Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects


While engineers have had success building tiny, insect-like robots, programming them to behave autonomously like real insects continues to present technical challenges. A group of Cornell University engineers has been experimenting with a new type of programming that mimics the way an insect's brain works, which could soon have people wondering if that fly on the wall is actually a fly. The amount of computer processing power needed for a robot to sense a gust of wind, using tiny hair-like metal probes imbedded on its wings, adjust its flight accordingly, and plan its path as it attempts to land on a swaying flower would require it to carry a desktop-size computer on its back. Silvia Ferrari, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and Controls, sees the emergence of neuromorphic computer chips as a way to shrink a robot's payload. Unlike traditional chips that process combinations of 0s and 1s as binary code, neuromorphic chips process spikes of electrical current that fire in complex combinations, similar to how neurons fire inside a brain.

Securing the Internet-of-Things with Blockchain


In the past few years, developments in technology have brought us closer to the hyper-connected world that futurologists imagined in the 1950s. Self-driving cars, computers that can converse in real-time and hyperloop transportation are among the developments that will shape our future beyond what we thought possible. Of all the major trends, the Internet-of-Things (IoT) is making the most visible and immediate impact and will be worth $270 bln by 2020. Connected devices, homes and vehicles are just around the corner, and as anyone with experience in the technology industry knows, this means a lot of second-order complexity will have to be solved. Economies, platforms and payment systems will have to be integrated.

AI and Drones Can Help to Save Polar Bears - IEEE Transmitter


The unmanned aerial vehicle will use sensors to map and understand the sea ice formations. It uses a DJI Matrice 600 Pro hexacopter, with a "sensor pod" containing an extremely high-resolution DSLR camera, a five-band multispectral sensor generally marketed for crop monitoring, and a radar to measure ice thickness. The drone will fly over a given path but it will also use a machine learning algorithm that will help the operators know where the polar bears are. The AI will hopefully learn how to track polar bears and help the researchers learn more about how global warming is affecting their population.

This 400-pound, sidewalk-roaming security robot just got fired


A five-foot tall, 400-pound robot with four surveillance cameras just got fired from its security job. The San Francisco animal welfare non-profit, SF SPCA, rented the'bot to roam its parking lot and grounds, ostensibly in response to a recent burglary. But to the dismay of neighbors, the SPCA also let the robot patrol the public sidewalk outside the property. Now, after being sent a deluge of threats, Ars Technica reports the SPCA has pulled the plug on its robot... for now. The SPCA rented its robot from Knightscope, the security startup that made headlines earlier this year when one of its robots drowned itself in a pool at Washing D.C. mall.

The dawn of down-to-earth AI: Smart tech we'll see at CES 2018


For the past few years, devices and services powered by artificial intelligence have been the most popular and interesting items at tech shows around the globe. This will surely be true in 2018, but there is already a noticeable shift in the market. First, mainstream consumer products are increasingly integrating AI, and not just high-end, premium products. Second, many of these products have intelligence built into the edge device, instead of relying on the cloud. These trends are improving accessibility, privacy, and effectivity of intelligent applications, making them more widely adopted.

Farming goes hi-tech with Artificial Intelligence


Here's how Artificial Intelligence is going to change the way farming is done in the country. Right from sowing to harvesting and then to post-harvest help, the AI solutions promise informed inputs to farmers and other stakeholders in the ecosystem. The solutions are going to give them heads up on the likelihood of rain, outbreak of diseases or attack of pests and on soil health condition. The information gathered from the field using satellite images and sensors on balloons would be juxtaposed with historical weather and other agronomic data to generate customised data for a specific farmer on a specific crop. Microsoft has tied up with International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to develop a system designed specially to suit the needs of farmers in countries like India, while IT major Tech Mahindra is planning to have a team of 1,000 employees to focus exclusive on its initiative for agriculture.

Roomba to Rule the Smart Home

MIT Technology Review

Smart homes are one of those technology ideas that never seem to catch on, despite the efforts of technology heavyweights like Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. Could Roomba, the popular robotic vacuum cleaner, be the missing link that finally makes home automation useful and convenient? The key technology isn't the device's dirt-sucking aptitude, but its ability to create navigational maps of people's homes through an onboard camera, sensors, and software. The company added the feature to its more expensive models in 2015 so the robots could clean more efficiently, and it has been refined since. Soon Roombas will be able to recognize which rooms they're in and identify large objects located in those rooms, says iRobot CEO Colin Angle.

Where is technology taking the economy?


We are creating an intelligence that is external to humans and housed in the virtual economy. This is bringing us into a new economic era--a distributive one--where different rules apply. A year ago in Oslo Airport I checked in to an SAS flight. One airline kiosk issued a boarding pass, another punched out a luggage tag, then a computer screen showed me how to attach it and another where I should set the luggage on a conveyor. I encountered no single human being.

Want Disruptive Change? There's An Algorithm For That (Or Soon Will Be)


Trust me – it's not you. Our world really is more unpredictable than ever. Even the best-laid strategies are being disrupted, whether they are focused on the workplace's culture, technical environment, market dynamics, customer behavior, or business processes. But central to these uncertainties is one constant: an algorithm guiding every step along the evolutionary trail to digital transformation. "Each company has a predictable algorithm that's driving its business model," said Sathya Narasimhan, senior director for Partner Business Development at SAP, on a live episode of Coffee Break with Game Changers Radio, presented by SAP and produced and moderated by SAP's Bonnie D. Graham.

Advance in perception and motion planning for autonomous vehicles Electric Vehicles Research


AEye Inc has introduced iDAR, a new form of intelligent data collection that enables rapid, dynamic perception and path planning. AEye's iDAR is designed to intelligently prioritize and interrogate co-located pixels (2D) and voxels (3D) within a frame, enabling the system to target and identify objects within a scene 10-20x more effectively than LiDAR-only products. Additionally, iDAR is capable of overlaying 2D images on 3D point clouds for the creation of True Color LiDAR. Its embedded AI capabilities enable iDAR to utilize thousands of existing and custom computer vision algorithms, which add intelligence that can be leveraged by path planning software. The introduction of iDAR follows AEye's September demonstration of the first 360 degree, vehicle-mounted, solid-state LiDAR system with ranges up to 300 meters at high resolution.