Displaying items by tag: robot

Consumer-grade robots have potential beyond trivial tasks

Written on Sunday, 01 October 2017 12:51

Consumer-grade robots have much more potential beyond trivial tasks around the home, according to a recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) services at Strategy Analytics.

The study, which investigated the needs, behaviors and expectations of consumers regarding consumer-grade robots, found that a broader range of movement and the addition of features such as arms and hands and modular elements to enhance task flexibility, will allow robots to become true assistants in users’ lives.

“Robots that are modular can be equipped with the latest accessories to expand their functionality, increasing their longevity and adaptability,” commented Mathew Alton, analyst and report author. “In addition, robots that have the ability to ‘learn’ unpredictable tasks through artificial intelligence (AI) would also be able to adapt to a user’s changing requirements.”

Tasks which can be accomplished with arms and hands are more desirable to users because they are usually more time intensive than tasks such as vacuuming and moving, the study found. Broader ranges of movement are idealized because they provide robots with new ways to go about their tasks.

Robots on wheels are perceived to be quick and thus suitable for security and cleaning devices; whereas bipedal robots can traverse objects; and robots that can fly can assist users by providing aerial perspectives, the study found.

In addition, wearable robots would allow consumers to excel at tasks that would be otherwise impossible for them to do such as intense physical labor. They could attach to the user directly, augmenting their ability to do strenuous tasks such as heavy lifting. Also, at times when it is inconvenient or impossible to venture out and retrieve things such as groceries, robots designed for retrieval could be deployed instead.

“A robot that can be physically altered to perform a myriad of different tasks will be easier to sell than one that does only one predictable task,” said Chris Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research, UXIP. “A functioning ‘base’ robot would encourage an ecosystem of add-ons and accessories, providing a revenue source over time.”

Published in Gadget

Get your very own Transformer for $600,000

Written on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 09:09

A futuristic car which transforms into a robot is set to be unveiled at an exhibition that takes place at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi on November 23rd. The creation is the brainchild of Turkish company Letvision which have created this ‘auto-bot’ which has been named the Antimon. It is a red BMW E92 that turns into a robot in approximately 30 seconds.

It is the star attraction at ‘The Big Boys Toys’ exhibition that will allow fans of the Hollywood blockbuster Transformers see a car morph into a robot in front of their own eyes. However, the car does not come cheap – if you wish to purchase this futuristic mean machine it will cost you an eye-watering $600,000. Bids will begin at $600,000 which was the original cost of the car, but it is expected to go for more than that at auction.

The car was designed and developed by a skilled team of engineers – with twelve engineers and four technicians working on the innovative project over a period of eight months, and it will be won’t be the last as the company plan on developing 300 such cars per year - that will have more features and technology.

Those considering purchasing the vehicle with aspirations of test driving it on Sheikh Zayed Road will be ultimately left disappointed as the Antimon is remote-controlled – with no seats inside with a maximum speed of 20kph. But let’s not forget that Optimus Prime, sorry the Antimon turns from a car into a robot!

A spokesman for Letvision confirmed that there will be eleven cars joining the fleet in the forthcoming months. “Since it’s the first of its kind, we will auction Antimon to any buyer who wants to be the owner of the world’s first transformer. “Bids will start at $600,000, which is the original cost of the car, but there will be eleven more cars being made in the next number of months.”

Published in Gadget

Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini robot video sparks intrigue

Written on Thursday, 30 June 2016 06:14

Boston Dynamics, the Massachsetts-based engineering and robotics design company, is best known for the development of BigDog, a four-legged robot designed for the U.S. military. The company recently released a new video showcasing its SpotMini robot which also resembles a mechanical dog, which has sparked a lot of intrigue online. The robot is quirky and entertaining, but it’s unclear as to what the company plans to do with it. Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google X for $500 million in 2013, but has since been sold.

The Spot Mini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot, weighing 55 lbs (65 lbs including its arm). It’s an all-electric (no hydraulics) robot that runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. “SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built,” says the company. “It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation.”

The purpose of the new video released by the company was not only to showcase its SpotMini robot, but also to introduce its intriguing features and capabilities to the public; such as being able to pick up a glass and putting it in the dishwasher, and recycling an empty soda can. The robot even attempts a creepy dance routine which is oddly entertaining and satisfying to witness.

More of the SpotMini’s capabilities showcased in the video include its ability to crouch underneath a taller robot, navigate through what appears to be a dining room, walk upstairs, and even sprint through a parking lot. But arguably SpotMini’s best feature is its ability to keep its ‘head’ completely still while its body moves up and down. Boston Dynamics outfitted the robot’s companion retractable arm with a set of googly eyes so that the end of the arm looks like a face. The robot is able to keep its ‘head’ almost perfectly still while the rest of its body bobs up and down.

The video also proves how the SpotMini robot can survive a dramatic fall when it slips on a banana skin. In a bizarre scene, as the robot turns a corner to go up a flight of stairs, its foot catches a banana skin and it then tumbles to the floor. But it’s not over for the robot… Interestingly enough, the SpotMini is able to get itself back onto its feet and ascend the staircase.  Incredible!

The SpotMini represents another leap forward in robotics technology for the Massachusetts-based Boston Dynamics engineers, but it’s unclear as to what they plan to do with their new robot. These uncertainties are said to be what led Google to finally part ways with the company. Nevertheless, the video of SpotMini is entertaining and offers an intriguing insight as to what the future could look like with intelligent robots by our side.

Published in Gadget