When Andy Rubin handed leadership of the Android project to Sundar Pichai, the speculation began about what Rubin would be doing next for Google.
Now we know: robots.
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Rubin said his robotics project is at the heart of one of Google's long-term, big-deal "moonshot" programs that also have included self-driving and Google Glass.
"Like any moonshot, you have to think of time as a factor. We need enough runway and a 10-year vision," Rubin said.
Google has acquired seven robotics companies to get a … Read more
Scientists have been toying for years with creating tiny implants and nanorobots that could carry drugs to certain diseased cells. It is about as targeted as therapy can get, but at this point it's all a bit futuristic.
Within the confines of petri dishes, researchers are still tinkering. A new study is the first to demonstrate that a nanorobot, which the researchers are calling a DNA nanocage, can both encapsulate and release a biomolecule without degrading the cage itself -- and at a size small enough to keep the drugs trapped until they reach the end target.
The researchers … Read more
Tuesday night, when Rabbi Yosef Langer lights a 22-foot menorah in San Francisco's Union Square, he'll get a helping hand -- an aluminum helping hand, that is -- from Isaac the robot.
The 5.5-foot humanoid will be responsible for lighting the shamash (the helper flame used to kindle the candelabrum's other lights) on the 3-ton "Mama Menorah," a fixture at San Francisco's annual public Hanukkah candle lighting since 1975. In doing so, Isaac, namesake of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, will bring a decidedly geeky gild to the decades-old proceedings.
"As CP Snow observed, new ideas often emerge from the clash of cultures," said Ken Goldberg, an artist and UC Berkeley robotics professor who organized Isaac's Union Square Hanukkah appearance. "Menorahs represent the past and robots represent the future. Rabbi Langer and I have a hunch that a ritual that brings them together will generate some interesting new sparks." … Read more
Amazon's scheme to send delivery drones into the skies may sound crazy, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
First, let's get the "60 Minutes" profile out of the way. The segment, which had CEO Jeff Bezos pondering the notion of unmanned drones ferrying packages to your doorstep, brought an air of whimsy and innovation to Amazon. It also aired the day before Cyber Monday, the key online shopping day of the year, and quickly injected Amazon's Prime Air octocopter into the top headline of every major news site. (CBS, which produces "60 … Read more
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has tantalized shoppers with the prospect of package delivery by drones in a few years. But flying machines are already delivering dramatic protest footage in Thailand.
Anti-government protesters seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have clashed with security forces in Bangkok, leaving at least three people dead.
What if people who are paralyzed could use their brainwaves to get up out of wheelchairs and walk away? That's exactly what researchers from the University of Houston are hoping to accomplish with the latest evolution of robotic exoskeletons. They're turning to mind control to move these high-tech mobility machines to the next level -- and take patients with them.
The idea for for a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton came to engineering professor Jose Contreras-Vidal, the project's lead, after Duke University's Miguel Nicolelis demonstrated that electrode arrays implanted in monkey brains could pick up on the neuron-firing patterns that occur when the monkey thinks about walking.
"Contreras-Vidal's group found out they could get the same effects using EEG (electroencephalography) to control an exoskeleton. EEG doesn't have the spatial resolution of an implanted electrode array, but it is noninvasive and has the added benefit of being able to measure electrical activity across the entire brain," Popular Mechanics reported. … Read more
Working as a stand-up comedian isn't an easy gig. Night after night, you bare your soul in front of a microphone, hoping for nothing more than a room full of people laughing at your jokes. You refine your material, research the latest news headlines, and even make a few props to get applause and a paltry paycheck. And now, you have to compete with a robot.
"There's something strange about that cowboy. He's awfully quiet and his eyes glow kinda peculiar like."
Don't mind him. He's just the latest robotic helper to round up the livestock with a flip of the switch. Earlier this month in Sydney, Australia, a team from the University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Field Robotics tested the four-wheeled remote-controlled robot called Rover to move cattle from a field to a dairy.
The bot looks more like Johnny-Five than an animatronic Will Rogers, but he apparently gets the job done remarkably well without spooking the animals. … Read more