Welcome to robot university (only robots need apply)


Now roboticists say they want to try a similar approach with video to teach their charges how to interact with the environment. Sudeep Dasari at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues are creating a database called RoboNet, consisting of annotated video data of robots in action. For example, the data might include numerous instances of a robot moving a cup across a table. The idea is that anybody can download this data and use it train a robot's neural network to move a cup too, even if it has never interacted with a cup before.

Invasion of the home robots


The public narrative around home robotics is largely split between social and functional robots, which differ in the types of services offered and their potential impact on jobs and roles traditionally filled by humans. Functional robots (seen below left) are built to handle specific tasks--cleaning, cooking, gardening, and security, to name a few--and could drastically affect the domestic labor market. Coverage jumped in January 2018, when LG showcased three new concept robots: Serving Robot, Porter Robot, and Shopping Cart Robot at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018. Quid also found articles that mentioned a robot that can climb walls to clean and sort tupperware, one that can show your home to potential renters, and a home monitor that tells you if your kids walk the dog. Social robots (below right) aim to meet your emotional needs and are developed to provide companionship, care, or instruction.

An Abused, Dishwashing Robot Dreams of an Escape


"Hum," above, is a science-fiction short from director Tom Teller and Frame 48. It follows a robot that works as a dishwasher in a restaurant, confined to a small, poorly lit room and abused by a cruel human boss. One day, an injured bird lands on the window sill and shows the robot that there's a whole world outside his cell. With help from the bird, the robot tries to break free.

And the coolest robots of 2016 are...


Robots are becoming more and more ubiquitous in our daily lives, but these seven bots stole the show in 2016. The Zenbo personal assistant robot can be a caretaker and entertainer. While Boston Dynamic's SpotMini will help you do the dishes, preserve the planet by recycling, and even bring you a coke. Got a pile of clean laundry? Laundroid will fold it for you...just make sure to give it a few hours to finish the job.

Will robots take over?, The Rise of the Robots - BBC Radio 4


From giant bronze automatons to artificial intelligence capable of beating humans at their own games, Adam Rutherford asks whether or not humanity will be enslaved by robots.