Sony and ZMP Team Up to Offer Commercial Drone Services

In 2016, Aerosense, jointly owned by Sony and robotics firm ZMP, plans to launch a commercial drone service targeting construction, logistics and agriculture industries. A prototype of an airplane-shaped drone was unveiled this week. The drones, which will be capable of capturing HD images and transmitting them to the cloud, will rely in part on the mobile phone and digital camera technologies developed for Sony’s Xperia smartphones. Analysts believe the unmanned aircraft industry may be worth $82 billion in the U.S. by 2025. Continue reading Sony and ZMP Team Up to Offer Commercial Drone Services

Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

Researchers from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have developed a microfiber technology that enables them to build brain-like computers. “Photonic synapses” are collections of microfibers that pass electronic signals. The optical fibers can send signals at the speed of light, much faster than the neurons in real brains. This breakthrough could provide a boost to both robotics and AI technology. Improved vehicle control, speech, and search are just some of the possible applications. Continue reading Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

Pepper: SoftBank to Launch its Sophisticated Consumer Robot

SoftBank has plans to release a line of consumer robots in Tokyo this summer. The humanoid robot, known as Pepper, stands four feet tall, rolls around on wheels and effectively engages in simple conversations with people. The company predicts that robots will one day emerge as the next mass-market technology assisting people in a wide variety of applications. Pepper, developed by French subsidiary Aldebaran Robotics, will be connected to SoftBank’s mobile network in Japan that currently has about 37 million subscribers.  Continue reading Pepper: SoftBank to Launch its Sophisticated Consumer Robot

Low-Cost Raspberry Pi Computer Enjoys Surprising Popularity

The affordable Raspberry Pi microcomputer — launched three years ago with the modest hope of selling a few thousand units — just passed the five million sales mark. The Raspberry Pi Foundation offers its no-frills Model A Pi for $25 and the Model B for $35. It recently launched the 6x faster Model B Pi 2 with double the memory for only $35. Originally intended as a cost efficient solution for students, the simple microcomputer is now being used to build everything from DIY computers to robotics projects. Continue reading Low-Cost Raspberry Pi Computer Enjoys Surprising Popularity

Intel Promotes its RealSense 3D Camera Technology at CES

At CES, a wide range of companies showed or discussed products that are becoming more aware of their surroundings, largely due to improved sensors. This will enable tablets, phones, cars, drones and other devices to interact with people and each other in more sophisticated ways. This could also require significant upgrades to camera tech. While Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for Xbox was built to use gestures for game control, the tech has proven more far-reaching, especially in robotics research. Now Intel is aiming to take the next step with 3D sensors. Continue reading Intel Promotes its RealSense 3D Camera Technology at CES

2015 International CES: ETC Anticipates ‘Year of the Product’

CES 2014 introduced a compelling array of new concepts and prototypes for next generation electronics, technology and consumer entertainment devices. This year, as the ETC@USC gears up for the January 6-9 confab in Las Vegas, our reporters anticipate delivery on many of the promises made last winter and expect to see a collection of innovative products and services — from UHD and VR to the Internet of Everything — on display across the show’s more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space. Continue reading 2015 International CES: ETC Anticipates ‘Year of the Product’

Dropbox Hires Computer Vision Experts to Mine Photographs

Dropbox wants to add image recognition software to its cloud storage service so that photos would automatically be tagged with the objects, people, and places found in the images. The company has hired the co-founders of Kriegman-Belhumeur Vision Technology, Peter Belhumeur and David Kriegman, to engineer the new technology. The two men are university professors with extensive experience in computer vision, facial recognition, and machine learning. Continue reading Dropbox Hires Computer Vision Experts to Mine Photographs

Liquid Hard Drives Capable of Storing One Terabyte of Data

Researchers at the University of Michigan and New York University have been successful in storing data in a liquid containing suspended clusters of nanoparticles. These 12-particle clusters can reconfigure, similar to the way a Rubik’s Cube can, to represent up to eight million unique states. In a tablespoon of the nanoparticle clusters, the liquid can reportedly store up to one terabyte of data. Liquid hard drives could possibly be used in medicine, law enforcement and other fields. Continue reading Liquid Hard Drives Capable of Storing One Terabyte of Data

Consumers Will Be Able to 3D Print an Intel Robot This Year

Intel’s customizable, 3D printable robot known as Jimmy will go on the market later this year. The singing, walking, talking, tweeting and dancing robot can be constructed by anyone with access to a 3D printer, which will assemble the basic parts. The $1,600 kit for the open source robot includes the non-printable motors, wires, battery and processor. By downloading apps, consumers can program the robot to suit their own needs and interests. Continue reading Consumers Will Be Able to 3D Print an Intel Robot This Year

Getty Images Delivers Winter Olympic Photos in Record Speeds

Getty Images along with AP, AFP, Reuters, and EPA wire agencies have set up state-of-the-art fiber optic networks to deliver Olympic images almost instantaneously. Getty can deliver photographs from the Winter Olympics in Sochi directly to publications within 180 seconds thanks to 20 kilometers of cable and a 100Mbps network. The process of preparing an image for delivery in record speed involves a team of Photoshop experts, captioning specialists, and editors. Continue reading Getty Images Delivers Winter Olympic Photos in Record Speeds

Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

Foxconn executives have been in talks about robotics with former Android executive Andy Rubin, specifically to discuss new robotic technologies and speed up deployment of robots in its factories. Rubin asked Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou to help integrate a tech company that’s being acquired by Google, which last year acquired eight other robotics companies. In the meeting, Gou was said to have expressed excitement over automation technologies demonstrated by Rubin. Continue reading Foxconn and Former Android Exec Rubin Are Talking Robotics

Carnegie Mellon Computer Can Teach Itself Common Sense

The Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL), a computer program at Carnegie Mellon, searches the Web for images and tries to understand them in order to grow a visual database and gather common sense. This program is part of recent advances in computer vision where computer programs are able to identify and label objects in images, as well as recognize attributes such as color and lighting. This data will help computers comprehend the visual world. Continue reading Carnegie Mellon Computer Can Teach Itself Common Sense

Wi-Fi Alternative Could Help Build The Internet of Things

Taylor Alexander, a robotics engineer, has developed a work-in-progress project called Flutter as a Wi-Fi alternative. This “second network” can cover 100 times as great an area, with a range of 3,200 feet, with little power used. The project came about after Alexander attempted to connect sensors to one another during an app redesign on a project and found that Flutter could expand the potential of the Internet of Things, where all devices despite their size are connected to the Internet. Continue reading Wi-Fi Alternative Could Help Build The Internet of Things

SIGGRAPH: Disney Uses 3D Printing to Create Expressive Eyes

Disney Research is using 3D printing to create components to build expressive eyes for robots. However, rather than mimic human eyes, which can appear strange to some, the robot eyes have a cartoonish look. The technology may have future applications for interactive toys, video game characters and possibly even human prosthetic eyes. The research team demonstrated the technology at the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference in Anaheim last week. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Disney Uses 3D Printing to Create Expressive Eyes

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