Robotics

Answer Your Hotel Room Door Naked

You’re just coming out of the shower and the hotel’s front desk is delivering the item you requested.  Are you going to be embarrassed when you open the door dripping wet with nothing on but a towel?  What about the person delivering?  I know someone who worked at a hotel and they hated it when people answered naked (with no towel) for weirdness, fun or spite.  It happens way more often than you think.  Plus, a lot of hotel guests are comfortable answering a door in their undies when hotel staff would simply prefer they cover up.

There is a better way…indoor robot deliveries.  For the person who is concerned about answering the door with bed head, without makeup, or in some less-than-ideal state, the experience of opening up to a robot with a delivery surpasses interacting with a human.  AND the robot won’t expect you to pull a tip out of your undies.

Relay by Savioke is an indoor delivery robot making deliveries in about 30 locations today in the US and Singapore.  Check out this interview with Savioke CEO Steve Cousins where he talks about Relay, a robot that can get to your door in 5 minutes vs 25+ minutes for a member of the hotel staff.  Relay also doesn’t care if you’re naked!

 

 

 

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IoT Meets API at Apigee #ILoveAPIs

Check out these videos from the Apigee I Love APIs conference in San Jose, CA this week.  If you click the little Facebook icon in the lower right hand corner of the video you’ll be able to read my intro to each video.  Enjoy!  And while you’re there, feel free to visit my Facebook page and check out more of the things I’m up to.  Likes, Comments, Shares and Follows are also welcome and will actually help you see more of the things I do as well as other interesting things from other sources that may be of interest to you.

A couple of notes – To view in higher quality video click HD.  Audio, unfortunately, is as good as I can get it after scrubbing it a bit to reduce the background noise.  New hardware is in the works for me, both camera and microphone, to improve on the audio quality for these videos.  I have to thank everyone who has contributed, either running the camera behind the scenes or offering comments and suggestions on how to improve from audio to video to content to length and more.  Keep the feedback coming!

SAP Beacons For Smart Building Maintenance

SAP AR

Revio

Philips Hue

Sereneti Kitchen

Yonomi

There will probably be one more video from the conference that was graciously recorded by someone who offered to use their nicer phone/camera to record but hasn’t yet provided a copy.  I’ll add it on Facebook and tack it on here when it is available.

Robotics: Technology Working for You

Robotics will create a disruption in our world similar to that of the personal computer.  This disruption is something I’m looking forward to hearing about at the upcoming VLAB event Collaborative Robots: Living Amongst Us on Thursday, May 29, 2014 (Event video now available here).

the-jetsons-rosie

While we are a long way from creating Rosie from The Jetsons, robots are doing more and more complex tasks and I’ll touch on some of those robots here.  First, though, I have to point out that when a robot is doing something for you, whether in industrial or personal contexts, it creates value and falls right in line with my mantra: Don’t work for technology; make technology work for you.  I’m not the only one who thinks like this; Venture capitalists are investing in robotics technologies in many areas including industrial, agricultural, medical, defense, security and personal robotics.

Grishin Robotics, a company dedicated entirely to investment in consumer robotics, invested in Double Robotics which provides an innovative solution for telepresence.  Double Robotics has several legitimate use cases, including use in schools in remote locations as implemented in Alaska’s Kodiak Island Borough School District.

DoubleRobotics

Click to Watch Video

Lux Capital is another venture capitalist with a mechanical eye for robotics.  Peter Hebert, one of the Lux Capital co-founders, will participate in the VLAB panel.  Lux Capital invested in robotics company CyPhy Works who claims “The very best way to empower people with robotic technologies is to make them accessible, reliable, and practical.” I couldn’t agree more!  CyPhy Works has created two robots, EASE, a hovering robot used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and PARC, a self-flying robot with secure communication and high definition reconnaissance video capabilities.

While myself, a few loyal VLAB fans, some venture capitalists and all entrepreneurs whose dreams were enriched by The Jetsons have an interest in robotics, there is ongoing debate about whether robotics is affecting the labor markets.  Most of this comes from incorrectly linking the lackluster jobs market with improvements in manufacturing.  You can read more about this issue here.

Politics and economics aside, robots are doing great things and some of them are actually getting cute about it.

AldebaranNAO

 

Click to watch Video

Aldebaran created a friendly little robot called NAO who recognizes and communicates with you while moving around your home.  If you knock NAO over, don’t worry NAO can stand back up but watch out as you might be chided for not being careful!  NAO also has a big brother, Romeo developed by Alderbaran.

While these robots may look like toys, they can actually perform meaningful services for people, especially the disabled.  Other robotics companies are also creating robots that serve a real purpose.  Knightscope, whose robot I’ve seen rolling around the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA, aims to combine autonomous robots, predictive analytics and community engagement to reduce crime.   

Much of the development in robotics is being further enabled by standards and development frameworks.  One example is ROS, the open source Robot Operating System originally developed by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and now under stewardship of the Open Source Robotics Foundation.

The number of robots using ROS is increasing and includes the UBR-1 created by Unbounded Robotics, a company with the mission to develop robots that are both advanced and affordable for robotics researchers.  UBR-1 is a one-armed robot cram packed with cameras, microphones, and sensors that are ROS integrated.  Melonee Wise, CEO and founder of Unbounded Robotics, will participate in the upcoming Robotics 2.o VLAB event.

The UBR-1 is one of many robots capable of doing amazing things.  Honda’s Asimo can run, jump and hop on one foot as well as open a thermos, pour a cup of juice and serve it.  Asimo even kicked a soccer ball around with US President Barak Obama.

The sporting skills of robots do not stop with soccer.  The Swiss Federal Institute Of Technology has developed a robot with an arm that can catch objects with different shapes and trajectories by reacting in less than five hundredths of a second.  I can’t even do that consistently!

I will leave to your imaginations whether or not robotic sports teams will exist in the future and simply say the future of robotics is closer than most people understand.  After kicking around the soccer ball, Asimo told President Obama, “I keep training every day so that some day in the future I can help people in their home.”  Robots lending a hand in the home sounds like technology working for you.

Hey, Mr. Blogger, What Kind of Technology Do You Like?

My last conversation last night among yet another meeting of Silicon Valley technologist minds began with this question, “Hey, Mr. Blogger, What Kind of Technology Do You Like?”

The answer: Any advancement in technology that makes life easier. I am the guy who said, “Don’t work for technology; make technology work for you.”

If you take a look at the topics I touched on last night, you’ll understand that the kinds of technology that can do this encompass a wide range.  Here is a peek at some of the things I talked with people about yesterday:

In the Bathroom: Smart Toilets, Composting Toilets, Electronic Toilets, Smart Toothbrushes

In the Car: Vehicle Safety, Microphone Sensors (Hands-free cell phone conversations in a convertible at over 140 mph with the top down), Technology solving traffic problems, Finding your parked car

In Outer Space: Searching for extraterrestrial life

In Recognition: Voice Recognition, Face Recognition, Pet/Animal Recognition (which is harder than human facial recognition because of the millions of hairs involved)

In Robotics: Factory automation, precision and cost savings, In-home/personal robotics

In Sensors: Reduced costs, millions of uses to make smart everything

In Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence, Ambient IQ, Derivative Intelligence, Intelligent Recruiting and your smart phone as a gateway to all the other things listed here and more…

There were some wild ideas out there. For innovation and idea generation you have to let your mind go to the extremes and then back off a little bit to settle on ideas that can go somewhere. The world has been changed by dreamers who think of the extreme, who mull it over in their minds, who take it inch by inch out to the far reaches, out to dreams which eventually become reality.  I like all technology that works for you and in the process I enjoy learning about all proposed technology innovations, regardless of how extreme.  Eventually ambitious applications of futuristic technologies may be working for you.