Struggling to keep on top of all the news about robotics? These essential blogs covering news about robotics make it easy.

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Stanford Robots Load a Hovering Drone, Solve a Marble Maze, and More

Stanford Robots Load a Hovering Drone, Solve a Marble Maze, and More
Robots that sketch, play ping pong, solve mazes, and attempt to juggle strutted their stuff at the annual demo day for Stanford’s Experimental Robotics class. Each year, Professor Oussama Khatib’s students aim to teach a selection of industrial robots some new skills. The toughest project: teaching a Kuka robot to juggle. (It struggled, with balls getting stuck or flying wild… but as anyone who has tried to juggle objects can tell you, the learning curve is very steep.) The …
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Sony Adds Toio Cubes to Its Arsenal of Strange Robotic Toys

Sony Adds Toio Cubes to Its Arsenal of Strange Robotic Toys
From Sony, the company that brought you the amazing Aibo and the slightly less amazing Rolly, comes a new consumer robotic toy: Toio, a “toy platform” consisting of little robotic cubes on wheels. It’s much cuter and way more fun looking than it sounds, and could be just clever enough to keep kids interested for more than 5 minutes (a common problem with a lot of robotic toys). Here’s the trailer that should give you an overview of what this thing is: We don’t have a l…
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Wouldn’t You Like Alexa Better if It Knew When It Was Annoying You?

Wouldn’t You Like Alexa Better if It Knew When It Was Annoying You?
What could your computer, phone, or other gadget do differently if it knew how you were feeling? Rana el Kaliouby, founder and CEO of Affectiva, is considering the possibilities of such a world. Speaking at the Computer History Museum last week, el Kaliouby said that she has been working to teach computers to read human faces since 2000 as a PhD student at Cambridge University. “I remember being stressed,” she says.  “I had a paper deadline, and “Clippy” [that’s Microsoft’…
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Kickstarting the Quantum Startup: A Hybrid of Quantum Computing and Machine Learning Is Spawning New Ventures

Kickstarting the Quantum Startup: A Hybrid of Quantum Computing and Machine Learning Is Spawning New Ventures
Machine learning, the field of AI that allows Alexa and Siri to parse what you say and self-driving cars to safely drive down a city street, could benefit from quantum computer-derived speedups, say researchers. And if a technology incubator program in Toronto, Canada has its way, there may even be quantum machine learning startup companies launching in a few years too. Research in this hybrid field today concentrates on either using nascent quantum computers to speed up …
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Row Bots Test Whether Human Rowers Have Been Doing It Wrong

Row Bots Test Whether Human Rowers Have Been Doing It Wrong
There are two different ways to row a boat with a bunch of oars. You can either do it synchronously, with everyone pulling all together and at the same time, or asynchronously, with rowers pulling in some sort of sequence, like a repeating wave. Nobody who knows what they’re doing with a boat (and this includes all of the Olympic rowing teams) ever does the asynchronous thing, and the assumption is that a rowing team that all pulls together is stronger and more efficient tha…
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Video Friday: Extra Robot Arms, Anti-Drone Drone, and Adorable TurtleBots

Video Friday: Extra Robot Arms, Anti-Drone Drone, and Adorable TurtleBots
Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): NASA SRC Virtual Competition – June 12-16, 2017 – Online ICCV 2017 – June 13-16, 2017 – Venice, Italy RoboBoat 2017 – June 20-20, 2017 – Daytona Beach, Fl., USA Aerial Robotics International Research Symposium – June 21-22, 201…
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SureFly, a New Air Taxi That Runs On Electricity—and Gasoline

SureFly, a New Air Taxi That Runs On Electricity—and Gasoline
Range anxiety, the bugaboo of all-electric driving, is even more frightening for all-electric flying, where running out of power has worse consequences than having to pull over to the side of the road.  A solution now comes from Workhorse, an Ohio-based firm. It has a passenger-carrying air taxi, called the SureFly, which combines the company’s expertise in partially automated operation, from its drone business, and in hybrid-electric propulsion, from its truck business.  …
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SoftBank Acquires Boston Dynamics and Schaft

SoftBank Acquires Boston Dynamics and Schaft
We knew that Masayoshi Son loved robots. Now the founder and CEO of telecom giant SoftBank is about to significantly expand his collection. Minutes ago, SoftBank announced that it will be acquiring Boston Dynamics and Schaft for an undisclosed sum, in order to “collaborate in advancing the development of smart robotics technologies.” Boston Dynamics and Schaft were two of the nine robotics companies that Google acquired in 2013 to form the core of its robotics division, …
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Blimps Seem Like the Friendliest Kind of Indoor Flying Robots

Blimps Seem Like the Friendliest Kind of Indoor Flying Robots
Every time we go to a conference, we see flying robots that are getting smaller and more talented, capable of dynamically avoiding all sorts of obstacles, indoors and out. But that’s a lot of work. What’s less work is floating calmly through the air, without any concern for hurting people or running into things, or running out of battery: Such is the life of the gentle and slightly chubby Miniature Autonomous Blimp from Georgia Tech (GT-MAB), which can now detect faces and a…
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How Much Can Autonomous Cars Learn from Virtual Worlds?

How Much Can Autonomous Cars Learn from Virtual Worlds?
To be able to drive safely and reliably, autonomous cars need to have a comprehensive understanding of what’s going on around them. They need to recognize other cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, humans, traffic lights, street signs, and everything else that may end up on or near a road. They also have to do this in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions, which is why most (if not all) companies developing autonomous cars are spending a ludicrous (but necessary) amount …
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