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Yotel New York is making use of a customized ABB IRB 6640 robot from MFG Automation, using the custom "Yobot" that handles around 300 pieces of luggage per day. Hotel guests can actually check-in using kiosks, give their luggage to the robot, and go straight to their rooms with minimal worker contact.
The robot traditionally was designed for an industrial workplace, so it can spot weld or transport manufacturing materials, but the hotel uses it so employees can conduct other tasks.
"It also allows our staff to focus on the guest and focus on their needs instead of just the simple task of storing a piece of luggage," said Claes Landberg, general manager of YOTEL New York, in a statement to CNBC.
When it comes to artificial intelligence and the way it is advancing, physicist Stephen Hawking is concerned humans could one day lose control. He has spoken out against AI on numerous occasions in the past, and recently shared his thoughts about why humans must be vigilant regarding AI:
"Computers will overtake humans with I at some [time] within the next 100 years," Hawking recently said while speaking at the Zeitgeist 2015 conference. "When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours."
Even if AI doesn't evolve to become a major threat to mankind, Hawking - and a growing number of major tech and science leaders - want a fair and open discussion regarding AI research. There is major concern over who controls AI, though with self-awareness and learning protocols in place, full artificial intelligence could allow the robots to disregard human operators.
Scientists and researchers have great use for robotics development, with a number of different models currently in development. The use of micro-robotics, however, provides an interesting scenario in which researchers study small insects and wildlife for their natural inspiration.
When most people think of robots, they immediately think of large, metallic creations that can be used in factories - but micro-sized robots are proving increasingly popular. If implemented, micro-robots can assist in agriculture, medicine, and other industries, according to supporters.
"If you want to make something a centimeter big that can fly, several hundred thousand solutions already exist in nature," said Robert Wood, electrical engineer at Harvard University's Microrobotics Lab, in a statement to National Geographic. "We don't just copy nature. We try to understand the what, how, and why behind an organism's anatomy, movement, and behavior, and then translate that into engineering terms."
The US military is interested in testing floating seaports that could be used for large-scale operations, with a test taking place in Hawaii later this month. Using the Montford Point, a 785-foot US Navy vessel as a "mobile landing platform," the hope is to be able to see how realistic personnel and equipment can be transferred to shore.
"In Culebra Koa we'll be expanding to mate different kinds of ships to it," said Lt. Russ Wolfkiel, spokesman for the Expeditionary Strike Group 3, in a statement published by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. "After (Marines) go in and take the shore, now you've got to move in material to support the war effort, or, in the case of (humanitarian assistance), how do you get that material ashore if your ports are not up to speed?"
The exercise will take place starting on May 18, and involve thousands of sailors and US Marines, Air Force and Army personnel. If implemented, using seaports and other sea-basing techniques can make it easier to deliver humanitarian relief and increase security.
Researchers from the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) are creating new methods for robots and humans to communicate more efficiently.
The multi-modal human-robot dialogue would make use of natural language, but also include text, images and video processing. Ideally, military personnel would be able to more efficiently interact with computers and artificial intelligence, especially during missions when time is critical.
"Research and technology are essential for providing the best capabilities to our warfighters," said Dr. Laurel Allender, ARL Human Research and Engineering Directorate director, in a statement. "This is especially so for the immersive and live-training environments we are developing to achieve squad overmatch and to optimize soldier performance, both mentally and physically."
When Tesla unveiled its new Powerwall home battery, I don't think most people thought it would take off as fast as it has. According to Bloomberg, Tesla has received over $800 million in orders for the Powerwall and Powerpack batteries so far.
The site says that Tesla has received around $179 million worth of Powerwall reservations so far, with $625 million worth of Powerpack reservations to boot. Tesla has already said that it's taken in around 38,000 total reservations for Powerwall, and 2,500 reservations for Powerpack.
Tesla is selling the Powerwall for $3000 and $3500 for the 7kWh and 10kWh models, respectively. Powerpack units make even more money for Tesla, as they're being sold to businesses and utilities for power storage for $250 per kilowatt hour to use.
Maurice Newman, the chairman of Australia's Business Advisory Council has said that climate science is mostly "dud predictions", adding that "The real agenda is concentrated political authority. Global warming is the hook. It's about a new world order under the control of the UN".
Newman reports to Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, and was appointed by Abbott himself to chair the Business Advisory Council, and has been a critic of climate science for quite sometime. Newman has put out a few false statements, including "95 percent of the climate models we are told prove the link between human CO2 emissions and catastrophic global warming have been found, after nearly two decades of temperature stasis, to be in error".
While this might sound like a crazy tinfoil hat conspiracy post, scientists don't exactly have all the answers when it comes to weather. Especially when there's trillions of dollars of trade at stake in virtually every industry thanks to 'climate change', and with YouTubers like Suspicious0bservers showing us that our Sun can influence the weather here on Earth, maybe this is something we need to be talking about?
Researchers from Northwestern University have monitored the swimming styles of the black ghost knifefish, cuttlefish and Persian carpet flatworm to create custom computer simulations. Using collected data, a "Ghostbot" has been created, in an effort to hopefully design next-generation underwater robots.
Following a study published in PLOS Biology, researchers are now studying 22 different animls that move around using undulation-oscillation.
"There is a real need for underwater vehicles that are more maneuverable than the current things we use for disaster recovery or inspection of structures underwater," said Malcolm MacIver, one of the contributing senior authors of the study, said in a statement published by CBS News. "They are non-maneuverable, which results in things like with the BP oil disaster, the robots banging into oil well heads or what have you."
There is a major demand for skilled engineers and researchers with a background in artificial intelligence, with Google, Amazon, Facebook, and other companies recruiting. There currently aren't very many commercial uses for AI, but no one wants to be caught out as machines are expected to play a larger role in the future.
"There's a massive battle under way for talent," said Oren Etzioni, head of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, in a statement published by the WSJ. "Virtually every professor at the UW computer-science department has been called many times to work at these companies, and frankly it's a very compelling pitch."
To help foster tomorrow's talent, companies are helping invest in - and create - research labs for universities with strong engineering programs. Even with concerns related to AI one day possibly spiraling out of control, lucrative partnerships and working relationships are being nurtured.
There could one day be 1 million drone flights per day in the United States by 2035, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is slowly embracing commercial drone flights, while consumers are increasingly flying drones for a number of recreational purposes.
On the commercial side, farmers can now use drones to spray crops, and survey their property. Real estate agents and Hollywood film studios have also found use for drones, after receiving government approval.
"This is a billion-dollar technology market literally just waiting to take off," said Brian Markwalter, senior vice president of research for the CEA, in a statement. "We see a dynamic market with tremendous growth potential," as the FAA continues to study commercial drone flights over US soil.