Trends in High End Robotics

Robotics may seem like the stuff of far-away science fiction, but it's much closer than you think. Look at these products and prototypes in development.

What you see in the video above jumping and performing flips is Boston Dynamics' 'Atlas' robot. Boston Dynamics was purchased in 2013 by Google's Alphabet holding company and sold to SoftBank group in June of 2017. Atlas is only one in a long line of seemingly far futuristic robot products including the surprisingly agile Big Dog pack mule-like robot, the 28 mile per hour running Cheetah, and the tree climbing badger lookalike called RiSE.

While Boston Dynamics is exploring the limits of humanoid and animal inspired shapes, other companies are pushing the frontiers of robotics in other areas. Hanson Robotics (video below) has been working hard on developing machines with human like behavior, "feelings", and body language. Part of Hanson Robotics' work is open source in the OpenCog platform, that you can download and experiment with yourself (some Linux expertise required).

In the domain of artificial intelligence, IBM has expanded the famous Jeopardy-winning Watson into a suite of products including interactive assistance and research. If you would like to try out Watson for yourself, you can sign-up for a 30-day free trial. The tools provided are intended for use by non-programmers and a large body of tutorials is available on IBM's website, although you might spend the entire 30-day trial just walking through the tutorials.

Amazon has also released it's suite of publicly available AI tools as part of it's AWS package of on-demand services.

Microsoft famously released it's self-teaching chat AI, Tay, on the world. The experiment ended unfortunately as the robot learned from both the best and worst influences of the public.

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James

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