Caltech: Robotics Engineers Take on COVID-19

Caltech: Robotics Engineers Take on COVID-19. “When the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns brought an abrupt halt to their research this spring, robotics engineers at Caltech and the University of Michigan took tools that were originally created to help robots to walk and autonomous cars to drive safely and applied them to the development of an epidemiological methodology that accounts for human interventions (like mask mandates and stay-at-home orders).”

MIT Technology Review: It’s time to rethink the legal treatment of robots

MIT Technology Review: It’s time to rethink the legal treatment of robots. “A tax system informed by AI legal neutrality would not only improve commerce by eliminating inefficient subsidies for automation; it would help to ensure that the benefits of AI do not come at the expense of the most vulnerable, by leveling the playing field for human workers and ensuring adequate tax revenue. AI is likely to result in massive but poorly distributed financial gains, and this will both require and enable policymakers to rethink how they allocate resources and distribute wealth. They may realize we are not doing such a good job of that now.”

‘The safest possible stadium’: Carolina Panthers debut new COVID-killing robot (WHDH)

WHDH: ‘The safest possible stadium’: Carolina Panthers debut new COVID-killing robot. “The Carolina Panthers is the first organization in the league to use the Xenex Light Strike Robot, a powerful germ destroying robot that creators and team believe will reduce the risk of COVID-19 for staff, players and fans.”

India Today: Google turns farmer with project Mineral, its robots are growing soybeans and strawberries

India Today: Google turns farmer with project Mineral, its robots are growing soybeans and strawberries. “The current venture Mineral focuses on sustainable food production and farming at large scales, with a focus on ‘developing and testing a range of software and hardware prototypes based on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, simulation, sensors, robotics and more,’ according to project lead Elliott Grant.”

Core77: Salad Bars, Killed by COVID, Now Replaced With Custom-Salad-Making Robots

Core77: Salad Bars, Killed by COVID, Now Replaced With Custom-Salad-Making Robots. “Salad bars are big business. According to Bloomberg, they’re lucrative, have high profit margins, drive store visits and more than 90% of supermarkets have them. On the downside they take up a lot of floor space. More importantly, ever since COVID-19 hit no one wants to use them anymore. A California-based company called Chowbotics may just be in the right place at the right time. They’ve been working on Sally the Fresh Food Robot, a sort of vending-machine-plus that workers load up with individual ingredients.”

CNET: Facebook built a new fiber-spinning robot to make internet service cheaper

CNET: Facebook built a new fiber-spinning robot to make internet service cheaper. “The robot rests delicately atop a power line, balanced high above the ground, almost as if it’s floating. Like a short, stocky tightrope walker, it gradually makes its way forward, leaving a string of cable in its wake. When it comes to a pole, it gracefully elevates its body to pass the roadblock and keep chugging along. This isn’t a circus robot. Facebook developed the machine to install fiber cables on medium-voltage power lines around the globe.”

The Register: Korean boffins build COVID-bot to shove a swab right up your hooter

The Register: Korean boffins build COVID-bot to shove a swab right up your hooter. “The South Korean Institute of Machinery and Materials has developed a robotic rig capable of shoving a COVID-19-sputum-sampling-swab right up your hooter, so that medicos don’t have to come into contact with possibly-contagious patients.”

Wired: Covid-19 Makes the Case for More Meatpacking Robots

Wired: Covid-19 Makes the Case for More Meatpacking Robots. “… on the other side of the ocean, inside Europe’s largest pig slaughterhouse, the only visible sign that there’s a global pandemic going on is in the break room, where every other chair has been spirited away to leave conspicuous gaps between any would-be socializers. Otherwise, it’s business as usual. That’s because, at this meat plant, robots do most of the work.”

“Germ-Zapping Robots”: How Hollywood Might Kill Coronavirus Fears on Set (Hollywood Reporter)

Hollywood Reporter: “Germ-Zapping Robots”: How Hollywood Might Kill Coronavirus Fears on Set. “With plans for safely revving up production underway in Hollywood, the industry is looking at creative ways to make sure sets are sanitary in the age of COVID-19. One newly emerging strategy might have people wondering whether the pandemic is turning Hollywood into one of the sci-fi films it churns out: ‘germ-zapping robots.’ Yes, really. Hollywood has begun to take interest in a lab-certified disinfecting robot that uses pulses of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The Next Web: Boston Dynamics is open-sourcing its robot tech to help hospitals fight coronavirus

The Next Web: Boston Dynamics is open-sourcing its robot tech to help hospitals fight coronavirus. “We’ve seen Boston Dynamics‘ Spot robot walking, running, dancing, and opening doors. Now, the company has assigned it a more important task during the coronavirus pandemic: telemedicine. In this new solution, the iPad mounted on the robot lets health workers communicate with patients remotely, saving time, reducing exposure, and preserving personal protective equipment (PPE). The newly developed application is already under trial in Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts. ”

EurekAlert: NTU Singapore researchers build disinfection robot to aid cleaners in COVID-19 outbreak

EurekAlert: NTU Singapore researchers build disinfection robot to aid cleaners in COVID-19 outbreak. “Researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a semi-autonomous robot that can disinfect large surfaces quickly. The researchers are planning to have public trials to support Singapore’s fight against COVID-19. Named eXtreme Disinfection roBOT (XDBOT), it can be wirelessly controlled via a laptop or tablet, removing the need for cleaners to be in contact with surfaces, thereby reducing the risk of picking up the virus from potentially contaminated areas.”

Analytics India: How Google Is Teaching Robots To Be Agile Like Dogs

Analytics India: How Google Is Teaching Robots To Be Agile Like Dogs. “With Google AI conducting many studies, a considerable amount of research has gone into understanding how machines can imitate human – or animal – behavior. Most recently, the company developed a system that learns from the motions of animals to give robots greater ‘agility’.”

The Horizons Tracker: The New Database To Help Robots Learn

The Horizons Tracker: The New Database To Help Robots Learn. “Databases such as ImageNet have long been the bedrock of the AI revolution we’re experiencing today. With 14 million or so images, they provide a vast repository of content with which to train algorithms. It’s a trick that roboticists are attempting to replicate with a new database, known as RoboNet.”

Engadget: Alphabet’s rebooted robotics program starts with trash-sorting machines

Engadget: Alphabet’s rebooted robotics program starts with trash-sorting machines . “For all the advances made by robot companies like Boston Dynamics, we’re still a long way from having robots living among humans and performing assistive tasks in our day-to-day lives. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is taking on the this challenge through its experimental X Lab, where engineers are working on The Everyday Robot Project.”