If you're excited about the day when your car drives itself, you may not have too wait long.
Google cofounder Sergey Brin said Google will have autonomous cars available for the general public within five years.
"You can count on one hand the number of years it will take before ordinary people can experience this," he said at the signing of SB 1298, which establishes safety and performance standards for cars operated by computers on California roads and highways.
The new law, which puts California in line with Nevada and Florida -- two states that have had … Read more
A very odd flock of birds landed in Albuquerque, N.M., this past week. There wasn't a feather in sight as four winged creatures sat on bare branches, flashing their eyes and lifting their wings. These art objects are fashioned entirely from recycled phone parts.
Escape, an installation piece by U.K. artists Neil Mendoza and Anthony Goh, turns unremarkable phone scrap into curious and engaging little birds. Each bird contains an Arduino controller.
When hooked up to the cell network in Europe, the birds can take and make phone calls. Here in New Mexico, they are reprogrammed to react to the proximity of people approaching them. … Read more
If Baxter had a favorite band, it might be The Carpenters. Rethink Robotics' new droid could hum "Close to You" while it gets cozy with human workers along the assembly line.
The Boston-based startup launches Baxter today, billing it as a revolutionary humanoid robot that could help stem the tide of manufacturing going overseas for cheap labor.
For one thing, Baxter itself is surprisingly low-cost. Priced at $22,000 including software upgrades, it goes for far less than traditional industrial robots and puts automation in the hands of small and midsize companies that may not have been able to afford it. Labs and universities are also expected to show interest.
Also, unlike most factory robots, Baxter doesn't require a safety cage. People can work alongside the droid, which is covered in soft materials in case of impact. Sensors tell it when people are near, and it will stop moving if it does make contact with something unexpected. … Read more
Is Roomba going square?
The $74 million deal brings the compact, lightweight Mint into the iRobot fold, giving the vacubot maker another product to tackle floors that aren't carpeted.
The scrubber was a potential rival to iRobot's Scooba robot. Now iRobot will get Evolution's know-how in sensing, navigation, and artificial intelligence, built up over 10 years.
"It's more about growing our capabilities -- both product line and long-term … Read more
When MIT roboticists wanted to launch an automated domestic vacuum cleaner for the masses, some of their backers balked at calling it a "robot." People wouldn't accept a robot in their homes, they said.
Ten years and more than 6 million sales later, iRobot's Roomba has proved that robots are very welcome. In fact, we can't wait for them to do more than just suck up dirt.
Roomba marks a milestone today, a decade since first rolling off the production line in 2002. In branding the machine, iRobot, a military-robotics company, tried to convey a sense of movement and fun along with "room" to emphasize being at home. The "Roomba" is now in homes around the world. … Read more
Robot chefs can prepare everything from pancakes to sushi, and now a California startup is trying to put droids to work on farm produce as well.
Blue River Technology this week announced $3.1 million in funding for its plans to develop robots that can automatically kill weeds and thin out plants like lettuce that need adequate room to grow.
Both tasks can require large human work crews, driving up the cost of the produce.
The startup's prototype Lettuce Bot uses a camera to image the plants beneath it. Machine learning algorithms then identify which ones are desirable and … Read more
It isn't enough that machines can beat the best of us at chess, Jeopardy, and a billion other things. Now they want to rub our faces in our inferiority by getting into our universities and scoffing at us.
Boffins at Fujitsu Labs are teaming up with Japan's National Institute of Informatics (NII) to create an artificial-intelligence system that would be able to pass the entrance exam for the University of Tokyo, one of the most prestigious schools in the country.
The project aims to build an AI that can do well on Japan's nationwide university entrance exams by 2016, and then pass the more difficult exam for Todai, as the top college is known, by 2021. … Read more
Let the human-hunting games begin. Boston Dynamics has a new video of its oversized beast pursuing defenseless human meatsacks through a forest.
The Legged Squad Support System (LS3), aka AlphaDog, is designed to carry 400 pounds of payload and travel 20 miles without refueling. It's funded by DARPA and the U.S. Marine Corps and is meant to support troops in rugged terrain.
The latest video shows the cow-size monster clambering over rocks and up steep hillsides with heavy weights on its sides. It charges through bushes without a thought. … Read more