Amazon has revealed it is expanding its range of free online STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities to keep children educate and entertained over the Christmas holidays. The tech company's selection of activities includes a new game called Cyber Robotics Challenge. This three-hour long event tasks a youngster with using maths to ensure a friend's birthday present gets delivered by an Amazon fulfilment centre robot. Amazon has also expanded its popular educational platform Maths4All to include secondary school-level activities as well as those geared towards younger pupils. Maths4All offers hundreds of worksheets on Kindle and Fire Tablets and maths challenges via Alexa.
Newly engineered slinky-like strain sensors for textiles and soft robotic systems survive the washing machine, cars and hammers. Think about your favorite t-shirt, the one you've worn a hundred times, and all the abuse you've put it through. You've washed it more times than you can remember, spilled on it, stretched it, crumbled it up, maybe even singed it leaning over the stove once. We put our clothes through a lot and if the smart textiles of the future are going to survive all that we throw at them, their components are going to need to be resilient. Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed an ultra-sensitive, seriously resilient strain sensor that can be embedded in textiles and soft robotic systems. The research is published in Nature.
Standing just 5ft tall, Mitra navigates around the hospital wards, guided by facial recognition technology and with a chest-mounted tablet that allows patients and their loved ones to see each other. Developed in recent years by the Bengaluru startup Invento Robotics, Mitra costs around $13,600 (£10,000) and – due to the reduced risk of infection to doctors – has become hugely popular in Indian hospitals during the pandemic. Since making headlines at its debut in 2017 at an international summit, where it greeted Ivanka Trump and interacted with India's prime minister Narendra Modi, Mitra has increasingly been put to use in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. "Mitra was originally meant for care homes, but was adapted during the pandemic to assist doctors and nurses by taking vital readings, and to help in consultations," says Balaji Viswanathan, chief executive of Invento Robotics, which now exports the robot to five countries including the US and Australia. India still only has about three robots for every 10,000 workers, but the domestic industry is growing rapidly, fuelled in no small part by the pandemic.
In this episode, our interviewer Lauren Klein speaks with Kim Baraka about his PhD research to enable robots to engage in social interactions, including interactions with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Baraka discusses how robots can plan their actions across multiple modalities when interacting with humans, and how models from psychology can inform this process. He also tells us about his passion for dance, and how dance may serve as a testbed for embodied intelligence within Human-Robot Interaction. Kim Baraka is a postdoctoral researcher in the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, and an upcoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he will be part of the Social Artificial Intelligence Group. Baraka recently graduated with a dual PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, USA, and the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisbon, Portugal.
Machine learning involves training a model with data so that it learns to spot or predict features. The Google team picks on the example of training a machine learning system to predict the course of a pandemic. Epidemiologists have built detailed models of the way a disease spreads from infected individuals to susceptible individuals, but not to those who have recovered -- and so are immune. Key factors in this spread are the rate of infection, often called R0, and length of time, D, that an infected individual is infectious. Obviously, a disease can spread more widely when it is more infectious and when people are infectious for longer.
In the past year, lockdowns and other COVID-19 safety measures have made online shopping more popular than ever, but the skyrocketing demand is leaving many retailers struggling to fulfill orders while ensuring the safety of their warehouse employees. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have created new artificial intelligence software that gives robots the speed and skill to grasp and smoothly move objects, making it feasible for them to soon assist humans in warehouse environments. The technology is described in a paper published online today (Wednesday, Nov. 18) in the journal Science Robotics. Automating warehouse tasks can be challenging because many actions that come naturally to humans--like deciding where and how to pick up different types of objects and then coordinating the shoulder, arm and wrist movements needed to move each object from one location to another--are actually quite difficult for robots. Robotic motion also tends to be jerky, which can increase the risk of damaging both the products and the robots. "Warehouses are still operated primarily by humans, because it's still very hard for robots to reliably grasp many different objects," said Ken Goldberg, William S. Floyd Jr. Distinguished Chair in Engineering at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study.
A young Egyptian engineer has invented a remote-control robot that can take patient's temperature, test for COVID-19 and even reprimand those not wearing a mask. With a human-like face and robotic arms, 'Cira-03' is capable of drawing blood and performing EKGs and x-rays, then display test results on a screen on its chest. Cira-03 tests patients for coronavirus by cupping their chin and then extending an arm with a swab into their mouth. While the goal was to limit exposure of healthcare workers, El-Komy also wanted to put patients at ease in a harrowing situation. 'I tried to make the robot seem more human, so that the patient doesn't fear it,' El-Komy said.
Now more than ever, leaders need to put mental health at the top of their agenda and address this issue. Employees can't possibly perform at their best when they are suffering inside. And poor mental health is now inescapable as employees work remotely with no separation between their work and personal lives. The study found that 85% of respondents' mental health issues at work negatively affect their home life, causing things like suffering family relationships, isolation from friends, reduced happiness, and sleep deprivation. The mental health epidemic at work persists because of the stigma around it.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which is a subset of AI, are opening new opportunities in essentially all businesses, in addition to making frequently used equipment more capable. As anyone might expect, AI and machine learning are frequently applied to robots to improve them. Robots used in the industrial sector can assist organizations in completing more things with fewer blunders. Obviously, safety is key while adding robots in the work environment which is the reason some AI robotics organizations are creating solutions where robots can comprehend what's in their current environment and respond likewise. Veo Robotics has an industrial robotics system that consolidates computer vision, AI and sensors.
Machine learning involves training a model with data so that it learns to spot or predict features. The Google team pick on the example of training a machine learning system to predict the course of a pandemic. Epidemiologists have built detailed models of the way a disease spreads from infected individuals to susceptible individuals, but not to those who have recovered and so are immune. Key factors in this spread are the rate of infection, often called R0, and length of time, D, that an infected individual is infectious. Obviously, a disease can spread more widely when it is more infectious and when people are infectious for longer.