File photo: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon's Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018. If a "top-secret" Amazon plan comes to fruition, the online retail giant's next big thing might be home robots. Citing unnamed sources familiar with the company's plans, Bloomberg reports that Amazon is getting serious about building a domestic robot. Think Alexa, but with the ability to move around your home autonomously. The project, codenamed "Vesta" after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and family, reportedly kicked off years ago, but has been gaining steam of late.
NASA's Valkyrie robot holds a little "Star Wars" BB-8. The "Star Wars" robots R2-D2 and BB-8 are the droids that NASA is looking for -- "astromechs" that can help repair spaceships on the fly, a NASA robotics engineer says. Future NASA robots might resemble humanoid droids such as C-3PO and K-2SO from the waist up, but have giant mechanical spidery legs from the waist down, the engineer added in a new piece for the journal Science Robotics. For more than 20 years, NASA has sought to develop robot assistants for astronauts. So far, they have developed three droids.
Flippy needs a break after all. After gaining significant attention this week for being a burger-flipping robot that might replace humans some day, the robot has been forced to take a break because it has been deemed too slow, the BBC reports. The attention Flippy received this week by multiple media reports led to more orders than the robot could handle, impacting its efficiency. Installed at a CaliBurger in Pasadena, Calif., the robot, made by Miso Robotics, needs an upgrade to cook in a quicker manner. In a statement obtained by the BBC, Miso Robotics said it was testing Flippy's code that controls its ability to cook faster.
Sony will roll out a new robot dog that's capable of real Fido-like feelings – including bonding with its human masters and responding to owner commands, according to the Wall Street Journal. Man's best friend is getting a makeover. Sony will roll out a new robot dog that's capable of real Fido-like feelings – including bonding with its human masters and responding to owner commands, according to the Wall Street Journal. The pet bot will be similar to Sony's AIBO robot pet prototypes, which have been discontinued, and will have updated software to allow users to control their home appliances. Sony plans to unveil the product at a media event next November and roll it out in spring 2018.
The U.S. Army launched a revolutionary SMET initiative that aims to integrate robots into brigades. While top brass walked the floors of AUSA exploring innovation for future combat in Washington D.C., in Georgia at Fort Benning, robot selection to join the troops is in an intense final week. Many companies had thrown their robots in the ring for selection to serve and the Army narrowed down those invited to the Benning phase that began back on Sept. 11 and is expected to conclude Oct. 14. The final four robots will be chosen and the Army will ask the companies to begin production. The jungle drums at AUSA have it that the selected robots may be integrating and working alongside soldiers in brigade combat teams (BCTs) as soon as early next year.
A cyber security buff has issued a bizarre warning that sex robots could one day rise up and kill their owners if hackers can get inside their heads. Last month, tech billionaire Elon Musk claimed that artificial intelligence could take over the planet, and he's not the only one concerned about the dangers of killer tech. With sex robots becoming increasingly popular and sophisticated, Cyber security lecturer Dr Nick Patterson revealed that the lifelike dolls could end up going all Terminator on us. However, in the case of sex robots, the danger isn't that the love dolls will end up developing minds of their own, Westworld-style. Instead, the risk is that hackers could breach the realistic robots' inner defences and catch out their owners with their pants down.
Security guard Eric Leon watches the Knightscope K5 security robot as it glides through the mall, charming shoppers with its blinking blue and white lights. The brawny automaton records video and sounds alerts. According to its maker, it deters mischief just by making the rounds. Leon, the all-too-human guard, feels pretty sure that the robot will someday take his job. "He doesn't complain," Leon says.
There are industry gatherings for all sectors, and that includes the funeral sector. It's not an area where you'd expect to find many tech products, but at the Tokyo International Funeral & Cemetery Show 2017 this week, all eyes were on the latest breakthrough in Buddhist priests. That's very expensive, so plastic molding company Nissei Eco Co. had an idea: create a robotic Buddhist priest and undercut the real thing on price. And rather than starting from scratch, Nissei instead modified an existing robot in the form of SoftBank's Pepper robot. As Hannah Gould, a researcher at the Japan Foundation, points out in the video above, Japan and technology have been evolving at the same time so a robot priest won't seem too weird.