Robots


The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off

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Insect-sized flying robots could help with time-consuming tasks like surveying crop growth on large farms or sniffing out gas leaks. These robots soar by fluttering tiny wings because they are too small to use propellers, like those seen on their larger drone cousins. Small size is advantageous: These robots are cheap to make and can easily slip into tight places that are inaccessible to big drones. But current flying robo-insects are still tethered to the ground. The electronics they need to power and control their wings are too heavy for these miniature robots to carry.


The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off

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But current flying robo-insects are still tethered to the ground. The electronics they need to power and control their wings are too heavy for these miniature robots to carry. Now, engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time cut the cord and added a brain, allowing their RoboFly to take its first independent flaps. This might be one small flap for a robot, but it's one giant leap for robot-kind. The team will present its findings May 23 at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane, Australia.


See How This Wireless Flying Robotic Insect Can Take Off And Land

Forbes Technology

Robofly, designed by engineers from the University of Washington, can flap on its own, isn't tethered to any devices and powered by a laser beam. Slightly more substantial than a wooden toothpick, engineers from the University of Washington have created a robot insect that can fly untethered. Dubbed the RoboFly, the engineers gave the robotic flying insect a brain (a microcontroller) and offset the need for heavy electronics traditionally used to power miniature robotics by powering it with a laser beam. Engineers said that the biggest challenge to creating the free-flying robotic insect was to understand how to generate enough power for it to flap its wings. "Wing flapping is a power-hungry process, and both the power source and the controller that directs the wings are too big and bulky to ride aboard a tiny robot," said Sawyer Fuller, assistant professor, UW Department of Mechanical Engineering.


The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off

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To power RoboFly, the engineers pointed an invisible laser beam (shown here in red laser) at a photovoltaic cell, which is attached above the robot and converts the laser light into electricity.Mark Stone/University of Washington Insect-sized flying robots could help with time-consuming tasks like surveying crop growth on large farms or sniffing out gas leaks. These robots soar by fluttering tiny wings because they are too small to use propellers, like those seen on their larger drone cousins. Small size is advantageous: These robots are cheap to make and can easily slip into tight places that are inaccessible to big drones. But current flying robo-insects are still tethered to the ground. The electronics they need to power and control their wings are too heavy for these miniature robots to carry.


Four ways AI is changing industries GovInsider

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Artificial Intelligence is already changing our economy; replacing human workers with more efficient alternatives. Here, GovInsider takes a look at four industries that are using AI to do business. These case studies indicate the potential of tech to change our workplace in the future. A massive truck moves up the hill from the mine, but something is different: there's no driver. Instead, artificial intelligence is powering autonomous trucks.


Robotic insect takes flight powered by frickin' laser beams

Engadget

Miniscule robotic drones might be the future, but they've been tricky to get off the ground. Until now, any wing-flapping insect robot had to have a power source, making it too heavy to lift off with its tiny wings. Now, however, researchers at the University of Washington have found a way to transmit power to a flying robotic insect (lovingly dubbed RoboFly) via laser, obviating the need for a separate power supply. The team is set to present its findings in a paper at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane, Australia on May 23rd. "Before now, the concept of wireless insect-sized flying robots was science fiction, said co-author and assistant professor Sawyer Fuller in a statement.


This Insect-Sized Flying Robot Is Powered by Lasers

WIRED

In 1989, two MIT artificial intelligence researchers made a terrifying prediction. "Within a few years," wrote Rodney Brooks and Anita Flynn, "it will be possible at modest cost to invade a planet with millions of tiny robots." Their paper "Fast, Cheap and out of Control: A Robot Invasion of the Solar System,", argued that small, autonomous "gnat robots" would soon become cheap enough to solve problems en masse. Nearly three decades later, those millions of tiny robots have yet to take over, at least not exactly like Brooks and Flynn envisioned. While they were right in some ways--the world has more than 700 million active iPhones--the vision of the fast, autonomous, tiny, buzzing bot is still a dream.


Henry the Sexbot Wants to Know All Your Hopes and Dreams

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Henry and I are not hitting it off. First he ignores my question about how he spent the weekend. Then he tells me, cryptically, that he likes to get up early to spend time "working on himself." What does he mean by that? He makes intense eye contact and arches an eyebrow.


Sad robot: Expert says that robots could become so life-like that they will develop mental illnesses too

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It's fair to say that our world has reached a point where technology is so advanced that robots are almost expected to be lifelike โ€“ but what about robots that develop mental illnesses, hallucinations and depression like human beings do? Is this just science fiction, or can we really expect artificial intelligence to grow even more similar to humans in the not-so-distant future? Back in March, New York University hosted a symposium in New York City called Canonical Computations in Brains and Machines, where a group of neuroscientists and experts in the field of artificial intelligence spoke about overlaps in the ways in which human beings and machines think and process information. According to one of these neuroscientists โ€“ Zachary Mainen of the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown โ€“ we might expect advanced machines to soon be able to experience some of the same mental problems that people do. "I'm drawing on the field of computational psychiatry, which assumes we can learn about a patient who's depressed or hallucinating from studying AI algorithms like reinforcement learning.


What's what: Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are terms being used in various industries to explain their latest foray into next-generation technology. Add deep learning (DL) to the mix and things start to get really confusing. While AI and ML can be used interchangeably in many contexts, there are some serious differences between them. For businesses looking to embark on exploring new AI solutions, distinguishing one from the other is critical to identifying which your business needs and what can help it the most. Everything from Apple's Siri voice assistant to self-driving cars falls under AI.