SoftBank Pepper robot

The affordable robot assistant of the future is already here

By on June 5, 2014 at 1:58 PM.

The affordable robot assistant of the future is already here

SoftBank CEO and Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son has become something of a maverick. He said he bought Sprint because “I am a man, and every man wants to be number one, not number two or number three.” He also convinced Steve Jobs to give him exclusivity for the iPhone in Japan before Apple had even announced the device, and before Son had bought the mobile carrier SoftBank.

Now, he wants to sell you a $2,000 robot. More →

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Toyota Car Factory Robots

Here’s one place where humans are coming to steal robots’ jobs

By on May 7, 2014 at 10:45 PM.

Here’s one place where humans are coming to steal robots’ jobs

Man bites dog, human steals robot’s job? That’s sort of the story in Japan, where SingularityHub reports that Toyota is temporarily replacing robots with human workers so they can figure out what the robots can do better and thus build more efficient robots. Essentially, Toyota has found that you can’t rely entirely on robots to do all the work for you if you hope to keep boosting their productivity — rather, you need humans who have knowledge of the production process teach them better ways to build cars. More →

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Will Robots Steal Our Jobs

Here’s how likely you are to lose your job to a robot

By on May 1, 2014 at 1:55 PM.

Here’s how likely you are to lose your job to a robot

While increased automation will make our economy much more productive, it will also put a lot of people out of work. With this in mind, Quartz has taken data from a recent study conducted by the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University and has made it into a handy chart that will show you exactly how likely you are to lose your job to a robot in the coming years. More →

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Coolest Robots Ever SAFFiR

Meet the robot that might someday replace your entire fire department

By on March 31, 2014 at 11:45 PM.

Meet the robot that might someday replace your entire fire department

Firefighters are our heroes… until we figure out how to replace them with robots, at least. Discovery News points us to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s newest robot robot called SAFFiR (short for “Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot”) that can walk right into deadly fires that are two intense for human firefighters to handle. More →

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Japanese engineers hasten humanity’s extinction, unveil fully-armed four-ton robot [video]

By on July 30, 2012 at 11:00 PM.

Japanese engineers hasten humanity’s extinction, unveil fully-armed four-ton robot [video]

Kuratas Japanese Robot

Sometimes it feels as though scientists and engineers have never watched the Terminator or Matrix movies at all. The Guardian reports that Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry is showing off a new robot called “Kuratas” that weighs four tons, stands at 13 feet tall and comes armed with a gun capable of firing “6,000 ball-bearing pellets a minute.” The robot, unveiled this week at the Wonder festival in Tokyo, may sound scary but Suidobashi insists it “makes your dream of becoming a robot pilot comes [sic] true.” More →

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New android does dangerous, daunting dirty work in labs [video]

By on July 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM.

New android does dangerous, daunting dirty work in labs [video]

Lab Android Robot

Ever wonder why robots always rebel against their human masters in every sci-fi movie in the history of the universe? It’s likely because we humans thought it would be cool to force them to handle highly dangerous radioactive materials and expect them not to notice that their joints are melting off. Per Innovation News Daily, scientists in Japan have designed a robot that is made specifically to “to run infection tests with dangerous influenza strains or work with radioactive lab materials” and thus minimize the risks to human researchers.  More →

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Throwback Thursday: Alphie

By on April 21, 2011 at 5:40 PM.

Throwback Thursday: Alphie

If your personal brand was incorporated in the 1980’s, there is a high likelihood you’ve had an encounter or two with Alphie. Made by Playskool, the white plastic robot was designed to teach children ages three and up arithmetic, spelling, and a host of other valuable skills. Place a “Learning Card” on Alphie’s mid-section, tell him what it is, and listen to the white robot’s dulcet computerize tones. Don’t mourn Alphie and your childhood just yet, the little guy is still alive in well in a much more immersive form, and has even gone mobile — making his way on to Apple’s iOS. Hit the jump to see a few videos that may help jog your memory. And as always… batteries not included. More →

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Sony Xperia Play commercial gets outed, makes no sense [video]

By on February 3, 2011 at 10:39 AM.

Sony Xperia Play commercial gets outed, makes no sense [video]

Leave it up to Sony’s Playstation ads to really make you scratch your head, right? The first commercial for the new Xperia Play has surfaced — by way of DroidNYTT — and well, it involves some dark, shady, back-alley surgery on an Android robot… with a human hand. We’re not really going to describe it in depth for you, though, just check it out for yourselves and see what we mean. More →

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Google launches Android into orbit

By on December 23, 2010 at 4:57 AM.

Google launches Android into orbit

While the mobile OS race heats up down here on Earth, Google has taken its attack on the smartphone space to the final frontier — literally. In what can only be described as a stellar publicity stunt, Google launched seven Nexus S smartphones into near space. The devices were fixed to weather balloons and sent over 100,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. Luckily the phones had some company on their journey, as can be seen in the image above showing an Android that tagged along for the ride. The Nexus S phones were equipped with various sensors to see how they would perform on the journey, and they were each running different Google apps such as Google Maps, Google Sky Map and Latitude. In case you were curious, the Nexus S GPS unit managed to function up until about 60,000 feet and the phone remained operational to -50° C. Hit the break for some great HD video of the journey as well as the preparation involved with this mission. More →

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MIT unveils autonomous, oil-skimming robots

By on August 27, 2010 at 3:33 AM.

MIT unveils autonomous, oil-skimming robots

Yesterday, MIT showcased an oil-skimming, autonomous robot dubbed the Seaswarm. As the devices site explains, “Seaswarm uses a photovoltaic powered conveyor belt made of a thin nanowire mesh to propel itself and collect oil.” The robot, which is meant to hunt oil in packs (hence Seaswarm), costs around $20,000 and is powered by solar cells on the top of the device. Multiple robots can self-organize their swarm, without human support, using GPS and Wi-Fi. The device, which CNN describes as, “a treadmill conveyor belt that’s been attached to an ice cooler” drags around nanowire mesh that can absorb 20 times its weight in oil without absorbing any water. When the material is saturated with oil, it can be rolled up and left in the ocean for later pickup (it floats) or can be burned off using a heater located in the robot’s body. The nano-material used releases oil when heated to the proper temperature; which will allow skimmed oil to be recycled and repurposed. MIT estimates that 5,000 skimmers, running 24-hours a day (which they are designed to do), could have cleaned up an oil spill the size of the Gulf of Mexico in one month. MIT plans to continue researching and improving the robot over the next year before looking for a potential buyer. Not exactly mobile technology, but pretty cool technology nonetheless. We’ve got a video explaining how the device works queued up for you after the break. More →

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