Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Cyton E STEM Robotics Resources Get Attention!

This very informative little article form T.H.E. Journal grabbed my attention.


"... Robai, a robotics provider, and Intelitek, a maker of software for robotics, have partnered to launch a line of robots designed specifically for the education market.
Dubbed the CytonE family, the humanoid robots are about the size of a human arm, weigh less than five pounds and feature seven axes of motion and a gripper. CytonE robots use Actin, software originally created by Energid Technologies for NASA and currently used in industrial robotics in fields such as oil exploration and nuclear inspection. Actin is designed to make programming the robots easy and to provide fluidity, efficiency and power similar to human movements

Intelitek will provide a STEM curriculum to accompany the robots. "We're confident the CytonE robots will teach students STEM skills and inspire them to be engineers and scientists," said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek, in a prepared statement. "Technology like the CytonE inspires creativity and imagination and accelerates learning."
"The agreement with Intelitek is important for Robai as it moves us toward our goal of making robots available to everyone," saidDavid Askey, chief business development officer at Robai, in a news release. "We look forward to having bright students contribute to the Cyton/Actin ecosystem through their creativity and ingenuity."
More information is available at"

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KUBI Telepresence Robot: Does Your School Need One?

(from EdTech Digest) "KUBI is a telepresence robot that delivers a simple and elegant solution for more engaging video conferencing and distance learning. Japanese for neck, it’s a flexible, affordable robotic platform that holds any tablet. This enables remote students or teachers to make the tablet pan and tilt, letting them look around and interact with others during video calls. It transforms the remote student from a passive listener to an active participant within the group, as that student can now easily engage with anyone in the room. Be they higher education or K-12, students now have the means to meaningfully participate in class remotely. Not only can the student look around to see who is asking a question, they can engage in small group discussions as well. This is an enormous step forward, especially for distance students or students that need to be out of class for extended periods of time due to medical or other issues. KUBI also makes it easy for outside experts to deliver distance lectures and other presentations. At $499, this educational technology can be put in each classroom, letting remote students easily “teleport” from one class to another, whether the Kubi is next door or on a different campus. Check it out.:

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Where's Your Robot?

Here's a wonderful documentary show from the BBC... made in 2008. Let's ask the obvious follow up question: is your robot any closer?

It seems to me that we humans have made a good deal of progress in robotics since this  show was aired. Still, getting that cup of coffee from a robot, just the way you want it, seems a bit distant. So, which of the challenges to robot development shown in this film have we made progress with? Whether you have answers to this question or not, this show is an informative, insightful, and entertaining look at the way we viewed the future of robots, just 8 years ago in the past.

(below) Here's a more recent video that, in very small part, answers the question of "how far have we come since the BBC show?" Hundreds of other posts throughout this blog answer the question in far greater detail.

Enjoy, reflect, share your "ah ha's" :

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Robot Creates Handrwritten Notes for People

Hmmmm.... Digital keyboarding eliminates the need for handwriting, but robots retrieve and improve this very human form of communication and expression....

"Meet Bond, the Robot That Creates Handwritten Notes for You"

"...With all the email, texts, tweets, and status updates of modern life, people have never been more prolific writers. Yet penmanship is at a nadir because we do so much of this writing on a device, often with our thumbs. Oddly, it could be a device—a robot, more specifically—called Bond that saves the humble art of handwriting.

Bond combines the best bits of MakerBot 3-D printers and Montblanc pens. Using the Bond app, you can compose a thank you note, holiday card, or any other type of correspondence, choose slick stationary, and specify a recipient. A robot writes out your message with a real pen in your choice of handwriting (or a facsimile of your own if you’re willing to pay for it), tucks into into an envelope sealed with wax, and sends it off to the post office. Prices start at $2.99 plus postage and Bond ties into customer relationship management software like Salesforce, allowing companies to provide a personal touch at scale.

Bond was conceived as an “Uber for gifts” in 2013 and its twist on e-commerce was each carefully curated bauble had to be accompanied by a handwritten note. The business generated $200,000 in its first 90 days of operation, but the most positive feedback was focused on the custom communiqu├ęs.
Frustrated the by the challenges of managing gift inventory and invigorated by the interest in the handwritten cards, Bond founder Sonny Caberwal changed course. “We made a strategic decision to focus on building handwritten note technology, because it was most core to our goal of helping people articulate the appreciation of their relationship.”

Written Like a Human, Not Like a Bot

Originally, Bond used mid-century autopen technology to craft the letters, but such systems weren’t flexible enough to meet Bond’s needs at scale. In order to mass produce personalized notes, Caberwal assembled a team of roboticists, software engineers, and typographers. “We pair our engineering efforts with our own team of handwriting experts, all of whom have advanced degrees in type design,” says Caberwal. “The design-focused handwriting team overlaps with hardware and software engineering and operations in a very unique way, to inform software design, hardware design, hardware maintenance, and operational execution.”...

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Will Store Robots Take Jobs Away from Human Sales Assistants?

What next, hamburger flipping robots?

As robots start to take over retail, will there be any jobs left?

The world’s first robotized sales assistants were rolled out last month in California. They are nifty, cute — and terrifying.
Modal Trigger
OSHbot, named after Orchard Supply Hardware in
San Jose, and developed with Lowe’s Innovation Labs, costs $50,000.
Nicknamed OSHbots, the two machines cost $50,000 apiece, are 5 feet of plastic on wheels and carry built-in natural language processors, computers, product scanners and navigation tools.
Named after the Orchard Supply Hardware store where they work in San Jose, they greet customers, ask if they need help, identify items, then offer to guide them to the appropriate aisle without bumping into anyone or anything.

At night, they do inventory by cruising the store to identify missing products and update their store map.

The OSHbots will never ask for a raise or call in sick. They also have the recall of a National Merit Scholar, but, on the other hand, they can’t open a box or climb a ladder to reach a hammer. And if you went up to one and shouted “Fire,” it would respond that “Fire extinguishers are on aisle 4 and I can take you there” . . . in English or Spanish.

So far, OSHbots are primitive, as are other automated services, such as Google’s driverless cars. But they won’t always be. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and others are investing billions to make machines smarter than people. And then what happens to America’s 13 million-member retail work force when OSHbot 2.0 or 3.0 arrives on the scene? Are Google and the others going to support the displaced workers

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