The 2017 Silicon Valley Robot Block Party set a new high for attendance with over 1000 robot fans plus investors, exhibitors and media. "Robotics has emerged as one of the most important technologies in the 21st century impacting on almost every part of society from self-driving cars, to improved outcomes in medicine, to taking care of our aging parents to teaching our next generation of engineers and scientists," says John Dulchinos, VP Strategic Capabilities, Jabil. Silicon Valley has become one of the leading areas for the advancement and commercialization of robotics technologies." It would be hard to pick a star of the show when watching the smiles on children's faces throughout the day. There were big robots, small robots, mobile robots, robot arms, humanoid robots, toy robots, robots you could ride on or in and even robot insects.
By Tushar Kaushik IN YOUR CART AI-enabled shopping assistant Spod can suggest products based on customer's age, gender. At an office in HSR Layout, a boxshaped robot, mounted with a tablet, moves along the office floor while avoiding objects. As it detects a human face, it stops to greet and introduce itself: "Greetings, I'm Spod. I'm here to help you shop." Spod is an artificial intelligence-enabled robotic shopping assistant that visitors to supermarkets may well see in near future.
"Finally, the enemy has been defeated," a toddler-sized robot announces to a captive audience inside the convention center in downtown San Jose as it enacts a scene from Star Wars. A few seconds later, it dances to "Thriller," takes a tumble, but gets back on its feet and belts out a song. It's a social robot, one that will even read you your email, and make cute conversation if you want it to. Nearby, the world's first MotoBot, or motorcycle robot, perched on a Yamaha YZF-R1M, does a great job of making regular motorcyclists seem pretty insignificant. Even as it sits still.
We all know the robots are coming. That probably inspires some complicated feelings. So, it's comforting when a three-year development effort to make a robot that can set a speed record results in a human victory... by a wide margin. Yamaha and robotics developer SRI have been working on a humanoid that can ride an unmodified motorcycle. The goal was to beat the lap times of one of the most successful motorcycle racers of all time, Valentino Rossi.
The Atlas humanoid robot, unveiled last year by Boston Dynamics, a company later acquired by Google, is a marvel. It can clamber over rubble and operate power tools. But these abilities don't come cheap. Atlas has a price tag well above a million dollars, and it consumes around 15 kilowatts of electricity when in operation, meaning hefty power bills for its owner and limiting its practicality. "That's enough to power a small city block," says Alexander Kernbaum, research engineer at the nonprofit research agency SRI International.