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SoftBank will begin selling its Pepper humanoid robot in Japan on Saturday, with each unit available for $1,600. It'll be possible to rent a Pepper unit for about $12 per hour, in an effort to draw attention from the public. The company expects to manufacture around 1,000 robots per month, with sales in the US and Europe opening in 2016.
Along with the robot, SoftBank will include a support plan for around $120 per month, providing access to an app store and voice-recognition software. Interested customers can expect around 100 apps at launch, with additional software currently in development.
The robot is able to remember faces identify human emotions, and could be programmed to spot speech functions.
Did the United States really land on the moon? Well, it looks like that's a topic Russian Investigative Commission spokesman Vladimir Markin thinks should be investigated.
In his op-ed, Markin begins speaking about FIFA corruption, and somehow eventually finds his way to discussing the Apollo missions:
"We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon], and simply made a film about it. But all of those scientific - or perhaps cultural - artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened," Markin said in a published column for the Izvestia newspaper.
Researchers have created tiny soft robotic tentacles able to successfully pick up an ant without harming or killing it. The tentacle can also pick up fish eggs, a strong indication the technology may be used in microscopic surgeries that require extreme precision.
The Iowa State University researchers chose a manner that each microscopic tube is coil and move in a spiraling manner, similar to an octopus arm. Measuring up to 8 millimeters in length, each tube has a silicone rubber ring located at the base that give the tubes strength.
"The gentle spiraling and scooping motion of our micro-tentacle will definitely help," said Jaeyoun Kim, electrical engineer at Iowa State University, said in a statement to Live Science. It's impressive research that could have a major impact on surgeries - hopefully preventing tissue damage to the medical patient.
We all know how incredible the minds over at Dyson are, but their new CSYS line of lamps will run for 37 years. How? The CSYS lamps use Heat Pipe technology, similar to what is used on satellites, in order to keep the eight LEDs cool.
The heat is ripped away from the bulbs, and down into an aluminum heat sink that runs the entire span of the CSYS lamp's shaft. Each LED sits in a conical reflector, where it cuts down on glare, and the usual eye strain. Dyson has baked in 3 Axis Glide Motion that lets you position the CSYS vertically, horizontally, and rotationally, with a quick flick.
Dyson has also provided touch-based dimming, so you can adjust the brightness to your personal liking very easily. The company will be charging $649 for the CSYS, with a taller floor model to be made available for $899.
Tesla isn't the only company with the home battery on the way, with Mercedes-Benz unveiling its own home battery capable of holding 2.5kWh of electricity.
But, eight of these can be tethered together for a total of 20kWh, twice of the electricity that a single Powerwall from Tesla can hold. Merdeces-Benz is taking a much more modular approach to its battery thanks to the ability of hooking multiple of them together. 20kWh should be enough for most modest sized houses, with the company hoping to ship its home battery in September.
Robots are being developed and it's up to us to be prepared for them. There has been a recent call for new public policies and organizational models that will adhere to robotics, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything useful will get done.
The idea that robots could one day overpower humans seems frightening, but there is a more pressing matter: robots taking jobs from human workers. It's possible robots could end up replacing half of all jobs, with some positions at greater risk than others.
"This is an unparalleled situation and one that I think could actually lead to all sorts of disruptions once the public starts to catch on that we are truly in the midst of technological unemployment," said Wendell Wallach, a scholar at the Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, in a statement published by Business Insider.
Robotics experts from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology snagged a $2 million prize during a DARPA contest. The United States government opened up a challenge to create a mobile robot that can work in environments too hazardous for humans.
Six different countries participated in the competition, with DARPA needing "the tools to effectively respond" to humanitarian disaster relief missions, DARPA official Brad Tousely told the AFP. Robots were scored on tasks that included opening a valve, breaching a wall, how they handled debris, and how it adapted to the surrounding environment.
The HUBO humanoid robot is 5'9" and weighs 176 pounds - it can roll on wheels while kneeling when not using bipedal mode to walk.
The US Air Force is interested in preparing itself for the next level of warfare, and that includes possible electronic warfare needs. Instead of focusing on the EA-18G Growler and other older planes, the USAF has turned its attention to the super pricey F-35 platform from Lockheed Martin.
The F-35 provides "some pretty impressive" capabilities that include jamming enemy signals and other electronic warfare tools, according to Air Combat Command Commander General Herbert Carlisle. Considering the overall price of the F-35 program, and countless delays and setbacks, it's incredible lawmakers and military officials think American taxpayers won't notice.
"With the limited (budget), you've got to think harder about buying brand new legacy airplanes versus the next generation as we go forward," Carlisle recently said during a press conference. Boeing wants to receive enough orders to help ensure its F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fighter manufacturing plant in St. Louis can remain open.
Earlier in the year, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) met to discuss the use of lethal and potentially autonomous robots on the battlefield. Researchers are careful not to urge for a worldwide ban of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), though urge caution - and much more research - that must be conducted by multiple nations.
The argument of maintaining human control over robotics systems on the battlefield is for moral and legal reasons that robots likely couldn't perceive. However, some wonder if the argument has started too late, as there is increased research in non-human solutions conducting military operations.
"Almost all states who are party to the CCW agree with the need for 'meaningful human control' over the targeting and engagement decisions made by weapons," said Stuart Russell, professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, in a statement published by Nature. "Unfortunately, the meaning of 'meaningful' is still to be determined."
Researchers are creating robotic technology that can help faster automate food processing, using technology that could have major long-term ramifications. Working with the FTNON food-processing equipment manufacturer, new technology could be used in chillers to help process lettuce, cabbage, and other vegetables prior to packaging.
"In industry, only humans can do that at the moment," confirmed van der Linde, co-founder and CEO of Lacquey, in a statement published by the MIT Technology Review.
One robot can successfully manipulate a chicken, able to slice shoulder tendons before breasts and wings are cut in a processing plant. The new automated system can match the same speed as humans, and developers want to see the speed increase. Also inside of a food processing facility, the Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics are tasked with putting chicken carcasses onto a holder before they are shipped elsewhere in the plant.