A robotics startup that designs bionic limbs for children in the style of superheroes has raised £4.6 million from investors including the Formula 1 team Williams. Bristol-based Open Bionics became the best-selling multi-grip bionic hand in the UK after launching its Hero Arm in 2018, and plans to use the funding to grow to international markets. Using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies, the firm has managed to drastically reduce the cost of building robotic prosthetics, allowing the bionic limbs to be covered by national healthcare systems in the UK and abroad. "The Hero Arm is a custom made myoelectric prosthetic. This means users, amputees and people with limb differences below the elbow, can control their new bionic fingers by squeezing the muscles in their forearms," Open Bionics co-founder Samantha Payne told The Independent.
On a Friday morning nine (!) years ago, I published a post with just one video and one line of text on BotJunkie.com, That was the beginning of Video Friday. As more and more robot video content started showing up over the years, Video Friday turned into a way to keep you updated on everything that happened all week in one efficient (and hopefully entertaining) post. At one point Video Friday grew to include something like 30 videos (if we've crashed your browser, we're very sorry!). We've now toned it down to around 20 videos by being slightly more selective.
That's because, to paraphrase Amazon's Jeff Bezos, artificial intelligence (AI) is "not just in the first inning of a long baseball game, but at the stage where the very first batter comes up." Look around, and you will find AI everywhere--in self driving cars, Siri on your phone, online customer support, movie recommendations on Netflix, fraud detection for your credit cards, etc. To be sure, there's more to come. Featuring 30 lectures, MIT's course "introduces students to the basic knowledge representation, problem solving, and learning methods of artificial intelligence." It includes interactive demonstrations designed to "help students gain intuition about how artificial intelligence methods work under a variety of circumstances."
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. At least they have robots to get some actual work done. If anyone can use some automation to boost production, it's Santa: That must have taken a ridiculous amount of helium.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a campaign to utilise emerging technologies, including drones and artificial intelligence, to increase productivity at construction sites by 20% by 2025. According to Japanese newspaper The Japan Times, Abe announced the plan at the inaugural meeting of a think tank tasked with formulating new growth strategy policies. The panel of government officials and industry experts is expected to announce details of the construction productivity strategy before the end of 2017. The government intends to ramp up the use of drones and AI to increase the efficiency of surveys on centrally funded infrastructure projects, such as tunnels, bridges and dams. Faced with an ageing population, Japan is already leading the world in advancing the use of autonomous vehicles, with construction drones set to be used to automate groundworks for the 2020 Olympic games.