Hi there, and welcome to my weekly Robot Update. This is wear I do a round up of what is going on in the Robot news around the world, so please stay tuned.
Hi Guys, I’m Philip English from robophil.com, and welcome to the Robot Weekly update number 27.
Meet Tally, the stocktaking shop robot that keeps shelves fully stacked and even spots when food is nearing its sell-by date
When customers can’t find a product on a shelf it’s an inconvenience. But by some estimates, it adds up to billions of dollars of lost revenue each year for retailers around the world.
A new shelf-scanning robot called Tally could help ensure that customers never leave a store empty-handed. It roams the aisles and automatically records which shelves need to be restocked.
The robot, developed by a startup called Simple Robotics, is the latest effort to automate some of the more routine work done in millions of warehouses and retail stores. It is also an example of the way robots and AI will increasingly take over parts of people’s jobs rather than replacing them.
Restocking shelves is simple but hugely important for retailers. Billions of dollars may be lost each year because products are missing, misplaced, or poorly arranged, according to a report from the analyst firm IHL Services. In a large store it can take hundreds of hours to inspect shelves manually each week.
Brad Bogolea, CEO and cofounder of Simbe Robotics, says his company’s robot can scan the shelves of a small store, like a modest CVS or Walgreens, in about an hour. A very large retailer might need several robots to patrol its premises. He says the robot will be offered on a subscription basis but did not provide the pricing. Bogolea adds that one large retailer is already testing the machine.
Alpha 2, a Humanoid Robot With Social Skills, Is Now on Indiegogo
UBTECH Robotics, a company headquartered in Shenzhen, China, is launching a crowdfunding campaign for Alpha 2, a small humanoid robot “designed for practical household service and companionship.” Alpha 2 has a similar design to many other hobby-class humanoids, but two things stand out: its potential for social interaction, and its extremely low cost.
According to the press release Alpha 2 will be capable of:
- Managing weekly calendars and provide verbal reminders for scheduled tasks
- Free talk and following verbal instructions
- Taking high quality photographs and posting to social media
- Performing home security monitoring and alerts
- Entertaining children, guests, and even pets
- Reporting the weather, searching the web, downloading applications
The domestic robot was designed to offer an intuitive and responsive platform that is designed to be both intelligent and useful. Because of that, the Alpha 2 is completely programmable and operates on an open-source operating system. As far as hardware goes, the device includes a number of sensory inputs, such as ultrasonic sensors, touch sensors and pressure sensors. With a total of 20 servos in the device’s joints, the robot is also pretty nimble. The super early bird special costs $499, with the standard price being $599.
Scientists built an AI robot that’s figuring life out just like humans do
There are so many precious moments in a newborn’s life that parents love to capture on film: The first time their child sits up on her own, the first time she stands, her first cautious steps. Igor Mordatch, a robotics post-doctorate student at the University of California, Berkeley, has been doing similarly for a humanoid robot, called Darwin, which he programed to learn just like a human child might.
Mordatch and his team at Berkeley’s Robotics lab started out by working for two years on a computer system that simulates how a robot might act in certain situations. The system is a group of neural networks—computer algorithms modelled after the structure of a human brain.
In the last few months, his team has been transferring that system over into Darwin itself. There, the simulations act like a game-plan that Darwin can use to figure out how to perform tasks on its own—much as a child sees other people walking and figures out, gradually and with lots of mistakes, that she can do it too.
The goal is to create a machine-learning system that could theoretically allow Darwin to wander around on its own.
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