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CES 2018: Were robots more than a gimmick at the tech show?

CES 2018: Were robots more than a gimmick at the tech show?

Technology
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceIf you've ever wanted a robot to do the vacuuming, then the CES tech show has something for you.The Aeolus robot is designed to perform a range of household tasks - including mopping floors, rearranging furniture and putting away dishes.However, like many of the bots showcased in Las Vegas this year, the pressure sometimes got to it."Aeolus has had enough," tweeted Signe Brewster, a writer at tech site Wirecutter, after observing the bot stall inexplicably during a demo.The moment is reminiscent of an even more high profile hiccup that hit LG's smart home helper Cloi during the firm's press conference earlier in the week.On three separate occasions, Cloi sat there, painfully unresponsive having been prompted to do something helpful - like fetch a...
Speedy cockroaches help researchers train robots to walk

Speedy cockroaches help researchers train robots to walk

Science
Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Scientists have identified a shift in the gaits of speedy cockroaches as the insects kick it into high gear. The discovery could help engineers train robots to walk more stably and efficiently.The latest research -- published this week in the journal Frontiers in Zoology -- shows a mid-speed change in the biomechanics of a cockroach's gait characterizes its acceleration from scurry to sprint. The shift recalls those made by other animals, including horses, which famously transition from a trot to a gallop."I was particularly surprised that a change in mechanisms stabilizing the animal's movement goes hand in hand with a change in leg coordination," Tom Weihmann, a zoologist at the University of Cologne in Germany, said in a news release.When crawling at a slow pace, a cockr...
Delivery robots will need permits to roam San Francisco

Delivery robots will need permits to roam San Francisco

Technology
Delivery robots in San Francisco will need permits before they can roam city sidewalks under legislation approved by city supervisors. San Francisco has struggled to regulate hometown startups that grew too popular, including short-term vacation rental platform Airbnb and ride-hailing service Uber. Supervisor Norman Yee proposed an outright ban on delivery robots but settled on a permitting system. The supervisors approved it Tuesday. A maximum of nine "autonomous delivery devices" may be allowed at any time in the city. The robots can't go more than 3 miles per hour (4.8 kilometers per hour) and human operators must be nearby. The robots must yield to pedestrians. Chief executives for autonomous delivery companies Starship Technologies, Marble and Postmates submitted a letter saying they...
Tiny robots could soon diagnose, treat hard to reach parts of the body

Tiny robots could soon diagnose, treat hard to reach parts of the body

Health
Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Tiny remote-controlled robots made of algae could soon navigate their way to hard-to-reach locations in the body. Scientists say the robots could be used to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer.Each tiny robot measures just a few micrometers long, roughly the size of a blood cell. They're composed of algae cells coated in magnetic particles. The algae bots can be directed to the nooks and crannies of the human body using a magnet.Bioluminescent protein markers could reveal the location of the bots near the surface of the skin, and magnetic resonance imaging could track their positioning in deep tissue.Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Edinburgh tested the robots ability to swim through bodily fluids like gastric fluid and diluted bl...
Killer robots: Experts warn of 'third revolution in warfare'

Killer robots: Experts warn of 'third revolution in warfare'

Technology
More than 100 leading robotics experts are urging the United Nations to take action in order to prevent the development of "killer robots". In a letter to the organisation, artificial intelligence (AI) leaders, including billionaire Elon Musk, warn of "a third revolution in warfare".The letter says "lethal autonomous" technology is a "Pandora's box", adding that time is of the essence.The 116 experts are calling for a ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry."Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend," the letter says. "These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways," it adds.There is an...