Video Friday: The Omnicopter, Diving Drones, and Skinless Robot Babies

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your baby-loving 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. We got a teaser about the Omnicopter during Raff D'Andrea's most recent TED Talk, but this dedicated video shows it off much better: Like all the coolest robots, the things it can do look like CGI, right? On July 27, 2016, Michigan-based Vayu, Inc., in collaboration with the Stony Brook University Global Health Institute completed the first ever series of long-range, fully autonomous drone delivery flights with blood and stool samples, setting records in the process.


Google (GOOGL) News: Parent Company Alphabet Trims Project Wing, Ends Drone Talks With Starbucks

International Business Times

If you were dreaming of having your next grande no-whip soy latte delivered by drone, you can forget about it. Project Wing's wings were clipped by Google parent Alphabet as it tightens budgets across the board, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, quoting people familiar with the decision. Bloomberg said the decision to end the proposed venture with Starbucks followed the departure of project leader Dave Vos, who has not been replaced. Hiring also was frozen, and some people were urged to seek employment elsewhere in the company, Bloomberg reported. The Alphabet decision comes as other companies are ramping up drone programs despite a lack of Federal Aviation Administration approval for deliveries outside test zones.


Alphabet Taps Brakes on Drone Project, Nixing Starbucks Partnership

#artificialintelligence

The latest Google drones have just started taking flight in the real world. But the team behind the technology is slowing down, trimming headcount and shelving initiatives as the experimental unit becomes the latest target of tightening budgets across parent company Alphabet Inc. Project Wing, a unit of Alphabet's X research lab, nixed a partnership with coffee giant Starbucks Corp., according to people familiar with the decision. Following the departure of project leader Dave Vos in October, the unit also froze hiring and began asking some staff to seek jobs elsewhere in the company, according to some of those people. They asked not to be identified speaking about private company moves. The decisions are part of a broader Alphabet effort to rein in spending and try to turn more experimental projects from loss-making risky bets into real businesses.


Video Friday: Russian Android, Swarm User Interface, and Robot Drone Man

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

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. I really don't know much about this beyond what's in the video, but we don't see a lot of Russian robots around here, so: It looks to be a project from the Russian equivalent of DARPA, designed to go into space by 2021. This video of Agile Justin feeling up different kinds of rods was a finalist for both "IROS Best Paper on Cognitive Robotics" and "IROS Best Student Paper": This is cool because until this point, building pneumatic robots required making molds and casting custom parts.


Facebook Live API Targets Drones and Other Digital Camera Makers

#artificialintelligence

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had lots to talk about during the opening keynote for the social network's F8 developer conference, being held at Ft. Mason in San Francisco today. The Facebook Live API promises the most potential. The company has been pushing hard to expand the scope of its Live Video feeds -- or live video streamed from smartphones directly to the Facebook newsfeed. Facebook only recently expanded Live Video to all US users on Android and iOS devices (Facebook first tested the platform with celebrities). The Live API will increase the scale of compatible cameras to drones, and every other internet-connected camera.