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Nestle will call upon a fleet of Pepper androids made by SoftBank to help sell coffee machines in its Japanese retail stores. Pepper will "help us discover consumer needs through conversations between our customers and Pepper," Nestle and SoftBank said in a joint statement.
SoftBank has received up to 400 inquiries from other companies regarding the Pepper robot, as additional sales announcements are expected in the future. The 4-foot-tall robot is able to predict human emotions based on facial expressions, dance, make jokes, and communicate with customers. Each device retails for around $1,900 - plus additional monthly fees.
SoftBank already is deployed in its retail Japanese phone stores, helping gauge customer opinions.
The cheetah robot developed by the MIT biomimetics lab is able to run more than 10 mph, jump over 16 inches high and run for more than 15 minutes using its own power source. The robot uses lightweight yet powerful motors and a customized algorithm to help it decide how much force it should exert while running and jumping.
The MIT project is being funded by DARPA, which also is providing money to Boston Dynamics for a similar robot design. It took more than five years of designing, testing and modifications to the electrical motor and sensors for MIT to create its current prototype.
"This is kind of a Ferrari in the robotics world, like, we have to put all the expensive components and make it really that instinctive," said Sangbae Kim, MIT associate professor and Biomimetics Robotics Lab team leader. "That's the only way to get that speed."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants drone operators to use better common sense and make sure they don't fly drones near airport airspace. There have been more reported incidents between drones and aircraft, with 25 near collisions since February, according to the FAA.
"The thing that I am most concerned about is doing everything we can to avoid conflicts between aircraft - whether they're drones or commercial airliners," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "If you're using an unmanned aircraft, you need to stay away from an airport, you need to stay below 400 feet and you need to maintain line of sight."
However, as the number of drone operators is expected to increase in 2015, these type of incidents only seem more likely to occur. The FAA plans to release official rules for drones that weigh less than 55 pounds sometime in December.
Amazon wants to make deliveries using drones, and it appears many customers are okay with the unmanned aircraft dropping packages on doorsteps. In a survey, 53 percent of people said they would like drones to deliver holiday purchases for them, according to the CNET report. That number will likely increase as more Americans become familiar with drones and their potential uses.
The US federal government expects drones to become more common among private citizens - but wants to create guidelines for commercial use - and that includes delivery drones. An effort to realistically roll out drone fleets to make deliveries will take a significant amount of R&D effort, but would be a unique way to streamline deliveries.
Would you want a drone to make deliveries to your house?
Robotics research has focused on factory automation, greeting customers in malls and shopping centers, but could one day soon have a new purpose: flying your meals and drinks to you while you dine at restaurants in Singapore. Infinium-Serve is the new fleet of autonomous flying robotic waiters that will be able to serve as waiters - and help reduce burden on labor problems in Singapore.
The robotic waiters could be deployed by the end of 2015, with Infinium Robotics currently trying to receive government grants to help pay for the project. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saw an in-person test of the Infinium-Serve earlier this year, however, it remains unknown where he stands on the research.
"Introducing this technology into restaurants would take away mundane tasks of serving food and drinks," said Woon Junyang, Infinium Robotics CEO, in a statement. "It will allow human waiters to focus on higher-value tasks such as getting feedback from customers. This will result in an enhanced dining experience, which will eventually lead to increased sales and revenue for the restaurants."
French authorities are still looking for solutions to prevent future unauthorized drone flights over its nuclear power plant facilities, with 13 different incidents occurring between October 5 and November 2. Despite flying drones one kilometer in altitude - or within five kilometers around nuclear sites - is illegal, these random incidents continued to increase.
As security threats around critical infrastructure, public gatherings, and sporting events increases, trying to detect drone flights remains difficult.
To detect these types of drone flights, using the Spynel, a sensor created by HGH Infrared Systems, provides UAV detection and tracking. The system has a 360-degree infrared thermal imaging camera and uses custom software to detect and track drones up to 11 kilometers away. It has been in use since 2007 - and could prove to be one answer to prevent unauthorized drone flights, helping protect infrastructure and civilians.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received an increasing number of near-collisions between small drones and airliners. There have been 25 incidents between small drones and pilots, according to commercial airlines, air-traffic controllers, and private pilots. Furthermore, there have been at least 175 incidents where drones were spotted near restricted airspace or near airports.
Most private drones are only a few feet in diameter, and weigh less than 10 pounds, but could be catastrophic if sucked into a jet engine or clips a plane's propeller, flight experts warn.
As more citizens begin to purchase and fly drones, the problem will only increase - leaving the FAA and pilots concerned it could be only a matter of time before a collision occurs.
Work smarter, not harder - including on the farm, which are embracing robotics and technology. Some dairy farmers are deploying new robots that make milking cows more efficient and timely, freeing up time for workers to conduct other tasks. Two machines cost $640,000 and necessary barn renovations increased the total cost up to $800,000 before milking even began.
Now, farmers feed the cows at the same time, but they are able to be milked on "their own schedule," with help from the LBJ Farm Equipment Lely robotic milking machines. The machine is able to read a custom collar, identifying each cow, ensuring it is time for them to be milked - if a cow enters the stall too early, it is guided out of the machine.
The machine has a set of brushes that clean and air dry the teats before the milking process begins, then the machine uses lasers and a 3D camera to know the proper location of the cow. The Lely machine also tracks the cow's weight, temperature, and other vital information to help farmers verify each cow is healthy.
Action camera maker GoPro plans to jump into the consumer drone market sporting high-definition cameras, which will launch in 2015, according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal. The drones should be available late next year and costs will range from $500 up to $1,000 per drone, but design styles are still unknown.
GoPro camera models already are compatible with some consumer drones currently available, and transitioning into drone manufacturing could be a lucrative effort. However, with companies such as DJI Innovations and other consumer drone manufacturers in a suddenly booming market, competition will be intense.
A GoPro spokesman told the WSJ that "jaw-dropping GoPro footage recorded from quadcopters," is already available - and producing impressive content. "Earlier this year, to study the policy implications and to protect the rights of our users, GoPro joined the Washington-based Small UAV coalition," the spokesman mentioned.
Baidu, the Chinese technology company, has teased the Internet with its new connected DuBike smart bike. The bike has multiple sensors that can collect rider data, heart rate, velocity, foot pressure, and seating pressure. DuBike also has the ability to convert kinetic energy into electricity, GPS, and a custom operating system that provides riders with updated routes and nearby users.
All collected data can be sent to PCs and mobile devices for further analysis, with more connected features possible in the future.
Baidu was careful not to add noticeable sensors on the outside of the bike, so hopefully bike thieves won't be drawn to the bike. Pricing information and scheduled release date weren't made available to consumers.