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Robots and Fireworks

Today is July fourth, when we here in the States celebrate the day that George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to the French. Hrm, maybe that's not right... Are we celebrating the day that the French gave us the Statue of Liberty? No? Maybe it's celebrating the day that we bought the Louisiana territory from the French. Well, in any case, July fourth may or may not involve the French, but it definitely involves things exploding, so today we're going to check out a bunch of robots and fireworks.To start, that top pic is one of the orbs of Orb Swarm that someone decided to stick some fireworks in while it was rolling around at Burning Man.

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CMU's AndyVision Robot Is In Your Store, Doing Your Inventory

Underneath that color-coordinated hoodie is AndyVision, Carnegie Mellon's inventory assistance robot. It's programmed to take over the utter drudgery* of daily retail inventory, helping stores figure out what customers want and customers figure out how to get it.

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Sneak Peek: iRobot's Hall of Awesomeness

We know, we kind of bailed on you a little bit last week. We're sorry! But, it's only because we've been hard at work doing some old fashioned on-site reportin' on the ground in Boston, where we checked out iRobot, Boston Dynamics, and several robotics labs at MIT. So, look for some great stuff over the next couple weeks, but for now, you'll just have to make due with a few teaser pics from iRobot's Hall of Awesomeness.

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Shimi Musical Robot Unveiled at Google I/O

TovBot Shimi musical robot

We know Google loves robots. And we're not talking about Android. We mean real robots such as self-driving cars, cloud-based robots, and others that presumably remain under wraps. So it's not a surprise that Google invited a bunch of robots to its developers conference this week. One of them is Shimi, a smartphone-enabled musical robot developed at Georgia Tech and unveiled today at Google I/O.

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Poll Shows Concern About Drones and Domestic Surveillance

With a few arguably strange exceptions, nobody likes being spied on, and when you hear the phrase "domestic surveillance," for better or worse being surveiled upon comes to mind. It's unfortunate that the recent accessibility of unmanned aircraft has gotten drones wrapped up in all of this paranoia legitimate concern, and a new poll from Monmouth University shows that people are definitely worried about law enforcement using camera-equipped drones.

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Video Friday: Knife-Edge Maneuvering, Adopt a Husky Robot, and the X-37B Is Back

Next week, Automaton will be heading to Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. to check out some robots and not take any vacation time at all. We'll be posting as normal (or trying to), but if you've got any red hot East Coast robot tips, definitely let us know

Meanwhile, the highlight of this week's Video Friday comes from MIT, where they're teaching UAVs to slalom through obstacles like birds can. It's all about navigation in cluttered environments, and you'll have to see it to believe it.

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Cornell Teaching Robots to Use Their Imaginations When Organizing Your Stuff

Robots are already capable of using known relationships to organize objects in a home or office, but those relationships are between objects themselves, not objects and humans. This is a problem, since most of the stuff that needs to be organized in homes and offices is designed to be structured in such a way that humans can interact with it. Ashutosh Saxena's lab at Cornell is teaching robots to use their imaginations a little bit, to try and picture how we'd want them to organize our lives.

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Automaton

IEEE Spectrum’s award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, drones, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

Editor
Erico Guizzo
New York City
Senior Writer
Evan Ackerman
Washington, D.C.
 

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