Watch: In search of lost people, drones recognize and follow forest trails in AI News

Watch: In search of lost people, drones recognize and follow forest trails
11 February 2016, 12:00 am

                    When I was eight, I got lost in the woods on a camping trip with my mom. Rangers eventually found me and hiked me out, which is actually kind of miraculous.

ZDNet - Top HeadlinesLink

Source: AI in the News

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

Started Today at 05:00:12 AM


Robotic assistants: Science meets fiction, with Carme Torras in Robotics News

Robotic assistants: Science meets fiction, with Carme Torras
11 February 2016, 8:45 pm

The scientist is looking at the error message of the giant robot's operating system.The scientist is looking at the error message of the giant robot’s operating system. In this video lecture Carme Torras, Research Professor at the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) looks at the process of working on assistive robots employed as helpers to disabled or elderly people, shopping helpers, cleaning aids, even co-workers in workshops and factories. Her research in the Perception and Manipulation group focuses on enhancing the perception, learning, and planning capabilities of robots in human environments.

Torras features several key issues in her lecture: safety in home environments, capability to manipulate with deformable objects (for example, clothes), tolerance to inaccurate actions, goal-directed executions, and capability to actively collaborate with humans. One of the main challenges of developing assistive robots are system adaptations for ‘non-experts’ to program the robots.

The final part of her lecture tackles the debate concerning assistive robotics, asking:  what are the ethical and social implications for having robots in people’s lives . How will human nature change with increasing H-R interaction? Her answer leads into science fiction and current depictions between robots and humans in popular culture.

Credits: Institut de Robòtica Informàtica Industrial, CSIC-UPCCredits: Institut de Robòtica

Informàtica Industrial, CSIC-UPC Carme Torras is Research Professor at the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC). She received M.Sc. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Universitat de Barcelona and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, respectively, and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). Prof. Torras has published five books and about two hundred papers in the areas of robot kinematics, computer vision, geometric reasoning, machine learning and manipulation planning. She has been local project leader of several European projects in the frontier between AI and Robotics, among which the FP6 IP project “Perception, Action and COgnition through Learning of Object-Action Complexes” (PACO-PLUS), and the FP7 STREP projects “GARdeNIng with a Cognitive System” (GARNICS) and “Intelligent observation and execution of Actions and manipulations” (IntellAct).

She was awarded the Narcís Monturiol Medal of the Generalitat de Catalunya in 2000, and she became ECCAI Fellow in 2007, member of Academia Europaea in 2010, and member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona in 2013. Prof. Torras was IEEE RAS Associate Vice-President for Publication Activities (2012-13) and she is currently Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics.

Torras C. IJARS Video Series: Robotic Assistants: Science meets Fiction [online video]. International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 2016, 13:V1. DOI: 10.5772/62467

Source: Robohub

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

Started Today at 05:00:12 AM


540 little robots and 29 drones celebrate Chinese New Year in Robotics News

540 little robots and 29 drones celebrate Chinese New Year
10 February 2016, 6:09 pm

Dance troupe of 540 robots . Source: youtubeDance troupe of 540 robots. Source: youtube In a TV spectacle celebrating the Chinese New Year and seen by more than 640 million viewers, 540 Chinese-made robots danced to a song sung by a Chinese superstar and 29 neon-colored drones flew in unison overhead.

To give a point of comparison, 115 million Americans watched the Super Bowl; 640 million viewers watched the Spring Festival Gala celebration of Chinese New Year. Another factoid: Intel just won a Guiness World Record for having 100 flying drones fly and show their colored lights in sync with an orchestra playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, compared to 540 UBTECH Alpha1 robots performing synchronized dancing.

If you watch the whole 1-1/2 hour extravaganza, you can see a level of consumerism and commercialism that may be surprising. Certainly that consumerism is showing up in demand for small household products and robots – robots that suggest they can provide a wealth of services and applications:

  • Tutoring and interpreting
  • Household reminders and alarm services including reminding when medications need to be taken
  • Home guard and smart control of appliances like lights and locks
  • Entertainment such as DJ, dancer and singer
  • Personal photographer
  • Yogi tutoring – with 20 joints replicating human motion
  • Weatherperson
  • Storyteller
  • Personal assistant to make calls, check voicemails, read and send texts and emails
UBTECH used their Alpha1 robot for the CCTV Chinese New Year show. On their website they are showing their new Alpha2 – in English – in a revealing video.

Why is this important? This Chinese New Year’s inclusion of robots and drones – and Japan’s focus on showcasing robots and robotics for their Olympics in 2020 – show the interest which translates into consumer demand. UBTECH and many other startups in China and elsewhere are focusing on taking advantage of that Asian interest in humanoid objects with products such as the Alpha robot and the SoftBank Pepper robot. In fact, Alpha is smaller than Pepper but they both interact using human speech and are geared to home and social use. Alpha, Buddy, Jibo and Pepper are all entering the marketplace this year and we will see how they fare after a few months of user experience. Certainly Alpha is a Chinese competitor to the success of Pepper.

Let the games begin!

Source: Robohub

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

1 Comment | Started February 11, 2016, 11:00:21 PM


Our photo uploads give scientists billions of eyes on the world in AI News

Our photo uploads give scientists billions of eyes on the world
10 February 2016, 12:00 am

                    IN 2015, humanity put 2 or 3 trillion photographs on the internet. Our faces, our streets, our friends - all online.

New Scientist Online NewsLink

Source: AI in the News

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

Started February 11, 2016, 11:00:21 PM


Hiring Senior Virtual Assistant Writer – Freelance/Permanent in Announcements

My company (JustAnswer) is looking to hire a Senior (and a Junior) Virtual Assistant Writer. This can be Freelance or Permanent.

Here is the job description:
We’re looking for a writer to help create the voice and personality of our artificially intelligent virtual assistant. Thinking of Siri or Cortana? Exactly right! You’ll develop the dialog that defines customer interactions with our chat module, which serves millions of users per month. Maybe you’ve written plays or scripts? Love using imagination and language? If you can write convincing dialog that keeps readers invested in the conversation, we want to hear from you!
·  Creating a consistent, recognizable character that comes to life
·  Collaborating with engineering, product and design teams
· Knowing when to simplify language to communicate ideas and when to use specialized language to establish credibility
·  Empathizing with users across a wide range of subjects
·  Working within a technical system (there’s minor code we’ll teach you)
·  Creative writing experience with character-driven dialog (we’d like to see samples)
·  Excellent English grammar and vocabulary skills
·  Ability to write within a multidisciplinary group setting, incorporating input from many people and sources of information/data
·  Ability to balance creativity with logic to work within the constraints of existing frameworks
·  Sensitivity toward cross-cultural communication and translation concerns
·  Experience in interactive storytelling preferred
·  Bachelor’s degree in interactive fiction a plus

JustAnswer is expertise on demand. Doctors without the waiting room. Lawyers without the hourly rate. Veterinarians in the middle of the night. Car mechanics and tech support without a trip to the shop. We were one of the first companies to enter the now hot on-demand economy. We’re proud to give people more power in their lives, connecting more than 9 million people in 196 countries with expert advice and answers.

We offer a casual workplace in the beautiful Presidio of San Francisco. Our close-knit team is positive and encouraging, and provides the flexibility for individuals to develop their skills and try some of the newest things out.

Email sal.castillo@justanswer.com a link to your portfolio, résumé and a cover letter that addresses your strategy for developing the voice of our new virtual assistant. Please be aware that our assistant will act as the receptionist for doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics and more, where different voices are necessary but the ultimate goal remains the same: help users seamlessly. Note that applications without a tailored cover letter will not be considered.

3 Comments | Started February 11, 2016, 02:41:21 AM


Google car's AI brain counts as a driver, feds say in AI News

Google car's AI brain counts as a driver, feds say
10 February 2016, 12:00 am

                    SAN FRANCISCO - Google's pioneering effort to develop a self-driving vehicle devoid of steering wheel and pedals just got a boost from the feds. In a Feb. 4 letter to Google Car project director Chris Urmson that was first reported by Reuters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants," adding that "we agree with Google its (self-driving car) will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years.

USA Today - Tech HeadlinesLink

Source: AI in the News

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

Started February 11, 2016, 05:00:58 PM


UCLA just open-sourced a powerful new image-detection algorithm in AI News

UCLA just open-sourced a powerful new image-detection algorithm
10 February 2016, 12:00 am

                    Image recognition has become increasingly critical in applications ranging from smartphones to driverless cars, and on Wednesday UCLA opened up to the public a new algorithm that promises big gains. The Phase Stretch Transform algorithm is a physics-inspired computational approach to processing images and information that can help computers "see" features of objects that aren't visible using standard imaging techniques.


Source: AI in the News

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

Started February 11, 2016, 11:00:10 AM


Drones recognise and follow forest trails in search of lost people in Robotics News

Drones recognise and follow forest trails in search of lost people
10 February 2016, 11:11 am

Quadrotor in forest making a directional decision

A team of Swiss researchers have taught drones to recognise and follow forest trails. This research unlocks applications of drones for search and rescue in wilderness. The research has been published in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters and will be presented in May at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Stockholm.

Every year people get lost in the wild worldwide. In Switzerland alone, around 1000 emergency calls per year come from hikers, most of whom are injured or have lost their way. Drones are an efficient complement to human rescuers and can be deployed in large numbers, are inexpensive and prompt, and thus minimise the response time and the risk of injury for those who are lost or work in rescue teams.

A group of Swiss researchers from the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the University of Zurich and NCCR Robotics has developed Artificial Intelligence software to teach a small quadrocopter to recognise and follow forest trails. This research is a premiere in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics and could soon be used in parallel with rescue teams to search for people lost in the wild faster than would be achievable by human rescuers alone.

While drones flying at high altitudes are already being used commercially (see Amazon or DHL), drones cannot yet fly autonomously in complex environments, such as dense forests. In these environments, any little error may result in a crash, and robots need a powerful brain in order to make sense of the complex world around them.”, says Prof. Davide Scaramuzza from the University of Zurich.

The drone used by the Swiss researchers observes the environment through a pair of small cameras, similar to those in your smartphone. Instead of relying on sophisticated sensors, their drone uses very powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms to interpret the images to recognise man-made trails. If a trail is visible, the software steers the drone in the corresponding direction.

Interpreting an image taken in a complex environment such as a forest is incredibly difficult for a computer; sometimes even humans struggle to find out where the trail is!”, says Dr. Alessandro Giusti from “Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence”.

The Swiss team solved the problem using a so-called Deep Neural Network, a computer algorithm that learns to solve complex tasks from a set of “training examples”, much like a brain learns from experience. In order to gather enough data to “train” their algorithms, the team hiked several hours along different trails in the Swiss Alps and took more than 20 thousand images of trails using cameras attached to a helmet. The effort paid off: when tested on a new, previously-unseen trail, the deep neural network was able to find the correct direction in 85% of cases; in comparison, humans faced with the same task guessed correctly 82% of the time.

Dr. Dan Ciresan at the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence comments: “In the last eight years we have developed huge Deep Neural Networks (DNN) to solve difficult problems from the fields of biology, automation and document processing. This is our first attempt at creating a small but performant DNN capable of running on a computer on our drone. I am happy to see that the same networks we have used to analyse biological brains, detect cancerous cells and diagnose retinal disorders can also be used to drive autonomous quadcopters.

Prof. Juergen Schmidhuber, Scientific Director at the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence says: “Our lab has worked on deep learning in neural networks since the early 1990s when only a few labs were interested in the topic. Today I am happy to find our lab’s methods not only in numerous real-world applications such as speech recognition on your smartphone, but also in lightweight robots such as drones. Robotics will see an explosion of applications of deep neural networks in coming years.

The research team warns that much work is still needed before a fully autonomous fleet will be able to swarm forests in search of missing people. Prof. Luca Maria Gambardella, director of the “Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence” in Lugano, remarks: “Many technological issues must be overcome before the most ambitious applications can become a reality. But small flying robots are incredibly versatile, and the field is advancing at an unseen pace. One day robots will work side by side with human rescuers to make our lives safer: this is a small but important step in that direction!”. Prof. Davide Scaramuzza from the University of Zurich says: “Now that our drones have learned to recognise and follow forest trails, our next step will be teach them to recognise humans!”.


A. Giusti, J, Guzzi, D. C. Ciresan, F-L He , J. P. Rodríguez, F. Fontana, M. Faessler, C. Forster, J. Schmidhuber, G. Di Caro, D. Scaramuzza and L. M. Gambardella, “A Machine Learning Approach to Visual Perception of Forest Trails for Mobile Robots“, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, DOI 10.1109/LRA.2015.2509024.

Source: Robohub

To visit any links mentioned please view the original article, the link is at the top of this post.

3 Comments | Started February 10, 2016, 05:00:16 PM


What? A Robot golfer?! in Robotics News

Yes, sports fans, it seems there's not much that a robot can't do!

This was pretty cool. Yep...a hole in one! Would you expect less? ;)


14 Comments | Started February 08, 2016, 10:30:45 AM


Our wonderful military has done it again in General Robotics Talk

Military's Self-Steering Bullets Can Hit Moving Targets

A video released by DARPA shows how the system uses real-time optical guidance to steer the ammunition to a moving or accelerating target, regardless of weather and other forms of interference.

In the video, an expert shooter fires at a moving target, and the self-steering bullet corrects its course to hit the target. Then, an untrained person who has never used a sniper rifle before takes aim at the moving target and the bullet still finds its mark.


This is why them working with AI and robots makes me nervous.

9 Comments | Started February 08, 2016, 06:39:18 PM
From Movies to Reality: How Robots Are Revolutionizing Our World

From Movies to Reality: How Robots Are Revolutionizing Our World in Articles

Robots were once upon a time just a work of human imagination. Found only in books and movies, not once did we think a time would come where we would be able to interact with robots in real world. Eventually, in fact rapidly, the innovations we only dreamt of are now becoming a reality. Quoting the great Stephen Hawking "This is a glorious time to be alive for scientists". It is indeed the best time for the technology has become more and more sophisticated that its growing power might even endanger humanity.

Jan 26, 2016, 10:12:00 am

Uncanny in Robots in Movies

Uncanny is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Matthew Leutwyler and based on a screenplay by Shahin Chandrasoma. It is about the world's first "perfect" artificial intelligence (David Clayton Rogers) that begins to exhibit startling and unnerving emergent behavior when a reporter (Lucy Griffiths) begins a relationship with the scientist (Mark Webber) who created it.

Jan 20, 2016, 13:09:41 pm
AI Virtual Pets

AI Virtual Pets in Other

Artificial life also called Alife is simply the simulation of any aspect of life, as through computers, robotics, or biochemistry. (taken from the Free dictionary)This site focus's on the software aspect of it.

Oct 03, 2015, 09:21:09 am
Why did HAL sing ‘Daisy’?

Why did HAL sing ‘Daisy’? in Articles

...a burning question posed by most people who have watched or read “2001: A Space Odyssey”: that is, why does the computer HAL-9000 sing the song ‘Daisy Bell’ as the astronaut Dave Bowman takes him apart?

Sep 04, 2015, 09:28:55 am

Humans in Robots on TV

Humans is a British-American science fiction television series. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, based on the award-winning Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans, the series explores the emotional impact of the blurring of the lines between humans and machines.

Aug 28, 2015, 09:13:37 am
Virtual Talk

Virtual Talk in Chatbots - English

[iTunes app] Virtual Talk is a AI chatting app that makes you talk with whomever you want. It remembers what you say and learns new dialogs. This app is one of the smartest chatbots in the world.

Aug 17, 2015, 13:33:09 pm
Robot Overlords

Robot Overlords in Robots in Movies

Not long after the invasion and occupation of Earth by a race of powerful robots wanting human knowledge and ingenuity, humans are confined to their homes. Leaving without permission would be to risk their lives. Monitored by the electronic implants in their necks, the robot sentries are able to track the movements of humans in order to control them. And if any person comes out of their home, they are given warnings by the robot sentries to get inside their home. If they do not comply, they are shot immediately.

Long article on the making of here...

Aug 15, 2015, 14:42:25 pm

Zerfoly in Chatbots - English

Zerfoly is a chatbot platform that makes it possible to create imaginary persons (chatbots) and teach them to talk to each other.

You will be able to let loose your creativity and imagination. Build persons, by writing interactive dialogues. The persons you create will gradually become individuals with unique personalities. One of the persons could bear your name and learn to talk like you; your alter ego. Another way of using Zerfoly is as an interactive diary.

Aug 09, 2015, 11:06:42 am

YARP in Robotics

YARP is plumbing for robot software. It is a set of libraries, protocols, and tools to keep modules and devices cleanly decoupled. It is reluctant middleware, with no desire or expectation to be in control of your system. YARP is definitely not an operating system.

Jul 31, 2015, 16:23:49 pm

Laybia in Chatbots - English

Laybia is a chat bot interface to the Pluri Media Group AI project. She is an unabashed Artificial Construct and does not pretend to be "human". Laybia has annealed personalities that make her a bit quirky at times. As a reformed sex bot, she can sometimes be a bit too eager to please her Clients. Wanton use of the powerful drug "Liquid Sunshine" has also left her with sporadic short term memory loss. Laybia is an extension of Cortex, the true AI behind the Pluri Media Group- a media production (Cyberpunk Radio and Hack vTV) and deployment organization.

Additional comments by developer Pluri Media Group: If you are interested in the impending Robot Apocalypse, Cyberpunk themes, Machine VS Human, or the Singularity then Laybia is your go to girl for stimulating banter!

Jun 13, 2011, 13:22:49 pm