go toward attending the fair in September.
Researchers built a robotic Indian leaf fish, which is a natural predator of the zebrafish, and found zebrafish are less likely to swim away if they have been exposed to ethanol.
Their research team also envisions the technology being used for interactive toys, video game characters and human prosthetic eyes.
Most 3D printers are box shaped and limited in the size of items that they can make. With a robotic arm, you can print outside the box.
The Biorobotics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University also builds snake-like bots for disaster response, scoping out tough-to-reach spots and even human surgery.
A Stanford professor and his students are filming never-before-seen bird behavior to inspire new features for flying robots.
Cable cars, ski lifts, elevators and cranes could also benefit from the new type of wear detector.
Whether they are windblown or lurch forward like a hamster in a ball, a round shape gives some robots a steadiness valued on tough terrain.
Rapiro, a programmable robot powered by Raspberry Pi, offers makers a way to tinker with specialized humanoid robotics without breaking the bank.
Of those surveyed, 55 percent said they oppose the development of autonomous weapons. Active military personnel were the most vehemently opposed.
Researchers at Cornell University have created a robog capable of predicting human gestures. In theory, smarter robots are better at everything, from pouring drinks without spilling to just seeming more human.
An article from Data Center Knowledge points to things robots can do to increase efficiency in data centers. But hurdles lie ahead, and data centers will still need administrators, the article suggests.
Deep inside the House of Mouse researchers are solving computer science and mechanical engineering problems — like how to build a robot that can hand you a drink without creeping you out.
UPenn researchers presented the acrobatic feats of their robot today at a conference on robotics and automation.
Harvard researchers have created a working prototype of a robotic bee, although the next steps of making it wireless and giving it a powerful brain could prove challenging.
Attack of the flying robot bird: it can dive and roll and looks so realistic that other birds have attacked it in flight.
Rethink Robotics re-tools Baxter the manufacturing robot to be a research assistant. Baxter can be programmed by a human trainer who walks it through its tasks.
A group of European researchers has created a cloud platform designed to serve as a central processing and data-access brains for robots located throughout the world.
Given how CES is now a barometer for such a wide array of technology segments, we at GigaOM Research decided to ask our readers which way the tech winds will blow over the next year based on what they saw in Las Vegas this year.
Double Robotics’ iPad-eqipped telepresence robot is the first beneficiary of the $25m fund Grishin announced earlier this year. His cash will help Double ramp up manufacturing, which will be useful as early demand has been high.
Baxter the robot may not iron your clothes but he very well might assemble your furniture or pack the boxes it comes in. The brainchild of Rethink Robotics’ founder Rodney Brooks, Baxter is really making some waves in the industrial robot sector.
Blue River Technology is a startup that raised $3.1 million to take machine learning from Silicon Valley to the farming-focused Salinas Valley. It has built a robot that identifies and then kills weeds and hopes to reduce the use of pesticides in agriculture.
Don’t have the $2.5 billion budget that Nasa spent to design, build and launch the Mars Curiosity rover? For a fraction of the price you can virtually be in two places at once thanks to telepresence robots for every budget, including those using iPads or smartphones.
The Silicon Strip is coming along nicely, and although they’re mostly young and relatively unknown, Las Vegas’s startups aren’t hurting for good ideas. Some are even growing beyond their wildest dreams. Here are five of the city’s most-promising.
Here’s our daily pick of stories about Apple from around the web you shouldn’t miss. Today’s installment: a more walkable, community-oriented Apple campus proposal, see which older Macs won’t update to Mountain Lion, Apple’s part in the mobile patent mess, and a future with Siri-powered robots.
Mail.ru CEO Dmitry Grishin isn’t happy being one of Russia’s most successful internet entrepreneurs: now he wants to help a new generation of robotics companies, and is launching a fund with $25 million of his own money to try and kickstart a more ambitious future.
Robots and 3-D printers aren’t yet used by mainstream consumers but when I find one effort that combines the two, it’s a “nerdgasm” to the extreme. Take a peek at this video showing off a robotic hand that was created from a 3-D printer.
If “Judgement Day” ever arrives and Terminator robots take over the world, at least we’ll eat well. Herb, the Home Exploring Robot Butler, is a Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute project that has both the sensors and the smarts to microwave a meal autonomously.
The search for robots that can jump, run and fly has become an obsession for the U.S. military, research scientists and a large population of the web. So when researchers showed off a robotic bird that can perch on an object, I was intrigued.
Microsoft made it easier to create robots on Thursday by launching the final release of its Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4, which moves out of beta status. Using the Xbox Kinect accessory, the free software can power moving robots that can “see” and understand their surroundings.
Are Cylons in our future? Robots can already perform complicated tasks — from navigating mountain roads to winning on quiz shows. Daniel Butler explains how science fiction is starting to look more like science fact.
Everybody who has watched The Terminator knows about Skynet, the computing system that becomes self-aware and decides to destroy humanity. But I look at cloud computing and automated systems and I fear something much more depressing: the total leisure paradise of the movie Wall-E.
Walk into the offices of most technology startups, and you’ll see lots of open space, lots of desks and lots of programmers hacking away at code. Walk into the office of a startup that’s creating physical products, and it’s a different experience.
There’s a new app store available for millions of devices, but it’s not built for iOS, Android, or Windows Phone handsets. As of Tuesday, the newest app store is for robots, and the first four apps are compatible with the estimated 6 million iRobot Roomba Vacuums.
Imagine a future where you could take over the body of a robot from home and use it to do work at your office. Even better, when you finished your tasks, what if another remote employee could “beam in” to the same robot to get their tasks done? That’s not science fiction: It’s reality thanks to web-connected robots.
I don’t use FaceTime all that often, which is why this neat little Arduino-based hack is so cool: It basically guarantees someone will call me using Apple’s video chat service. Plus, that someone will also be a dog called Chewie.
For those who ever wanted their own Street View car, similar to Google’s camera on wheels used to capture images for Google Maps, there’s now a small robotic version made out of LEGOs. It’s another example of the growing opportunities that connectivity and sensors bring us.
Social media is great for generating and sharing ideas. But the sorts of ideas that get the most attention and move to the top of the list or ticker are often just controversial. Now robotics is offering a possible solution: replace lists with dynamic blooms.
What’s an iOS app developer to do when a client asks to have a mobile app stress tested by snapping 10,000 images from an Apple iPad? Hiring an intern is one way to solve the problem, but building a LEGO robot might be the better option.
Microsoft today adds Kinect support for its Robotics Developer Studio. Software and an SDK are helpful, but the real news may be in Microsoft’s 2010 purchase of Canesta, which has a chip-level pattern recognition solution. With it, Microsoft could shrink Kinect functionality to fit in smartphones.
Be it defusing car bombs or programming old people’s VCR’s (so their displays finally stops blinking 12:00), the grabby little Taurus has the makings of a real renaissance robot.
Smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks had center stage at Google I/O, but don’t count out the robots! A 40-minute session captured on video explains how Google will help enable a new robotics era thanks to the Android platform, smartphone sensors and vast amounts of cloud intelligence.
While the big news from Google I/O was today’s official launch of Chromebooks, other Google partners are thinking about new mobility paradigms. Take iRobot, the folks behind the Roomba. Their new Ava robot uses an Android tablet for sight, sound, speech and, of course, apps.
My mobile profession combined with a robot addiction takes a new step forward thanks to Cellbots, a free Android application to control home robots. The software moves a connected robot through the phone’s touchscreen, by voice commands and even through a Google Talk session.
There really is an app for everything now that LEGO has released software that turns an Android handset into a wireless remote control for robots. MINDroid uses a wireless Bluetooth connection and phone accelerometer to send commands to a robot with the flick of a wrist.
Smartphones are becoming more powerful and useful with each new iteration. Looking at what these devices are capable of got me thinking: Could such technologies power inexpensive, intelligent home robots? The potential is there as our handsets now have several senses and connectivity to the Internet.
We’ve brought you the victories and the disappointments of the year in cleantech, and now here’s a top 10 list that’s a…
Robotics are making a move in the world of solar. Earth2Tech has video and pictures of cleantech robotics from Solar Power International in San Diego.
For all those times when smooching a Slave Princess Leia action figure just doesn’t cut it, Sega is rolling out a line…
Some of you may have been duped into believing this “news” report from Barely Political — uncovering the harsh conditions under which…