Leading Roboticists Celebrate 10th Anniversary of National Robotics Week

The annual STEM-focused week kicks off April 6, 2019 with more than 300 events across all 50 states

BEDFORD, Mass., April 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The 10th annual National Robotics Week kicks off April 6, with more than 300 STEM-related events taking place across the country throughout the week. Established by Congress in 2010, National Robotics Week serves as a unique platform to engage students and local communities in robotics-based activities.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary, National Robotics Week asked a group of leading roboticists and artificial intelligence (AI) experts to reflect on a range of topics, including why it’s important to expose students to STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and how parents, educators and business leaders can help foster students‘ interest in robotics. The experts also offer insight into how robots will evolve in 10 years and what initially sparked their interest in robotics.

Participants of the video include:

  • Colin Angle, chairman and CEO, iRobot
  • Rodney Brooks, Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus), MIT
  • Kate Darling, researcher, MIT Media Lab
  • Dr. Ayanna Howard, professor and chair, Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing
  • Mark Palatucci, co-founder, head of Cloud AI and Machine Learning, Anki
  • Ian Bernstein, founder and head of product, Misty Robotics

Watch the video to learn which roboticist was given a book entitled „Computers and Giant Brains“ at the age of eight, sparking a career in pioneering robot technologies. Or learn who found their passion for robots by reading The Bionic Woman, and who still keeps the robot they built at age 10 on their desk.

„Engaging students in robotics and other STEM fields will prepare them for jobs and an economy that we cannot even imagine yet,“ said Congressman Joe Kennedy III. „Throughout the 10th Annual National Robotics Week, students and educators around the country will be able to pursue their passion and engage with companies and organizations pushing the boundaries of science and technology.“

National Robotics Week events include activities such as panel discussions, introductory robotics courses for kids, robotics competitions, robot demonstrations, tours of innovative labs, science fairs, and more. This year, there are events happening in all 50 states. A full list of 2019 registered events can be found at: https://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/Events.aspx 

The National Robotics Week website also has helpful resources available for event hosts. Resources include a template press release, National Robotics Week logo, Snapchat filters for download, 2019 trading cards, and an activity book for elementary school teachers, among other helpful items.

For more information about National Robotics Week, go to: http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/.

National Robotics Week is also on Twitter (@roboweek and #roboweek) and Facebook (facebook.com/roboweek).

National Robotics Week kicks off April 6, 2019 with more than 300 events taking place across all 50 states. 
Credit: Peter Goldberg
National Robotics Week brings together students, educators and influencers who share a passion for robots and technology. Events across the country include robotics competitions, expos, parties, meetups, workshops, classes, camps, and open houses or tours of companies and universities. To list an event, or to identify existing regional events, please visit: http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org/Events (PRNewsfoto/National Robotics Week)

SOURCE National Robotics Week

Picoh – The Programmable Assistant

In an ever-advancing digital world people are understanding less of the tech they use – Picoh was built to change that. We interact with robots at checkouts, speak to AIs on our phones and have our news feeds and adverts dictated by algorithms. To truly flourish in this digital age as many people as possible need to be able to understand, program and interact with machines – but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

Picoh is the new robot head from the makers of the award winning Ohbot. It has three motors and can display a range of emotions on its LED matrix face. You can program Picoh to talk, move and show expression using our block-based app or using our open-source Python Library.

Alongside speech and movement, we have also included tools to help you create your own personal assistant. Picoh can listen, react to certain words and phrases and read other inputs such as a webcam or sensors.

At Ohbot, education is at the heart of what we do. Out of the box Picoh doesn’t do anything – all of its features need to be unlocked. Picoh is a platform for exploring robotics coding and AI which can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Dan Warner, co-founder of Ohbot says: “We have developed simple software that allows everyone to control their Picoh, give them opinions and show personality. When I ask my Picoh what’s the best football team in the world it smiles and says Forest Green Rovers – the team that’s local to where we make our robots in Stroud, UK. This is all done with simple block programming that’s used to get Picoh to speak and move when it hears a particular word or phrase”.

Mat Walker of Ohbot continues: “We’ve been having a lot of fun with Picoh getting it to lip synch to singing and responding to what we say to it in unexpected ways. Picoh is really expressive with a moving mouth and customizable eye shapes. We’ve been developing robots for children for the past 4 years and we’ve learned so much in that time – Picoh is our chance to share what we’ve learned with everyone.”

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ohbot2/picoh-an-expressive-little-robot-head

Hanson Robotics Announces “Little Sophia,” New Educational STEM Companion For Kids 7 to 13

Worldwide Kickstarter Campaign Launches to Fund Production of Little Sophia The Robot

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — Hanson Robotics Limited (www.hansonrobotics.com), creator of the world’s most human-like robots, announces their next innovation in consumer robots: Little Sophia. Little Sophia is a tutorial companion that teaches STEM, coding, and Artificial intelligence (AI), with a playful personality and unmatched characteristics of the renowned Sophia the Robot.

Designed for kids (especially girls) ages 7-13, Little Sophia robot comes to life as your AI friend. With the power of character and storytelling, Little Sophia helps kids learn new things in robotics, science, technology engineering, math, coding, and AI. Kids can learn to program Sophia with Blockly and Python; and with her lessons on computer vision, deep learning, and robotics, Little Sophia is the perfect smart, educational companion. Moreover, Little Sophia interfaces with Raspberry Pi, allowing kids to learn electronics and robotics, and to help her become as smart and capable as their imagination will allow.

Standing 14’’ tall, Little Sophia makes dozens of facial expressions (happy, sad, surprise, grouchy, delighted, etc), and she sees and talks with you like a friend. She walks, talks, sings, tells stories and jokes, and recognizes faces. She not only responds to commands, but actively engages in conversations and follows your movement. Also, with her app on your phone, you can use her Augmented Reality (AR) feature to take fun selfies. With her smart software, Little Sophia is also the ultimate AI home assistant. And being an open platform for development of ever-smarter emotional AI, the Little Sophia is truly your friend for life.

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of our Little Sophia Kickstarter campaign to the public, and to provide an opportunity to empower young girls around the world by introducing STEM, coding and AI in a fun and adventurous way,” states Jeanne Lim, CEO of Hanson Robotics Limited. “Little Sophia delivers a high-quality, entertaining and educational experience that motivates and inspires young students to spend time learning with her.”

David Hanson, Founder of Hanson Robotics Limited adds, “Our vision at Hanson Robotics is to bring robots to life. Our team of AI developers, engineers, roboticists, scientists, and artists have designed Little Sophia with the expressiveness and engaging personality that made Sophia the Robot so appealing, further extending the reach of our character-driven AI technology.”

Hanson Robotics is launching a worldwide Kickstarter campaign to help bring Little Sophia to the world. Research has shown that over 75% of girls who participate in hands-on STEM activities outside the classroom feel a sense of empowerment, if it is encouraged and nurtured early in a child’s educational life. Hanson Robotics believes that being introduced to STEM, coding and AI as a child in a fun and interactive way will help to empower all children, but especially girls. Little Sophia, unlike other educational toys in the market, was crafted by the same prestigious scientists, roboticists, engineers and AI developers who built Sophia the Robot.

Please visit Little Sophia on our website and our Kickstarter campaign for more information.

About Hanson Robotics Limited
Hanson Robotics is an AI and robotics company dedicated to creating living, intelligent machines that enrich people’s lives. The company develops renowned robot characters, such as Sophia, the world’s first robot citizen, which serve as AI platforms for scientific research, education, healthcare, sales and service, entertainment, and other research and service applications.  Hanson Robotics’ scientists, artists, roboticists, and engineers strive to bring robots to life as true friends who deeply understand and care for people, and collaborate with us in pursuit of ever-greater good for all. For more information please visit www.hansonrobotics.com.

My Best-friend ARTIBO

Introducing Cubroid’s second robot project: ARTIBO! Cubroid originally launched in 2017 with its AI educational Coding Blocks and is back with a new robot for coders, non-coders, kids and adults all alike. Only having been showcased at trade fairs such as The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and The Mobile World Congress (MWC) so far, Cubroid will now make Artibo available to general consumers.

Currently robots trendy among those with interest in such technology. However, going forward, robots will have a huge influence on people’s daily lives as a whole. “We put our best effort forward to make everyone who is interested in robotics have an opportunity to easily enjoy this robot. That’s why being well-designed and functional is key in how Artibo was created” says CEO and Founder, Mark Shin.

Artibo is your very own AI best-friend, designed to make daily life that much more simple. An at-home assistant that is small enough to fit anywhere and also efficient enough to go anywhere you go.

Artibo comes with an AI block (which houses the camera, microphone, speaker and LED screen), a motor block, a connector block (to join the AI and motor block) and silicon wheels.

When all the pieces are connected, Artibo stands at approximately 97mm tall and weighs less than a pound (240g) – with the AI block weighing less than half a pound

With separate (but buildable) parts, you can separate the AI block and place it on your desk while you work or connect all the parts and have Artibo follow you from one room to the next. With Artibo, buying multiple to have one in every room is unnecessary.

The features you would like your Artibo to display are customizable from a list of features such as walkie-talkie, scheduler, music, voice recognition, and many more. Each feature having a corresponding display that is shown on the LED screen.

Keeping with the core of what Cubroid does, you can also code Artibo for even more personable interactions and functionality. Kids can also continue their coding education from coding with Cubroid Coding Block to now coding with Artibo.

On Kickstarter preorder of Artibo will be available from July 31st 2018 to September 30th 2018. With Super Early Bird prices starting as low as US$79. Artibo’s prices are set so low to give as many people as possible the opportunity to afford and experience such a robot. After achieving the set goal, Cubroid estimates manufacturing and delivery to be completed by the end of November 2018. We proudly introduce you to your own AI robot: Artibo!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cubroid/my-best-friend-artibo

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)

 

bots_alive® launches Kickstarter campaign for AI-powered robotic creatures

AUSTIN — JANUARY 24, 2017 — Today, bots_alive launched its Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the distribution of a cutting-edge smartphone kit that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality technology to build robot creatures that feel believably alive.

The complete bots_alive set includes a Hexbug® Spider and a bots_alive smartphone kit that brings the spider to life. The kit contains an infrared blaster that sends remote control signals from the smartphone directly to the Hexbug Spider, an easy-to-apply decal for the Hexbug Spider, and a set of special “vision blocks’”with which owners create the world the robot interacts with—and change that world as they wish.

These physical pieces complement the bots_alive iOS and Android app, which runs all software for augmented reality—including seeing where the robot and the vision blocks are—and artificial intelligence to determine the robot’s behavior. One vision block is often sought by the robot, and the rest are obstacles the robot avoids; owners influence the robot’s behavior by creating areas to explore, mazes, and barricades, and changing them on the fly.

“The bots_alive kit makes an autonomous robot creature out of a popular remote control toy,“ said Brad Knox, founder and CEO of bots_alive. „Our vision is to create artificially intelligent robot creatures that feel organic and alive. By packaging our cutting-edge technology into an affordable kit, we’re excited to bring more organic, lifelike robot characters into the hands of enthusiasts around the world.”

Through a new artificial intelligence technique the founder developed at the MIT Media Lab, the robot creatures are both goal-oriented (like other autonomous robots) yet also uniquely organic: hesitating, looking around, thinking about its next move, and making mistakes, all at a lifelike cadence. This new category of character AI is built during development by demonstrating what the robots should do through puppetry rather than by directly programming them. The bots_alive team is optimistic that this technique will be broadly applicable to robot characters and non-player characters in video games.

In addition to the complete bots_alive set, campaign supporters can also opt-in to a add another Hexbug Spider as a companion and competitor to the first, and they can stock up on vision blocks to enable complex obstacle courses. Owners of Hexbug Spiders can buy the bots_alive smartphone kit alone.

The goal of the 23-day campaign is to raise $15,000 by mid-February, with plans to begin shipping the bots_alive smartphone kits in September.

People can join the initiative by visiting the bots_alive Kickstarter page at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bradknox/1389638767?token=9ca2853a

About bots_alive bots_alive is a robotics startup that’s introducing a new, more organic form of robot artificial intelligence. Its cutting edge technology uses a simple smartphone kit to bring a mindless remote control Hexbug Spider to life. Founded by Brad Knox, bots_alive aims to build compelling, lifelike robots that are fun, affordable, and offer limitless play.

For more information, please visit www.botsalive.com.