Intuition Robotics raises $36 million to bring AI companions to everyone


Israeli robotics startup Intuition Robotics has raised $36 million in a series B round of funding co-led by Sparx Group and OurCrowd, with participation from Samsung Next, Toyota AI Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, iRobot, Sompo Holdings, Union Tech Ventures, Happiness Capital, and Capital Point. Founded in 2015, Intuition Robotics is creating what it calls "social companion" robots and related technologies, with an initial focus on reducing loneliness and isolation in elderly people. The company's first product was a $1,500 robot called ElliQ that opened for preorders last January and has accumulated "over 10,000 days" in homes across the U.S., though the company hasn't revealed specific sales figures. The majority of ElliQ's users are between 80 and 90 years of age. ElliQ more closely resembles a desk lamp than a humanoid, and it sits on a small dock with a tablet screen and cameras.

Samsung's artificial Neon humans are "a new kind of life"


In a bid to "make science fiction a reality", Samsung's future factory STAR Labs has developed Neon, AI-powered virtual beings that look and behave like real humans. Unlike artificially intelligent (AI) assistants like Siri or Alexa, STAR Labs' computationally created beings aren't programmed to be "know-it-all bots" or an interface to answer users' questions and demands. Instead, the avatars are designed to converse and sympathise "like real people" in order to act as hyper lifelike companions. "We have always dreamed of such virtual beings in science fictions and movies," said STAR Labs CEO Pranav Mistry. "Neons will integrate with our world and serve as new links to a better future, a world where'humans are humans' and'machines are humane'," he continued.

From home to healthcare, here are Robotic innovations transforming lives


From home, healthcare and manufacturing to transportation, education to the environment, robots have already touched almost all aspects of our lives. With rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and numerous other technologies, robots are becoming more capable, and affordable. Here are some of the robotic innovations that, in the not-so-distant future, will become widespread and change the way we live and work forever, making lives more convenient and meaningful. Delta Air Lines, in partnership with Sarcos Robotics, has developed a first-of-its-kind wearable robotic exoskeleton, the Guardian XO, a battery-powered industrial robot combining human intelligence with the power of machines. The robotic suit that can be donned and doffed unassisted in less than 30 seconds may enable a worker to lift up to 90kg (200 pounds) repeatedly for up to eight hours at a time without strain or fatigue or injury.

Company creates artificial intelligence dog trainer


You can't teach an old dog new tricks but you may one day be able to train them with new technology. The little white box seen here is actually an artificial intelligence trainer for dogs. It's called "Companion" and right now it's for dog care facilities. The company, Companion Labs, says the device uses a video camera, computer and treats to teach dogs new tricks. It gives the pet a verbal order.

The 25 Best Products of CES 2020

TIME - Tech

There truly is something for everyone, from new and improved products and services announced by major corporations to truly innovative ideas made real by entrepreneurial spirits. Still, it's difficult to figure out what's worth one's time and what products and services are simply a flash in the pan, never to be seen again. So we did the hard work for you to find the most intriguing and exciting gadgets of CES, from accessories you can buy right now to concept devices charting the future of the industry. Without further ado, here is TIME's Best of CES 2020. Samsung's Ballie is an interesting combination between smart home device and robotic companion.

Samsung's new Neon project is finally unveiled: It's a humanoid AI chatbot


Neon's "artificial humans" look real. Neon's super realistic digital people are real. The mysterious company, emerging from the Samsung Technology and Advanced Research Labs (aka STAR Labs), debuted late Monday at CES 2020 here in Las Vegas. It described its technology, also called Neon, as "a computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a real human, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence." Basically, Neon makes video chatbots that look and act like real people.

Samsung unveils tiny robot Ballie that follows users around and acts as their personal AI assistant

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Samsung have unveiled a tiny robot assistant in the shape of a ball, which can roll around and help patrol a users home - and even act as a fitness buddy. The tech giant unveiled'Ballie' during one of two keynotes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Samsung consumer electronics CEO H.S. Kim demonstrated how the ball-shaped bot is able to follow its owner around, traveling closely but also recognizing personal space and speed. Samsung's'Ballie' was revealed during one of two keynotes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Samsung consumer electronics CEO H.S. Kim demonstrated how the ball-shaped bot works When Kim stepped forward, Ballie reacted by wheeling itself further back; when Kim began to increase his pace, Ballie sped up. 'I think he likes me,' Kim said turning to the crowd.

Opinion Would You Let a Robot Take Care of Your Mother?


After Constance Gemson moved her mother to an assisted living facility, the 92-year-old became more confused, lonely and inarticulate. Two full-time private aides, kind and attentive as they were, couldn't possibly meet all their patient's needs for connection. So on a visit one day, Ms. Gemson brought her mom a new helper: a purring, nuzzling robot cat designed as a companion for older adults. "It's not a substitute for care," says Ms. Gemson, whose mother died last June at age 95. "But this was someone my mother could hug and embrace and be accepted by. This became a reliable friend."

'Dark Alliance' video game features iconic Dungeons & Dragons characters, location; set for release in 2020

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Dungeons and Dragons has never been more popular. That's what publisher Wizards of the Coast says following the game's best year ever in terms of sales. A resurgence is underway for the enduring tabletop role-playing game during its 45th anniversary, sparked by a user-friendly fifth edition. "Dark Alliance" is set to launch in fall 2020 on PC and consoles. The game is described as "exciting, action-driven, hack-and-slash adventure filled with iconic monsters, legendary characters, and epic loot."

Private helicopter rides, strip clubs: 8 crazy things you put on your expense report

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

You want to be reimbursed for what? People with expense accounts may occasionally get rather "creative" when it comes to the items you ask your employer to reimburse. But an "extramarital travel companion" or trip to a strip club just might be pushing things a bit too far. Those were two of the most outrageous charges flagged by AppZen, which builds AI platforms for the business folks who manage and monitor corporate finances. AppZen's AI examined millions of aggregated, anonymized expense report data from December of last year, seeking to identify trends in unauthorized out-of-policy expenses submitted to travel T&E ("travel & expense") departments during the holidays.