The Duckietown Foundation announces the AI Driving Olympics (AI-DO), a self-driving car competition to debut at NIPS 2018

The Duckietown Foundation is excited to announce the The AI Driving Olympics, a new competition focused around AI for self-driving cars. The first edition of the AI Driving Olympics 2018 will take place December 7, 2018, at Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), the premiere machine learning conference, in Montréal. This is the first competition with real robots that will take place at a machine learning conference.

The competition will use the Duckietown platform, a miniature self-driving car platform used for autonomy education and research. The Duckietown project originated at MIT in 2016 and is now used by many institutions worldwide.

The AI Driving Olympics is presented in collaboration with 6 academic institutions: ETH Zürich (Switzerland), Université de Montréal (Canada), National Chiao Tung University (Taiwan), Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago (USA), Tsinghua University (China) and Georgia Tech (USA), as well as two industry co-organizers: nuTonomy (a self-driving car company) and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

About the competition: The competition comprises 4 challenges of increasing complexity: 1) Road following on an empty road; 2) Road following with obstacles; 3) Point to point navigation in a city network with other vehicles; and 4) Fleet planning for a full autonomous mobility on demand system.

Competitors will have access to a suite of professional development tools (simulators, logs, baseline implementations). Real environments called “Robotariums” will be remotely accessible for evaluation. The highest scoring entries in the robotariums will be run during the live event at NIPS 2018 to determine the overall winners.

Scientific goals: The competition aims at directing academic research towards the hard problems of embodied AI, such as modularity of learning processes, and learning in simulation while deploying in reality.  

Social goals: The competition also promotes the democratization of AI and robotics research by using an inexpensive platform, and offering a common infrastructure available through the use of remote testing facilities. Competitors can also build or acquire their own testing facility (Duckiebots and a Duckietowns), through either open-source DIY instructions, or as rewards obtained in our kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/163162211/duckietown-a-playful-road-to-learning-robotics-and?ref=dwrnb2)

 

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For many teachers, figuring out how to implement concepts into maths, design & technology, engineering and computer science subjects can be difficult. Our STEM Labs allow for easy implementation with minimal preparation time. Each STEM Lab can be used on multiple platforms and includes easy-to-follow build instructions.

Go to the STEM Labs Portal: https://education.vex.com/

Smartibot launches the world’s first A.I. enabled cardboard robot

London, England – June 26th 2018 The Crafty Robot today launches its new robot kit Smartibot which is aimed at letting users get hands-on experience with A.I. and get creative through building their own robot out of anything, even a potato. Created by product designer Ross Atkin, who is part of a team of inventors in the BBC’s flagship technology program ‘The Big Life Fix’, Smartobots are available for pre-order on Kickstarter from £30 ($40).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/460355237/338515758?ref=1k04h4&token=994114b3

Smartibot takes The Crafty Robot’s ‘build a robot out of anything’ ethos and adds the latest A.I. technology and smartphone connectivity. This allows you to build robots that can recognise and respond to objects they can see such as people, animals and vehicles, or be driven around the home and office using your smartphone as a remote control.

Smartibot comes with cleverly designed cardboard parts, and can be re-used to easily create new robots out of almost anything from porcelain to parsnips. The first three cardboard robot designs include;

  • A.I. Bot: The fun robot that can chase you, your pets or toy vehicles around the room.
  • Teabot: Which can carry two full drinks around the room, giving you a fun way to deliver your favourite person their beverage of choice.
  • Unicorn: It’s a freakin’ Unicorn!

Working with two groups of London-based craftspeople who use traditional processes, Smartibot has grown from a simple robot to something more. Artists at Turning Earth Studios have been able to craft robots using various clay and ceramic techniques whilst regulars at Wild and Woolly Yarn Shop have found knitting a series of robots was more their style. In an East London Makerspace, Machines Room, Smartibot robots have been made using the less traditional materials including potatoes and other vegetables in order to pit them against each other in a race and arena combat in the inaugural ‘Botato Wars’.

“I build technology for a living and I know that the best way to avoid being replaced by a robot is to be the person making the robot” explained Ross Atkin. “We believe building your own robot should be affordable, easy to understand and exciting for everyone. Because of this we created Smartibot in order to allow everyone the opportunity to experiment with the latest A.I. technology in a fun and inventive way.”

Unlike most education technology products, Smartibot allows you to learn all of the disciplines required to create new inventions, from coding and machine learning, to mechanical design and development through iteration.

Akram Hussein, Smartibot software lead, said  “What I love about Smartibot is it allows me share my love of technology and machine learning with my young nephews in a way that is both fun but educational. I’m hopefully they will be excited to pursue STEM careers and believe Smartibot is just the right level to get them started in learning how robots and programming work.”

About The Crafty Robot

The Crafty Robot is a technology education brand, founded by Ross Atkin that has manufactured and sold cardboard robots since 2015 when it was successfully Kickstarted and delivered to over 1,600 backers.

Ross, a London based designer and engineer specialising in internet of things and smart city products, and is part of a team of eight inventors who create one off pieces of technology to solve problems for disabled individuals in the primetime BBC2 TV program ‘The Big Life Fix’.

The Crafty Robot is focused on allowing people to get creative with technology in the most fun and accessible ways possible.

MIMIC educational robots introduces robots you can code

Cincinnati-based Entrepreneur launches Kickstarter campaign to launch ‘mimicArm’, your own programmable A.I. robot arm

Cincinnati, OH (April 14, 2018) – mimicEducationalRobots (a division of Robomotive Laboratories LLC) is changing the way coding is taught with mimicArm. The Cincinnati-based small family business launched a new Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/713401305/662798422?ref=455790&token=e4d4249c) on April 24th to help advance the development and production of the new technology.

mimicArm is a desktop sized robot arm that represents a new approach to teaching programming. mimicArm is a collaborative robot, or “cobot”, designed to interact with human users.  Unlike other educational robots mimicArm teaches children to program robots to work in tandem with humans. Using the mimicArm controller children as young as 5 are immediately able to interact with mimicArm.  When they’re ready, users can begin coding using mimicBlock, a graphical coding interface.  mimicArm is also programmable using actual C code and includes simple pre-written functions to allow the quick creation of complicated programs. The provided programming experiments start simple, but build to complex interactive artificial intelligence programs. Paired with the inputBox and other sensors the user can create a truly interactive artificial intelligence robot arm.

Brett Pipitone, the Founder of mimicEducationalRobots is no stranger to Kickstarter.  “After a successfully-funded Doorbell Phone campaign on Kickstarter, I began to indulge in my love of robotics and introduced the Cortex:Robot Arm controller,” said Pipitone. “We continued to develop the technology by adding joints, cameras and motion and soon realized that we had developed something truly unique: The mimic immersion robot was born.  While mimic’s Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach it’s goal, the technology developed allowed us to build mimicArm, which we think could really make a difference in the world.”

The key to bringing mimicArm to life is the mimic arm controller with patent-pending Posi-Feeltm grip controllers. The user grips a simple scissor control and moves his or her arm and hand in natural ways.  mimicArm will “mimic” these motions. A series of joints, pivots and sensors are built into the mimicArm Controller to make this possible.  When the user is ready, easy to use programming software and robust examples walk them through the process of learning to program their own robot.

This assemblage of new technologies allows the user to see immediate frustration-free results without the risk of outgrowing the robot in a short time.  The infinite expandability and endless programming possibilities will keep even expert programmers captivated.

mimicEducationalRobots realized early that a single package would not fit all users needs, so backers have a choice of three packages, each with a unique user in mind.

  • The mimicArm kit version includes the robot and manual controller. This version is great for those who want to ease into robotics coding, or those that already have sensors that they’re ready to integrate with the robot.  Perfect for beginners and experts, this package is the most affordable option.
  • The mimicArm Super Fun Kit is centered around manual mode, with a set of accessories to maximize the fun factor. Users can stack the stacking blocks (included), or program the robot to do it for them.  The Great Big Button is also included, and offers additional capabilities for those honing their coding skills (or for those with younger siblings that really want to touch something). “mimicArm Super Fun Kit is targeted towards younger users, but is also a great way for beginners to make coding interesting as well,” says Pipitone.
  • The mimicArm Deluxe Kit is the most complete kit offered. Including everything from the mimicArm Super Fun Kit, the mimicArm Deluxe Kit adds the input box and IR Distance Sensor for maximum interactive possibilities.  The inputBox incorporates buttons, a microphone and other sensors, and a microSD card.  “Programmable with both mimicBlock and Arduino, the Deluxe kit really expands the possibilities. With this kit the user can truly program their own interactive robot,” says Pipitone.

MimicArm is a great educational tool, and users can be a part of it now by backing mimic on Kickstarter. According to Pipitone, „We’re teaching those who will deliver the personal robot of the future. We’re still working on flying cars and jet packs.“

For more information, please visit: http://www.mimicrobots.com/.

Finally – never again step barefoot on a LEGO® brick in the night! Leguino is now on Kickstarter.

BELFAST, UK – March 2018 –  Leguino launches on Kickstarter and creates the opportunity to anyone to invent. Leguino has built a Sweeper Bot which collects all the lost LEGO® bricks from your floor. The Leguino team made it possible by using the brick shaped Leguino electronics and designed the software for this unique robot with Leguino Visuino, the visual drag and drop software development environment.
By removing the barriers between the worlds of LEGO® and Arduino™, Raspberry Pi and the endless range of electronics – Leguino is a unique marriage to break barriers and overrides limitations: It opens the door for building your next level Lego® project. Leguino parts deliver the bridge. Finally!

Imagine the typical LEGO® projects: Most of them are locked in the LEGO® environment and the really hot and interesting electronic modules which are available for Arduino™ or Raspberry Pi and other compatible components cannot be integrated properly. They do not fit. By using Leguino parts these obstacles are removed: Revert to the endless Arduino™ solutions and add them to your new breathtaking LEGO® projects. Make your prototypes with LEGO® and integrate unique Leguino devices with crazy functions: Microphones, infrared data transfer, OLED displays, humidity sensors or why not try out a real webserver? Connect your LEGO® project to the Internet and override all limitations.

Inventing software with Leguino Visuino is as easy as connecting LEGO® bricks. For those people who are not skilled in writing software, developing programs has never been easier. Instead of writing hundreds of lines of programming code – Leguino Visuino, the visual drag and drop software development environment does all the hard work for you. Just focus on what you will build with bricks, wire them together and see it running in minutes!

The Leguino Vision

The Leguino Vision started with a very straight forward approach: Merging simple tools together to empower people to overcome obstacles while inventing. The Leguino belief is that by lowering barriers more and more people can develop their dream projects and follow their own ideas and inspirations. Ones‘ age or manual skills may not restrict anymore.

Leguino – you are the inventor!

Segway Robotics Defines the Future of Mobile Robots with Loomo

San Francisco, California – March 6, 2018Segway Robotics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Segway-Ninebot Group, is proud to launch Loomo, a smart machine that toggles between a mini personal transporter and mobile robot sidekick. Loomo is now available for pre-order on Indiegogo today, with limited early bird pricing starting at $1299.

Loomo will launch with a core set of foundational features, with more capabilities unlocked over time through over-the-air (OTA) updates. Out of the box, you can ride Loomo as a mini transporter, let it follow you autonomously as a robot sidekick, or show off Loomo’s playful personality to your friends. Loomo also comes with a free Android-based SDK for professional developers and enthusiasts alike to build on top of our mobility + AI platform.

 

Loomo’s key features include:

 

  • Self-Balancing Transporter: Smooth ride experience across most terrain types, with speeds of up to 11 MPH, and the capacity to cover 22 miles in one charge; a voice-based tutorial allows anyone to learn how to ride Loomo in mere minutes
  • Auto-Follow Expert: With advanced computer vision, Loomo can follow you autonomously, shoot stabilized video, and more
  • Avatar: Use your smartphone as a remote control to access all of Loomo’s capabilities – see, speak, interact, and explore as if you are Loomo
  • Friendly & Expressive Personality: Powered by its emotion engine, Loomo’s lovable nature and lighthearted expressions will cheer you up and impress everyone around you
  • Multiple Control Methods: You can control Loomo via your smartphone app, voice command, gestures and touch sensors
  • New Skills Unlocked Over-the-Air (OTA): Loomo will continuously update its software and app OTA to include new features
  • Free Loomo Android SDK for developers: Directly access Loomo’s mobility and AI capabilities to build a range of playful features or practical solutions

 

“Segway-Ninebot has already put millions of wheels on the ground that cover 180 million kilometers each year. But what happens if you combine Segway’s proven mobility technology with cutting-edge AI? Well say hello to Loomo,” said Li Pu, President of Segway Robotics.  “For many, Loomo is a reflection of our movie fantasies growing up… it embodies our vision of how mobile personal robots can become a part of our everyday lives.”

The Loomo Indiegogo campaign launches March 6, 2018. Limited early bird pricing will be set at $1299. The basic pack includes 1 Loomo, 1 AC/DC adapter, 1 extended air tap, and 1 USB 3.0 Type-C cable. Loomo will begin shipping to backers in May 2018.

About Segway Robotics

Segway Robotics is a privately held company that focuses on developing and commercializing personal robots. Founded in 2015, it is fully owned by Segway-Ninebot Group, a Series C company. The company has notable backers including the likes of Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital and Xiaomi.

To find out more about Segway Robotics: http://www.segwayrobotics.com/

Leguino fills the gap between LEGO® and Arduino™ and Raspberry Pi – now presented on Kickstarter

BELFAST, UK – March 2018 – Leguino is debuting on Kickstarter to fill the gap between two worlds of creation: LEGO® and Arduino™. The Leguino parts contain Arduino™ and Raspberry Pi compatible electronics and houses them into LEGO® compatible brick cases. Leguino delivers standard brick compatible cases for common Arduino and Raspberry Pi electronic components to enhance LEGO® projects and opens them to endless possibilities.

Imagine the typical LEGO® projects: Most of them are locked in the LEGO® environment and the really hot and interesting electronic modules which are available for Arduino™ or Raspberry Pi and other compatible components cannot be integrated properly. They do not fit. By using Leguino parts these obstacles are removed: Revert to the endless Arduino™ solutions and add them to your new breathtaking LEGO® projects. Make your prototypes with LEGO® and integrate unique Leguino devices with crazy functions: Microphones, infrared data transfer, OLED displays, humidity sensors or why not try out a real webserver? Connect your LEGO® project to the Internet and override all limitations.

Inventing software with Leguino Visuino is as easy as connecting LEGO® bricks. For those people who are not skilled in writing software, developing programs has never been easier. Instead of writing hundreds of lines of programming code – Leguino Visuino, the visual drag and drop software development environment does all the hard work for you. Just focus on what you will build with bricks, wire them together and see it running in minutes!

The Leguino Vision

The Leguino Vision started with a very straight forward approach: Merging simple tools together to empower people to overcome obstacles while inventing. The Leguino belief is that by lowering barriers more and more people can develop their dream projects and follow their own ideas and inspirations. Ones‘ age or manual skills may not restrict anymore.

Leguino – you are the inventor!

The Founder of Leguino

The Leguino founder Urs Markus Ernst Streidl has a demonstrated track record for successfully founding companys over 25 years. He has a degree in computer sciences and economics and has (co-)founded 8 tech companys. He is the winner of the German nation-wide Start-Up competition in 2006. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland where he cofounded one of his last ventures, BrainWaveBank LTD (one of the hottest Startups in Ireland). This venture has secured in excess of $1.5M in seed capital and R&D funding to date.
Leguino is the first project which integrates the knowledge of his own children (ages 7 and 9). They are the pros and enthusiasts at Leguino.

Maker Faire Ruhr 2018

Robby: A French evolutive robot enhancing curiosity

Lille – France – February 14, 2018 – Robby, the first robot entirely hackable and adaptable, with Plug & Play extensions to awake your creativity, has now reached more than 55% of its goal on Kickstarter (http://kickstarter.mr-robotics.com). Robby is the spark of curiosity everyone need to learn and create. Our evolutive robot is simple enough for beginners to learn step-by-step programming & robotics and powerful in order for the most advanced ones to create, prototype and use it as an open-source working base.

How?

Curious innovators or students just have to follow the three easy steps below to create, learn and prototype:

choose the architecture: build the robot step-by-step starting by choosing its architecture according to its locomotion: holonomic (with three omni-directional wheels) or differential (with two classic wheels) training;
Add and remove Plug & Play extensions easily to the rhythm of your projects to achieve original constructions and more or less complex robots;
Program the robot with an intuitive Arduino library, lots of examples, tutorials, and a visual programming editor. For the most advanced one, you can participate to the open-source library and add your own functions.

For who?

Our goal is to stimulate the curiosity of everyone. We believe that learning complex disciplines can be achieved intuitively and with fun. Based on modularity and simple programming, our robots are designed to familiarize you with robotics, introduce you to programming and realize the most ambitious technological. But beginners aren’t the only one who will enjoy Robby. Based on an ARM Cortex-M4F 32 bit 120 MHz microcontroller, with a 12V extra long life Lipo 3S battery, DC-12V precise motors and incremental encoders, advanced ones will be able to program quickly a powerful platform that will be completed with DIY modules (breadboard sensors and extensions).

From the simple proximity sensor to the multi-articulated arm or the DIY sensor, several dozens of different configurations are possible and available to you! So don’t wait any longer to imagine and conceive! Robby can be used as a slaved robot, in order for everyone to discover, prototype, learn and create.

Mr. Robotics has worked for over one year to bring Robby to market. After dozens of prototypes and R&D testing, we have validated and tested our robot. The time has come to move forward with making Robby available to everyone, and that is why we launched a crowdfunding campaign. Find out more about the crowdfunding campaign at Kickstarter or on our website.

 

About Mr. Robotics:

We are three French students, who have launched the project one year ago. Olivier is currently doing an Engineer School at ENS Paris Saclay and working on the hardware and software. Guillaume, an alumni of Supmeca Engineer School, is currently focusing on the design and the production of the robot, in order to deliver everyone in time. Mathieu is at EDHEC Business School in Lille and manages the Marketing and Sales part.

Sony’s New KOOV Educator Kit Makes Science and Technology Learning Accessible to Everyone

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — February 14, 2018—Sony Electronics today announced its unveiling of the KOOV Educator Kit, an all-in-one coding, robotics and design kit that combines digital coding with physical building to teach the next generation of problem solvers and innovators. Reflecting Sony’s commitment to both technology innovation and quality science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education, KOOV is designed to help cultivate students’ collaboration and problem solving skills, which have become critically important in 21st century learning.

Studies show that 65 percent of kids entering primary school today will work in jobs that do not exist yet,* and that there will be 4.4 million computer and IT jobs in the USA by 2024.** STEAM-focused education helps children develop the abilities they need for a technology-driven world. To meet the marketplace’s growing demand for these skills, KOOV helps students develop their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication abilities. KOOV was created to make STEAM learning tools accessible to all students. By using inclusive colors, a shareable design and the goal of building a foundation for future STEAM learning, KOOV serves as a ready-made, easy-to-use resource for teachers, students and parents.

“KOOV is a dynamic educational tool to help pave the road for tomorrow’s creative geniuses,” said Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics.” As a technology company, Sony depends on the next generation of talented engineers and artists to carry our industry forward. Exposing students to engaging science and technology projects during their formative years encourages them to embrace these subjects.”

KOOV is made up of over 300 building blocks and accessories, along with a plethora of sensors, motors, LEDs and more. The KOOV Educator Kit includes the KOOV App, which features more than 30 hours of easy-to-follow educational content via its Learning Course. The KOOV Learning Course offers a great starting point for students to begin learning key concepts in coding, building and design. This educational course introduces the different electrical components that KOOV uses and provides students an overview of how those parts work and how to use Scratch-based coding to control them. The KOOV Educator Kit also comes with 23 pre-designed, pre-coded “Robot Recipes” ranging from simple structures to complex animals and vehicles. These recipes enable students to start building right away and quickly develop the skills needed to create their own original robots. The Robot Recipes showcase what can be done with KOOV, giving young learners the inspiration they need to move ahead and make their own unique creations from scratch.

Designed for children ages eight and up, the KOOV Educator Kit allows students to build on core concepts that they will learn over time and create increasingly complex robots as they go. Once a student masters the basic concepts and skills, they can use their imagination to create an infinite number of robotic combinations.

KOOV is flexible enough for students to use for independent study or in a structured setting led by an educator. One KOOV Educator Kit can accommodate up to five students. The Educator Kit offers curriculum-aligned lesson plans, step- by-step teacher guides, and student progress reports. In addition, KOOV provides class management features to give educators the tools to quickly implement KOOV-based learning into any classroom. KOOV will be available for pre-order beginning February 14, 2018, and products are expected to start shipping in late March 2018. For more information please visit: https://www.sony.com/koov

Sources:
*World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, 2016
**Bureau of Labor and Statistics

 

About Sony Electronics Inc. Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Corporation (Japan), one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K Ultra HD TVs. Visit http://www.sony.com/news for more information.