Robots Resources for the Masses.

blog of the dayBloggerXiti


Saturday, February 16, 2002

Honda's robot opens NYSE trading on Valentines Day
Thursday February 14, 10:16 AM EST
©2001 Reuters Limited.

NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - He's not quite a love machine, but on Valentine's Day the first non-human to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange put as much heart into it as he could.
The four-foot high humanoid named Asimo -- a creature of the Honda Motor Co. Ltd (7267) (HMC) -- clapped, then pressed a white hand hard onto a button, ringing the NYSE's famed opening bell. He was flanked by the warm-blooded chairman of the New York Stock Exchange Richard Grasso and Honda President and chief executive Hiroyuki Yoshino.
Asimo's appearance, his first in the United States, also marked Honda's 25-year anniversary as a Big Board stock.
Traders, accustomed to the parade of bell-ringing dignitaries and famous people, briefly glanced at the balcony above the floor before turning back to their flat-panel displays and order slips. Asimo, its seems, despite his unique place in NYSE history, was not wildly distracting to the frenzied mass.
Asimo, whose name is an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. It also is word-play in Japanese. The names means "legs only."

Thursday, February 14, 2002

La Recherche - CONTENTS N° 350 - FEBRUARY 2002
SPECIAL SECTION “The new robots”

Epoch of neuroscience
by Jean-Jacques Slotine
Do you know about the ascidian, the little marine sea squirt? It uses its brain to move, and then calmly digests that organ when it is no longer needed. Attracted more than ever to the school of real life, robotics is currently adventuring towards patterns that largely surpass the conventional concept of a “brain in a box”.
The unimaginable missing link
by Rodney Brooks
Neither artificial intelligence nor artificial life have yet succeeded in designing autonomous robots capable of simulating living organisms. What is needed to bridge the gap between matter and life? Could it be that we have not yet achieved some fundamental insight or that we have not yet developed a particular mathematical concept?
Darwin revisited by artificial selection
by Dario Floreano
Can a robot evolve autonomously? That field is called “evolutionary robotics”, and it is trying to build robots capable of adapting to their environment. At present, certain types of artificial neural networks actually do produce Darwinian selection.
Autonomy… living creatures
by Antoine Danchin and Daniel Mange
The quest for autonomy of robots requires thorough study in the most excellent place for autonomy, namely in the living world. What are its most profound characteristics? Phylogenesis, ontogenesis and epigenesis are three major fields of exploration, as disturbing as they are fascinating.
Cover your bets
by Pierre Bessière and Emmanuel Mazer
How does a robot to decide its course of action: through proof or by wagering on a choice? This watershed question separates the supporters of proof (usually the designers of industrial robots) from the supporters of betting (most often scientists working on autonomous robotics). The basic problem is how to manage an uncertain environment.
Duck, man and the robot
by Jessica Riskin
When we no longer completely understand the nature of machines, we try to use them to simulate life. This tendency could explain similarities between 18th century – the century of the disturbing Vaucanson Duck — and the fascination of today’s scientists for robots.

The Long March towards cognitive vision
by Thierry Viéville and Olivier Faugeras
The day when a robot recognizes what it sees, we will have witnessed a great leap forward in autonomous activity. Artificial vision is still a long way off. Basing their efforts on a geometric approach, scientists can reconstitute a three-dimensional space and detect, even follow, moving objects. However work on a cognitive approach that is just being launched.
Orientation in an unknown world
by Simon Lacroix and Raja Chatila
Getting from one room to another. That sounds pretty easy. But for an autonomous robot, the task is terribly painstaking: first it has to know where it is, then it has to check that it can get through the door, and it also has to avoid stumbling over a chair along the way. And there is even a more fundamental level of understanding: it has to be able to define a door, a chair.
The immaterial on the tips of your fingers
by Christian Laugier and César Mendoza
After vision and smell, touch is now making its entry into virtual technologies. Over the last few years, haptic devices have enabled us to handle computer simulated objects, to sense their consistency and soon their texture. This is an essential first step before equipping autonomous robots with a sense of touch.
The goal of the adventure
Strong images marked the various phases of progress in robot autonomy. These various roadmarks were always tied together by the ultimate goal of current research: develop a machine – not necessarily humanoid – that can adapt to a random environment, that can learn and evolve. And that goal is still somewhere over the horizon.
World Cup of drone technology
by Pierre Vandeginste
Since 1990, the USA has been hosting an international competition for autonomous flying machines. The competition has become so ambitious that it now takes place over four years. Will a commercial drone emerge from these prototypes? Don’t be too sure: a snooper helicopter that won the Cup was snubbed by the FBI, after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Alone in the Martian desert
by Francis Rocard
The time required for interplanetary communication obliges space engineers to increase the autonomy of mobile vehicles sent to Mars. Taking a lesson from past experience, they designed “rovers”, that are bigger, have more energy, that can carry more navigation software and store more data. They are scheduled to arrive on Mars in 2004 and 2008.
Psikharpax, wanting to be a rat
by Agnès Guillot and Jean-Arcady Meyer
Want a robot that can master its environment? Perhaps you need current knowledge on how nerve circuits in the rat are structured to produce spatial memory and choice of action. A new project dawns, at the intersection of biology and robotics.
Evaluate autonomy, but how?
by Raja Chatila
Man’s natural tendency for anthropomorphism insidiously pushes him to overrate the performance of so-called autonomous robots – sometimes compounded by the complicity of researchers who are inclined to generalize too rapidly about the capacities of their machines. It remains very difficult to reproduce an experiment outside of its laboratory of origin.

Better understand mankind…
by Luc Steels
Will we one day build autonomous humanoid robots that perform at our level in terms of motor skills, sensory perception and cognition? Very unlikely… On the other hand, the development of increasingly perfected machines enables us to better understand human capabilities, such as walking and learning language.
Robot therapy for autism
by Kerstin Dautenhahn
What if robots could help autistic children? This idea is the driving force behind new experiments. The goal is to determine how behavior acquired during game sessions with robots might encourage greater openness to the children’s social environment. A distant goal, but the initial results are encouraging.
Nintendo surgery
by Olivier Blond
Today’s machines enable surgeons to operate at distance. They can even carry out repetitive procedures in place of the doctor. The priority now is to increase the precision of movement, and consequently the safety of the patient. Nevertheless, these robots have no margin of initiative.
More autonomous paralytics?
by Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis
Marc Merger, paraplegic operated on by Dr.Pierre Rabischong, can now successfully move around, using an electronic box to operate his muscles and nerves. His sham walking gives the patient a little autonomy, but biological repair of the spinal cord could end up being a better choice than robotics for helping the handicapped.
Putting together the AIBO dog
by Frédéric Kaplan, Masahiro Fujita and Toshi T. Doi
Since 1999, more than 100 000 families – most Japanese - have become the happy owners of an Aibo dog. This quadruped robot was designed to share their social existence, in somewhat the same way as any pet. It took nearly six years to design the robot’s visual, tactile and auditory sensors, and to fine-tune its software and hardware architectures.
Robot fun, no business in Japan
by Robert Triendl
Robots stimulate interest in Japan like nowhere else in the world. Yet, Japanese business seems reluctant to invest in robotics: work is carried out mostly in University laboratories, and there is nearly zero transfer of technology to industry. The battle cry of robotics researchers seems to be “Let’s have fun!”.
The first steps of social robots
by Alexis Drogoul and Jean-Daniel Zucker
After Aibo, robot museum guides and robot nurses, science is now aiming at producing colonies of robots that share in everyday human social existence. A revolutionary approach.

- The development of Language in robots (in French)
Frédéric Kaplan
- Dining in science (in French)
John L. Casti
- Sheep and robots (in French)
Pierre Arnaud
- Understanding Intelligence (in English)
Rolf Pfeifer and Christian Scheier

Wired Magazine Issue 10.03
It's Alive!
By Jennifer Kahn
Read the rest on newsstands now - complete content available online March 12, 2002.

From airport tarmacs to online job banks to medical labs, AI is everywhere.

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

A robot revolution is coming your way
By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY
02/11/2002 - Updated 01:09 AM ET

PHOENIX — The demographers may miss it, but brace yourself for a big-time population explosion soon. The newborns are not human, but they experience emotion, and they reason. Nor are they pets, but they provide companionship and make you laugh. They might read a bedtime story to a small child or bring a cup of tea to a bedridden parent, patrol the grounds for intruders, mow the lawn, vacuum or handle other household chores. The progeny will occupy your office, too, sorting the mail or watering the plants.