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A robot able to 'hear' through the ear of a locust

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The interdisciplinary study was led by Idan Fishel, a joint master student under the joint supervision of Dr. Ben M. Maoz of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, Prof. Yossi Yovel and Prof. Amir Ayali, experts from the School of Zoology and the Sagol School of Neuroscience together with Dr. Anton Sheinin, Idan, Yoni Amit, and Neta Shavil. The results of the study were published in the journal Sensors. The researchers explain that at the beginning of the study, they sought to examine how the advantages of biological systems could be integrated into technological systems, and how the senses of dead locust could be used as sensors for a robot. "We chose the sense of hearing, because it can be easily compared to existing technologies, in contrast to the sense of smell, for example, where the challenge is much greater," says Dr. Maoz. "Our task was to replace the robot's electronic microphone with a dead insect's ear, use the ear's ability to detect the electrical signals from the environment, in this case vibrations in the air, and, using a special chip, convert the insect input to that of the robot."


One robot on Mars is robotics, ten robots are automation

Robohub

The difference between robotics and automation is almost nonexistent and yet has a huge difference in everything from trade shows, marketing, publications to academic conferences and journals. This week, the difference was expressed as an opportunity in the Dear Colleague Letter below from Professor Ken Goldberg, CITRIS CPAR and UC Berkeley, who suggested that students whose papers were rejected from ICRA, revise them for CASE, the Conference on Automation Science and Engineering. This opportunity was expressed beautifully in the title quote from Professor Raja Chatila, ex President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and current President of IEEE Global Society on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. "One robot on Mars is robotics, ten robots on Mars is automation." Over 2000 papers were declined by ICRA today, including many that can be effectively revised for another conference such as IEEE CASE (deadline 15 March).


MIT's tiny insect drone looks like a cassette tape with wings but can bounce back from mid-air collisions

ZDNet

MIT researchers have developed a tiny drone with soft actuators that can flap nearly 500 times per second, allowing it to be more resilient to mid-flight bumps and nimble enough to fly like a bee. MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Yufeng Chen led the project to build an insect-like drone that uses soft actuators rather than hard, fragile actuators. "The soft actuators are made of thin rubber cylinders coated in carbon nanotubes," explains MIT. "When voltage is applied to the carbon nanotubes, they produce an electrostatic force that squeezes and elongates the rubber cylinder. Repeated elongation and contraction causes the drone's wings to beat fast."


Your Next Job Interview May Be With a Robot--Whether You Realize It Or Not

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Many companies have turned to artificial intelligence to lead hiring processes and cherry-pick job applicants… Welcome to the'Wild West of Hiring.' Pixabay When Emily applied for her dream job, she expected to ace her interview. She knew the company inside and out and had prepared to explain why she would be perfect for the role. When she received an invitation to a video platform that would record her responses to a series of questions, she was slightly thrown--she was applying for a people-facing role and had hoped to be able to build rapport with the hiring manager. Still, she hoped that she could still show her personality, even in pre-recorded clips. What Emily didn't realize until after the interview was that the third-party company that hosted the video software used facial analysis technology to screen candidates.


Vocal

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Robotic automation, also known as robotisation, involves the automation of manufacturing and other business processes through the use of robots in different forms. Industrial robots, for example, are used in manufacturing, taking over tasks normally associated with or performed by a human being. These include tasks such as welding, shipping, assembly line work, materials handling, and product packaging. Software robots are also part of robotic automation, in that they are created to render generic automation capability, and are configured to perform manual, repetitive tasks as exemplified by the chatbots people encounter the first time they visit a website.


Researchers introduce a new generation of tiny, agile drones

Robohub

If you've ever swatted a mosquito away from your face, only to have it return again (and again and again), you know that insects can be remarkably acrobatic and resilient in flight. Those traits help them navigate the aerial world, with all of its wind gusts, obstacles, and general uncertainty. Such traits are also hard to build into flying robots, but MIT Assistant Professor Kevin Yufeng Chen has built a system that approaches insects' agility. Chen, a member of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Research Laboratory of Electronics, has developed insect-sized drones with unprecedented dexterity and resilience. The aerial robots are powered by a new class of soft actuator, which allows them to withstand the physical travails of real-world flight.


Researchers introduce a new generation of tiny, agile drones

#artificialintelligence

Typically, drones require wide open spaces because they're neither nimble enough to navigate confined spaces nor robust enough to withstand collisions in a crowd. "If we look at most drones today, they're usually quite big," says Chen. "Most of their applications involve flying outdoors. The question is: Can you create insect-scale robots that can move around in very complex, cluttered spaces?" According to Chen, "The challenge of building small aerial robots is immense." Pint-sized drones require a fundamentally different construction from larger ones.


What Is the Impact of AI on Art?

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As part of their AI for Good Global Summit, the UN has explored the role of artificial intelligence in the creation of art, putting forward a call for "AI-powered" artwork from creators across the globe. Really, almost anyone with enough patience, basic IT capacity and the desire to learn could scribble off some machine learning-based art. WIRED's Tom Simonite did it with open source tools and the same machine learning software used by researchers at Facebook and IBM. You can try it too, with premium and free programs, like Runaway ML, GANBreeder, Magenta and Processing. In truth, it's the machine learning programs, such as the popular generative adversarial network (GAN), that do the art, not you.


Novel soft tactile sensor with skin-comparable characteristics for robots

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Dr Shen Yajing, Associate Professor at CityU's Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) was one of the co-leaders of the study. The findings have been recently published in the scientific journal Science Robotics, titled "Soft magnetic skin for super-resolution tactile sensing with force self-decoupling." A main characteristic of human skin is its ability to sense the shear force, meaning the force that makes two objects slip or slide over each other when coming into contact. By sensing the magnitude, direction and the subtle change of shear force, our skin can act as feedback and allow us to adjust how we should hold an object stably with our hands and fingers or how tight we should grasp it. To mimick this important feature of human skin, Dr Shen and Dr Pan Jia, a collaborator from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), have developed a novel, soft tactile sensor.


People are using AI to generate...interesting short stories

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We recently featured the brilliant Nichesss, an AI tool that can be used to generate content and ideas. As is often the case with new tools a Facebook group has been set up and recently users have posted some interesting results using the tool…AI written short stories! I'll get on to how in a moment, let's just take a moment to check out some examples. As the cradle rocked, and the fire crackled, and the kitten snoozed, a robot appeared at the door of the cottage. It was battered, dented and dirty.