Combining augmented reality, 3D printing and a robotic arm to prototype in real time

 Robotic Modeling Assistant (RoMA) is a joint project out of MIT and Cornell that brings together a variety of different emerging technologies in an attempt to build a better prototyping machine. Using an augmented reality headset and two controllers, the designer builds a 3D model using a CAD (computer-aided design) program. A robotic arm then goes to work constructing a skeletal model using… Read More

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Robot assistants and a marijuana incubator

 We’ve had plenty of time to get used to our robot overlords and Boston Dynamics is helping us get there. This week we talk about the company’s addition of a door-opening arm to its SpotMini robot. It’s not spooky at all. We then switch gears and discuss Facebook’s Messenger for Kids. Is it good, bad or the company’s master plan to get every last human being with… Read More

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MIT teaches drones to fly with uncertainty

 MIT researchers are working on a new steering system for drones that uses uncertainty to ensure that they don’t hit obstacles as they fly autonomously. The system is a bit complex but it’s called NanoMap and it quite simply finds ways to get from point A to point B without crashing and while handling random objects in its path. Spectrum describes the system in detail but basically… Read More

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Boston Dynamics’ newest robot learns to open doors

 We knew this day would come sooner or later. Like the cloned velociraptors before it, Boston Dynamics’ newly redesigned Spot Mini has figured out how to open doors — with either its arm or face, depending on how you look at it. The team behind the Big Dog proves that it’s still the master of viral robotic marketing, even after switching teams from Google to Softbank.… Read More

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Teaching robots to understand their world through basic motor skills

 Robots are great at doing what they’re told. But sometimes inputting that information into a system is a far more complex process than the task we’re asking them to execute. A team of researchers at Brown University and MIT is working to develop a system in which robots can plan tasks by developing abstract concepts of real-world objects and ideas based on motor skills. Read More

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Continental taps Nvidia for its full-scale autonomous vehicle platform

 Continental is the latest top-tier automotive supplier to work with Nvidia, and the latest to announce its intent to build a full-scale, top-to-bottom autonomous driving system. Continental (which might be most familiar from its tire division, but which supplies a range of automotive parts and systems across the industry) will be using Nvidia’s DRIVE autonomous vehicle platform for… Read More

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Nuro’s self-driving vehicle is a grocery-getter and errand-runner

 Not every self-driving car has to be able to move passengers from point A to point B. Take, for example, Nuro: The startup just revealed their unique autonomous vehicle platform, which is more of a mobile small logistics platform than a self-driving car.
The company, which has been working away in stealth mode in Mountain View until now, has raised a $92 million Series A round led by Banyan… Read More

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Waymo orders thousands of Pacificas for 2018 self-driving fleet rollout

 Waymo has ordered thousands of new Chrysler Pacifica minivans from FCA to help populate its autonomous ride-hailing fleet, which it will open to the public in 2018, the company says. The public launch of its Pacifica-based self-driving ride hailing service is set to occur sometime later this year, after Waymo starts testing its minivans without anyone behind the wheel, achieving true Level… Read More

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Sphero’s CEO discusses the company’s shift from Star Wars to schools

 If hardware is hard, robotics are next to impossible. Even so, Sphero managed an impressive feat over its first five years, growing from a small startup with a glowing, smartphone-controlled ball into the maker of the most talked about piece of merchandise for cinema’s biggest blockbuster franchise. But last week, it became clear that not all was rosy with the company, as they cut 45 jobs. Read More

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