Robotic Pillow Pokes Snoring Humans in the Face

This robotic pillow bear is a guaranteed cure for chronic snorers

1 min read
Robotic Pillow Pokes Snoring Humans in the Face

This robotic pillow bear sure looks comfy. And he is comfy. So comfy, in fact, that you're supposed to fall asleep on him. But you'd better not start snoring, because if you do, the robot will gently reach over and smack you in the face:

Okay, so maybe it's more of a tickle, but still... 

The idea here is not just to let long-suffering partners finally get some sleep already, but to help people who have sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes abnormal breathing while you're passed out. The pillow includes a fancy wireless blood oxygen sensor (also shaped like a bear), and if you either start breathing noisily or your blood oxygen levels drop too low, the robot will try to get you to to turn over onto your side. And that's where the tickle comes in.

The tickle looks to be effective enough, I guess, but hopefully the bear will come with a setting that you can crank up from "gentle brush" to "turbo skull crusher" for those chronic snorers who really annoy you.

[ JapanTrends ] via [ Gizmodo ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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