Robotics

25 stories
Eve's distant cousin?
Robot startup Jibo unveils a multi-purpose 'social bot' for the home
Jibo founder Cynthia Breazeal and software architect Jonathan Ross with a Jibo prototype. Photo by Scott Kirsner/BetaBoston.
Roomba hunts dust bunnies. Autom helps you shed pounds. But Jibo wants to be the first multi-purpose robot for your home — a countertop assistant that can snap family photos, remind you of the day's schedule, relay messages, entertain children with interactive stories, and facilitate videoconferences. The $499 product is being unveiled today, but won't be available until late in 2015. Read More
Handheld Robotic Overlords
We might finally have our robotics revolution, and smartphones are to thank
Montreal street art meunierd / Shutterstock.com

Looking back to 1950s predictions of what robots might be capable of in the year 2000 is nothing short of humorous — unless you’re in the field of robotics, where the lack of consumer progress can be frustrating. Besides the Roomba, home robotics still has not hit the mainstream, but that might be set to finally change.

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Still stealthy after all these years...
'Social robot' startup Jibo attracts new investors, preps for product launch
Still frame from Cynthia Breazeal's 2011 TED Talk about her research on "social robots" at the MIT Media Lab.
I've been following Jibo since last January, when I first told you the "social robot" startup had snagged some initial funding from Charles River Ventures. Now, Jibo founder Cynthia Breazeal has taken a leave from MIT's Media Lab to run the company. Jibo has brought on some additional investors, and begun hiring a handful of employees from companies like iRobot Corp. and Netflix. And a new placeholder website and Facebook page suggest an unveiling of the product is imminent. Read More
Acknowledged for Industry Leadership
Rethink Robotics' Rodney Brooks wins 'highest honor in robotics industry'
Baxter and Dr. Rodney Brooks
Today, Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks will be among three robotics innovators to receive the prestigious Engelberger Robotics Award at the 45th International Symposium on Robotics (ISR 2014) which is also the 8th German Conference on Robotics (ROBOTIK 2014), in Munich, Germany. Read More
Robot futures
MIT conference looks at robotics breakthroughs — and big challenges ahead
Two of the "AlphaDog" robots made by Boston Dynamics, designed to carry equipment for the military. The Waltham company was acquired by Google last December.
Odds are good that no one at yesterday's "Computing the Future" symposium at MIT, organized to mark the 50th anniversary of computer science and artificial intelligence research at the school, imagined they'd be watching a black-and-white video clip of Julia Child deftly slicing potatoes. But Matt Mason of Carnegie Mellon University showed it to make a point: technology is still far behind humans when it comes to perceiving and interacting with the world. Mason and other speakers who focused on the robotics field emphasized how many problems remain to be solved. Perhaps the biggest laugh of yesterday morning's session came during another video clip, when the AlphaDog robot from Boston Dynamics, above, was pushed by an employee trying to test its stability — and promptly rolled over and smashed into a parked car. "That's the new guy's car," another employee noted. Read More
Defining moment
So, what counts as a drone, anyway?
CyPhy Works chief executive Helen Greiner, right, showed the company's PARC drone to curious spectators at the MIT Enterprise Forum.
If you pay attention to drone developments, or even if you don’t, there’s a decent chance you saw news stories earlier this month about a drone that nearly crashed into a commercial airliner in the skies over Florida. There was one problem with those reports, according to drone expert Terry Holland: The unmanned aircraft that almost collided with an American Airlines passenger plane wasn’t a drone at all. Read More