• Wireless aquatic robot could clean water and transport cells

    Researchers have developed a tiny plastic robot, made of responsive polymers, which moves under the influence of light and magnetism. In the future this 'wireless aquatic polyp' should be able to attract and capture contaminant particles from the surrounding liquid or pick up and transport cells for analysis in diagnostic devices.
  • Robot jaws shows medicated chewing gum could be the future

    Medicated chewing gum has been recognized as a new advanced drug delivery method but currently there is no gold standard for testing drug release from chewing gum in vitro. New research has shown a chewing robot with built-in humanoid jaws could provide opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to develop medicated chewing gum.
  • Artificial 'neurotransistor' created

    While the optimization of conventional microelectronics is slowly reaching its physical limits, nature offers us a blueprint how information can be processed and stored efficiently: our own brain. Scientists have now successfully imitated the functioning of neurons using semiconductor materials.
  • Ex-Googler's Startup Comes Out of Stealth With Beautifully Simple, Clever Robot Design

    Over the last 10 years, the PR2 has helped roboticists make an enormous amount of progress in mobile manipulation over a relatively short time. I mean, it’s been a decade already, but still—robots are hard, and giving a bunch of smart people access to a capable platform where they didn’t have to worry about hardware and could instead focus on doing interesting and useful things helped to establish a precedent for robotics research going forward.Unfortunately, not everyone can a
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  • Letting robots manipulate cables

    Letting robots manipulate cables
    For humans, it can be challenging to manipulate thin flexible objects like ropes, wires, or cables. But if these problems are hard for humans, they are nearly impossible for robots. As a cable slides between the fingers, its shape is constantly changing, and the robot’s fingers must be constantly sensing and adjusting the cable’s position and motion.Standard approaches have used a series of slow and incremental deformations, as well as mechanical fixtures, to get the job done. Recent
  • Video Friday: Robotic Glove Features Telescopic Extra Thumb

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceICRES 2020 –&nb
  • AI Seeks ET: Machine Learning Powers Hunt for Life in the Solar System

    Can artificial intelligence help the search for life elsewhere in the solar system? NASA thinks the answer may be “yes”—and not just on Mars either.A pilot AI system is now being tested for use on the ExoMars mission that is currently slated to launch in the summer or fall of 2022. The machine-learning algorithms being developed will help science teams decide how to test Martian soil samples to return only the most meaningful data.For ExoMars, the AI system will only
  • Empowering kids to address Covid-19 through coding

    Empowering kids to address Covid-19 through coding
    When schools around the world closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team behind MIT App Inventor — a web-based, visual-programming environment that allows children to develop applications for smartphones and tablets — began thinking about how they could not only help keep children engaged and learning, but also empower them to create new tools to address the pandemic.In April, the App Inventor team launched a new challenge that encourages children and adults around
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  • Lunar Rover Footage Upscaled With AI Is as Close as You'll Get to the Experience of Driving on the Moon

    Lunar Rover Footage Upscaled With AI Is as Close as You'll Get to the Experience of Driving on the Moon
    The last time astronauts walked on the moon was in December of 1972, decades before high-definition video cameras were available. They relied on low-res grainy analog film to record their adventures, which makes it hard for viewers to feel connected to what’s going on. But using modern AI techniques to upscale classic…Read more...
  • Malleable Structure Makes Robot Arm More Versatile

    The majority of robot arms are built out of some combination of long straight tubes and actuated joints. This isn’t surprising, since our limbs are built the same way, which was a clever and efficient bit of design. By adding more tubes and joints (or degrees of freedom), you can increase the versatility of your robot arm, but the tradeoff is that complexity, weight, and cost will increase, too.At ICRA, researchers from Imperial College London’s REDS Lab, headed by Nicolas Rojas
  • Quantum classifiers with tailored quantum kernel?

    Quantum information scientists have introduced a new method for machine learning classifications in quantum computing. The non-linear quantum kernels in a quantum binary classifier provide new insights for improving the accuracy of quantum machine learning, deemed able to outperform the current AI technology.
  • Context reduces racial bias in hate speech detection algorithms

    When it comes to accurately flagging hate speech on social media, context matters, says a new study aimed at reducing errors that could amplify racial bias.
  • Empathy machines: what will happen when robots learn to write film scripts?

    Empathy machines: what will happen when robots learn to write film scripts?
    AI is on the march in the movie industry – but what would an android-written film actually look like? And will it be any good?A few years ago I moved to San Francisco, and almost everybody I met there immediately told me they were working on a startup. These startups all had the same innocent names – Swoon, Flow, Maker – and the same dreadful mission: to build AIs that automated some unfortunate human’s job. I always responded by pitching my own startup, Create. Create wo
  • Video Friday: Quadruped Robot HyQ Learning the Ninja Walk

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceICRES 2020 –&nb
  • YouTube Will Let AI Suggest Replies to Video Comments

    YouTube Will Let AI Suggest Replies to Video Comments
    Google announced Wednesday that it had implemented its SmartReply system for YouTube creators, which will give those users access to suggested replies based on what someone has commented. Unlike the SmartReply system Google currently uses for Gmail, SmartReply on YouTube required some further tweaking because of the…Read more...
  • Research reflects how AI sees through the looking glass

    Intrigued by how reflection changes images in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, a team of researchers used artificial intelligence to investigate what sets originals apart from their reflections. Their algorithms learned to pick up on unexpected clues such as hair parts, gaze direction and, surprisingly, beards - findings with implications for training machine learning models and detecting faked images.
  • Festo's New Bio-Inspired Robots Include a Feathery Bionic Bird

    I’ve completely lost track of time over the past couple of months (it’s been months, right?), but somehow, the folks over at Festo have held it together well enough to continue working on their Bionic Learning Network robots. Every year or two, Festo shows off some really quite spectacular bio-inspired creations, including robotic ants and butterflies, hopping kangaroos, rolling spiderbots, flying penguins and flying jellyfish, and much more. This y
  • Teleportation in live musical performance

    A new study explains for the first time how quantum supercomputers could be helpful in the world of making and performing music.
  • MIT Takes Down Popular AI Dataset Due to Racist, Misogynistic Content

    MIT Takes Down Popular AI Dataset Due to Racist, Misogynistic Content
    Earlier this week, MIT permanently pulled its 80 Million Tiny Images dataset—a popular image database used to train machine learning systems to identify people and objects in an environment. The reason? It used racist, misogynistic, and other offensive terms to label photos. Read more...
  • Jellyfish-inspired soft robots can outswim their natural counterparts

    Engineering researchers have developed soft robots inspired by jellyfish that can outswim their real-life counterparts. More practically, the new jellyfish-bots highlight a technique that uses pre-stressed polymers to make soft robots more powerful.
  • Why We Need Robot Sloths

    An inherent characteristic of a robot (I would argue) is embodied motion. We tend to focus on motion rather a lot with robots, and the most dynamic robots get the most attention. This isn’t to say that highly dynamic robots don’t deserve our attention, but there are other robotic philosophies that, while perhaps less visually exciting, are equally valuable under the right circumstances. Magnus Egerstedt, a robotics professor at Georgia Tech, was inspired by some sloths he met in Cost
  • Bio-Ink for 3-D Printing Inside the Body

    Right now, almost 70,000 people in the United States alone are on active waiting lists for organ donations. The dream of bio-printing is that one day, instead of waiting for a donor, a patient could receive, say, a kidney  assembled on demand from living cells using 3-D printing techniques. But one problem with this dream is that bio-printing an organ outside the body necessarily requires surgery to implant it.  This may mean large incisions, which in turn adds the risk of in
  • Coordinating complex behaviors between hundreds of robots

    Researchers propose a new approach to finding an optimal solution for controlling large numbers of robots collaboratively completing a set of complex linear temporal logic commands called STyLuS*, for large-Scale optimal Temporal Logic Synthesis, that can solve problems massively larger than what current algorithms can handle, with hundreds of robots, tens of thousands of rooms and highly complex tasks, in a small fraction of the time.
  • Sex Robots & Vegan Meat by Jenny Kleeman review – the future of food, birth and death?

    Sex Robots & Vegan Meat by Jenny Kleeman review – the future of food, birth and death?
    A pleasingly sceptical investigation into the innovations that could change the way we eat, have sex and dieIn a plain factory building in the San Marcos hills, north of San Diego in California, a technological revolution is under way. There, a team of AI experts are developing a new brand of woman that can smile, flutter her eyelids, make small-talk and remember the names of your siblings. Harmony – for that is her name – is a cut above your average sex doll. More than merely a mast
  • Exploring interactions of light and matter

    Exploring interactions of light and matter
    Growing up in a small town in Fujian province in southern China, Juejun Hu was exposed to engineering from an early age. His father, trained as a mechanical engineer, spent his career working first in that field, then in electrical engineering, and then civil engineering.“He gave me early exposure to the field. He brought me books and told me stories of interesting scientists and scientific activities,” Hu recalls. So when it came time to go to college — in China students have
  • Australian Authorities Want an AI To Settle Your Divorce

    Australian Authorities Want an AI To Settle Your Divorce
    For better or worse, there’s a good chance your current love life owes something to automation. Even if you’re just hooking up with the occasional Tinder fling (which if you are, no judgment), you’re still turning to Tinder’s black-box algorithms to pick out that fling for you before turning to more black-box…Read more...
  • Cuddling Robot Baby Seal Paro Proven to Make Life Less Painful

    Everybody loves Paro. Seriously, what’s not to love about Paro, the robotic baby harp seal designed as a therapeutic tool for use in hospitals and nursing homes? It’s cute, it’s cuddly, it wiggles and makes pleasing noises, and it’s been carefully designed to be the least uncanny valley robot you’ve ever met, because none of us are lucky enough to have real live baby harp seal experience to compare it to. Over the years, a bunch of studies have shown that Paro
  • The MIT Press and UC Berkeley launch Rapid Reviews: COVID-19

    The MIT Press and UC Berkeley launch Rapid Reviews: COVID-19
    The MIT Press has announced the launch of Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19), an open access, rapid-review overlay journal that will accelerate peer review of Covid-19-related research and deliver real-time, verified scientific information that policymakers and health leaders can use.Scientists and researchers are working overtime to understand the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are producing an unprecedented amount of preprint scholarship that is publicly available online but has not been vetted yet by pee
  • Q&A: The Masterminds Behind Toyota’s Self-Driving Cars Say AI Still Has a Way to Go

    Illustration: iStockphotoGetting a car to drive itself is undoubtedly the most ambitious commercial application of artificial intelligence (AI). The research project was kicked into life by the 2004 DARPA Urban Challenge and then taken up as a business proposition, first by Alphabet, and later by the big automakers.The industry-wide effort vacuumed up many of the world’s best roboticists and set rival companies on a multibillion-dollar acquisitions spree. It also launched a cycle of
  • CSAIL robot disinfects Greater Boston Food Bank

    CSAIL robot disinfects Greater Boston Food Bank
    With every droplet that we can’t see, touch, or feel dispersed into the air, the threat of spreading Covid-19 persists. It’s become increasingly critical to keep these heavy droplets from lingering — especially on surfaces, which are welcoming and generous hosts. Thankfully, our chemical cleaning products are effective, but using them to disinfect larger settings can be expensive, dangerous, and time-consuming. Across the globe there are thousands of warehouses, grocery st
  • Video Friday: Skydio 2 Drone Is Back on Sale, Gets Major Software Update

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceICRES 2020 –&nb
  • Computational model decodes speech by predicting it

    UNIGE scientists developed a neuro-computer model which helps explain how the brain identifies syllables in natural speech. The model uses the equivalent of neuronal oscillations produced by brain activity to process the continuous sound flow of connected speech. The model functions according to a theory known as predictive coding, whereby the brain optimizes perception by constantly trying to predict the sensory signals based on candidate hypotheses (syllables in this model).
  • Improving global health equity by helping clinics do more with less

    Improving global health equity by helping clinics do more with less
    More children are being vaccinated around the world today than ever before, and the prevalence of many vaccine-preventable diseases has dropped over the last decade. Despite these encouraging signs, however, the availability of essential vaccines has stagnated globally in recent years, according the World Health Organization.One problem, particularly in low-resource settings, is the difficulty of predicting how many children will show up for vaccinations at each health clinic. This leads to vacc
  • Identifying a melody by studying a musician’s body language

    Identifying a melody by studying a musician’s body language
    We listen to music with our ears, but also our eyes, watching with appreciation as the pianist’s fingers fly over the keys and the violinist’s bow rocks across the ridge of strings. When the ear fails to tell two instruments apart, the eye often pitches in by matching each musician’s movements to the beat of each part. A new artificial intelligence tool developed by the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab leverages the virtual eyes and ears of a computer to separate similar so
  • Towards an AI diagnosis like the doctor's

    Artificial intelligence is an important innovation in diagnostics, but the way these systems work is opaque. In a new article, researchers describe how they can make the AI show how it's working, as well as let it diagnose more like a doctor, thus making AI more relevant to clinical practice.
  • Drone With Bubble Machine Can Pollinate Flowers Like a Bee

    The tiny biological machines that farms rely on to pollinate the flowers of fruiting plants have been having a tough time of it lately. While folks around the world are working on different artificial pollination systems, there’s really no replacing the productivity, efficiency, and genius of bees, and protecting them is incredibly important. That said, there’s no reason to also work on alternate methods of pollination, and researchers at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and T
  • Getting real with immersive sword fights

    Sword fights are often the weak link in virtual reality (VR) fighting games, with digital avatars engaging in battle using imprecise, pre-recorded movements that barely reflect the player's actions or intentions. Now a team has found a solution to the challenges of creating realistic VR sword fights: Touche - a data-driven computer model based on machine learning.
  • A furry social robot can reduce pain and increase happiness

    Researchers have discovered that a single, 60-minute interaction with PARO actually improved mood as well as reduced mild or severe pain. When participants touched PARO, they experienced greater pain reduction than when it was simply present in their room.
  • How Roboticists (and Robots) Have Been Working from Home

    A few weeks ago, we asked folks on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to share photos and videos showing how they’ve been adapting to the closures of research labs, classrooms, and businesses by taking their robots home with them to continue their work as best they can. We got dozens of responses (more than we could possibly include in just one post!), but here are 15 that we thought were particularly creative or amusing.And if any of these pictures and videos inspire you to share your own st
  • Video Friday: Harmonic Bionics Demonstrates Robotic Rehabilitation Exoskeleton

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):ICRA 2020 – May 31-August 31, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]RSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 –&
  • Cynthia Breazeal named Media Lab associate director

    Cynthia Breazeal named Media Lab associate director
    Cynthia Breazeal has been promoted to full professor and named associate director of the Media Lab, joining the two other associate directors: Hiroshi Ishii and Andrew Lippman. Both appointments are effective July 1.In her new associate director role, Breazeal will work with lab faculty and researchers to develop new strategic research initiatives. She will also play a key role in exploring new funding mechanisms to support broad Media Lab needs, including multi-faculty research efforts, collabo
  • Quickly Embed AI Into Your Projects With Nvidia’s Jetson Nano

    Illustration: James ProvostWhen opportunity knocks, open the door: No one has taken heed of that adage like Nvidia, which has transformed itself from a company focused on catering to the needs of video gamers to one at the heart of the artificial-intelligence revolution. In 2001, no one predicted that the same processor architecture developed to draw realistic explosions in 3D would be just the thing to power a renaissance in deep learning. But when Nvidia realized that academics were gobb
  • Victoria police distances itself from controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI

    Victoria police distances itself from controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI
    The force says it has discontinued using the service and the technology was deemed unsuitableVictoria police is distancing itself from the controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI, after documents released under freedom of information exposed the force’s use of the technology.Clearview AI is a facial recognition service that claims to have built up enormous databases – reportedly containing more than 3bn labelled faces – through the controversial practice of scraping
  • Bringing the predictive power of artificial intelligence to health care

    Bringing the predictive power of artificial intelligence to health care
    An important aspect of treating patients with conditions like diabetes and heart disease is helping them stay healthy outside of the hospital — before they to return to the doctor’s office with further complications.But reaching the most vulnerable patients at the right time often has more to do with probabilities than clinical assessments. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to help clinicians tackle these types of problems, by analyzing large datasets to identify the pat
  • MIT and Toyota release innovative dataset to accelerate autonomous driving research

    MIT and Toyota release innovative dataset to accelerate autonomous driving research
    The following was issued as a joint release from the MIT AgeLab and Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center.How can we train self-driving vehicles to have a deeper awareness of the world around them? Can computers learn from past experiences to recognize future patterns that can help them safely navigate new and unpredictable situations?These are some of the questions researchers from the AgeLab at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics and the Toyota Collaborative Safety Research C
  • MIT-Takeda program launches

    MIT-Takeda program launches
    In February, researchers from MIT and Takeda Pharmaceuticals joined together to celebrate the official launch of the MIT-Takeda Program. The MIT-Takeda Program aims to fuel the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to benefit human health and drug development. Centered within the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic), the program brings together the MIT School of Engineering and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, to combine knowledge and addr
  • Unique material design for brain-like computations

    Over the past few decades, computers have seen dramatic progress in processing power; however, even the most advanced computers are relatively rudimentary in comparison with the complexities and capabilities of the human brain.
  • Discovery allows 3D printing of sensors directly on expanding organs

    Mechanical engineers and computer scientists have developed a 3D printing technique that uses motion capture technology, similar to that used in Hollywood movies, to print electronic sensors directly on organs that are expanding and contracting.
  • Brainsourcing automatically identifies human preferences

    Researchers have developed a technique, using artificial intelligence, to analyze opinions and draw conclusions using the brain activity of groups of people. This technique, which the researchers call ''brainsourcing'', can be used to classify images or recommend content, something that has not been demonstrated before.
  • What jumps out in a photo changes the longer we look

    What jumps out in a photo changes the longer we look
    What seizes your attention at first glance might change with a closer look. That elephant dressed in red wallpaper might initially grab your eye until your gaze moves to the woman on the living room couch and the surprising realization that the pair appear to be sharing a quiet moment together.In a study being presented at the virtual Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference this week, researchers show that our attention moves in distinctive ways the longe