Fizyr and Intespring selected for RobotUnion accelerator


The start-up companies Fizyr and Intespring have been selected to enter the RobotUnion accelerator programme. They're part of a group of in total 20 companies that successfully pitched in front of a panel of experts last week in San Sebastian (Spain). RoboValley is a partner of RobotUnion. Fizyr develops and licenses deep learning vision software and Intespring designs the smallest and most lightweight exoskeletons in the world. Both start-ups are based in RoboValley.

AI gliders learn to fly using air currents, just like birds


Birds don't always flap their wings to fly; sometimes they soar by taking advantage of rising columns of warm air known as thermals. With large wingspans, they can stay aloft for hours while expending minimal energy. Exactly how they do it -- navigating tiny changes in unpredictable air currents -- isn't well-known. But scientists are now using artificial intelligence to learn their tricks, and hopefully, they can teach our aircraft to do the same. As described in a paper published this week in the journal Nature, researchers from universities in the US and Italy used machine learning to train an algorithm to control a glider to navigate thermals.

Amazon sets December launch date in Japan for Echo Show display-speaker hybrid

The Japan Times

Inc. said Thursday it will sell its Echo Show display-speaker hybrid in Japan starting in December, with the aim of further cementing its position in the world of voice-controlled devices. The world's largest online retailer said it will now begin taking preorders for the smart speaker, which has a 10-inch HD display, prior to the start of shipping on Dec. 12. It will carry a price tag of ¥27,980. The Echo Show, an internet-connected device that is compatible with Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, enables users to play music and stream videos.

Alphabet AI is helping release sterile mosquitoes in Singapore


In many parts of the world, mosquitoes are more than just a campsite nuisance -- they carry that cause an estimated 725,000 deaths per year. On Singapore, the effect isn't so terrible -- some mosquitoes carry dengue fever, but it affects less than a dozen people per year. But because it's a city and an island, Singapore is the perfect testing ground to see how easy it might be to get rid of the disease-carrying bugs, all sans gene editing. That's what Alphabet-owned healthcare company Verily hopes to do. The company, along with Singapore's environmental agency, plans to release male mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia, a naturally-occurring bacteria that reduces the bugs' ability to transmit disease and prevents their eggs from hatching.

Sawyer Makes Your Coffee at All Robot Cafe Henna - Robot News


We recently featured the Henna Na hotel in an article about hotels staffed by robots. The hotel boasts over 150 robots and even has dinosaurs checking you in. The hotel chain has recently opened Japan's first all robot café. Named Henna Café (which translates to Strange Café), it's located in downtown Tokyo's Shibuya district. The café's star robot is named Sawyer and he was made in America by Boston based Rethink Robotics.

Beijing allocates more roads for self-driving vehicle tests


Self-driving cars must have a temporary number plate before they begin tests on designated roads, Xinhua said, quoting a notice released by Beijing's Municipal Commission of Transport. China's capital city has designated 11 more roads for self-driving vehicle testing, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday, to try to speed up the technology's development. The 11 roads are in Beijing's Fangshan District, Xinhua reported. Self-driving cars must have a temporary number plate before they begin tests on designated roads, Xinhua said, quoting a notice released by Beijing's Municipal Commission of Transport. They also have to complete 5,000 kilometers of driving in designated closed test fields and pass certain ability assessments.

AI Innovators: This Researcher Uses Deep Learning To Prevent Future Natural Disasters


In this profile series, we interview AI innovators on the front-lines - those who have dedicated their life's work to improving the human condition through technology advancements. He is also a founding co-director of Sociovestix Labs, a social enterprise in the area of financial data science. Damian's background is in research where he focuses on large- scale multimedia opinion mining applying machine learning and in particular deep learning to mine insights (trends, sentiment) from online media streams. Damian talks about his realization in deep learning and shares why integrating his work with deep learning is an important part to help prevent future natural disasters. What has your journey been like in deep learning?

Why India ranks among the top 3 countries in AI skills


Mumbai: The US, followed by China, India, Israel, and Germany, rank as the countries with the highest penetration of artificial intelligence (AI) skills among their workforce, according to a new report by professional networking site The findings, released on Monday, further suggest that while changes driven by AI technologies may still be in their infancy, their impact is being felt across the global labour market in all sectors ( Moreover, industries with more AI skills present among their workforce are also the fastest-changing industries. Further, even as AI-- broadly defined as the desire to replicate human intelligence in machines -- has no superpower yet, it is undoubtedly becoming smarter with every passing day following advancements in machine learning and deep-learning algorithms, humongous amounts of Big Data on which these algorithms can be trained, and the phenomenal increase in computing power. These developments have, understandably, given rise to the fear that automation and AI will take away our jobs and eventually become smarter than us.

Teaching Machines 'Fairness'


Teaching anyone about "fairness" is a laudable goal. As humans, we may not necessarily agree on what's fair. It sometimes depends on the context. Teaching kids to be fair -- both at home and in school -- is fundamental, but it's easier said than done. With this in mind, how can we, as a society, communicate the nuances of "being fair" to artificial intelligence (AI) systems?

Incentives make robots soar like eagles


A type of punishment-and-reward approach is teaching robotic gliders how to fly like birds, a new report reveals. Gliding birds – such as albatrosses, or eagles – maintain their flight by shifting constantly between upwellings of warm air, known as thermal plumes. These plumes form and decay constantly, often over timescales measured in mere minutes, and how birds manage to detect and shift between them is one of the great unanswered questions of ornithology. A team of robotics scientists led by Gautam Reddy from the University of California, San Diego, however, have engineered an end-run around the problem by using an incentive-based approach to encourage a fixed-wing glider to move between air currents. In a paper published in the journal Nature, Reddy and colleagues describe a glider with a two-metre wingspan.