Headlines 

How a Flock of Drones Developed Collective Intelligence

The drones rise all at once, 30 strong, the domes of light on their undercarriages glowing 30 different hues—like luminescent candy sprinkles against the gray, dusky sky. Then they pause, suspended in the air. And after a couple seconds of hovering, they begin to move as one. As the newly-formed flock migrates, its members’ luminous underbellies all change to the same color: green. They've decided to head east. The drones at the front approach a barrier, and their tummies turn teal as they veer south. Soon, the trailing members' lights…

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Headlines 

The Tale of the Painting Robot That Didn’t Steal Anyone’s Job

The arrival of the robotic arm was not a happy affair at Professional Finishing in Richmond, California, just across the bay from San Francisco. In contrast to the hulking factory arms that have traditionally labored in isolation, this robot was meant to work right alongside humans, delicately sanding and painting things like speaker cases or cabinets for medical devices. Which sounded a lot like a first step toward replacing the company’s workers altogether. “We did have one employee tell us, ‘Hey let me know when the robot’s up and running…

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Headlines 

We can’t tell if Boston Dynamics’ new SpotMini dog is cool or creepy or both

Boston Dynamics is the mad robot scientist of our waking dreams. Every few years, they unveil a new robot horror…er…innovation that straddles the fine line between “so realistic its incredible” and the uncanny valley. Its latest robot dog, the SpotMini, which the company casually introduced with this new video, is easily Boston Dynamics most finished looking robot. The company offers no explanation for four-legged, all yellow creation besides an enigmatic “Coming Soon.”  What we can tell you is that this little guy appears to have more personality than all its…

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Odds and Ends 

Drone registration coming to the UK

The UK government has announced a plan to require drone owners to register their devices. It says the incoming rules are aimed at ensuring safer use of the technology. Under the planned regulations, owners of drones weighing more than 250 grams will, in future, be required to register their devices with the stated aim being to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly. A similar plan in the US to require drone owners register their devices with the Federal Aviation Authority was struck down by an appeals court in…

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Odds and Ends 

Future of Sex podcast creator Bryony Cole talks the future of funbots and New Yorks first sextech hackathon

In what turned out to be a surprising SFW podcast Future of Sex podcast creator Bryony Cole joined us to talk about the future of sex, teledilonics and sex robots. Not content to let the media and the world stay squeamish about the topic of sex robots Cole expects many of us to have had sex with a robot by 2047 and believes many of our children will first experience sex with a robot before they attempt it with a human. Cole is also running New Yorks first Sextech Hackathon…

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Odds and Ends 

Judah vs. the Machines: Blindfolded against a Berkeley robot overlord

UC Berkeleys Robot Learning Lab to meet Brett, a robot still in testing that was designed to learn like a human. Bretts creators hope that he could some day take on menial human tasks with the ability to adapt and learn new ways of accomplishing a goal, something that most other robots are incapable of doing. In the field of machine learning, this type of learning is knownas reinforcement learning.Its pretty popular these days because it holds the potential to make machine learning less rigid and breakable. Like a human,…

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Odds and Ends 

Veo Robotics gives industrial robots a sixth sense for safely working around people

Veo Robotics, which is working on a system that gives robots spatial awareness of every object and obstacle in their reach, from debris to people and everything in between. People and robots working together can accomplish far more than either one on its own. Theres a growing demand for collaborative robots, explained Veos founder, Patrick Sobalvarro. These smaller robots with extra safety mechanisms and user-friendly configuration features have been popular with small businesses, buttheyre quite slow and weak compared with those used in heavy industry. Yet those are dumb and…

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