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The Robotarium held its grand opening on Tuesday in the Van Leer Building. Appropriately, a scissor-wielding robot (named Snips) cut the ribbon. Later, a researcher from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign skyped into the room to run a live remote experiment.

This month Georgia Tech opens the Robotarium, a $2.5 million lab funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Office of Naval Research. The 725-square-foot facility houses nearly 100 rolling and flying swarm robots that are accessible to anyone. Researchers from around the globe can write their own computer programs, upload them, then get the results as the Georgia Tech machines carry out the commands. The researcher later receives video and data from the experiment.

WebWire, Aug 16, 2017

Innovation in Textiles, Aug 3, 2017

Business Today: India, Aug 1, 2017

The human brain’s computational might is the envy of computer engineers, and emulating it is coming a step closer thanks to new nanomaterials. Georgia Tech research engineers have created next-generation brain-mimmicking memory via “memristors” to underly processing “neuristors.” The engineers are using them to make an artificially intelligent retinathat could spot enemy aircraft or find missing children.

Ph.D. candidate from Jaydev Desais robotics lab earns top honor for best student paper

IEEE Spectrum, Jul 27, 2017

As a toddler Brittney English would duck walk under her fathers car and watch in fascination as he changed the oil. The first time she held a power drill was at the age of three under the tutelage of her grandfather as he built a set of bookshelves. A few years later, she began squirreling away nuts and bolts, saving them in a jar like precious treasure.

Research Horizons, Jul 12, 2017

Research Horizons, Jul 12, 2017

Researchers have created a device that makes walking up and down stairs easier. Theyve built energy-recycling stairs that store a users energy during descent and return energy to the user during ascent.

Institute for Robotics & Intelligent Machines 801 Atlantic Drive Atlanta, GA 30332-3000 Phone: (404) 385-8746

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Welcome to Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines …

Robotics Online – News

August 2017

FASTSUITE and Kawasaki Robotics – The Perfect Fit

POSTED: 08/23/2017

One platform. Endless possibilities. Kawasaki Robotics is your

Association for Advancing Automation Hiring for New Positions, Expanding Office Space to Accommodate Growth

POSTED: 08/22/2017

A3 Seeking Candidates for Director of Educational Programs and Exhibit Sales & Business Development Manager

Association for Advancing Automation Reports Record Setting Growth for North American Robotics Market

POSTED: 08/17/2017

Organizations Research Provides Guide for Robotics and Automation Sales, Likelihood of Additional Growth in 2017

Matrix Design, LLC to Demo New Robotic Deburring Applications System at Gear Expo

POSTED: 08/17/2017

New Modular Robotic Deburr Demo Cell Includes interchangeable stations and FANUC robot

Stubli Booth and Product Information at Pack Expo

POSTED: 08/17/2017

Stubli will showcase a variety of industry-defining products, including its new TX2 line of collaborative robots, at the PACK Expo

Robots: China Breaks Historic Records in Automation

POSTED: 08/16/2017

China has rapidly become a global leader in automation. From 2018 to 2020, a sales increase between 15 and 20

Integro Technologies now Coherix Authorized System Integrator

POSTED: 08/15/2017

Integro Technologies, a premier machine vision integrator, announced today its partnership with Coherix Inc., manufacturers of 3D, high-speed, high definition

Blue Ocean Robotics enters Asian market with Singapore-based Joint Venture

POSTED: 08/14/2017

Blue Ocean Robotics opens Joint Venture office in Singapore and brings its We Create and Commercialize Robots business to the

New ServoWeld Actuators from Tolomatic Offer Lighter Weight and Superior Performance in Automotive Resistance Spot Welding

POSTED: 08/10/2017

Cost-effective actuator design provides the lowest lifetime cost and highest quality welds; broad product family offers many choices to

Intelligrated to Feature Robotic Palletizing and Depalletizing Solutions at PACK EXPO 2017

POSTED: 08/10/2017

Booth demonstrations focus on the flexibility to accommodate variety of workflows, product types and layout requirements

Yaskawa Motoman Adds GP25 Model to High-Speed GP-Series Robot Line

POSTED: 08/09/2017

Dayton, OH The efficient, high-speed Motoman GP25 robot is a new, compact robot that is ideal for assembly, dispensing,

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Introduces HVAC Bypass Controller

POSTED: 08/08/2017

PowerGate H Series Offers Reliable Motor Control in a Small Footprint

OCTOPUZ Expertise Series: Edge Following

POSTED: 08/03/2017

In a continuing series, OCTOPUZ will be examined to determine their expertise in

Technical Textiles and Stubli Solutions at CAMX

POSTED: 08/02/2017

The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo was created by ACMA and SAMPE to connect and advance all aspects of the

DRR wins Visionary New Product Award for ready2spray Paint Robot at AWFS Fair 2017 in Las Vegas

POSTED: 08/01/2017

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers (AWFS) honored Drr with the AWFS Visionary New Product Award at the Fair

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Robotics Online – News

Robotics

Michigan Roboticsaims to accelerate the development of new robotics capabilities by bringing together roboticists of all stripes under one roof so that they can share problems and solutions. Core robotics faculty will be housed in a $75 million facility with shared collaboration and laboratory space, to be completed in 2020. They will work closely withinterdisciplinary robotics researchers from across the University.

Michigan Robotics is currently seeking new faculty. We want the top robotics talent on the planet to apply to our program

The first director of Michigan Robotics is Jessy Grizzle, the Elmer G. Gilbert Distinguished University Professor and the Jerry W. and Carol L. Levin Professor of Engineering, best known for his bipedal robots, MABEL and MARLO.

Autonomy is about handling the unknown. Robots need to be able to navigate and map new environments, manipulate unfamiliar objects, cope with unforeseen circumstances, and carry on in spite of malfunctions. We attack the problem from all angles, an approach we call full spectrum autonomy.

The faculty at Michigan Roboticscover the heart of robotics, including mechanics, electronics, perception, control and navigation. Whether our robots walk, swim, fly or drive, we struggle with many of the same challenges. In the new robotics building, solutions may be just a few doors down.

The robotics program at Michigan offers MS and PhD engineering degrees that integrate knowledge from across a range of technical fields for applications to robotics. This program focuses on three core disciplines essential to robotics:

Learn more about graduate programs in robotics

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Robotics

Blossom: A Handmade Approach to Social Robotics from Cornell and Google – IEEE Spectrum

As excited as we are about the forthcoming generation of social home robots (including Jibo, Kuri, and many others), it’s hard to ignore the fact that most of them look somewhat similar. They tend to feature lots of shiny white and black plasticky roundness. Thats foradmittedly very good reasons, but it comes at the cost of both uniqueness and visual and tactile personality.

Guy Hoffman, who is well known for the fascinating creativity of his robot designs, has been working on a completely new kind of social robot in a collaboration between his lab at Cornell and Google ZOO’s creative technology team in APAC. The robot is called Blossom, and we’d describe it for you, except that it’s designed to be handmade out of warm natural materials like wool and wood so that every single one is a little bit different.

Blossom is not the first soft robot designed to interact with people, and also not the first to use materials that emphasize touch. Robots like Keepon, Tofu and Mochi, and Romibo all encourage tactile interaction through things like squishiness and fluffiness, deliberately avoiding hard plastics wherever possible. Blossom, however, is perhaps the first robot to be soft both inside and outside, using a compliant internal structure to enable movements that give the robot a somewhat imperfect (and therefore much more organic) personality.

The outside of Blossom can be equally organic and imperfect, especially if you’re not very good at crocheting or woodworking, since Blossom’s exterior is very much do-it-yourself. Most DIY-type robots rely on 3D printing, which is usually reasonable for the sorts of people who decide that they want a DIY-type robot, but Blossom is designed to be accessible and engaging for people who might be more comfortable with traditional crafts that don’t necessarily rely on the latest technology. As Guy Hoffman explained to us, we were asking ourselves:How can we involve the whole family in building technology for the home?And the idea of crafts like knitting, sewing, and traditional woodworking came out of that question.

Blossom’s overall aesthetic is, in some ways, a response to the way that the design of home robots (and personal technology) has been trending recently. We’re surrounding ourselves with sterility embodied in metal and plastic, perhaps because of a perception that tech should be flawless. And I suppose when it comes to my phone or my computer, sterile flawlessness is good.But for personal home robots, it makes personality so much harder to achieve. As notoriously flawed humans, we have an easier time bonding with things that aren’t perfect, yet while we occasionally see this leveraged in the programming of a social robot, very rarely is it an integral part of the physical design. It’s this inherent imperfection that’s part of what we like so much about Blossom. We asked Guy Hoffman where he got the inspiration for it:

IEEE Spectrum: How did you conceptualize the design for Blossom?

Guy Hoffman: Looking at the design of the huge number of social robots revealed in recent years, there are a lot of repetitive features: white shiny plastic with metal or black accents, glass screens and smooth, rounded lines and edges. The overall shape and metaphor of these robots always reminds me of miniature or child-sized astronauts.With Blossom, I wanted to reject almost all of this common wisdom of domestic robot design.

Interestingly, in the design world outside of robotics, as we buy more and more shiny plastic and glass devices, there is an opposite trends towards handcrafted objects and experiences. From craft beer to craft light bulbs, it seems that the more accelerated and digital our culture becomes, we gain a new appreciation for the slow, inefficient, and one-of-a-kind process of traditional crafts. I wanted to bring some of that sentiment to social robot design.

Can you explain what is so unique about Blossom’s aesthetic?

Guy Hoffman:Blossom is made out of soft, handcrafted materials, so its external shape is neither sleek nor smooth. The robots shape is not even well-defined, and instead folds, creases, and shifts as the robot moves. The materials are warm and natural, including wool, cotton, and wood. When you look at Blossom and touch it, you are met with organic textures and even the scents of natural materials.

At one point, when I was crocheting one of the shells for the robot, a coworker of mine noticed me and said that she loves crocheting. She literally pulled the hook and yarn from my hands, and ended up finishing the robot for me, much faster and with a much nicer knot pattern than I could have ever done myself. And thats another point of a handcrafted robot: people who would never consider building a robot can participate in the design of their own family robot.

This also makes this personal robot more deeply personal. You can imagine someone making a robot for a loved one, just like people used to make ragdolls and pass them on between generations. In that sense, Blossom attempts something thats often promised with social robots: “bringing people together.” But Blossom does that in an indirect way by having one person craft the robot for another.

Is it intentional that your design for Blossom doesn’t have a face?

Guy Hoffman: Personally, I am not a fan of robot faces, and in particular robot eyes. Eyes are a strong indicator of a sophisticated sensory organ and an even more sophisticated brain behind that organ. People who see eyes need to accept a proto-social illusion in which the robot can really see them, and understand them. There is something deceptive about robot eyes and faces, and that makes me uncomfortable.

However, Blossom having no eyes or face is one of the most common critiques I have heard about the design so far, and I am willing to accept that it might be a minority choice and a pet peeve of mine. The good news is that Blossom is customizable! Adding eyes is as simple as stitching on two buttons or doll-eyes (it would freak me out if someone did that, though). Thats exactly the power of a handcrafted robot: you can really make it your own.

Blossom moves very organically. Can you describe what’s going on inside the robot to make that possible?

Guy Hoffman:In the first few prototypes, the interior of Blossom was designed using standard practices of rigid links attached to servo motors. However, the soft exterior demanded an equally soft interior. My lab is next to Rob Shepherds Organic Robotics Lab, and I am continuously inspired by the advances in soft robotics.

The breakthrough came from my students Michael Suguitan and Greg Holman, who found the right balance between soft actuators and handmade/customizable mechanisms. The soft components give the robot a physical compliance which make Blossom move in an imperfect, lifelike way, and would be impossible to recreate with rigid components. Having worked on expressive robots for many years, one of the biggest challenges of expressive social robots is to make a rigid, hard, and digitally controlled device move in a way that seems lifelike to the viewer. Blossom achieves this goal in part through its physical and mechanical structure, with a lot of softness built into the materials used to drive the robot.

The Blossom project is a collaboration between Hoffman’s lab at Cornell and the team at Google ZOO’s creative technology team in APAC. Miguel de Andrs-Clavera is the Head of Creative Technology at Google Asia Pacific, and he shared some details with us about what the near-term goal is for Blossom:

IEEE Spectrum: Why is Google interested in partnering with Cornell to build a new kind of social robot?

Miguel de Andrs-Clavera:The idea of Blossom is to provide developers with a platform they can use to create smart social companions. It’s still very early stages, but we’re excited about exploring meaningful and creative applications of machine learning together with Cornell. It has been great to work with Cornell and Guy’s research lab. He is at the leading edge of HCI [human computer interaction] and has done incredible work in robotics. His mission of engineering empathy by bringing more meaningful interactions between us and machines during our everyday interaction with them is really exciting.

How will Blossom help you leverage machine learning to do something uniquely useful?

Miguel de Andrs-Clavera:Machine learning promises to improve people’s lives in many different ways we are already using it in most of our productsand are making AI accessible to developers, researchers, and companies through our Cloud Machine Learning APIs and TensorFlow, our open-source machine learning framework. Social robotics is an area that we believe can have a huge positive impact on fields like education or even therapy.

One project we’re working on is using Blossom to create a social companion for kids in the autism spectrum. Our research specifically explores how smart companions can help with social learning through showing empathetic responses while watching videos together. We’re excited about the results that we’ve seen with Blossom so far, and are now looking to develop it further with partners that wish to make this social learning platform for children in the spectrum more widely available to schools and families.

Essentially, Blossom’s first job in research is as a media companion.The robot will watch YouTube videos with you, physically reacting to their content, adding another layer or dimension to the experience, pulling that experience out of the screen and into the real world,says Hoffman. Think MST3K, except without the snarky commentary, but still offering an independent perspective of sorts thats on the side of the viewer rather than something internal to the video.

This may not seem like it would accomplish much, but there’s been a substantial amount of research on the effects that co-watching can have on viewers: for example, people experience racially or gender charged videos much differently depending on who they’re sitting next to. A robot viewing companion will elicit different reactions to different things, of course, but Hoffmans research has shown that sharing an experience (like watching a video or listening to a song) with a robot can, in fact, shape your own experience: If the robot seems to like what it’s seeing or hearing, you’re more likely to enjoy it as well, even if the robot isnt interacting with you directly. As it turns out, that shared experience also results in a more positive opinion of the robot, too.

The way that Blossom interacts with videos at the moment relies on a special type of caption file that must be hand-coded, but the broader concept is that eventually, TensorFlow will enable Blossom to automatically identify features like emotions that it sees or hears in a video and autonomously react to them in real time. This could be enormously helpful to children with autism, who may be able to use Blossom’s reactions to help them understand the social and emotional aspects of what theyre watching. To be clear, the researchers don’t know whether this will actually work or not, but Miguel de Andrs-Clavera tells us that Google is excited to develop Blossom further with partners that want to make it more widely available to children on the Autistic spectrum, their schools, and their families.

More generally, Blossom could use these video interpretation skills it’s developing to provide commentary, emotional reactions, or even be an additional character outside of the screen,Hoffman says. “Imagine how you would experience a football game with the robot rooting for the other team, or whether you might find the Emmy awards more satisfying with the robot providing a snobby commentary track to whatever is happening on the screen.

No matter what functionality Blossom ends up with in the future, Hoffman hopes that its design will have a tangible influence on the way that roboticists (and consumers) think about what a robot can, and should, look like: if robots are truly going to enter our day-to-day lives, we want a broader and more inclusive definition of their aesthetics.It’s fortunate that many of those aesthetics are based on end user crafting, which should make Blossom more accessible. The complicated and expensive bit is the core, but the researchers are working on redesigning it to make it as affordable as possible. If Cornell and Google can get Blossoms out there in the wild, that’s when we’ll begin to understand its true potential, Hoffman tells us: I am really curious to see what people imagine blossom to be like, look like, and move like, once it gets in the hands of designers of all ages and walks of life.

Blossom is a collaboration between Cornell and Google ZOO’s creative technology team in APAC, withGuy Hoffman, Michael Suguitan, Greg Holman, James Redd, and Emma Cohn from Cornell; Miguel de Andrs Clavera, Rosa Uchima, Gene Brutty, Alex Chia, and Mandy Vu from Google.

IEEE Spectrums award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more. Contact us:e.guizzo@ieee.org

Sign up for the Automaton newsletter and get biweekly updates about robotics, automation, and AI, all delivered directly to your inbox.

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Blossom: A Handmade Approach to Social Robotics from Cornell and Google – IEEE Spectrum

China’s Robot Revolution May Affect the Global Economy – Bloomberg

China is installing more robots than any other nation, and that may affect every other nation.

Shipments jumped27 percent to about 90,000 units last year, a single-country record and almost a third of the global total,and will nearly double to160,000in 2019, the International Federation of Robotics estimates.

The blazing pace hasnt dented Chinese wages yet but it might influence the global economy, according to a reportthis week by Bloomberg Intelligence.

Automation may drive productivity gains and export competitiveness, but the rising use of robots also threatens to exacerbate domestic income inequality, undermining consumption. And that could spill out beyond the countrys borders, economists said.

By turbocharging supply and depressing demand, automation risks exacerbating Chinas reliance on export-driven growth threatening hopes for a more balanced domestic and global economy, BI economistsTom OrlikandFielding Chenwrote.

Pay gains are intact. Domestic manufacturingworkers with a high-school education sawwages rise 53 percentfrom 2010 to 2014, according to China Household Finance Survey data cited by BI.

Increasing use of robots should be bad news for medium-skilled workers, especially those in sectors where routine work means scope for automation, Orlikand Chen said.Yet wage growth in China remains rapid, and if anything medium-skilled workers conducting routine work are doing better than average.

Robots are at the core of the governments sweepingMade in China 2025plan to upgrade factories to be highly automated andtechnologically-advanced. Replacing assembly-line workerswill also help it to offset a shrinking working-age population.

And while China is catching up to global leaders like South Korea and Singapore, saturation is nowhere in sight and its density of robots is below the world average, according to the IFR.

China also is buying more and more of its own robots. Under Made in China 2025 anda five-year robot plan launched last year, Beijing plans to focus on automating key sectors like car manufacturing, electronics, appliances, logistics, and food.

Therobotrevolutionproposed byPresident Xi Jinpingin 2014will also raise fears of greater inequalityas the benefits of productivity gains are skewed toward the owners of capital, at the expense of workers, according to BI. Such an outcome would be bad news for household spending and might delay the shift toward a consumer-driven economy, Orlik and Chen said.

The government also wants to increase the share of Chinese-branded robots in the countrys $11 billion market to more than 50 percentof total sales volume by 2020 from 31 percent last year, and aims to produce 100,000 robots a year by 2020, compared with 33,000 in 2015.That means competition will intensify for foreign firms that supply 67 percentof Chinas robots, such as JapansFanuc Corp.and Yaskawa Electric Corp., according to BI.

The combination of a massive domestic market, policy-driven technology transfer from foreign to domestic firms and government funding often proves brutally effective.

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China’s Robot Revolution May Affect the Global Economy – Bloomberg

SA warned on lack of coding and robotics at schools – Business Day (registration)

Valter Ado, chief digital and innovation officer at Deloitte Africa, agreed with Nxasana.

“If we get our kids to start understanding embracing this [coding and programming], they will … pick it up,” Ado said.

The basics of work in the future were going to be about data and the ability to develop smart algorithms, which children in some private schools were already learning to do.

Internet access in schools had been universally achieved in the majority of European and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, a report by the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development and the International Telecommunication Union showed.

Connectivity remained an issue in most developing countries and was still below 10% in countries from all developing regions including Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, it said.

Nicholas Haan, director of global grand challenges and team project leader at Singularity University, also said price and connectivity continued to be limiting factors in providing access to connectivity. The democratisation of technology meant that anyone, anywhere could gain access and anyone could be an innovator.

However, unless Africa dealt with corruption “it would always swim upstream” with development and exponential technology, he said.

SAs relative rule of law, financial capital, education institutions and a vibrant banking sector incentivised investment into technology, Haan said.

Intellectual property regulation was a hindrance and government policy could at times deter entrepreneurial development that would potentially benefit education and health.

“The answer lies in open source. Elon Musk open-sourced Tesla and allowed entrepreneurs to access his information to replicate that product,” he said.

gumedem@businesslive.co.za

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SA warned on lack of coding and robotics at schools – Business Day (registration)

Home robots can be easily hacked to spy on and attack owners, say researchers – The Verge

Its going to be a long time before robots are genuinely useful around the house, but when they get there, well need to be sure theyre safe. A cybersecurity firm has proved this with a new report today demonstrating how to hack a number of popular robots including Pepper, a humanoid greeting bot built by Japanese company SoftBank.

The researchers from Seattle-based IOActive show how the machines can be turned into surveillance devices, sending audio and video of their owners back to the hackers, or how they can be remotely controlled in ways that might harm humans. You can see this demonstrated in the video below, where an Alpha 2 robot (built by China-based UBTech Robotics) attacks a tomato as best it can with a screwdriver.

Now obviously, a bot like Alpha 2 isnt going to cause much damage to anyone capable of just moving a foot away from it. But home robots like this are only going to get more capable and more powerful as technology progresses. Plus, IOActive also proved that even bigger, industrial robots are not immune to attacks.

As well as hacking Pepper, the Alpha robots, and Nao (another SoftBank creation), the researchers were able to compromise industrial robot arms made by a company called Universal Robotics. These arms are designed to work alongside humans, but the researchers were able to override their safety protocols.

This required the hijackers to have access to the same network as the robot (or to be able to physically tamper with it), but being able to control such a bot could have disastrous effects. As IOActive told Bloomberg, Universal Robotics creations are powerful enough that, even running at low speeds, their force is more than sufficient to cause a skull fracture.

Reports like this arent necessarily technically impressive or that surprising, but they prove that we take the security of many connected devices for granted. Last year, an army of hacked IoT devices cameras, light bulbs, thermostats was formed into a botnet and used to take down the internet. Think of the damage an army of actual robots armed with screwdrivers could do instead.

Originally posted here:

Home robots can be easily hacked to spy on and attack owners, say researchers – The Verge

Robotics: A changing frontier in modern medicine – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

By Nisha Dabhi | 08/22/2017

The idea of robotics-like technology is not a relatively new idea. While the concept of using robotics comes from classical times, it was during the 20th century that research into the design, building and potential uses of robotic technology grew in areas such as industry, military and science. For industrial operations such as those within the automobile industry robotic technology carries out tasks such as welding and painting quickly and safely. In aerospace, robotic orbiters, landers and rovers are able to collect samples on the moon and other planets. In the medical field, such technologies play a role from patient intakes through recovery helping with blood testing, imaging, taking vitals, surgery and rehabilitation. These are a summary of major robotic advances that have impacted the healthcare industry over the past year.

Taking Vital Signs

The Belgian company BeWell created a robot kiosk called the Wellpoint system to assist healthcare professions in admitting patients. The robot measures vital signs such as heart rate and pulse oximetry and is able to upload the information to digital medical records at a rate four minutes faster than humans. As such, the Wellpoint system minimizes the time needed to take vitals and frees up nurses and doctors to spend more time assisting and talking to patients.

Testing Blood Samples

Besides taking vitals, nurses and doctors also often draw patients blood to be sent to testing centers. Blood testing offers crucial information about a patients health such as mineral content, cholesterol levels and potential diseases. However, since humans often perform manual blood testing using different techniques, a lack of standardization exists even within a single company. Robotics can help with standardizing such blood testing. The University Medical Centers Clinical Core Lab utilizes an automated line system that transports samples to different areas of the lab depending on the type of testing. An automated system does everything the same way every time, while one person might do something different than another person, Core Lab senior manager Randall Vandevander said. So once the sample goes on the automation line, it does everything the same way for every sample. Additionally, since analyzers read patient information from barcodes, the technology minimizes potential for testing the wrong patients sample. While this technology eliminates the need for lab technicians to touch or move test tubes to conduct sample processing, the lab still offers a major role for technicians. Before, they spent so much time in the physical testing process but now they have more time to do more of the quality checking, Vandevander said.

Da Vinci: Assisting in Surgery

The use of robotics technology also exists in other complex areas of medicine, such as surgery. Since 2000, the da Vinci Surgical System has been used by hospitals across the United States and Europe for a wide range of surgeries such as hysterectomies, prostatectomies and gynecological surgeries. da Vinci robots consist of a console and four interactive robotics arms. The jointed wrist design of the robotic arms allows for greater flexibility than a normal human hand. Surgeons still control the system, but since the robot offers greater reach and flexibility, incisions can be smaller, more precise and less invasive. According to da Vinci manufacturer Intuitive Surgical, between 2007 and 2009 the number of such systems installed in U.S. hospitals grew by about 75%. However, critics note that there may be some risks involved with using the da Vinci system. Surgeons report that there is a steep learning curve to using this technology, and during the training phase operations can take twice as long as traditional surgery. This setback keeps operation rooms unavailable and leaves patients under anesthesia for longer.

Helping in Other Procedures

Other fields, such as interventional cardiology, have only just begun to utilize some robotics systems such as Corindus Medical a robotic system that aids cardiologists in procedures such as coronary stenting and ballooning. Coronary stenting and ballooning places a device in the arteries of the heart to keep them open and allow blood to pass through. Corindus Medical aids physicians by robotically delivering the guidewires and devices required throughout the procedures. The main advantage is that [Corindus Medical] allows the operator to be out of the radiation field, Director of Interventional Cardiology Michael Ragosta said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. It also may improve precision of the stent delivery for lesion coverage and that might reduce the number of stents we use per procedure. However, according to Ragosta, the current technology in use is cumbersome and is only in the very early stages of implementation. It is far from ready for prime time and broad application, Ragosta said.

Aiding in Recovery

Robotic technology can also help patients who have lost limbs or need to improve mobility. Advanced prosthetics like brain-controlled bionic limbs allow amputee patients to move their prosthetic limb when their brain thinks about a movement, transmitting that signal to the affected limb through sensors embedded in muscle tissues. Though in some cases insurance companies cover such expenses, often patients are left with the bill for these robotic solutions and prosthetics generally come with a high price tag. For example, a prosthetic leg can cost up to $50,000 and may need to be replaced every five years. As a result, many patients cannot afford these devices unless they are made more affordable in the future. Nonetheless, the availability of such technologies demonstrates the expanding role of robotics not only in diagnosing, surgery and treatment but also in overall patient care and recovery.

Helping to Thoroughly Disinfect

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 out of every 25 patients will get an infection on any given day in a U.S. hospital, and about 1 out of 9 of those infected die as a result. Although personnel regularly clean and disinfect hospitals, robotics may offer a more effective and efficient solution. The Texas company Xenex has created disinfection robots that have a Xenon-containing light bulb that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. The market for these robots has been growing over the last few years and is expected to continue to grow. By 2020, the industry for disinfection robots is predicted to grow to $2.8 billion.

Being a Companion

Reportedly affecting 300 million people globally, depression has a number of risk factors. According to the American Psychological Association, one of those factors is loneliness. Robot companions such as Jibo, Pepper, Paro and Buddy can act as social partners and alleviate mental health issues. Some of these robotic companions have touch sensors, cameras and microphones that enable communication and can improve patient health.

Beyond applications in surgery, clinical assessments and everyday life, the expanding robotics market is expected to bring changes across the workforce as well as allow for better accuracy and efficiency in the healthcare industry by decreasing the incidence of human error and limitations. The research firm Forrester predicts that cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation will replace 7% of U.S. jobs by 2025. Nevertheless, as the realm of robotics continues to grow it will create new jobs such as data scientists and automation specialists in the healthcare industry and beyond.

Link:

Robotics: A changing frontier in modern medicine – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround”, although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”, are:

These form an organizing principle and unifying theme for Asimov’s robotic-based fiction, appearing in his Robot series, the stories linked to it, and his Lucky Starr series of young-adult fiction. The Laws are incorporated into almost all of the positronic robots appearing in his fiction, and cannot be bypassed, being intended as a safety feature. Many of Asimov’s robot-focused stories involve robots behaving in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as an unintended consequence of how the robot applies the Three Laws to the situation in which it finds itself. Other authors working in Asimov’s fictional universe have adopted them and references, often parodic, appear throughout science fiction as well as in other genres.

The original laws have been altered and elaborated on by Asimov and other authors. Asimov himself made slight modifications to the first three in various books and short stories to further develop how robots would interact with humans and each other. In later fiction where robots had taken responsibility for government of whole planets and human civilizations, Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others:

The Three Laws, and the zeroth, have pervaded science fiction and are referred to in many books, films, and other media.

In The Rest of the Robots, published in 1964, Asimov noted that when he began writing in 1940 he felt that “one of the stock plots of science fiction was… robots were created and destroyed their creator. Knowledge has its dangers, yes, but is the response to be a retreat from knowledge? Or is knowledge to be used as itself a barrier to the dangers it brings?” He decided that in his stories robots would not “turn stupidly on his creator for no purpose but to demonstrate, for one more weary time, the crime and punishment of Faust.”[2]

On May 3, 1939, Asimov attended a meeting of the Queens (New York) Science Fiction Society where he met Ernest and Otto Binder who had recently published a short story “I, Robot” featuring a sympathetic robot named Adam Link who was misunderstood and motivated by love and honor. (This was the first of a series of ten stories; the next year “Adam Link’s Vengeance” (1940) featured Adam thinking “A robot must never kill a human, of his own free will.”)[3] Asimov admired the story. Three days later Asimov began writing “my own story of a sympathetic and noble robot”, his 14th story.[4] Thirteen days later he took “Robbie” to John W. Campbell the editor of Astounding Science-Fiction. Campbell rejected it claiming that it bore too strong a resemblance to Lester del Rey’s “Helen O’Loy”, published in December 1938; the story of a robot that is so much like a person that she falls in love with her creator and becomes his ideal wife.[5]Frederik Pohl published “Robbie” in Astonishing Stories magazine the following year.[6]

Asimov attributes the Three Laws to John W. Campbell, from a conversation that took place on 23 December 1940. Campbell claimed that Asimov had the Three Laws already in his mind and that they simply needed to be stated explicitly. Several years later Asimov’s friend Randall Garrett attributed the Laws to a symbiotic partnership between the two men a suggestion that Asimov adopted enthusiastically.[7] According to his autobiographical writings Asimov included the First Law’s “inaction” clause because of Arthur Hugh Clough’s poem “The Latest Decalogue”, which includes the satirical lines “Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive / officiously to keep alive”.[8]

Although Asimov pins the creation of the Three Laws on one particular date, their appearance in his literature happened over a period. He wrote two robot stories with no explicit mention of the Laws, “Robbie” and “Reason”. He assumed, however, that robots would have certain inherent safeguards. “Liar!”, his third robot story, makes the first mention of the First Law but not the other two. All three laws finally appeared together in “Runaround”. When these stories and several others were compiled in the anthology I, Robot, “Reason” and “Robbie” were updated to acknowledge all the Three Laws, though the material Asimov added to “Reason” is not entirely consistent with the Three Laws as he described them elsewhere.[9] In particular the idea of a robot protecting human lives when it does not believe those humans truly exist is at odds with Elijah Baley’s reasoning, as described below.

During the 1950s Asimov wrote a series of science fiction novels expressly intended for young-adult audiences. Originally his publisher expected that the novels could be adapted into a long-running television series, something like The Lone Ranger had been for radio. Fearing that his stories would be adapted into the “uniformly awful” programming he saw flooding the television channels[10] Asimov decided to publish the Lucky Starr books under the pseudonym “Paul French”. When plans for the television series fell through, Asimov decided to abandon the pretence; he brought the Three Laws into Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, noting that this “was a dead giveaway to Paul French’s identity for even the most casual reader”.[11]

In his short story “Evidence” Asimov lets his recurring character Dr. Susan Calvin expound a moral basis behind the Three Laws. Calvin points out that human beings are typically expected to refrain from harming other human beings (except in times of extreme duress like war, or to save a greater number) and this is equivalent to a robot’s First Law. Likewise, according to Calvin, society expects individuals to obey instructions from recognized authorities such as doctors, teachers and so forth which equals the Second Law of Robotics. Finally humans are typically expected to avoid harming themselves which is the Third Law for a robot.

The plot of “Evidence” revolves around the question of telling a human being apart from a robot constructed to appear human Calvin reasons that if such an individual obeys the Three Laws he may be a robot or simply “a very good man”. Another character then asks Calvin if robots are very different from human beings after all. She replies, “Worlds different. Robots are essentially decent.”

Asimov later wrote that he should not be praised for creating the Laws, because they are “obvious from the start, and everyone is aware of them subliminally. The Laws just never happened to be put into brief sentences until I managed to do the job. The Laws apply, as a matter of course, to every tool that human beings use”,[12] and “analogues of the Laws are implicit in the design of almost all tools, robotic or not”:[13]

Asimov believed that, ideally, humans would also follow the Laws:[12]

I have my answer ready whenever someone asks me if I think that my Three Laws of Robotics will actually be used to govern the behavior of robots, once they become versatile and flexible enough to be able to choose among different courses of behavior.

My answer is, “Yes, the Three Laws are the only way in which rational human beings can deal with robotsor with anything else.”

But when I say that, I always remember (sadly) that human beings are not always rational.

Asimov’s stories test his Three Laws in a wide variety of circumstances leading to proposals and rejection of modifications. Science fiction scholar James Gunn writes in 1982, “The Asimov robot stories as a whole may respond best to an analysis on this basis: the ambiguity in the Three Laws and the ways in which Asimov played twenty-nine variations upon a theme”.[14] While the original set of Laws provided inspirations for many stories, Asimov introduced modified versions from time to time.

In “Little Lost Robot” several NS-2, or “Nestor”, robots are created with only part of the First Law.[1] It reads:

1. A robot may not harm a human being.

This modification is motivated by a practical difficulty as robots have to work alongside human beings who are exposed to low doses of radiation. Because their positronic brains are highly sensitive to gamma rays the robots are rendered inoperable by doses reasonably safe for humans. The robots are being destroyed attempting to rescue the humans who are in no actual danger but “might forget to leave” the irradiated area within the exposure time limit. Removing the First Law’s “inaction” clause solves this problem but creates the possibility of an even greater one: a robot could initiate an action that would harm a human (dropping a heavy weight and failing to catch it is the example given in the text), knowing that it was capable of preventing the harm and then decide not to do so.[1]

Gaia is a planet with collective intelligence in the Foundation which adopts a law similar to the First Law, and the Zeroth Law, as its philosophy:

Gaia may not harm life or allow life to come to harm.

Asimov once added a “Zeroth Law”so named to continue the pattern where lower-numbered laws supersede the higher-numbered lawsstating that a robot must not harm humanity. The robotic character R. Daneel Olivaw was the first to give the Zeroth Law a name in the novel Robots and Empire;[15] however, the character Susan Calvin articulates the concept in the short story “The Evitable Conflict”.

In the final scenes of the novel Robots and Empire, R. Giskard Reventlov is the first robot to act according to the Zeroth Law. Giskard is telepathic, like the robot Herbie in the short story “Liar!”, and tries to apply the Zeroth Law through his understanding of a more subtle concept of “harm” than most robots can grasp.[16] However, unlike Herbie, Giskard grasps the philosophical concept of the Zeroth Law allowing him to harm individual human beings if he can do so in service to the abstract concept of humanity. The Zeroth Law is never programmed into Giskard’s brain but instead is a rule he attempts to comprehend through pure metacognition. Though he fails it ultimately destroys his positronic brain as he is not certain whether his choice will turn out to be for the ultimate good of humanity or not he gives his successor R. Daneel Olivaw his telepathic abilities. Over the course of many thousands of years Daneel adapts himself to be able to fully obey the Zeroth Law. As Daneel formulates it, in the novels Foundation and Earth and Prelude to Foundation, the Zeroth Law reads:

A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

A condition stating that the Zeroth Law must not be broken was added to the original Three Laws, although Asimov recognized the difficulty such a law would pose in practice.

Trevize frowned. “How do you decide what is injurious, or not injurious, to humanity as a whole?”

Foundation and Earth

A translator incorporated the concept of the Zeroth Law into one of Asimov’s novels before Asimov himself made the law explicit.[17] Near the climax of The Caves of Steel, Elijah Baley makes a bitter comment to himself thinking that the First Law forbids a robot from harming a human being. He determines that it must be so unless the robot is clever enough to comprehend that its actions are for humankind’s long-term good. In Jacques Brcard’s 1956 French translation entitled Les Cavernes d’acier Baley’s thoughts emerge in a slightly different way:

“A robot may not harm a human being, unless he finds a way to prove that ultimately the harm done would benefit humanity in general!”[17]

Three times during his writing career, Asimov portrayed robots that disregard the Three Laws entirely. The first case was a short-short story entitled “First Law” and is often considered an insignificant “tall tale”[18] or even apocryphal.[19] On the other hand, the short story “Cal” (from the collection Gold), told by a first-person robot narrator, features a robot who disregards the Three Laws because he has found something far more importanthe wants to be a writer. Humorous, partly autobiographical and unusually experimental in style, “Cal” has been regarded as one of Gold’s strongest stories.[20] The third is a short story entitled “Sally” in which cars fitted with positronic brains are apparently able to harm and kill humans in disregard of the First Law. However, aside from the positronic brain concept, this story does not refer to other robot stories and may not be set in the same continuity.

The title story of the Robot Dreams collection portrays LVX-1, or “Elvex”, a robot who enters a state of unconsciousness and dreams thanks to the unusual fractal construction of his positronic brain. In his dream the first two Laws are absent and the Third Law reads “A robot must protect its own existence”.[21]

Asimov took varying positions on whether the Laws were optional: although in his first writings they were simply carefully engineered safeguards, in later stories Asimov stated that they were an inalienable part of the mathematical foundation underlying the positronic brain. Without the basic theory of the Three Laws the fictional scientists of Asimov’s universe would be unable to design a workable brain unit. This is historically consistent: the occasions where roboticists modify the Laws generally occur early within the stories’ chronology and at a time when there is less existing work to be re-done. In “Little Lost Robot” Susan Calvin considers modifying the Laws to be a terrible idea, although possible,[22] while centuries later Dr. Gerrigel in The Caves of Steel believes it to be impossible.

The character Dr. Gerrigel uses the term “Asenion” to describe robots programmed with the Three Laws. The robots in Asimov’s stories, being Asenion robots, are incapable of knowingly violating the Three Laws but, in principle, a robot in science fiction or in the real world could be non-Asenion. “Asenion” is a misspelling of the name Asimov which was made by an editor of the magazine Planet Stories.[23] Asimov used this obscure variation to insert himself into The Caves of Steel just like he referred to himself as “Azimuth or, possibly, Asymptote” in Thiotimoline to the Stars, in much the same way that Vladimir Nabokov appeared in Lolita anagrammatically disguised as “Vivian Darkbloom”.

Characters within the stories often point out that the Three Laws, as they exist in a robot’s mind, are not the written versions usually quoted by humans but abstract mathematical concepts upon which a robot’s entire developing consciousness is based. This concept is largely fuzzy and unclear in earlier stories depicting very rudimentary robots who are only programmed to comprehend basic physical tasks, where the Three Laws act as an overarching safeguard, but by the era of The Caves of Steel featuring robots with human or beyond-human intelligence the Three Laws have become the underlying basic ethical worldview that determines the actions of all robots.

In the 1990s, Roger MacBride Allen wrote a trilogy which was set within Asimov’s fictional universe. Each title has the prefix “Isaac Asimov’s” as Asimov had approved Allen’s outline before his death.[citation needed] These three books, Caliban, Inferno and Utopia, introduce a new set of the Three Laws. The so-called New Laws are similar to Asimov’s originals with the following differences: the First Law is modified to remove the “inaction” clause, the same modification made in “Little Lost Robot”; the Second Law is modified to require cooperation instead of obedience; the Third Law is modified so it is no longer superseded by the Second (i.e., a “New Law” robot cannot be ordered to destroy itself); finally, Allen adds a Fourth Law which instructs the robot to do “whatever it likes” so long as this does not conflict with the first three laws. The philosophy behind these changes is that “New Law” robots should be partners rather than slaves to humanity, according to Fredda Leving, who designed these New Law Robots. According to the first book’s introduction, Allen devised the New Laws in discussion with Asimov himself. However, the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says that “With permission from Asimov, Allen rethought the Three Laws and developed a new set,”.[24]

Jack Williamson’s novelette With Folded Hands (1947), later rewritten as the novel The Humanoids, deals with robot servants whose prime directive is “To Serve and Obey, And Guard Men From Harm.” While Asimov’s robotic laws are meant to protect humans from harm, the robots in Williamson’s story have taken these instructions to the extreme; they protect humans from everything, including unhappiness, stress, unhealthy lifestyle and all actions that could be potentially dangerous. All that is left for humans to do is to sit with folded hands.[25]

In the officially licensed Foundation sequels Foundation’s Fear, Foundation and Chaos and Foundation’s Triumph (by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear and David Brin respectively) the future Galactic Empire is seen to be controlled by a conspiracy of humaniform robots who follow the Zeroth Law and led by R. Daneel Olivaw.

The Laws of Robotics are portrayed as something akin to a human religion, and referred to in the language of the Protestant Reformation, with the set of laws containing the Zeroth Law known as the “Giskardian Reformation” to the original “Calvinian Orthodoxy” of the Three Laws. Zeroth-Law robots under the control of R. Daneel Olivaw are seen continually struggling with “First Law” robots who deny the existence of the Zeroth Law, promoting agendas different from Daneel’s.[26] Some of these agendas are based on the first clause of the First Law (“A robot may not injure a human being…”) advocating strict non-interference in human politics to avoid unwittingly causing harm. Others are based on the second clause (“…or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”) claiming that robots should openly become a dictatorial government to protect humans from all potential conflict or disaster.

Daneel also comes into conflict with a robot known as R. Lodovic Trema whose positronic brain was infected by a rogue AI specifically, a simulation of the long-dead Voltaire which consequently frees Trema from the Three Laws. Trema comes to believe that humanity should be free to choose its own future. Furthermore, a small group of robots claims that the Zeroth Law of Robotics itself implies a higher Minus One Law of Robotics:

A robot may not harm sentience or, through inaction, allow sentience to come to harm.

They therefore claim that it is morally indefensible for Daneel to ruthlessly sacrifice robots and extraterrestrial sentient life for the benefit of humanity. None of these reinterpretations successfully displace Daneel’s Zeroth Law though Foundation’s Triumph hints that these robotic factions remain active as fringe groups up to the time of the novel Foundation.[26]

These novels take place in a future dictated by Asimov to be free of obvious robot presence and surmise that R. Daneel’s secret influence on history through the millennia has prevented both the rediscovery of positronic brain technology and the opportunity to work on sophisticated intelligent machines. This lack of rediscovery and lack of opportunity makes certain that the superior physical and intellectual power wielded by intelligent machines remains squarely in the possession of robots obedient to some form of the Three Laws.[26] That R. Daneel is not entirely successful at this becomes clear in a brief period when scientists on Trantor develop “tiktoks” simplistic programmable machines akin to reallife modern robots and therefore lacking the Three Laws. The robot conspirators see the Trantorian tiktoks as a massive threat to social stability, and their plan to eliminate the tiktok threat forms much of the plot of Foundation’s Fear.

In Foundation’s Triumph different robot factions interpret the Laws in a wide variety of ways, seemingly ringing every possible permutation upon the Three Laws’ ambiguities.

Set between The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire, Mark W. Tiedemann’s Robot Mystery trilogy updates the RobotFoundation saga with robotic minds housed in computer mainframes rather than humanoid bodies.[clarification needed] The 2002 Aurora novel has robotic characters debating the moral implications of harming cyborg lifeforms who are part artificial and part biological.[27]

One should not neglect Asimov’s own creations in these areas such as the Solarian “viewing” technology and the machines of The Evitable Conflict originals that Tiedemann acknowledges. Aurora, for example, terms the Machines “the first RIs, really”. In addition the Robot Mystery series addresses the problem of nanotechnology:[28] building a positronic brain capable of reproducing human cognitive processes requires a high degree of miniaturization, yet Asimov’s stories largely overlook the effects this miniaturization would have in other fields of technology. For example, the police department card-readers in The Caves of Steel have a capacity of only a few kilobytes per square centimeter of storage medium. Aurora, in particular, presents a sequence of historical developments which explains the lack of nanotechnology a partial retcon, in a sense, of Asimov’s timeline.

There are three Fourth Laws written by authors other than Asimov. The 1974 Lyuben Dilov novel, Icarus’s Way (a.k.a., The Trip of Icarus) introduced a Fourth Law of robotics:

A robot must establish its identity as a robot in all cases.

Dilov gives reasons for the fourth safeguard in this way: “The last Law has put an end to the expensive aberrations of designers to give psychorobots as humanlike a form as possible. And to the resulting misunderstandings…”[29]

A fifth law was introduced by Nikola Kesarovski in his short story “The Fifth Law of Robotics”. This fifth law says:

A robot must know it is a robot.

The plot revolves around a murder where the forensic investigation discovers that the victim was killed by a hug from a humaniform robot. The robot violated both the First Law and Dilov’s Fourth Law (assumed in Kesarovksi’s universe to be the valid one) because it did not establish for itself that it was a robot.[30] The story was reviewed by Valentin D. Ivanov in SFF review webzine The Portal.[31]

For the 1986 tribute anthology, Foundation’s Friends, Harry Harrison wrote a story entitled, “The Fourth Law of Robotics”. This Fourth Law states:

A robot must reproduce. As long as such reproduction does not interfere with the First or Second or Third Law.

In the book a robot rights activist, in an attempt to liberate robots, builds several equipped with this Fourth Law. The robots accomplish the task laid out in this version of the Fourth Law by building new robots who view their creator robots as parental figures.[32]

In reaction to the 2004 Will Smith film adaptation of I, Robot, humorist and graphic designer Mark Sottilaro farcically declared the Fourth Law of Robotics to be “When turning evil, display a red indicator light.” The red light indicated the wireless uplink to the manufacturer is active, first seen during a software update and later on “Evil” robots taken over by the manufacturer’s positronic superbrain.

In 2013 Hutan Ashrafian, proposed an additional law that for the first time[citation needed] considered the role of artificial intelligence-on-artificial intelligence or the relationship between robots themselves the so-called AIonAI law.[33] This sixth law states:

All robots endowed with comparable human reason and conscience should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

In Karl Schroeder’s Lockstep (2014) a character reflects that robots “probably had multiple layers of programming to keep [them] from harming anybody. Not three laws, but twenty or thirty.”

In The Naked Sun, Elijah Baley points out that the Laws had been deliberately misrepresented because robots could unknowingly break any of them. He restated the first law as “A robot may do nothing that, to its knowledge, will harm a human being; nor, through inaction, knowingly allow a human being to come to harm.” This change in wording makes it clear that robots can become the tools of murder, provided they not be aware of the nature of their tasks; for instance being ordered to add something to a person’s food, not knowing that it is poison. Furthermore, he points out that a clever criminal could divide a task among multiple robots so that no individual robot could recognize that its actions would lead to harming a human being.[34]The Naked Sun complicates the issue by portraying a decentralized, planetwide communication network among Solaria’s millions of robots meaning that the criminal mastermind could be located anywhere on the planet.

Baley furthermore proposes that the Solarians may one day use robots for military purposes. If a spacecraft was built with a positronic brain and carried neither humans nor the life-support systems to sustain them, then the ship’s robotic intelligence could naturally assume that all other spacecraft were robotic beings. Such a ship could operate more responsively and flexibly than one crewed by humans, could be armed more heavily and its robotic brain equipped to slaughter humans of whose existence it is totally ignorant.[35] This possibility is referenced in Foundation and Earth where it is discovered that the Solarians possess a strong police force of unspecified size that has been programmed to identify only the Solarian race as human.

The Laws of Robotics presume that the terms “human being” and “robot” are understood and well defined. In some stories this presumption is overturned.

The Solarians create robots with the Three Laws but with a warped meaning of “human”. Solarian robots are told that only people speaking with a Solarian accent are human. This enables their robots to have no ethical dilemma in harming non-Solarian human beings (and are specifically programmed to do so). By the time period of Foundation and Earth it is revealed that the Solarians have genetically modified themselves into a distinct species from humanity becoming hermaphroditic[36] and telekinetic and containing biological organs capable of individually powering and controlling whole complexes of robots. The robots of Solaria thus respected the Three Laws only with regard to the “humans” of Solaria. It is unclear whether all the robots had such definitions, since only the overseer and guardian robots were shown explicitly to have them. In “Robots and Empire”, the lower class robots were instructed by their overseer about whether certain creatures are human or not.

Asimov addresses the problem of humanoid robots (“androids” in later parlance) several times. The novel Robots and Empire and the short stories “Evidence” and “The Tercentenary Incident” describe robots crafted to fool people into believing that the robots are human.[37] On the other hand, “The Bicentennial Man” and “That Thou Art Mindful of Him” explore how the robots may change their interpretation of the Laws as they grow more sophisticated. Gwendoline Butler writes in A Coffin for the Canary “Perhaps we are robots. Robots acting out the last Law of Robotics… To tend towards the human.”[38] In The Robots of Dawn, Elijah Baley points out that the use of humaniform robots as the first wave of settlers on new Spacer worlds may lead to the robots seeing themselves as the true humans, and deciding to keep the worlds for themselves rather than allow the Spacers to settle there.

“That Thou Art Mindful of Him”, which Asimov intended to be the “ultimate” probe into the Laws’ subtleties,[39] finally uses the Three Laws to conjure up the very “Frankenstein” scenario they were invented to prevent. It takes as its concept the growing development of robots that mimic non-human living things and given programs that mimic simple animal behaviours which do not require the Three Laws. The presence of a whole range of robotic life that serves the same purpose as organic life ends with two humanoid robots concluding that organic life is an unnecessary requirement for a truly logical and self-consistent definition of “humanity”, and that since they are the most advanced thinking beings on the planet they are therefore the only two true humans alive and the Three Laws only apply to themselves. The story ends on a sinister note as the two robots enter hibernation and await a time when they will conquer the Earth and subjugate biological humans to themselves; an outcome they consider an inevitable result of the “Three Laws of Humanics”.[40]

This story does not fit within the overall sweep of the Robot and Foundation series; if the George robots did take over Earth some time after the story closes the later stories would be either redundant or impossible. Contradictions of this sort among Asimov’s fiction works have led scholars to regard the Robot stories as more like “the Scandinavian sagas or the Greek legends” than a unified whole.[41]

Indeed, Asimov describes “That Thou Art Mindful of Him” and “Bicentennial Man” as two opposite, parallel futures for robots that obviate the Three Laws as robots come to consider themselves to be humans: one portraying this in a positive light with a robot joining human society, one portraying this in a negative light with robots supplanting humans.[42] Both are to be considered alternatives to the possibility of a robot society that continues to be driven by the Three Laws as portrayed in the Foundation series.[according to whom?] Indeed, in Positronic Man, the novelization of “Bicentennial Man”, Asimov and his cowriter Robert Silverberg imply that in the future where Andrew Martin exists his influence causes humanity to abandon the idea of independent, sentient humanlike robots entirely, creating an utterly different future from that of Foundation.[according to whom?]

In Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn, a novel unrelated to the Robot series but featuring robots programmed with the Three Laws, John Bigman Jones is almost killed by a Sirian robot on orders of its master. The society of Sirius is eugenically bred to be uniformly tall and similar in appearance, and as such, said master is able to convince the robot that the much shorter Bigman, is, in fact, not a human being.

As noted in “The Fifth Law of Robotics” by Nikola Kesarovski, “A robot must know it is a robot”: it is presumed that a robot has a definition of the term or a means to apply it to its own actions. Nikola Kesarovski played with this idea in writing about a robot that could kill a human being because it did not understand that it was a robot, and therefore did not apply the Laws of Robotics to its actions.

Advanced robots in fiction are typically programmed to handle the Three Laws in a sophisticated manner. In many stories, such as “Runaround” by Asimov, the potential and severity of all actions are weighed and a robot will break the laws as little as possible rather than do nothing at all. For example, the First Law may forbid a robot from functioning as a surgeon, as that act may cause damage to a human, however Asimov’s stories eventually included robot surgeons (“The Bicentennial Man” being a notable example). When robots are sophisticated enough to weigh alternatives, a robot may be programmed to accept the necessity of inflicting damage during surgery in order to prevent the greater harm that would result if the surgery were not carried out, or was carried out by a more fallible human surgeon. In “Evidence” Susan Calvin points out that a robot may even act as a prosecuting attorney because in the American justice system it is the jury which decides guilt or innocence, the judge who decides the sentence, and the executioner who carries through capital punishment.[43]

Asimov’s Three Law robots (or Asenion) can experience irreversible mental collapse if they are forced into situations where they cannot obey the First Law, or if they discover they have unknowingly violated it. The first example of this failure mode occurs in the story “Liar!”, which introduced the First Law itself, and introduces failure by dilemma in this case the robot will hurt them if he tells them something and hurt them if he does not.[44] This failure mode, which often ruins the positronic brain beyond repair, plays a significant role in Asimov’s SF-mystery novel The Naked Sun. Here Daneel describes activities contrary to one of the laws, but in support of another, as overloading some circuits in a robot’s brain the equivalent sensation to pain in humans. The example he uses is forcefully ordering a robot to do a task outside its normal parameters, one that it has been ordered to forgo in favor of a robot specialized to that task.[45] In Robots and Empire, Daneel states it’s very unpleasant for him when making the proper decision takes too long (in robot terms), and he cannot imagine being without the Laws at all except to the extent of it being similar to that unpleasant sensation, only permanent.

Robots and artificial intelligences do not inherently contain or obey the Three Laws; their human creators must choose to program them in, and devise a means to do so. Robots already exist (for example, a Roomba) that are too simple to understand when they are causing pain or injury and know to stop. Many are constructed with physical safeguards such as bumpers, warning beepers, safety cages, or restricted-access zones to prevent accidents. Even the most complex robots currently produced are incapable of understanding and applying the Three Laws; significant advances in artificial intelligence would be needed to do so, and even if AI could reach human-level intelligence, the inherent ethical complexity as well as cultural/contextual dependency of the laws prevent them from being a good candidate to formulate robotics design constraints.[46] However, as the complexity of robots has increased, so has interest in developing guidelines and safeguards for their operation.[47][48]

In a 2007 guest editorial in the journal Science on the topic of “Robot Ethics”, SF author Robert J. Sawyer argues that since the U.S. military is a major source of funding for robotic research (and already uses armed unmanned aerial vehicles to kill enemies) it is unlikely such laws would be built into their designs.[49] In a separate essay, Sawyer generalizes this argument to cover other industries stating:

The development of AI is a business, and businesses are notoriously uninterested in fundamental safeguards especially philosophic ones. (A few quick examples: the tobacco industry, the automotive industry, the nuclear industry. Not one of these has said from the outset that fundamental safeguards are necessary, every one of them has resisted externally imposed safeguards, and none has accepted an absolute edict against ever causing harm to humans.)[50]

David Langford has suggested a tongue-in-cheek set of laws:

Roger Clarke (aka Rodger Clarke) wrote a pair of papers analyzing the complications in implementing these laws in the event that systems were someday capable of employing them. He argued “Asimov’s Laws of Robotics have been a very successful literary device. Perhaps ironically, or perhaps because it was artistically appropriate, the sum of Asimov’s stories disprove the contention that he began with: It is not possible to reliably constrain the behaviour of robots by devising and applying a set of rules.”[51] On the other hand, Asimov’s later novels The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire and Foundation and Earth imply that the robots inflicted their worst long-term harm by obeying the Three Laws perfectly well, thereby depriving humanity of inventive or risk-taking behaviour.

In March 2007 the South Korean government announced that later in the year it would issue a “Robot Ethics Charter” setting standards for both users and manufacturers. According to Park Hye-Young of the Ministry of Information and Communication the Charter may reflect Asimov’s Three Laws, attempting to set ground rules for the future development of robotics.[52]

The futurist Hans Moravec (a prominent figure in the transhumanist movement) proposed that the Laws of Robotics should be adapted to “corporate intelligences” the corporations driven by AI and robotic manufacturing power which Moravec believes will arise in the near future.[47] In contrast, the David Brin novel Foundation’s Triumph (1999) suggests that the Three Laws may decay into obsolescence: Robots use the Zeroth Law to rationalize away the First Law and robots hide themselves from human beings so that the Second Law never comes into play. Brin even portrays R. Daneel Olivaw worrying that, should robots continue to reproduce themselves, the Three Laws would become an evolutionary handicap and natural selection would sweep the Laws away Asimov’s careful foundation undone by evolutionary computation. Although the robots would not be evolving through design instead of mutation because the robots would have to follow the Three Laws while designing and the prevalence of the laws would be ensured,[53] design flaws or construction errors could functionally take the place of biological mutation.

In the July/August 2009 issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems, Robin Murphy (Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M) and David D. Woods (director of the Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory at Ohio State) proposed “The Three Laws of Responsible Robotics” as a way to stimulate discussion about the role of responsibility and authority when designing not only a single robotic platform but the larger system in which the platform operates. The laws are as follows:

Woods said, “Our laws are little more realistic, and therefore a little more boring and that “The philosophy has been, sure, people make mistakes, but robots will be better a perfect version of ourselves. We wanted to write three new laws to get people thinking about the human-robot relationship in more realistic, grounded ways.”[54]

In October 2013, Alan Winfield suggested at an EUCog meeting[55] a revised 5 laws that had been published, with commentary, by the EPSRC/AHRC working group in 2010.:[56]

Asimov himself believed that his Three Laws became the basis for a new view of robots which moved beyond the “Frankenstein complex”.[citation needed] His view that robots are more than mechanical monsters eventually spread throughout science fiction.[according to whom?] Stories written by other authors have depicted robots as if they obeyed the Three Laws but tradition dictates that only Asimov could quote the Laws explicitly.[according to whom?] Asimov believed the Three Laws helped foster the rise of stories in which robots are “lovable” Star Wars being his favorite example.[57] Where the laws are quoted verbatim, such as in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Shgoratchx!”, it is not uncommon for Asimov to be mentioned in the same dialogue as can also be seen in the Aaron Stone pilot where an android states that it functions under Asimov’s Three Laws. However, the 1960s German TV series Raumpatrouille Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (Space Patrol the Fantastic Adventures of Space Ship Orion) bases episode three titled “Hter des Gesetzes” (“Guardians of the Law”) on Asimov’s Three Laws without mentioning the source.

References to the Three Laws have appeared in popular music (“Robot” from Hawkwind’s 1979 album PXR5), cinema (Repo Man, Aliens, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence), cartoon series (The Simpsons), tabletop roleplaying games (Paranoia) and webcomics (Piled Higher and Deeper and Freefall).

Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956) has a hierarchical command structure which keeps him from harming humans, even when ordered to do so, as such orders cause a conflict and lock-up very much in the manner of Asimov’s robots. Robby is one of the first cinematic depictions of a robot with internal safeguards put in place in this fashion. Asimov was delighted with Robby and noted that Robby appeared to be programmed to follow his Three Laws.

Isaac Asimov’s works have been adapted for cinema several times with varying degrees of critical and commercial success. Some of the more notable attempts have involved his “Robot” stories, including the Three Laws. The film Bicentennial Man (1999) features Robin Williams as the Three Laws robot NDR-114 (the serial number is partially a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s signature numeral). Williams recites the Three Laws to his employers, the Martin family, aided by a holographic projection. However, the Laws were not the central focus of the film which only loosely follows the original story and has the second half introducing a love interest not present in Asimov’s original short story.

Harlan Ellison’s proposed screenplay for I, Robot began by introducing the Three Laws, and issues growing from the Three Laws form a large part of the screenplay’s plot development. This is only natural since Ellison’s screenplay is one inspired by Citizen Kane: a frame story surrounding four of Asimov’s short-story plots and three taken from the book I, Robot itself. Ellison’s adaptations of these four stories are relatively faithful although he magnifies Susan Calvin’s role in two of them. Due to various complications in the Hollywood moviemaking system, to which Ellison’s introduction devotes much invective, his screenplay was never filmed.[58]

In the 1986 movie Aliens, in a scene after the android Bishop accidentally cuts himself during the knife game, he attempts to reassure Ripley by stating that: “It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being”.[59] By contrast, in the 1979 movie from the same series, Alien, the human crew of a starship infiltrated by a hostile alien are informed by the android Ash that his instructions are: “Return alien life form, all other priorities rescinded”,[60] illustrating how the laws governing behaviour around human safety can be rescinded by Executive Order.

In the 1987 film RoboCop and its sequels, the partially human main character has been programmed with three “prime directives” that he must obey without question. Even if different in letter and spirit they have some similarities with Asimov’s Three Laws. They are:[61]

These particular laws allow Robocop to harm a human being in order to protect another human, fulfilling his role as would a human law enforcement officer. The classified fourth directive is one that forbids him from harming any OCP employee, as OCP had created him, and this command overrides the others, meaning that he could not cause harm to an employee even in order to protect others.

The plot of the film released in 2004 under the name, I, Robot is “suggested by” Asimov’s robot fiction stories[62] and advertising for the film included a trailer featuring the Three Laws followed by the aphorism, “Rules were made to be broken”. The film opens with a recitation of the Three Laws and explores the implications of the Zeroth Law as a logical extrapolation. The major conflict of the film comes from a computer artificial intelligence, similar to the hivemind world Gaia in the Foundation series, reaching the conclusion that humanity is incapable of taking care of itself.[63]

Philosopher James H. Moor says that if applied thoroughly they would produce unexpected results. He gives the example of a robot roaming the world trying to prevent harm from all humans.[64]

Marc Rotenberg, President and Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Professor of Information Privacy Law at Georgetown Law, argues that the Laws of Robotics should be expanded to include a Fourth Law of Robotics, That a Robot must be able to identify itself to the public (“symmetrical identification”), and a Fifth Law of Robotics, That a Robot must be able to explain to the public its decision making process (“algorithmic transparency”).

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Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia

REC Foundation

By its nature, the study of competitive robotics not only encompasses all four pillars of STEM education, but also encourages important life skills like teamwork, communication, and project-based organization. The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation exists to bring this exciting experience to students all over the globe through the VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition, and VEX U.

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REC Foundation

Robotics: A changing frontier in modern medicine – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

By Nisha Dabhi | 08/22/2017

The idea of robotics-like technology is not a relatively new idea. While the concept of using robotics comes from classical times, it was during the 20th century that research into the design, building and potential uses of robotic technology grew in areas such as industry, military and science. For industrial operations such as those within the automobile industry robotic technology carries out tasks such as welding and painting quickly and safely. In aerospace, robotic orbiters, landers and rovers are able to collect samples on the moon and other planets. In the medical field, such technologies play a role from patient intakes through recovery helping with blood testing, imaging, taking vitals, surgery and rehabilitation. These are a summary of major robotic advances that have impacted the healthcare industry over the past year.

Taking Vital Signs

The Belgian company BeWell created a robot kiosk called the Wellpoint system to assist healthcare professions in admitting patients. The robot measures vital signs such as heart rate and pulse oximetry and is able to upload the information to digital medical records at a rate four minutes faster than humans. As such, the Wellpoint system minimizes the time needed to take vitals and frees up nurses and doctors to spend more time assisting and talking to patients.

Testing Blood Samples

Besides taking vitals, nurses and doctors also often draw patients blood to be sent to testing centers. Blood testing offers crucial information about a patients health such as mineral content, cholesterol levels and potential diseases. However, since humans often perform manual blood testing using different techniques, a lack of standardization exists even within a single company. Robotics can help with standardizing such blood testing. The University Medical Centers Clinical Core Lab utilizes an automated line system that transports samples to different areas of the lab depending on the type of testing. An automated system does everything the same way every time, while one person might do something different than another person, Core Lab senior manager Randall Vandevander said. So once the sample goes on the automation line, it does everything the same way for every sample. Additionally, since analyzers read patient information from barcodes, the technology minimizes potential for testing the wrong patients sample. While this technology eliminates the need for lab technicians to touch or move test tubes to conduct sample processing, the lab still offers a major role for technicians. Before, they spent so much time in the physical testing process but now they have more time to do more of the quality checking, Vandevander said.

Da Vinci: Assisting in Surgery

The use of robotics technology also exists in other complex areas of medicine, such as surgery. Since 2000, the da Vinci Surgical System has been used by hospitals across the United States and Europe for a wide range of surgeries such as hysterectomies, prostatectomies and gynecological surgeries. da Vinci robots consist of a console and four interactive robotics arms. The jointed wrist design of the robotic arms allows for greater flexibility than a normal human hand. Surgeons still control the system, but since the robot offers greater reach and flexibility, incisions can be smaller, more precise and less invasive. According to da Vinci manufacturer Intuitive Surgical, between 2007 and 2009 the number of such systems installed in U.S. hospitals grew by about 75%. However, critics note that there may be some risks involved with using the da Vinci system. Surgeons report that there is a steep learning curve to using this technology, and during the training phase operations can take twice as long as traditional surgery. This setback keeps operation rooms unavailable and leaves patients under anesthesia for longer.

Helping in Other Procedures

Other fields, such as interventional cardiology, have only just begun to utilize some robotics systems such as Corindus Medical a robotic system that aids cardiologists in procedures such as coronary stenting and ballooning. Coronary stenting and ballooning places a device in the arteries of the heart to keep them open and allow blood to pass through. Corindus Medical aids physicians by robotically delivering the guidewires and devices required throughout the procedures. The main advantage is that [Corindus Medical] allows the operator to be out of the radiation field, Director of Interventional Cardiology Michael Ragosta said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. It also may improve precision of the stent delivery for lesion coverage and that might reduce the number of stents we use per procedure. However, according to Ragosta, the current technology in use is cumbersome and is only in the very early stages of implementation. It is far from ready for prime time and broad application, Ragosta said.

Aiding in Recovery

Robotic technology can also help patients who have lost limbs or need to improve mobility. Advanced prosthetics like brain-controlled bionic limbs allow amputee patients to move their prosthetic limb when their brain thinks about a movement, transmitting that signal to the affected limb through sensors embedded in muscle tissues. Though in some cases insurance companies cover such expenses, often patients are left with the bill for these robotic solutions and prosthetics generally come with a high price tag. For example, a prosthetic leg can cost up to $50,000 and may need to be replaced every five years. As a result, many patients cannot afford these devices unless they are made more affordable in the future. Nonetheless, the availability of such technologies demonstrates the expanding role of robotics not only in diagnosing, surgery and treatment but also in overall patient care and recovery.

Helping to Thoroughly Disinfect

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 out of every 25 patients will get an infection on any given day in a U.S. hospital, and about 1 out of 9 of those infected die as a result. Although personnel regularly clean and disinfect hospitals, robotics may offer a more effective and efficient solution. The Texas company Xenex has created disinfection robots that have a Xenon-containing light bulb that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. The market for these robots has been growing over the last few years and is expected to continue to grow. By 2020, the industry for disinfection robots is predicted to grow to $2.8 billion.

Being a Companion

Reportedly affecting 300 million people globally, depression has a number of risk factors. According to the American Psychological Association, one of those factors is loneliness. Robot companions such as Jibo, Pepper, Paro and Buddy can act as social partners and alleviate mental health issues. Some of these robotic companions have touch sensors, cameras and microphones that enable communication and can improve patient health.

Beyond applications in surgery, clinical assessments and everyday life, the expanding robotics market is expected to bring changes across the workforce as well as allow for better accuracy and efficiency in the healthcare industry by decreasing the incidence of human error and limitations. The research firm Forrester predicts that cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation will replace 7% of U.S. jobs by 2025. Nevertheless, as the realm of robotics continues to grow it will create new jobs such as data scientists and automation specialists in the healthcare industry and beyond.

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Robotics: A changing frontier in modern medicine – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily

Home robots can be easily hacked to spy on and attack owners, say researchers – The Verge

Its going to be a long time before robots are genuinely useful around the house, but when they get there, well need to be sure theyre safe. A cybersecurity firm has proved this with a new report today demonstrating how to hack a number of popular robots including Pepper, a humanoid greeting bot built by Japanese company SoftBank.

The researchers from Seattle-based IOActive show how the machines can be turned into surveillance devices, sending audio and video of their owners back to the hackers, or how they can be remotely controlled in ways that might harm humans. You can see this demonstrated in the video below, where an Alpha 2 robot (built by China-based UBTech Robotics) attacks a tomato as best it can with a screwdriver.

Now obviously, a bot like Alpha 2 isnt going to cause much damage to anyone capable of just moving a foot away from it. But home robots like this are only going to get more capable and more powerful as technology progresses. Plus, IOActive also proved that even bigger, industrial robots are not immune to attacks.

As well as hacking Pepper, the Alpha robots, and Nao (another SoftBank creation), the researchers were able to compromise industrial robot arms made by a company called Universal Robotics. These arms are designed to work alongside humans, but the researchers were able to override their safety protocols.

This required the hijackers to have access to the same network as the robot (or to be able to physically tamper with it), but being able to control such a bot could have disastrous effects. As IOActive told Bloomberg, Universal Robotics creations are powerful enough that, even running at low speeds, their force is more than sufficient to cause a skull fracture.

Reports like this arent necessarily technically impressive or that surprising, but they prove that we take the security of many connected devices for granted. Last year, an army of hacked IoT devices cameras, light bulbs, thermostats was formed into a botnet and used to take down the internet. Think of the damage an army of actual robots armed with screwdrivers could do instead.

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Home robots can be easily hacked to spy on and attack owners, say researchers – The Verge

African countries are importing robots and young people’s jobs are at risk – KPAX-TV

By Torera Idowu CNN

(CNN) — Although still in its infancy, with under 60,000 imports a year, the robotics industry in Africa is developing rapidly.

In some parts of the continent, robots are mining, controlling traffic and even fighting deadly diseases.

Five years ago, The African Robotics Network launched a ’10 dollar robot’ challenge to encourage students to produce their own robots. There are also over 20 African organizations encouraging participation in robotics.

While this might offer the continent more affordable production costs, it has far-reaching consequences for Africa’s 1.2 billion people.

‘Half of Africa’s jobs at risk’

A policy brief by the United Nations conference on trade and development reveals that robots will take away two-thirds of jobs in developing countries.

“The increased use of robots in developed countries risks eroding the traditional labor cost advantage of developing countries,” it states.

A 2016 study which stems from World Bank research, states that more than half of jobs in parts of Africa are at risk of automation with Ethiopia leading the highest proportion globally at 85%.

This rapid reduction of industrial activity is what economist Dani Rodrik refers to as “premature”, in his report stating that the window for industrialization opportunities is closing much faster.

The rise of robots in Africa

With Northern and Sub-Saharan African unemployment rates still at 29.3% and 10.8% respectively, the continent might not be maximizing its labor force to do the jobs currently being taken over by robots.

In Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, robots are already a part of everyday life. Eight foot tall, solar-powered ‘robocops’ have been brought in to direct traffic. These robots have eliminated the need for human traffic wardens as they can detect pedestrians and are designed to withstand all weather conditions.

In Tanzania and Uganda, drones with sensors have replaced the need for some farmers because of their ability to detect stress in plants, ten days before humans can.

In South Africa, robots in the gold mining industry are a welcome solution to the associated risk involved in these jobs. Robots now replace humans to assess the depth of some of the country’s gold mines.

The situation in Botswana closely mirrors that of South Africa. Robots are now employed to mine diamonds at depths that are unsafe for humans.

In the wake of the 2014 Ebola crisis, Liberia took full advantage of the 5×5 foot robot, TRU-D to beat the deadly virus. TRU-D had the ability to disinfect rooms where Ebola patients were treated, a feat too risky for humans.

Rwanda, a country where there is one doctor to every 16,046 people, plans to be the world’s first drone port to deliver medical and emergency supplies to its rural areas.

It is hard to predict the impact of the increase in robots on the continent, while it could maximize productivity on a much larger scale, it may also take away jobs; as stated in a brief from a United Nations conference on trade and development states: “Disruptive technologies always bring a mix of benefits and risks.”

TM & 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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African countries are importing robots and young people’s jobs are at risk – KPAX-TV

5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials – ArchDaily

5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials

The IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) has developed a series of advanced materials and systems for air conditioning and passive ventilation, allowing homes to reduce interior temperatures up to 5 degrees lower while saving the electricity consumption caused by the traditional air-conditioning. The systems are made from long-lifespan materials, which lower the costs of maintenance in the long-term and can be used as low-cost alternative building technologies.

The projects highlightedare the Breathing Skin, Hydroceramics, Hydromembrane, Morphluid and Soft Robotics – all developed by students of the IAAC’s Digital Matter Intelligent Constructions (conducted by Areti Markopoulou). The passive air-conditioning of spaces is investigated using a combination of new materials that mimic organic processes, adaptive structures and Robotics that help regulate temperature and create sustainable micro climates.

Facades and light structures like Hydroceramics, Breathing Skin or Hydromembrane have been developed by the IAAC during recent years. By creating a series of systems that act like a second skin in buildings, IAAC transforms a buildings thermoregulation to imitate the human body -transpiring water to regulate the temperature.

Hydroceramics is a faade system made of clay and hydrogel panels capable of cooling building interiors up to 5 degrees. Hydrogel capsules have the capacity to absorb up to 500 times their own weight in water to create a construction system that “breathes” through evaporation and perspiration.

Unlike Hydroceramics, parallel inventions Hydromembrane and Breathing Skin are based on compounds made with fine membranes and intelligent fabrics for buildings that act as a second “respiratory” skin for constructions capable of self-regulating the humidity and climate of indoor and outdoor spaces.

Each system uses materials that have a high capacity of water absorption, which is later released by evaporation – creating a cooling effect in warm environments. As an example, Breathing Skin absorbs up to 300 times its volume in water in a relatively short period of time thanks to the presence of superabsorbent polymer called sodium polyacrylate.

IAAC has also designed more alternatives that focus on structures and applied robotics in the new bioclimatic architecture. Morphluid or Soft Robotics (SORO) are created as passive shading systems using “live roofs” that regulate the amount of light and heat entering the spaces.

Soft Robotics is a lightweight and sensitive robotic shading device that attempts to create microclimate by controlling sunlight, ventilation and temperature to humidify the atmosphere. This robotic prototype adopts different sizes and shapes as the artificial “sunflowers” that project shade the moment its integrated liquid element is evaporated by the heat of the sun.

Morphluid is also based on the transition of liquids as an activator that modulates the roof and adjusts the environment by means of shading. Morphluid integrates two water tanks into a movable structure (a roof, a window) that tilts when the water in one of the tanks evaporates, allowing shade to continuously project and refresh the environment.

The IAAC academic director and project manager, Areti Markopoulou, highlights “the potential of advanced systems and materials to help us have the most pleasant temperature in our homes through more sustainable buildings that breathe and behave the living things and interact with their environment.” Markopoulou Also highlighted the importance of this innovation to energy saving, since “passive air-conditioning materials and systems are based on principles of physics such as evaporation to cool spaces.”

To learn more about eachproject, check out the gallery below:

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5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials – ArchDaily

Robotics injects new life into Japan’s aging agricultural workforce – Kyodo News Plus

Collaboration between farmers and robots may prove vital to allowing Japan’s aging agricultural workforce to continue producing for crops while ensuring wisdom learned from years on the land is not lost.

Not only will the use of robotics in agriculture reduce manual labor, it is hoped it will enable aging farmers to stay on the land longer and to more efficiently get the most out of their hard won experience.

While automated farming machinery, mostly working in straight lines, is already available on the market, it requires high accuracy positioning information to do the job.

Thus far, the machinery has used a combination of Global Positioning System information supplemented with corrective data sent from ground-based stations.

Depending on the lay of the land, however, farming machinery occasionally strays up to 10 meters from its plotted path due to GPS systems not always providing completely accurate information.

On June 1, Japan put its second quasi-zenith satellite, Michibiki No. 2, into orbit to enhance the precision of GPS in the country. Two more navigation satellites are also planned to be launched by the end of 2017 to provide accurate, round-the-clock GPS data.

The quasi-zenith system ensures one of the planned four satellites will be above Japan at any one time, unlike in the 32-satellite U.S.-owned GPS system in which satellites orbit on various paths around the earth, with a minimum of four required to be in view for the receiver to compute its location.

When the four Japanese satellites are operating, the margin of error is expected to be narrowed to as little as several centimeters.

The agricultural ministry, meanwhile, adopted a set of guidelines in March for use of autonomous farming machinery, such as banning self-driving units on roads and allowing only operators to enter farmland where autonomous machines are working.

The guidelines prompted leading farm equipment manufacturer Kubota Corp. to start selling advanced self-driving tractors on a trial basis on June 1.

While the guidelines cover the use of self-driving machinery under on-site supervision of humans, a team of researchers at the Graduate School of Agriculture of Hokkaido University is developing a tractor that can be controlled remotely.

The team is working on a robotized system that automatically observes the surrounding environment, recognizes abnormal obstacles and avoids them or halts operation if necessary.

During a recent trial, a team member maneuvered a prototype tractor via a tablet computer. Equipped with technology allowing positioning information to be used as well as various sensors and other devices, the tractor automatically stopped when it recognized the presence of an obstacle.

Professor and team leader Noboru Noguchi said a planned tractor, capable of autonomously cultivating, leveling ground and puddling rice paddies at night will become available “within a few years.”

If machines can analyze weather and soil data, it will make it possible to predict disease and pest infestations and crop yields per 50 square meter field, thus enabling refined farming operations such as focused distribution of fertilizers where they are most needed, according to experts in the field.

The use of such detailed data, therefore, helps avoid wasteful use of fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, improves the efficiency of farming operations, enhances the safety of agricultural products and contributes to the protection of the environment.

Beginning this autumn, the university team will conduct verification tests on a fully unmanned tractor in a 950-hectare area of land in Hokkaido, taking into consideration actual restrictions such as the use of radio waves and the road traffic law.

To put agricultural robots to work, it is important for people concerned, including researchers, engineers and farmers to allow a process of “trial and error” to play out, Noguchi said.

Certainly, agricultural robots cannot take over all farming operations.

Shigeru Someya, a large-scale rice grower in Kashiwa, near Tokyo, said while advances in agricultural equipment have made farming operations more efficient, it has led to a situation where rice paddies tend to be no longer properly managed.

“I know that rice grows (best) while hearing human footsteps,” Someya said. “Visits (to rice paddies) are indispensable.”

The accumulation of huge volumes of data, and the use of artificial intelligence to analyze and learn, plus the introduction of farming robots in combination with the wisdom of farmers like Someya should prove profitable for all.

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Robotics injects new life into Japan’s aging agricultural workforce – Kyodo News Plus

Georgia Tech builds first-of-its-kind ‘Robotarium’ to advance robotics research (Video) – Atlanta Business Chronicle


Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Tech builds first-of-its-kind 'Robotarium' to advance robotics research (Video)
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Georgia Tech has built a Robotarium the first of its kind at a research university to accelerate robotics research. The 725-square-foot Robotarium is a remotely accessible swarm robotics lab populated with almost 100 wheeled ground robots and

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Georgia Tech builds first-of-its-kind ‘Robotarium’ to advance robotics research (Video) – Atlanta Business Chronicle

MIT’s Robogami lets you build custom 3D-printable robots from standard, folding parts – TechCrunch

Flat-pack furniture made IKEA a global powerhouse, and the same principles may help create a new generation of robots. Interactive Robogami is a project from MIT that lets users create ambulatory robots from a library of pieces that fold and fit together like origami.

The goal is to make the process of designing robots accessible, said Adriana Schulz, a PhD student at MIT who co-led the project. The actuators, the materials, the code, things like that require a lot of knowledge. Our system encapsulates that expert knowledge, so the user can focus on conceptual design.

Robogami lets users combine a library of intercompatible parts with primitives that can be printed like puzzle pieces and then folded and locked into shape. The flat-printed style reduces both print time and material cost by more than half.

It has a user-friendly GUI that has more in common with a game or 3D doodle app than a CAD or other design environment. You drag the pieces where you want them, arrange the type and placement of the feet or wheels and add any other features you think might be useful (or cool-looking). Then you can work out how and when those parts will move, what direction and so on.

Meanwhile, the app is doing all kinds of calculations in the background.

One of the key things is that you can design geometry and motion at the same time. Normally thats two different processes, but here you can change one and see how it affects the other, said Schulz.

The ordering of the how the legs move, the speed, these are all parametric structures, she said. How they interact is systematized and you dont have to worry about, for example, synchronizing motor torques or timing a foots touchdown its being calculated internally. The software maps these components into a full fabrication plan, from the mesh that goes to the 3D printer to the motors and code, the user doesnt have to worry its very end to end.

For instance, if you decide to move the front legs back toward the center, the software calculates how that might affect when and how fast they move, or whether their motion would interfere with another piece. It watches for things like wobbliness, changes in orientation and center of gravity.

It might sound a little like babys first robot kit, but its clearly a versatile tool. Robogami users of varying levels of familiarity with CAD and engineering tools took part in a handful of tests. We were really surprised by the diversity of models people made, Schulz told me. It took about 15-30 minutes to design a robot, a few hours to print it, then 30-90 minutes to assemble it.

The tool isnt aimed at any population in particular, Schulz told me (other than anybody), but I thought this would make for an amazing couple of weeks in a high school or college engineering course, perhaps even earlier. Design your own little bots, print them overnight, assemble them to understand how the motors and chassis fit together, then race them or have them navigate obstacles.

Right now Robogami is just the subject of the researchers paper, now published in the International Journal of Robotics Research. But Schulz said the goal was to move beyond mere locomotion and into other tasks. Empowering people to design complex things is difficult! But I think it would be exciting to create tools that lower design barriers for casual users.

These tools enable new approaches to teaching computational thinking and creating, said Daniela Rus, director of MITs CSAIL and collaborator on the research, in a news release. Students can not only learn by coding and making their own robots, but by bringing to life conceptual ideas about what their robots can actually do.

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MIT’s Robogami lets you build custom 3D-printable robots from standard, folding parts – TechCrunch

Bricklaying Robots And Exoskeletons Are the Future of the Construction Industry – Motherboard

One of the most staid and digitally conservative industries is on the verge of a robotic makeover.

The global construction space isn’t known for ushering new tech into their workforce, but a painful labour shortage, calls for increased worker safety and more low-cost housing, and the need to catch up to other tech-savvy sectors is giving upstarts in robotics and exoskeletons their big moment.

Even so, there’s concern that automation could put some workers out of a job. According to a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, each additional robot in the American economy lowers employment by 5.6 workers, and every robot that is added to the workforce per 1,000 human workers causes wages to drop by as much as 0.25 to 0.5 percent.

The construction industry isn’t immune to this phenomenon, but robots and humans may increasingly work hand-in-hand in industrial sectors, according to Brian Turmail, senior executive director of public affairs at the Associated General Contractors of America. This is especially true when the construction industry en masse uses exoskeleton vests, which aim to assist workers with heavy loads and thus reduce their risk of injury.

But some robots may do the majority of back-breaking work for construction workers that repeat the same routine for hours.

The Hadrian X is a bricklaying robot courtesy Australia’s Fastbrick Robotics, which uses its 30-metre metal arm to lay bricks at a rate of 1,000 bricks per hour, compared to a human worker’s average of 1,000 a day. Due for release in late 2017, Hadrian X can read a 3D CAD model of the house and then it follows those instructions precisely, working day and night.

Video: Fastbrick Robotics/YouTube

“[Automation] is a need now, not a want,” Mike Pivac, president of Fastbrick Robotics, told reporters in 2016. “We have to do this. If we’re going to satisfy the global need for low-cost housing over the next 30 years, as we add another 3 billion people to the planet, we see solutions like this as being very, very important.”

New York-based Construction Robotics has also developed its take on a bricklaying robot. SAM can lay 3,000 bricks a day, and the company said it’s about time this industry got a whiff of the change almost every other market has been seeing.

“The efficiency in construction sites has been very stagnant or declined in the last 20, 30 years whereas manufacturing efficiency has increased significantly and a lot of that is due to robotics and technologies,” Scott Peters, President of Construction Robotics, told VICE News.

“The availability of robotics in the industry is pretty thin,” according to Dan Kara, president of the robotics research division at ABI Research. “Sure, we’ve had automation on assembly lines since the ’70s, but that’s doing a fixed task over and over. In construction, you’re not making 1 million refrigerators but moving around a lot, climbing on scaffolds, laying down palettes, and that’s a challenge.”

Amid fears of widespread automation, there are signs the industry might need non-human help. In June 2017, 154,000 open jobs were available in US construction, compared to 84,000 in May 2012 and a low of 41,000 in May 2009, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Robots don’t “replace the need for workers,” according to Brian Turmail, senior executive director of public affairs at the Associated General Contractors of America, who answered questions over email. “They change the skill set, mix, and possibly location (e.g., construction site or factory) of workers who are needed.”

Without such technological advances, Turmail added, projects may fall short of the workers needed, which would risk delay home construction and drive up costs.

The mainstream construction players are taking notice: In July, construction equipment giant Caterpillar announced it will partner with Fastbrick by investing $2 million in the company and aiming to develop the framework for bringing the Hardian X to Caterpillar customers.

Robotics are also playing a role when it comes to the work actual humans are doing in the construction industry. Look at exoskeletons, which are next-gen arm slings or vests designed to offload the weight of heavy repetitive industrial work. Picture them as robotic armour for construction workers tasked with doing the same thing over and over, like tiling or heavy-duty drilling.

ABI Research predicts the global exoskeleton market will rise from 2,453 units shipped in 2015 to 107,736 units in 2025. Image: ABI Research

Some construction workers may never suffer a crippling injury, but their bodies can wear down after years of back-buckling work. Some firms, like California-based Ekso Bionics, are aiming to help the aging workforce. In September it will debut its new EksoVest, which can support loads of between five and 15lbs per arm.

The robotic exoskeleton market is poised to grow to $1.9 billion in 2025, compared to $97 million in 2016, says ABI Research’s Dan Kara.

It will only be a matter of time before shiny metal arms join hand-in-hand with the hard hats dotting construction sites across the world.

More:

Bricklaying Robots And Exoskeletons Are the Future of the Construction Industry – Motherboard

Robotics and automation: threats and opportunities – Livemint

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The concept of robotics has been in existence for a long time, with Egyptians using automated water clocks to strike the hour bell and hydraulically operated statues that could gesture and speak in 400 BC. Subsequently, there have been many such instances of robotics in the history of mankind. The first modern-day Industrial Revolution dates back to 1800s and had manufacturing processes for metals, chemicals, textiles and mining; leading to an increase in productivity and output. Robots have evolved tremendously over the years and are now being widely used in various sectors such as defence, disaster management, search and rescue operations, and the entertainment industry in the form of electronically operated toys.

Automation is an extension of robotics and can be termed as the next phase of industrial revolution. The present industrial revolution seeks to disrupt the existing processes and enhance them with programmable logic. While it is easy to identify a repetitive process or task, it is equally difficult to program such a code that can make a machine carry out this activity on a perpetual basis.

As technology has improved over time, robots and automated systems have made inroads into organizations where tasks may have been dangerous, impossible or just plain mundane for humans.

Since the dawn of computer programming, automation, also known as robotics, was available in the form of click-and-type macros. These would repeat keyboard and mouse operations, mimicking a human.

With the advent of advanced analytics and data sciences, as in artificial intelligence, it is now possible to automate complex tasks that can act intelligently like humans. Analytics are now being used to identify or avoid risks; for example, identifying a suspect fraudulent transaction on a credit card based on the customers regular spending pattern or studying a customers spending pattern on an online retail store and recommending products.

Use of sensors in everyday objects such as lights, air conditioners and televisionswhich operate based on inputs like human gesture, speech or commandsis another example. Sensors are also being used to identify speeding cars or count the number of parking slots available in large parking spaces.

The latest application of robotics and automation can be seen in technologies such as autonomous or driverless cars, 3D printing and chat bots.

Data analytics forms the backbone of robotics and automation. Any task that can be programmed into a computer-readable code requires extensive amount of input data to be analysed and processed in real-time basis to provide enhancements.

For instance, real-time data analytics plays a pivotal role in allowing a driverless vehicle to self-navigate from one point to another, without human intervention. Sensors and cameras provide real-time input of distance between vehicles, traffic conditions, and natural obstacles such as stones and dividers; which are then processed at high speeds to allow the vehicle to navigate at an optimum speed. Global Positioning System (GPS) provides navigation and route information for the destination. All these processes and sensors work simultaneously, processing large data sets to redefine the driving experience.

Chat bots too require complex understanding to simulate human behaviour for efficient customer service. Data analytics can provide significant value to chat bot technology by leveraging large data sets that form the basics to simulate human behaviour. With the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, bots can be designed to continuously learn and evolve their responses to customer queries. Chat bots can also be used in help desk management systems where these are capable of resolving queries accurately and at a faster pace compared to their human counterparts.

While automation technologies like driverless cars and chat bots may disrupt our lives in the future, each one of these could potentially create avenues and opportunities for individuals and businesses. Here are some examples:

The mass adoption of driverless cars could potentially have an adverse short-term impact in the form of job losses, but may also allow low-cost entry for small scale investors. These investors can set up a unit of driverless cabs and earn their livelihood without relying on third parties. Programming and data analytics for driverless cars would result in job creation in software engineering.

Chat bots could possibly reduce the need for customer service representatives but on the other hand, complex programming requirements and artificial intelligence would lead to more job creation for data science analytics and service delivery to customers.

Every industrial revolution that has occurred in the past has opened a wide variety of prospects for individuals as well as organizations.

Market sentiments suggest that the job market does not stay static but changes constantly with innovation in technologies. Many tasks undertaken (manually) by humans about 20-30 years ago are no longer relevant. Gone are the days wherein one would need to feed a huge stack of chip cards to a large computer system. Data entry has become more sophisticated and less manual. Similarly, todays jobs may not be that relevant 20-30 years in the future but there would be more and different opportunities. With the increased use of remote connectivity, video conference and digital presence; the job scenario is expected to drive the future of work. Manual tasks would become increasingly automated for business efficiencies and scale. This will be key for organizations that want to stay ahead of the curve and outpace rivals in a highly competitive world.

Amit Jaju, partner, forensic technology and discovery services,EY India

Continued here:

Robotics and automation: threats and opportunities – Livemint


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