Robots: AI-Alerts

Japan offers U.S. its robotics tech for use in denuclearizing North Korea

The Japan Times

Japan has told the United States it is ready to provide its robot technology for use in dismantling nuclear and uranium enrichment facilities in North Korea as Washington and Pyongyang pursue further denuclearization talks, government sources said Friday. As Japan turns to the remotely controlled robots it has developed to decommission reactors crippled by the triple core meltdown in 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it believes the same technology can be used in North Korea, according to the sources. The offer is part of Japan's efforts to make its own contribution to the denuclearization talks amid concern that Tokyo could be left out of the loop as the United States and North Korea step up diplomacy. Tokyo has already told Washington it would shoulder part of the costs of any International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of North Korean facilities and dispatch its own nuclear experts to help. The scrapping of nuclear facilities, such as the Yongbyon complex, which has a graphite-moderated reactor, will come into focus in forthcoming working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Japanese researchers build robotic tail – video

The Guardian

A team of researchers at Japan's Keio university have built a robotic tail. Dubbed'Arque', the grey one-metre device mimics tails such as those of cheetahs and monkeys, used to keep balance while running and climbing

UNH robot ship is part of latest search for aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart


A robotic ship from the University of New Hampshire's Marine School that can map the ocean floor is part of the latest effort to find out what happened to famed pilot Amelia Earhart, who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean eight decades ago. The autonomous vessel, known as BEN, the Bathymetric Explorer and Navigator, will be mapping the seafloor near the island where Earhart sent her last radio transmission. The area is too deep for divers and too shallow for safe navigation by deep-water sonar systems. Maps produced by BEN will be used to target later dives by remotely operated vehicles, searching for remnants of Earhart's plane. The work is part of the mission led by oceanographer Robert Ballard, best known for finding the wreck of the Titanic, to look into the disappearance of Earhart in 1937.

Tesla has a huge incentive to deploy self-driving tech. But is the world ready?


Along with sustainable electric transportation, he views autonomy as a core element of Tesla Inc.'s "fundamental goodness." Humans will be freed of the tedium of driving, he told Wall Street last year. Millions of lives will be saved. There is another incentive for Musk to put driverless cars on the road, though. The day he does that, hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stored-up revenue become eligible for a trip straight to Tesla's perpetually stressed bottom line.

Robot, heal thyself: scientists develop self-repairing machines

The Guardian

From picking fruit to carrying out minor surgery, soft robotic hands made from jelly-like plastic are thought by scientists to be the future solution to many human needs. But being gentle and soft enough to avoid damaging fruit or flesh has made the robots prone to damage and left them largely impractical for use in the real world – until now. A European commission-funded project, led by scientists at the Free University of Brussels and the University of Cambridge, aims to create "self-healing" robots that can feel pain, or sense damage, before swiftly patching themselves up without human intervention. The researchers have already successfully developed polymers that can heal themselves by creating new bonds after about 40 minutes. The next step will be to embed sensor fibres in the polymer which can detect where the damage is located.

Amazon's self-driving delivery robots are coming to California

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

This undated photo provided by Amazon shows a self-driving delivery robot that Amazon is calling Scout. Amazon is expanding the use of its self-driving delivery robots to a second state. NEW YORK – Amazon's self-driving robots will be roaming the streets of another neighborhood. The online shopping giant said Tuesday that the six-wheeled robots, about the size of a smaller cooler, will begin delivering packages to customers in Irvine, California. It comes after Amazon began testing them in a suburb of Seattle at the beginning of the year.

Robotic tails for humans are here

Fast Company

A group of researchers from Keio University in Japan has created a robotic tail for humans. Called Arque, the robotic tail prototype was designed to do what a real tail does: balance out the rest of the body. The researchers, who are part of Keio's graduate school of media design, presented the work last week at the 2019 SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles, which focuses on graphics, gaming, and emerging technology. The appendage was inspired by a seahorse's tail, which is strong enough to withstand predators' bites but still flexible to grip things in its environment, like coral. The researchers' prototype was also designed to fit whoever ends up wearing it: the tail can be adjusted to the wearer's body by adding or removing modular "vertebrae."

Japan parts makers literally reinventing the wheel to keep up with shift to autonomous cars

The Japan Times

The car industry is reinventing the wheel to prepare for autonomous vehicles. Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., whose roots stretch back to when Henry Ford was building his Model T, is developing a "smart tire" that can monitor its own air pressure and temperature, and eventually respond by itself to changes in road conditions. Yet it's more than just tires that are being changed. Koito Manufacturing Co., AGC Inc. and Lear Corp. are putting semiconductors and sensors inside headlights, glass and seats to make them as intelligent as the self-driving cars. Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo LLC, Intel Corp.'s Mobileye NV and Baidu Inc. dominate the core technology for autonomous driving, yet suppliers still count on finding their own space in the business.

Cockroach robot won't break after being repeatedly stamped on

New Scientist

Ever tried to stamp on a pesky insect only to see it scuttle off gleefully once you raise your shoe? You may soon have the same difficulty eradicating tiny robots. A simple machine seems to have the robustness of a common cockroach. "It looks really like a cockroach moving on the ground," says Liwei Lin at the University of California, Berkeley. He and his colleagues describe their prototype robots, comprising a curved rectangle and angled front leg.

I Don't Understand My Car

Communications of the ACM

Someday, perhaps, streets and highways will host only fully autonomous vehicles, wirelessly communicating and following algorithms that let them handle any situation they encounter. For now, though, city streets are filled with pedestrians, bicyclists, delivery trucks, double-parked cars, emergency vehicles, and construction crews, as well as human-operated cars with issues of their own. In this chaotic setting, self-driving cars face additional challenges beyond rapidly analyzing the complex environment and navigating through it. They also must keep their distracted occupants informed of issues potentially requiring attention. Equally important, they must continually coordinate their actions with humans, whether in other cars or on the street.