Robots don't have to be expensive. In fact, if there's a smartphone handy, a wheeled'bot can be built for around $50, according to Matthias Muller and Vladlen Koltun. The two Intel researchers are the coauthors of a recent paper titled "OpenBot: Turning Smartphones into Robots," which proposes leveraging phones to equip robots with sensors, computation, communication, and access to an open software ecosystem. Using off-the-shelf smartphones as robot brains confers a number of advantages beyond cost savings. Rapid upgrade cycles mean secondhand smartphones are readily available -- an estimated 40% of the world's population owns smartphones -- and they're constantly improving with regard to camera quality and processor speed.
Today any smartphone can generate 3D Photos, but the popular AI-powered effect is actually fairly new. It was back in 2018 that Facebook first introduced a machine learning-based 3D photo feature that allowed users to generate an immersive 3D image from normal 2D pictures. Leveraging the dual-lens "portrait mode" capabilities that had recently become available in smartphones, the feature quickly gained traction and began evolving. This June, a research team from Virginia Tech, National Tsing Hua University and Facebook designed an algorithm that generates even more immersive 3D photos from a single RGB-D (colour and depth) image. And in August, Facebook democratized the technique with a novel system able to generate 3D photos even on low-end mobile phones or without an Internet connection. Facebook isn't the only tech giant using AI to generate 3D photos -- in recent months, Google has introduced its own AI techniques for generating 3D photos from 2D images.
Continuous improvements in modern natural language generation in recent years have enabled bots that can perform automatic news reporting. This has practical applications for example in minor league sports, where result data is available but it is not always cost-efficient to send human reporters to the contests. Most existing robot reporters however focus exclusively on text generation. Xiaomingbot contains four components: a news generator, a news translator, a cross-lingual newsreader and an animated avatar. Its input is data table containing game and event records, and the output is an animated avatar reading a news article with a synthesized voice.
The "Curly" curling robots are capturing hearts around the world. A product of Korea University in Seoul and the Berlin Institute of Technology, the deep reinforcement learning powered bots slide stones along ice in a winter sport that dates to the 16th century. As much as their human-expert-bettering accuracy or technology impresses, a big part of the Curly appeal is how we see the little machines in the physical space: the determined manner in which the thrower advances in the arena, smartly raising its head-like cameras to survey the shiny white curling sheet, gently cradling and rotating a rock to begin delivery, releasing deftly at the hog line as a skip watches from the backline, with our hopes. Artificial intelligence (AI) today delivers everything from soup recipes to stock predictions, but most tech works out-of-sight. More visible are the physical robots of various shapes, sizes and functions that embody the latest AI technologies. These robots have generally been helpful, and now they are also becoming a more entertaining and enjoyable part of our lives.