The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies issues an alarming report about Beijing's expanding tentacles in international agencies; Eric Shawn has the Fox News exclusive. Two astronauts on Sunday made the first spacewalk outside China's new orbital station to set up cameras and other equipment using a 15-meter-long (50-foot-long) robotic arm. Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo were shown by state TV climbing out of the airlock as Earth rolled past below them. The third crew member, commander Nie Haisheng, stayed inside. Liu and Tang spent nearly seven hours outside the station, the Chinese space agency said.
University of Waterloo researchers are using deep learning and computer vision to develop autonomous exoskeleton legs to help users walk, climb stairs, and avoid obstacles. The ExoNet project, described in an early-access paper on "Frontiers in Robotics and AI", fits users with wearable cameras. AI software processes the camera's video stream, and is being trained to recognize surrounding features such as stairs and doorways, and then determine the best movements to take. "Our control approach wouldn't necessarily require human thought," said Brokoslaw Laschowski, Ph.D. candidate in systems design engineering and lead author on the ExoNet project. "Similar to autonomous cars that drive themselves, we're designing autonomous exoskeletons that walk for themselves."
Students at the University of Alberta are getting hands-on experience with artificial intelligence with a new robotic arm. Donated to the university's department of computing science by Kindred AI, a Canadian-based artificial intelligence company, the use of the robotic arm in the classroom helps students get a sense of reinforcement learning. Reinforcement learning is a branch of artificial intelligence, says Rapum Mahmood, assistant professor at the U of A and former Kindred AI research lead. "In reinforcement learning, we study by letting the agent interact with the environment, so that it can take the right set of actions," said Mahmood. Usually, the study is done through computer simulations and board games but in real-world applications, a robotic arm is used.
The QWERTY typewriter was introduced in 1872, and since then tapping on a keyboard or screen has become the standard way to interact with digital technology. But this isn't always convenient or safe, so new "touchless" ways to control machines are being developed. Imagine being out for a jog, headphones on, and wanting to turn up the volume without breaking your stride. Or receiving a "new message" alert on your phone while driving and wanting to activate the text-to-speech function without taking your eye off the road. These are scenarios where touchless control would come in handy.
NASA has released several stunning new images of Mars captured by the InSight lander's robotic arm as it snapped a photos of its new workspace. A winter wonderland sits amid a sandy Martian surface -- at least, that's the story new images released by the European Space Agency (ESA) from the Red Planet seem to tell. The stunning photos, which reveal a 50-mile-wide crater filled with ice, were shared by the ESA's Mars Express spacecraft on Thursday. The Korolev crater is located on the northern lowlands of Mars, and it's consistently covered in a blanket of ice about a mile thick, the ESA said in a recent news release. "A beautiful #winter wonderland... on #Mars!" the ESA announced in a tweet, which was shared nearly 10,000 times as of Friday afternoon.