Your robot update for Tuesday

Catching up on our robot friends (?), we have a potpourri of developments which concentrate on either improving health or advancing robotic capabilities:

The ASSAM (Assistants for Safe Mobility) project is not about tea, but assisting older adults with everyday mobility and facilitating autonomy centering on physical mobility assistance for declining walking capabilities, but encouraging physical exercise; cognitive assistance for declining visual and mental capabilities by obstacle recognition and avoidance, and orientation and navigational aid. ASSAM upgrades existing DME (durable medical equipment) via sensor and computing hardware/software packages. It is coordinated by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), and receives funding from the EU’s Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme and the national ministries of Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. ASSAM website, YouTube video  Hat tip to the German Center for Research and Innovation

A robot scientist may make ‘orphan drugs’ an obsolete term. Eve, a robot scientist based on research by the Universities of Aberystwyth and Cambridge, automates early-stage drug testing and design via machine-screening at a rate of 10,000 tests a day. Eve’s artificial intelligence “takes a random subset of compounds, testing them a number of times to eliminate false results. Positive results are then analyzed using statistics and machine learning to predict new small molecule structures that are likely to return better results.” Gizmag

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”175″ /]Robot recognition of visual patterns or even objects is one thing –but recognition leading to action has been another. Usually these actions are programmed rather than ‘learned’. Funded by DARPA’s MSEE program and the EU’s Cognitive Systems Project POETICON++, University of Maryland researchers developed a system where robots process visual data, recognize utensils and perform a task accurately–in this case, from a series of “how to” cooking videos on YouTube. They can also retain, build on and share that knowledge with other robots. The implications for a more helpful house robot for older adults and the disabled are substantial, but not noted. On a lighter note, this may be more like Forbidden Planet‘s Robbie (here seen with Warren Stevens and Leslie Nielsen). I’ll order that star sapphire dress, thanks. Armed With Science, UM paper, Gizmag

[grow_thumb image=”×350.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]DARPA’s Robotics Challenge is now in the last lap with the final event 5-6 June in Pomona, California. The top three finalists are awarded $2 million, $1 million and $500,000 in order. And not permitted are any wires or physical intervention — and communications will be intentionally degraded at times during the competition. Previous entrants have been revamped, such as a nearly-all-new Boston Dynamics ATLAS (left) to be fielded by several teams. DARPA Unplugged  Coverage of the last (2013) trial TTA 17 Dec 2013

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