Who hasn’t played with building blocks when they were kids? There is no doubt that the castles, vehicles and miniature cities of our childhoods were the stuff of legend.
Yet games of this nature—those that enable you to design, construct and even problem-solve—are more than mere playthings. They stimulate motor skills and hand-eye coordination, they promote analytical thinking, and they encourage creativity through invention.
The team at UKGM, the hospital where Watson will be based
From drones that deliver essential medical supplies, to surgical robots so skilled they can remove cataracts from human eyes, machines in medicine are becoming the norm. As this year draws to a close, IBM’s Watson welcomes us into the ‘cognitive era of health’. Billed by its creators as a ‘new partnership between humanity and technology’, Watson is bringing artificial intelligence to the front line of healthcare.
As brightly painted fishing boats putter across the lake and fishermen stand thigh deep in the glittering water hauling their catch, it’s hard to believe a deadly secret lurks beneath the surface.
Schistosomiasis, also called Bilharzia, is a parasitic disease carried by water-dwelling snails. To reproduce, larvae must leave the snails and swim across open water to find their next host: humans. Once inside a person, the larvae develop into adults and lay their eggs. Most pass straight through the body, back into water, where the life-cycle starts again. For the unlucky few, remaining eggs will get trapped in the body, often causing a deadly infection.
The landscape of manufacturing is constantly changing. In developed countries, the reliance on heavy manufacturing is declining and factories use fewer dirty, dull and dangerous processes. These roles are instead becoming automated, with robots working alongside humans to maximise efficiency.
Computer vision is one technology that has gained popularity in factories around the world. Using machine vision standardises quality control and removes human error. As a camera scans over a production line, its picks up faults or flaws in the products and marks them for removal. A team of engineers from Imperial College is even working on a ‘bionic eye’ with an artificial retina. The ‘eye’ learns on the job, and recognises and removes faulty products on the assembly line.
Kicking off in the German city of Leipzig, tomorrow marks the start of the 2016 RoboCup challenge, the world’s most prominent and diverse competition for intelligent robots. The world cup of robotics brings together a host of inter-disciplinary problems, from robotics and artificial intelligence, right the way through to electrical and mechanical engineering, as teams battle it out to take home the most prestigious prize in robotic football.
The ultimate vision of the RoboCup Federation is to see autonomous, humanoid robots successfully competing against their human counterparts in football matches by 2050. In the last few years however, additional disciplines have been added alongside the football matches, driving research into the use of intelligent robots in rescue missions, around the house, and in industrial production.
We find ourselves in a reality where robot ethics, or Roboethics, is becoming an ever-pressing matter. Robot designers are using artificial intelligence techniques to create robots capable of learning and adapting to dynamic environments, which can reliably respond to human-robot interaction’s highest expectations. Robots are beginning to surround us and will soon become ubiquitous, yet very little has been done to adapt our society and laws accordingly.
Imagine dishes from top Michelin-starred restaurants, cooked by a master chef in your own kitchen, whenever you want. Moley Robotics has created the world’s first fully-automated, intelligent cooking robot. It learns recipes, prepares and cooks them and even clears up after itself.
Moley Robotics was founded in 2014 by London-based computer scientist, robotics and healthcare innovator Dr. Mark Oleynik. The company’s aim is to produce technologies that address basic human needs and improve day-to-day quality of life. The Robotic Kitchen is its first product.