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New Amazon robots could enable 'safer' exploitation of warehouse staff

#artificialintelligence

Weeks after a study revealed that Amazon warehouse workers are injured at higher rates than staff at rival firms, the company has revealed it's testing new robots designed to improve employee safety. The e-commerce giant has ingratiatingly named two of the bots after Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie. Bert is an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) that's built to navigate through Amazon facilities. In the future, the company envisions the bot carrying large and heavy items or carts across a site, reducing the strain on its human coworkers. Ernie, meanwhile, is a workstation system that removes totes from robotic shelves and then deliveries them to employees.


IEEE ICRA 2021 Awards (with videos and papers)

Robohub

Did you have the chance to attend the 2021 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2021)? Here we bring you the papers that received an award this year in case you missed them. "An essential and challenging use case solved and evaluated convincingly. This work brings to light the artisanal field that can gain a lot in terms of safety and worker's health preservation through the use of collaborative robots. Simulation is used to design advanced control architectures, including virtual walls around the cutting-tool as well as adaptive damping that would account for the operator know-how and level of expertise."


Amazon wants to use robots to make its warehouses safer for its workers

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Amid mounting claims its warehouses, especially those with robots, are unsafe, Amazon is doubling down on technology in an attempt to make them safer. The Jeff Bezos-led company is using its Amazon Robotics and Advanced Technology labs to come up with new robots to keep Amazon's warehouse workers, which make up the majority of its more than 1 million employees, safer. Robots known as'Bert' and'Ernie,' use motion-capture technology. Amazon is using technology to keep its warehouses workers safer, despite claims to the contrary. Bert was designed to navigate Amazon's warehouses independently, becoming one of the Jeff Bezos-led company's first autonomous mobile robots This allows Amazon data scientists to understand what's going on in the warehouse and apply that to a laboratory setting, before going back out to the field again.


Vision Guided Robotics & Artificial Intelligence: An Explanation for the Non-Technical

#artificialintelligence

The automation industry is experiencing an explosion of growth and technology capability. To explain complex technology, we use terms such as "artificial intelligence" to convey the idea that solutions are more capable and advanced than ever before. If you are an investor, business leader, or technology user who seeks to understand the technologies you are investing in, this article is for you. What follows is an explanation of vision-guided robotics and deep-learning algorithms. That's right, the article is titled "artificial intelligence" and yet by the end of the first paragraph, we've already switched to deep-learning algorithms!


How Do You Make a Robot Walk on Mars? It's a Steep Challenge

WIRED

From the Sojourner rover, which landed on Mars in 1997, to Perseverance, which touched down in February, the robots of the Red Planet share a defining feature: wheels. Rolling is far more stable and energy efficient than walking, which even robots on Earth still struggle to master. After all, NASA would hate for its very expensive Martian explorer to topple over and flail around like a turtle on its back. The problem with wheels, though, is that they limit where rovers can go: To explore complicated Martian terra like steep hills, you need the kinds of legs that evolution gave animals on Earth. So a team of scientists from ETH Zurich in Switzerland and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany have been playing around with a small quadrupedal robot called SpaceBok, designed to mimic an antelope known as a springbok.


The Mail

The New Yorker

Katie Engelhart, in her article on robotic aids for homebound elderly people, describes how petlike robots, which communicate with their owners and are designed to get to know them using machine learning, are alleviating feelings of loneliness ("Home and Alone," May 31st). Mechanical cats and dogs are certainly a sensible innovation during the loneliness epidemic, which has become a costly catastrophe. But, while it's clear that robot pets can provide some level of comfort, the commercial interests that stand to profit from A.I. pets may divert attention from solutions that are more humane, if more complex to implement. We should not overlook less techy remedies for loneliness, which include sharing one's housing with other people. There are millions of spare bedrooms in the United States, many of them in the homes of seniors who live alone.


Next Protocol

#artificialintelligence

NEXT Protocol allows easy publication of Robot Services using our Robots (NEXTiBOTs) and other OEM Robots. Please visit https://nextprotocol.tech to know more.


Amazon hopes more robots will improve worker safety

Engadget

Amazon is once again betting that robots will improve safety at its warehouses. The online shopping giant has offered looks at several upcoming bots and other technologies meant to reduce strain on workers. The company is testing a trio of autonomous robots to carry items with little intervention. "Bert" can freely move around a warehouse carrying carts and goods. "Scooter" (above) carries carts like a train, while the more truck-like "Kermit" hauls empty tote boxes using magnetic tape and tags to shape its path.


Hotel delivery robots bring winning edge to Chinese startup

#artificialintelligence

In China, where labor shortages and soaring labor costs are increasingly serious problems, robots are replacing redundant, low value-added and sometimes dangerous human work. Hotels are no exception to this trend. As robot technology continues to improve, the service robots in hotels are attracting attention from venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Established in 2019, Shanghai Jingwu Intelligent Technology makes robots, primarily for hotels. The startup's management and research and development team was once engaged in the robotics business of a listed company and has 17 years of experience in the field.


Obstacles no problem for smart robots

Robohub

Normally, students and scientists walk here, but today a drone is flying through a corridor on TU Delft Campus. Seemingly effortlessly, it whizzes past and between a variety of obstacles: rubbish bins, stacked boxes and poles. But then suddenly a person appears, walking straight towards the drone in the same space. This is not a stationery object but an actual moving person. 'This is much more difficult for the drone to process.