Tagged With Robots

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Video: Need to run downstairs to fetch the laundry? Or maybe there's a phone call you just have to take? Life with a baby can make even the smallest chores feel like a herculean task if you don't have a nanny. But it turns out, if you keep your floors clean using a robot, maybe you do have a nanny and just didn't realise it.

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In the latest example of "Philip K Dick-inspired nightmare becomes real life", Saudi Arabia just became the first nation to grant citizenship to a robot. The robot's name is Sophia. It is artificially intelligent, friends with CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin and arguably, a glimpse into the dark future that will kill us all.

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As robots and AI start to play an increasing role in our lives, the question of how we want them to behave gets more pressing with each passing breakthrough. In the new book, Robot Ethics 2.0: From Autonomous Cars to Artificial Intelligence, robo-ethicists Will Bridewell and Alistair M. C. Isaac present a surprising argument in which they make the case for deceptive robots. We asked the authors why we'd ever want to do such a crazy thing.

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When you've got enough money to build a moon-sized, planet-destroying space station, you can clone an army of millions of soldiers using the loose change you find in a sofa. For those of us who aren't quite as well funded, UBTECH Robotics has thrown some Stormtrooper armour on one of its 16-inch tall humanoid robots so you can build a slightly more affordable army.

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In the classic 1966 American science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was miniaturised and injected into a body to fix a blood clot in the brain. That obviously isn't how future medical science is going to work, but the notion of creating microscopic machines to perform complex tasks is certainly on point. A recent advance, in which robots made from DNA were programmed to sort and deliver molecules to a specified location, now represents an important step in this futuristic direction.

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There's nothing unique about loving Lego. Millions of people wax nostalgic when they see those colourful bricks. Millions more never stopped building. I've always been a bit in between. I like zoning out by putting stuff together so, every couple of years, I'll buy a Lego set and build it. But then what? Put it on my shelf? Thanks to the new Lego Boost Creative Toolbox, there's another possibility. Turning Lego creations into programmable robots makes them fun (and functional) in an amazing new way.

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Like millions of other kids around the world, after seeing the original trilogy, R2-D2 instantly became my favourite Star Wars character. He seemed like the perfect sidekick, but the real Artoo was from a galaxy far, far away from mine, and the toy versions of the little droid were always lifeless clones of the character I adored. Thirty years later there's still part of me that wants an R2-D2 to call my own, and I think I've finally found him.

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Long gone are the days when robot vacuums would simply bump their way around your home while they randomly cleaned. But even with upgraded smarts and better sensors, modern robovacs can still wander into places you don't want them, so Neato is introducing a potentially brilliant new feature letting you limit the travels of its newest robovac by drawing virtual boundary lines in an app.

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By today's standards the original Teddy Ruxpin, essentially a stuffed toy bear wrapped around a cassette player, borders on archaic, but in 1985 few toys incorporated any kind of technology, and the bear felt as futuristic to a seven-year-old version of me as the original iPhone did a decade ago. It was one of the first toys that helped spark my lifelong obsession with gadgets, which is why I'm disappointed that the new Teddy Ruxpin, which mostly just mirrors the original's capabilities, doesn't feel revolutionary in any way.