Tagged With Robots

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Designing simpler spacecraft is what helped us finally put rovers on Mars and start exploring the Red Planet. Embracing simplicity might also give us simple, inexpensive robots that thrive doing very specific tasks, instead of multi-million dollar humanoids that have trouble just staying on their feet.

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A new Australian team will take on the world's best at the biggest robot competition in Japan later this month.

"UTS Unleashed!" is the only Australian team to qualify for the 2017 RoboCup @ Home Social Robot League - a competition that requires teams to design robot behaviours that allow for interaction and collaboration with people in realistic home situations.

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Those blockbuster Marvel movies only show our favourite superheroes when they're out saving the world. If you want a glimpse of what heroes like Iron Man do the rest of the time, look no further than this incredibly articulated humanoid robot called TEO, who's recently learned to iron clothing.

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Three years after acquiring the MIT robotics lab Boston Dynamics, makers of Atlas and other scary bots, Alphabet (Google's parent company) is selling it off to Softbank, a Japanese telecommunications company already known for its less terrifying robots such as Pepper that might soon be getting some impressive upgrades. It turns out that posting YouTube videos of nightmare-inducing robots isn't as profitable as once hoped.

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With each passing breakthrough in artificial intelligence, we're asking our machines to make increasingly complex and weighty decisions. The trouble is, AIs are starting to act beyond our levels of comprehension. In high frequency stock trading, for example, this had led to so-called flash crashes, in which algorithms make lightning-quick decisions for reasons we can't quite grasp. In an effort to bridge the growing gap between man and machine, the Pentagon is launching a new program to create machines that can explain their actions in a way we puny humans can understand.

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Like maintaining a zen garden, or pruning a bonsai tree, some people stack and balance rocks as a way to relax. But robots don't really experience emotional stress, so why bother teaching a bot to balance rocks? One day, this robot's skills could prove invaluable when it comes to building structures on distant worlds we're trying to colonise.