Tagged With Robots

A steady hand is needed to play a game like Jenga without toppling the tower, but being a successful block-stacker also requires a fine-tuned sense of touch as you try to find the perfect piece to remove. Until recently it meant robots relying solely on visual data weren’t actually great at playing Jenga (yay, humanity!) but by adding a sense of touch, researchers have once again given automatons the advantage. (Never mind.)

Engineers in Switzerland say they’ve found a way to make a four-legged robot even harder to fight off during the eventual robopocalypse. In a new paper, published Wednesday in Science Robotics, they describe a system that trains the bot to move faster than ever, while still being able to resist attempts to knock it down. It could even get back up through its own power if it did fall.

Do you find yourself feeling lonely or craving companionship? Have you considered purchasing a machine that could fill that void? No, not that kind of robot. I’m talking about moving, talking, thinking robots that can do things like fetch a cup of coffee and dance with you. This has been a futuristic concept for decades, and that future is finally here. It’s also for sale.

A six-hour standoff between police and a 40-year-old man who allegedly splashed gasoline on the floor of a Novato, California, convenience store “while threatening to burn it down” and later fled to a nearby Safeway ended when police defused the situation with a robot carrying a vape pen, the Sacramento Bee reported Sunday, citing reports by the Bay City News, KGO, KPIX, and Marin Independent Journal.

The robots are coming for our jobs, artificial intelligence is ascendant, and invisible programs are taking over our lives. "Automation" is the word that comes up in each of those contexts and plenty more. It's certainly one of the looming concepts of Our Times — a business imperative, an economic driver, a utopian ideal. We're automating work, systems, services. Surveillance, commerce, manufacturing, policing. Everything, almost, or trying to.