Weekly Robotic News Issue 12 – Community Edition


These are the droids you’re looking for…



As I write this late in the evening I was reminded by a news story of a presentation on robotics I delivered to a class of nine year olds in December. During the presentation I showed the kids a video of an exoskeleton that was worn by a Kawasaki worker no doubt designed to help him / her lift heavy objects safely.

Naturally in the robotics world you tend to think that many of the robots you see are more proof of concept rather than in production. I was surprised to learn of a company in the USA called ReWalk who like Kawasaki are working on exoskeletons to help the injured / elderly move around safely. Hopefully trials will go well and this company will actually start to deliver these systems as too many great things appear in the robotics world but struggle to actually get released as products.

Speaking of which, the release date of Jibo is hopefully still in march / april however as the BBC found out the Jibo team was not quite prepared to show anything more of Jibo beyond its dance moves. I am sure my own kids will enjoy playing with Jibo’s animation tools and making him move but for now we are left looking forward to a new video showing Jibo interacting with ..err actors in a home setting - https://blog.jibo.com/2016/01/27/behind-the-scenes-at-the-jibo-video-shoot/

Personally I remain positive that Jibo will excite consumers and as a father remain committed to deliver on my promise to my kids to not to open the Jibo box until they get home from school Smile. March / April cannot come soon enough…will Jibo ship or will it be delayed..we shall see.

IBM and Pepper have teamed up to have Pepper tied into the Watson expert system. IBM has worked with SoftBank to enable Watson to communicate in Japanese. This will certainly ensure that Pepper can deliver great responses and appear less flustered when asked questions it cannot respond to.

Finally, the hot news this week was more AI than robot and that is that Google have developed a system to beat a top European player in the ancient game of Go. Implications for robotics applications are unknown at this point but the fact this has happened is amazing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUbqykXVx0A 

The News

Accenture Strategy Chief: The winners in the robot revolution will become ‘augmented’ - https://www.businessinsider.com/accenture-strategy-mark-knickrehm-wef-davos-robots-ai-digital-disruption-2016-1?r=UK&IR=T

Rise of the robots will cost 5 million jobs by 2020 - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-18/rise-of-the-robots-will-eliminate-more-than-5-million-jobs

Jibo nears release… https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35353546

Department of veteran affairs purchases exoskeletons from ReWalk for trials - https://rewalk.com/department-of-veterans-affairs-purchases-six-rewalk-robotics-exoskeleton-systems-for-national-multi-center-clinical-tria/

Segway launching robotic platform and looking for developers - https://www.sci-tech-today.com/news/Segway+Unveils+Robot+You+Can+Ride/story.xhtml?story_id=13100DO0GUJJ#

Toyota launches new AI lab in the US to focus on autonomous cars and assistive robots for the elderly - https://www.techrepublic.com/article/toyota-launches-new-ai-lab-in-us-calls-autonomous-cars-robots-on-wheels/

IBM’s Watson will now help Pepper deliver smarter answers and hopefully deliver those answers in Japanese at least until Pepper appears in the west - https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2016/01/12/is-it-robot-love-ibms-watson-helps-softbanks.html

More on the SoftBank / IBM story - https://www.thestreet.com/story/13430476/1/could-your-next-store-visit-be-guided-by-a-robot-ibm-hopes-so.html

Robots are China’s new worry - https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/01/28/forget-the-markets-robots-are-chinas-new-worry/#1e9f562a1edb

World’s first robotic farm producing Lettuce - https://www.techinsider.io/spreads-robot-farm-will-open-soon-2016-1

Development of care robots in aging Japan - https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/27/national/social-issues/development-care-robots-growing-aging-japan/#.VquXwML2aUk

Telepresence robot helps five-year-old with leukemia keep up with class - https://wgntv.com/2016/01/26/telepresence-robot-helps-5-year-old-with-leukemia-keep-up-with-class/

Scottish health boards to reveal robot trial results - https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-35407816

The robotic journey will continue next week