• Lawyers hate timekeeping. Ping raises $13M to fix it with AI

    Lawyers hate timekeeping. Ping raises $13M to fix it with AI
    Counting billable time in six minute increments is the most annoying part of being a lawyer. It’s a distracting waste. It leads law firms to conservatively under-bill. And it leaves lawyers stuck manually filling out timesheets after a long day when they want to go home to their families.
    Life is already short, as Ping CEO and co-founder Ryan Alshak knows too well. The former lawyer spent years caring for his mother as she battled a brain tumor before her passing. “One minute laughin
  • Video Friday: Qoobo the Headless Robot Cat Is Back

    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!):ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – [Online Conference]ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – [TBD]ICUAS 2020 – June 9-12, 2020 – Athens, GreeceRSS 2020 – July 12-16, 2020 &nda
  • AI Trained on Moon Craters Is Helping Find Unexploded Bombs From the Vietnam War

    AI Trained on Moon Craters Is Helping Find Unexploded Bombs From the Vietnam War
    There’s still no completely safe and surefire method for locating unexploded ordinance after a war is over, but researchers at Ohio State University have found a way to harness image processing algorithms, powered by machine learning, to study satellite imagery and locate hot spots where UXO are likely to be located.Read more...
  • Neural networks facilitate optimization in the search for new materials

    Neural networks facilitate optimization in the search for new materials
    When searching through theoretical lists of possible new materials for particular applications, such as batteries or other energy-related devices, there are often millions of potential materials that could be considered, and multiple criteria that need to be met and optimized at once. Now, researchers at MIT have found a way to dramatically streamline the discovery process, using a machine learning system.As a demonstration, the team arrived at a set of the eight most promising materials, out of
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  • How robots can help combat COVID-19

    Can robots be effective tools in combating the COVID-19 pandemic? A group of leaders in the field of robotics say yes, and outline a number of examples. They say robots can be used for clinical care such as telemedicine and decontamination; logistics such as delivery and handling of contaminated waste; and reconnaissance such as monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines.
  • AI program could check blood for signs of lung cancer

    AI program could check blood for signs of lung cancer
    Scientists hope that if software passes trials it could boost screening ratesScientists have developed an artificial intelligence program that can screen people for lung cancer by analysing their blood for DNA mutations that drive the disease.The software is experimental and needs to be verified in a clinical trial, but doctors are hopeful that if it proves its worth at scale, it will boost lung cancer screening rates by making the procedure as simple as a routine blood test. Continue reading...
  • 11 of the Coolest Builds By Bored People With a Lot of Lego Bricks

    11 of the Coolest Builds By Bored People With a Lot of Lego Bricks
    There are a lot of reasons why Lego remains one of the world’s most popular toys, over 3,700, in fact: the number of unique Lego pieces that have been created over the decades. It allows everything from Batmobiles, to excavators, to Kessel running space ships to be built from plastic bricks, butLego can be used to…Read more...
  • Elections: Early warning system to fight disinformation online

    A new project is an effort to combat the rise of coordinated social media campaigns to incite violence, sew discord and threaten the integrity of democratic elections.
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  • Google Invents AI That Learns a Key Part of Chip Design

    There’s been a lot of intense and well-funded work developing chips that are specially designed to perform AI algorithms faster and more efficiently. The trouble is that it takes years to design a chip, and the universe of machine learning algorithms moves a lot faster than that. Ideally you want a chip that’s optimized to do today’s AI, not the AI of two to five years ago. Google’s solution: have an AI design the AI chip.“We believe that it is AI itself that will p
  • System trains driverless cars in simulation before they hit the road

    System trains driverless cars in simulation before they hit the road
    A simulation system invented at MIT to train driverless cars creates a photorealistic world with infinite steering possibilities, helping the cars learn to navigate a host of worse-case scenarios before cruising down real streets.  Control systems, or “controllers,” for autonomous vehicles largely rely on real-world datasets of driving trajectories from human drivers. From these data, they learn how to emulate safe steering controls in a variety of situations. But real-world dat
  • Video Friday: Robots Help Keep Medical Staff Safe at COVID-19 Hospital

    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!):HRI 2020 – March 23-26, 2020 – [ONLINE EVENT]ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – [ONLINE EVENT]ICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – [SEE ATTENDANCE SURVEY]ICUAS 2020 – June 9
  • Coronavirus Pandemic: A Call to Action for the Robotics Community

    When I reached Professor Guang-Zhong Yang on the phone last week, he was cooped up in a hotel room in Shanghai, where he had self-isolated after returning from a trip abroad. I wanted to hear from Yang, a widely respected figure in the robotics community, about the role that robots are playing in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. He’d been monitoring the situation from his room over the previous week, and during that time his only visitors were a hotel employee, who took his tem
  • Scientists Can Work From Home When the Lab Is in the Cloud

    Working from home is the new normal, at least for those of us whose jobs mostly involve tapping on computer keys. But what about researchers who are synthesizing new chemical compounds or testing them on living tissue or on bacteria in petri dishes? What about those scientists rushing to develop drugs to fight the new coronavirus? Can they work from home?Silicon Valley-based startup Strateos says its robotic laboratories allow scientists doing biological research and testing to do so right now.
  • Musical Robot Learns to Sing, Has Album Dropping on Spotify

    We’ve been writing about the musical robots from Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology for many, many years. Over that time, Gil Weinberg’s robots have progressed from being able to dance along to music that they hear, to being able to improvise along with it, to now being able to compose, play, and sing completely original songs.Shimon, the marimba-playing robot that has performed in places like the Kennedy Center, will be going on a new tour to promote an album that will
  • Putting artificial intelligence to work in the lab

    Scientists have demonstrated fully-autonomous SPM operation, applying artificial intelligence and deep learning to remove the need for constant human supervision. The new system, dubbed DeepSPM, bridges the gap between nanoscience, automation and artificial intelligence (AI), and firmly establishes the use of machine learning for experimental scientific research using Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM).
  • Can computers ever replace the classroom?

    Can computers ever replace the classroom?
    With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. By Alex BeardFor a child prodigy, learning didn’t always come easily to Derek Haoyang Li. When he was three, his father – a famous educator and author – became so frustrated with his progress in Chinese that he vowed never to teach him again. “He kicked me from here to here,&rd
  • Stanford Makes Giant Soft Robot From Inflatable Tubes

    As much as we love soft robots (and we really love soft robots), the vast majority of them operate pneumatically (or hydraulically) at larger scales, especially when they need to exert significant amounts of force. This causes complications, because pneumatics and hydraulics generally require a pump somewhere to move fluid around, so you often see soft robots tethered to external and decidedly non-soft power sources. There’s nothing wrong with this, really, because there are plenty of chal
  • Shape-changing, free-roaming soft robot created

    A new type of robot combines traditional and soft robotics, making it safe but sturdy. Once inflated, it can change shape and move without being attached to a source of energy or air.
  • Novel system allows untethered high-quality multi-player VR

    Researchers created a new approach to VR that will allow multiple players to interact with the same VR app on smartphones and provide new opportunities for education, health care and entertainment.
  • Intel Mostly Cancels Cooper Lake: Is This Good News for 10nm?

    Intel Mostly Cancels Cooper Lake: Is This Good News for 10nm?
    Intel has confirmed that it won’t be launching the full line-up of Cooper Lake CPUs it had previously expected to deploy. As a reminder, Cooper Lake was the 14nm CPU expected to introduce Intel’s support for bfloat16, a new floating-point standard intended to be more useful for AI and machine learning calculations than the old FP16 standard.As originally planned, Cooper Lake was going to drop near the end of 2019 before being replaced by a 2020 Ice Lake part. Cooper Lake would featur
  • “Inactive” pill ingredients could raise the dose of your medication

    “Inactive” pill ingredients could raise the dose of your medication
    The average medication contains a mix of eight “inactive” ingredients added to pills to make them taste better, last longer, and stabilize the active ingredients within. Some of those additives are now getting a closer look for their ability to cause allergic reactions in some patients. But now, in a new twist, MIT researchers have discovered that two other inactive ingredients may actually boost medication strength to the benefit of some patients. In a study published
  • What Is a Robot? Rodney Brooks Offers an Answer—in Sonnet Form

    Editor’s Note: When we asked Rodney Brooks if he’d write an article for IEEE Spectrum on his definition of robot, he wrote back right away. “I recently learned that Warren McCulloch”—one of the pioneers of computational neuroscience—“wrote sonnets,” Brooks told us. “He, and your request, inspired me. Here is my article—a little shorter than you might have desired.” Included in his reply were 14 lines composed in iambic pentameter.
  • Predicting reaction results: Machines learn chemistry

    In the production of chemical compounds, the success of each individual reaction depends on numerous parameters. It is not always possible, even for experienced chemists, to predict whether a reaction will take place and how well it will work. In order to remedy this situation, chemists and computer scientists have now developed a tool based on artificial intelligence.
  • Deep learning for mechanical property evaluation

    Deep learning for mechanical property evaluation
    A standard method for testing some of the mechanical properties of materials is to poke them with a sharp point. This “indentation technique” can provide detailed measurements of how the material responds to the point’s force, as a function of its penetration depth.With advances in nanotechnology during the past two decades, the indentation force can be measured to a resolution on the order of one-billionth of a Newton (a measure of the force approximately equivalent to the for
  • Researchers sniff out AI breakthroughs in mammal brains

    New research explains some of these functions through a computer algorithm inspired by the mammalian olfactory system. The algorithm both sheds light on how the brain works and, applied to a computer chip, rapidly and reliably learns patterns better than existing machine learning models.
  • Video Friday: Autonomous Security Robot Meets Self-Driving Tesla

    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!):HRI 2020 – March 23-26, 2020 – Cambridge, U.K. [CANCELED]ICARSC 2020 – April 15-17, 2020 – Ponta Delgada, AzoresICRA 2020 – May 31-4, 2020 – Paris, FranceICUAS 2020 –&nb
  • Buffed-up avatars deter us from exercising hard

    A new article shows people perform better in VR exercise games when they compete against a realistic avatar of themselves.
  • 3Q: Collaborating with users to develop accessible designs

    3Q: Collaborating with users to develop accessible designs
    Academic researchers and others have long struggled with making data visualizations accessible to people who are blind. One technological approach has been 3D printing tactile representations of data, in the form of raised bar graphs and line charts. But, often, the intended users have little say in the actual design process, and the end result isn’t as effective as planned.
    A team of MIT researchers hopes to fix that. They used a collaborative project with staff and students at the Perkin
  • Artificial intelligence and family medicine: Better together

    Researchers are encouraging family medicine physicians to actively engage in the development and evolution of artificial intelligence to open new horizons that make AI more effective, equitable and pervasive.
  • Autonomous Robots Are Helping Kill Coronavirus in Hospitals

    The absolute best way of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is to just not get coronavirus in the first place. By now, you’ve (hopefully) had all of the strategies for doing this drilled into your skull—wash your hands, keep away from large groups of people, wash your hands, stay home when sick, wash your hands, avoid travel when possible, and please, please wash your hands. At the top of the list of the places to avoid right now are hospitals, becaus