Thoughtful service


Service robots could assist people with severe disabilities to go beyond basic communication and movement enabled by current devices, but they would require an efficient and minimalist control system. Kuhner et al. developed a robotic service assistant that performs complex tasks in real-world environments and is controlled using thought. The robot can fetch and carry objects and also interact in close physical proximity to the user. This control is achieved by combining techniques from brain-signal decoding and natural language processing, where common terminology is used to maximize the overlap between the way the user sees the world and the way the task planner defines and controls each primitive action for the robot. This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License.

Porn ban: Twitter, Reddit and Imgur can still show adult videos without age ID checks

The Independent

The UK government's plan to prevent children and teenagers from viewing pornographic content online has a major flaw that means not all porn will be blocked. Critics have called the so-called porn ban "disastrous" for people's privacy, as it will require people to share their personal data online in order to visit porn sites. But the new rules, which come into effect on 15 July, can be skirted by visiting sites that are not subject to the age verification checks. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.

Apple shows off robot for tearing down iPhones as it reveals new recycling programs

The Independent

Daisy, one of Apple's most valued resources, eats iPhones. She's very, very good at it, and getting better: trained with a precision that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. She is a robot, with a variety of tools built to rip the phones apart. That includes, for instance, a tool that can chill phones down so that the battery holding the glue inside becomes brittle, and it can be knocked out with two aggressive bangs; precise pins that can pick the display off the housing that surrounds it; drills that can punch into the phone and drive out the things that might make it difficult to recycle. It won't surprise anyone to hear that Apple is pretty good at making iPhones.

Home Robot Control for People With Disabilities

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Robots offer an opportunity to enable people to live safely and comfortably in their homes as they grow older. In the near future (we're all hoping), robots will be able to help us by cooking, cleaning, doing chores, and generally taking care of us, but they're not yet at the point where they can do those sorts of things autonomously. Putting a human in the loop can help robots be useful more quickly, which is especially important for the people who would benefit the most from this technology--specifically, folks with disabilities that make them more reliant on care. Ideally, the people who need things done would be the people in the loop telling the robot what to do, but that can be particularly challenging for those with disabilities that limit how mobile they are. If you can't move your arms or hands, for example, how are you going to control a robot?

Will AI kill developing world growth?


Artificial intelligence (AI) could displace millions of jobs in the future, damaging growth in developing regions such as Africa, says Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University. I have spent my career in international development, and in recent years have established a research group at Oxford University looking at the impact of disruptive technologies on developing economies. Perhaps the most important question we have looked at is whether AI will pose a threat - or provide new opportunities - for developing regions such as Africa. Optimists say that such places could use rapidly advancing AI systems to boost productivity and leapfrog ahead. But I am becoming increasingly concerned that AI will, in fact, block the traditional growth path by replacing low-wage jobs with robots.

AI and Robotics Are Transforming Disaster Relief


During the past 50 years, the frequency of recorded natural disasters has surged nearly five-fold. In this blog, I'll be exploring how converging exponential technologies (AI, robotics, drones, sensors, networks) are transforming the future of disaster relief--how we can prevent them in the first place and get help to victims during that first golden hour wherein immediate relief can save lives. When it comes to immediate and high-precision emergency response, data is gold. Already, the meteoric rise of space-based networks, stratosphere-hovering balloons, and 5G telecommunications infrastructure is in the process of connecting every last individual on the planet. Aside from democratizing the world's information, however, this upsurge in connectivity will soon grant anyone the ability to broadcast detailed geo-tagged data, particularly those most vulnerable to natural disasters.

LG to develop robots for restaurants


LG Electronics has partnered up with CJ Foodville to develop robots that will be trialled in the latter's restaurants, the companies have announced. CJ Foodville is one of South Korea's largest food service companies, and is the parent company to popular franchises such as Twosome Place and Tous Les Jours. The coffee chain Twosome Place currently has over 1,000 stores located in South Korea. No specifics regarding the robots' functions have been provided by the companies as of yet. The push into the robotics space follows LG forming a new division for robotics and autonomous vehicles, which occurred during the company's 2018 year-end reshuffle.

Newcastle smart city moves forward with standardised data platform


The City of Newcastle has signed up to a single smart cities Internet of Things (IoT) enterprise platform from the National Narrowband Network Company (NNNCo), the company has announced. "The city standardised on the middleware platform as it prepares to roll out and scale multiple smart city applications," NNNCo said. "The deal between NNNCo and Newcastle City Council includes an agreement to run thousands of IoT devices through the platform for multiple city use cases." As part of the Newcastle City Intelligent Platform implementation, NNNCo will also provide its N-tick device certification program across all devices being deployed across the city. NNNCo CEO Rob Zagarella called the use of one platform and device certification program for an entire city a "breakthrough in the IoT market".

'Shooting for big game': Softbank's push for transport dominance

Japan Times >> News

SoftBank Group Corp. leader Masayoshi Son has much bigger ambitions for transportation than simply seeing his investment in Uber Technologies Inc. turn into more than $13 billion when the company goes public next month. The Japanese entrepreneur is placing a $60 billion bet in more than 40 companies in a bid to steer the $3 trillion global automotive industry now dominated by vehicles people own and drive to a spectrum of transportation services available at the touch of a smartphone app. Those services range from ride-hailing and car-sharing to delivery robots and self-driving vehicles. The extent of those investments, based on a Reuters analysis of publicly available data and interviews with a dozen sources familiar with SoftBank's investment strategy, has not previously been reported. They show how Son has emerged as one of the power players trying to influence how people and goods move about the world in the coming decades.

A firefighting robot named Colossus helped 400 firefighters battle a blaze at Notre Dame

Daily Mail

An 1,100-pound emergency robot helped to save a piece of human history during a blaze at Paris' Notre Dame cathedral that threatened to burn the historic monument to the ground. The formidable device, dubbed Colossus, a remote-controlled drone equipped with hoses and cameras, was able to roll its way into the cathedral to help fight the fire -- which burned through the structure's old wooden roof -- from within. Colossus, which is both fire-resistant, water-proof, and capable of carrying up to 1,200 pounds not only helped to stop the fire before it completely razed the structure, but reduced the need for fire fighters to enter the church where they would be in danger from falling debris. At the time, the cathedral was only 15 to 30 minutes away from being completely burned to the ground, reports say. Weighing in at 1,100 pounds, Colossus is a firefighting robot that can be controlled remotely.