If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
ROME – Italian researchers on Thursday unveiled a new robotic hand they say allows users to grip objects more naturally and features a design that will lower the price significantly. The Hennes robotic hand has a simpler mechanical design compared with other such myoelectric prosthetics -- which are characterized by sensors that react to electrical signals sent from the brain to the muscles -- said researcher Lorenzo De Michieli. He helped develop the hand in a lab backed by the Italian Institute of Technology and the INAIL state workers' compensation prosthetic center. The Hennes has only one motor that controls all five fingers, making it lighter, cheaper and more able to adapt to the shape of objects. "This can be considered low-cost because we reduce to the minimum the mechanical complexity to achieve, at the same time, a very effective grasp, and a very effective behavior of the prosthesis," De Michieli said.
A robotic hand that can translate words into sign language gestures for deaf people has been created by scientists. Named Project Aslan, the 3D-printed hand costs as little as £400 ($560) to make and interprets both written text and spoken words. The device communicates through'fingerspelling', a type of sign language where words are spelled out letter-by-letter through separate gestures on a single hand. The robot, which will be ready in five years, could one day be carried around in a rucksack, scientists say. It could help some of the 70 million worldwide who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with people who don't know sign language.
A seven-year-old Las Vegas girl will throw out the first pitch in game four of the upcoming World Series. It's a dream come true for a young baseball fanatic on a mission to throw out balls at every Major League park. Hailey Dawson was born with Poland syndrome and is missing three fingers on her right hand. Hailey's mom, Yong Dawson, began looking into robotic prosthetics when her daughter was four. The field is advancing rapidly.
Hailey Dawson is 7 years old and has already thrown out the first pitch before many Major League Baseball games. This fall, she'll get to do it again -- and this time before one of the biggest games of all. Dawson was born with Poland syndrome and is missing three fingers on her right hand, which is also her throwing hand. By using a robotic hand made with a 3-D printer, she has thrown out the ceremonial first pitch for several MLB teams, including the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland A's, Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers. Her goal is to throw out a pitch at every MLB stadium -- and that got the attention of folks in the league office, who decided to bestow a big honor on the little girl.
As robots get more advanced and perform more complicated tasks, such as conducting a philharmonic orchestra in Italy, there is still one thing the machines certainly cannot do: feel. However, if scientists from the University of Houston have anything to say about it, that may change soon, at least insofar as the sense of touch is concerned. Cunjiang Yu, an assistant professor at the university and three other researchers created "a semiconductor in a rubber composite format" that can stretch and still retain functionality, allowing a robotic hand to feel temperature differences and distinguish between hot and cold. Writing in the journal Science Advances, they described "a new mechanism for producing stretchable electronics, a process that relies upon readily available materials and could be scaled up for commercial production," according to a statement on the university' website. Semiconductors are usually brittle and incorporating them into stretchable materials usually involves complicated procedures, Yu said in the statement, making the resulting materials both less stable and more expensive than the new material created by his team.
They can squish into tight locations for search-and-rescue missions, for instance, and pick up fragile objects without breaking or damaging them. Unfortunately, they're also more prone to damage, especially if they're bound to come across sharp edges in their environments. To solve that problem, a team of researchers from Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium have developed a way to create soft machines that can heal themselves -- all you have to do is add heat. The researchers proved that their method works by making a gripper, a robotic hand and an artificial muscle with self-healing properties. This self-healing property could lead to soft robots' deployment in factories to handle fruits and other delicate items, as well as to their use for actual search-and-rescue missions.
Artificial skin with post-human sensing capabilities, and a better understanding of skin tissue, could pave the way for robots that can feel, smart-transplants and even cyborgs. Few people would immediately recognise the skin as our bodies' largest organ, but the adult human has on average two square metres of it. It's also one of the most important organs and is full of nerve endings that provide us with instant reports of temperature, pressure and pain. So far the best attempts to copy this remarkable organ have resulted in experimental skin with sensor arrays that, at best, can only measure one particular stimulus. But the SmartCore project, funded by the EU's European Research Council and at the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria, hopes to create a material that responds to multiple stimuli.
This robot is willing to offer a hand, or even two. Japanese researchers have unveiled a set of robotic arms that straps on a user's back to help them with physical limitations when carrying out complex tasks. Called MetaLimbs, the mechanical set of arms is powered by the motion of the wearer's feet and knees via bending sensors that are mapped on the wearer's limbs. Japanese researchers have unveiled a set of robotic arms that straps on a user's back to help them with physical limitations when carrying out complex tasks When the wearer curls their toes, the robotic hand will close – allowing them to easily grab an object off of the table or move something from one spot to the next. The team has also added sensors that allow the user to feel haptic sensation on their feet.
In 1937, robot hobbyist "Bill" Griffith P. Taylor of Toronto invented the world's first industrial robot. It was a crude machine, dubbed the Robot Gargantua by its creator. The crane-like device was powered by a single electric motor and controlled via punched paper tape, which threw a series of switches controlling each of the machine's five axes of movement. Still, it could stack wooden blocks in preprogrammed patterns, an accomplishment that Meccano Magazine, an English monthly hobby magazine from the era, hailed as "a Wells-ian vision of'Things to Come' in which human labor will not be necessary in building up the creations of architects and engineers." In the 80 years since, Gargantua's progeny have revolutionized how we work.