AI & Robotics News and Discussions

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caltrek
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NIH-funded Modern “White Cane” Brings Navigation Assistance to the 21st Century

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-re ... st-century

Introduction:
(National Institute of Health) Equipped with a color 3D camera, an inertial measurement sensor, and its own on-board computer, a newly improved robotic cane could offer blind and visually impaired users a new way to navigate indoors. When paired with a building’s architectural drawing, the device can accurately guide a user to a desired location with sensory and auditory cues, while simultaneously helping the user avoid obstacles like boxes, furniture, and overhangs. Development of the device was co-funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Details of the updated design were published in the journal IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica.

“Many people in the visually impaired community consider the white cane to be their best and most functional navigational tool, despite it being century-old technology,” said Cang Ye, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of computer science at the College of Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. “For sighted people, technologies like GPS-based applications have revolutionized navigation. We’re interested in creating a device that closes many of the gaps in functionality for white cane users.”

While there are cell phone-based applications that can provide navigation assistance – helping blind users stay within crosswalks, for example – large spaces inside buildings are a major challenge, especially when those spaces are unfamiliar. Earlier versions of Ye’s robotic cane began tackling this problem by incorporating building floorplans; the user could tell the cane whether he or she wished to go, and the cane – by a combination of auditory cues and a robotic rolling tip – could guide the user to their destination.

…Ye and colleagues have added a color depth camera to the system. Using infrared light, much like a mobile phone’s front-facing camera, the system can determine the distance between the cane and other physical objects, including the floor, features like doorways and walls, as well as furniture and other obstacles. Using this information, along with data from an inertial sensor, the cane’s onboard computer can map the user’s precise location to the existing architectural drawing or floorplan, while also alerting the user to obstacles in their path.
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Study author Lingqiu Jin tests the robotic cane.
Cang Ye, VCU.
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Yuli Ban
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Yuli Ban
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Artificial intelligence’s role in the pandemic
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the U.S., many states tried to control the spread of the virus by issuing mask mandates, lockdown restrictions and encouraging work from home for industries who could manage it. However, essential workers in healthcare, food production, transportation, manufacturing and logistics had to continue operating for society to function.

The primary means of detection for affected individuals during the first half of 2020 was temperature scanning to assess for fever. Businesses and communities quickly implemented contactless thermometers in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus along with social distancing protocols and enforcing proper mask use. Despite all of these efforts, the disease continued to spread across the country and the world, partly due to two main factors with the temperature monitoring solutions: potential calibration issues and human error.

That’s one area where artificial intelligence (AI) has had a significant impact by replacing error-prone human enforcement with advanced AI models capable of autonomously measuring the temperatures of thousands of people per hour. The ability to quickly detect individuals who present a fever and alert authorities in one or more departments almost instantaneously is invaluable when reducing the risk of contagion in areas with high traffic like malls, hospitals and offices. Delegating this process to machines has enabled companies and governments to assign more personnel to respond to positive cases and improve the efficiency of their response.
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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Yuli Ban
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Starspawn0 on Facebook's language model:
And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
weatheriscool
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AugLimb: A compact robotic limb to support humans during everyday activities
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-09-aug ... umans.html
by Ingrid Fadelli , Tech Xplore

Researchers at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and University of Tokyo recently developed AugLimb, a compact robotic limb that could support humans as they complete a variety of tasks. This new limb, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, can extend up to 250 mm and grasp different objects in a user's vicinity.

"We are interested in human augmentation technologies, which aim to enhance human capabilities with information and robotics approaches," Haoran Xie, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Tech Xplore. "We particularly focus on the physical augmentation of human bodies."

Most existing wearable robotic arms are designed to be mounted on a human user's upper body (e.g., on the upper arm, waist or shoulders). While some of these systems have achieved promising results, they are typically based on bulky hardware and wearing them can be uncomfortable for users.

"Most previously developed supernumerary robotic limb devices are heavy and occupy large space," Xie said. "Instead, we proposed a compact robotic limb that can fold into small volume without the interrupt to the wears' daily activities, especially for long-time usage."
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Deep learning helps predict new drug combinations to fight COVID-19
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-09- ... ovid-.html
by Rachel Gordon, MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab

The existential threat of COVID-19 has highlighted an acute need to develop working therapeutics against emerging health threats. One of the luxuries deep learning has afforded us is the ability to modify the landscape as it unfolds—so long as we can keep up with the viral threat, and access the right data.

As with all new medical maladies, oftentimes the data needs time to catch up, and the virus takes no time to slow down, posing a difficult challenge as it can quickly mutate and become resistant to existing drugs. This led scientists from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) to ask: how can we identify the right synergistic drug combinations for the rapidly spreading SARS-CoV-2?

Typically, data scientists use deep learning to pick out drug combinations with large existing datasets for things like cancer and cardiovascular disease, but, understandably, they can't be used for new illnesses with limited data.

Without the necessary facts and figures, the team needed a new approach: a neural network that wears two hats. Since drug synergy often occurs through inhibition of biological targets, (like proteins or nucleic acids), the model jointly learns drug-target interaction and drug-drug synergy to mine new combinations. The drug-target predictor models the interaction between a drug and a set of known biological targets that are related to the chosen disease. The target-disease association predictor learns to understand a drug's antiviral activity, which means determining the virus yield in infected tissue cultures. Together, they can predict the synergy of two drugs.
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Researchers developing fully autonomous robot chef
https://techxplore.com/news/2021-09-ful ... -chef.html
by Columbia University
Concept rendering of a digital cooking appliance that boasts dozens of ingredients and a precise cooking laser to assemble and cook meals using digital recipes. Credit: Columbia University

Imagine having your own digital personal chef; ready to cook up whatever you want; able to tailor the shape, texture, and flavor just for you; and it's all at the push of a button. Columbia engineers have been working on doing just that, using lasers for cooking and 3D printing technology for assembling foods.

Under the guidance of Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson, the "Digital Food" team of his Creative Machines Lab has been building a fully autonomous digital personal chef. Lipson's group has been developing 3D-printed foods since 2007. Since then, food printing has progressed to multi-ingredient prints and has been explored by researchers and a few commercial companies.

"We noted that, while printers can produce ingredients to a millimeter-precision, there is no heating method with this same degree of resolution," said Jonathan Blutinger, a Ph.D. in Lipson's lab who led the project. "Cooking is essential for nutrition, flavor, and texture development in many foods, and we wondered if we could develop a method with lasers to precisely control these attributes."
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caltrek
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Robotics Investment in China Reviewed
by Brian Heater
September 23, 2021

https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/23/attac ... ic-raises/

Introduction:
(TechCrunch) How’s this for a bit of regional synchronicity? This week, a pair of Chinese robotics firms secured $200 million rounds. It’s all part of a booming ecosystem that we get some insight into every so often. There are so many players in China’s robotics space it can be hard to keep track of some of the innovation over there, but these sorts of large funding rounds are a surefire way to make some waves.

The COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to be a major acceleration point for the country, on the tail of some major manufacturing shortages that brought the world’s supply chains to a standstill. But this week’s pair of big raises point toward an adoption of automation that moves beyond manufacturing.

Hai Robotics grabbed the bigger headlines of the two with the announcement of a joint Series C and D that amount to $200 million. The company’s Shenzhen location puts it smack in the heart of China’s manufacturing zone, but the company’s specialty is warehouse/fulfillment robotics. It already has a decent-sized international footprint with deployment in 30 countries, including a recent deal with Booktopia, a large Australian online book retailer.

5Y Capital and Capital Today led the C and D, respectively. The rounds also featured Sequoia Capital China, Source Code Capital, VMS, Walden International and Scheme Capital. The funding will be used to further Hai’s international expansion and build out its existing presence in China.
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Image Credits: Keenon Robotics
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Meet Gary: The personal Israeli robot assistant for your home or office
Israel-based Unlimited Robotics revealed its new service robot, Gary, geared and manufactured to perform any home, business or office chore, the company announced in a statement.
Alongside the big reveal, the 20-team member Israeli start-up also announced its new developer's platform, Ra-Ya, which "makes it easier for any software engineer to build robotic applications even without prior experience in hard-coded environments."
"The process of programming a robotic application is challenging, and it is not that simple for most software developers," said Unlimited Robotics CEO Guy Altagar. "Unlimited Robotics is democratizing the way people can build applications for robots with the company’s groundbreaking technology.
"We are empowering software engineers who do not have prior experience in robot programming, especially if they have experience in JavaScript and Python, to actually create pragmatic solutions for people’s homes, businesses, and offices."
Image
Gary the autonomous robot assistant doing some chores around the house.
(photo credit: Unlimited Robotics)
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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future
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