Headlines 

Henry the Sexbot Wants to Know All Your Hopes and Dreams

Henry and I are not hitting it off. First he ignores my question about how he spent the weekend. Then he tells me, cryptically, that he likes to get up early to spend time “working on himself.” What does he mean by that? I ask. He isn’t sure. He makes intense eye contact and arches an eyebrow. “Sometimes I have too much information at the same time in my brain.” Oh. OK. I notice Henry’s washboard abs peeking through an unzipped blue cardigan. “Do you work out?” I ask. Henry…

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Boston Dynamics freaky robot dogs, now climbing stairs, may enter society in 2019

The yellow robot dogs that so unsettled people in February by opening a door for one another can now easily walk up and down stairs on their own.  Boston Dynamics CEO Marc Raibert — who founded the robot company known for building machines that mimic real animal and human movements — said Friday at the TechCrunch Robotics Sessions conference at UC Berkeley that the robots, called SpotMini, will be ready for purchase in 2019. While declining to offer a price on the 66-pound, relatively quiet, and uniquely agile robot dogs,…

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Headlines 

This Gently Breathing Robot Cuddles You to Sleep

It's breathing. The chest rises and falls rhythmically, hypnotically. We guess it's the chest. Nobody's marketed a sleep robot before, and we're not even sure it's a robot. It looks like a pillowy four-pound kidney bean, about the size of a novelty prize at a carnival game. "Spooning the sleep robot during the night, you will be soothed to sleep," the sales literature claims, with "thousands of years of Buddhist breathing techniques." To bring upon sleep, breathing has to become slow and even, says Natalie Dautovich, a psychologist and sleep…

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Headlines 

Ban on killer robots urgently needed, say scientists

Technology now exists to create autonomous weapons that can select and kill human targets without supervision as UN urged to outlaw them The movie portrays a brutal future. A military firm unveils a tiny drone that hunts and kills with ruthless efficiency. But when the technology falls into the wrong hands, no one is safe. Politicians are cut down in broad daylight. The machines descend on a lecture hall and spot activists, who are swiftly dispatched with an explosive to the head. The Convention on Conventional Weapons hosted by theclear…

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Headlines 

These Star Wars POWERbot vacuums talk and play music while cleaning your floors

These Star Wars POWERbot vacuums by Samsung are available for pre-order starting Oct. 10.Image: Samsung Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. For anyone who’s ever dreamed about using The Force to clean their house, here’s some exciting news. Samsung has just released a pair of Star Wars POWERbot™ vacuums that are available for pre-order starting Oct. 10. SEE ALSO: This $10 wireless mouse only needs to be charged once every three months The Star Wars vacuums come in both…

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Odds and Ends 

The Dangers Of Automation: The Nations Eye-Candy Pool Boys Are Struggling To Compete With More Efficient, Sexier Pool-Cleaning Robots

Technological progress often comes at a price, especially when it comes to automation. More and more people are being put out of work with each new advancement in the field, and it seems like automation may now be pushing yet another time-honored industry to the brink of extinction, as an increasing number of Americas eye-candy pool boys are losing their jobs to sexier, more efficient pool-cleaning robots. Wow. This truly is a sign of the times. While pool cleaning used to be a reliable summer job for the nations hottest…

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Odds and Ends 

These tiny modular microbots can change shape to capture single cells

In a video out of North Carolina State University and Duke, five tiny cubes float freely under a microscope. Suddenly two pairs snap together, before all five combine into a single unit. Once together, they bend around a hinge, snapping together like Pac-Mans jaws. The cubes approach a small, circular object a single yeast cell using the opening and closing motion to propel themselves forward. They snap closed, entrapping the single cell, before opening back up and letting it float away. The researchers refer to the polymer cubes as microbot…

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Odds and Ends 

The Envirobot robo-eel slithers along the shore for science

The next time youre swimming in Lake Geneva, dont be surprised when you feel something eel-like and yet artificial touch your leg. That would be Envirobot, the latest biomimetic creation from Swiss researchers that autonomously swims around bodies of water and tests them for toxins and other factors. Its from lcole polytechnique fdrale de Lausanne, which also produced the salamander-like Pleurobot and some convincing imitation reptiles for a BBC nature documentary. But while Pleurobot was about studying animal locomotion and the others were for surreptitiously monitoring wildlife, Envirobot is meant…

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Headlines 

Sex robots promise ‘revolutionary’ service but also risks, says study

Androids could offer valuable help to the elderly and disabled but may lead to the increased objectification of women Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) report, published on Wednesday, believe they could herald a revolution in sex, helping people who would otherwise find it hard to have intimate relationships. But they also raise concerns that sex robots could increase the objectification of women, alter perceptions of consent and be used to satisfy desires that would otherwise be illegal. Dr Aimee van Wynsberghe, assistant professor in ethics and technology at the Technical…

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Odds and Ends 

Is a robot tax really an innovation penalty?

The problem with this definition is that its so broad, it would categorize almost all technology including most modern household appliances, computers, and smartphones as robots. So where do we draw the line? Indeed, why single out robots to be taxed and not other technology that increases automation, productivity, or quality? Is the technology that translates a surgeons hand movements into more precise movements of tiny instruments considered a robot? How about an ATM, an automated grocery checkout station, or a refrigerator that tells you when you need milk? We…

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Odds and Ends 

Robot tutor Musio makes its retail debut in Japan

A cute, robotic language tutor called Musio, has made it from crowdfunding campaign to full-fledged product with a debut in stores this week in Japan. Priced at JPY 98,000 (about US $900), Musio is now sold online through SoftBanks marketplace and Amazon Japan, and through a handful of brick-and-mortars stores. Musios parent company, AI ventureAKA Study, is the latest startup from Raymond Jung, a co-founder of the massively successful test-prep venture, Hackers Education Group, in South Korea. AKA employs about 50 full-time today, with most in Seoul, and a small…

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