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This Dog Can Do Much More Than Just Play Fetch

22 Červenec, 2016 - 22:00

Domgy features an AI software that allows it to recognize your face and voice.

The post This Dog Can Do Much More Than Just Play Fetch appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

High School Students Built the Bomb-Seeking Robot Used at the Republican National Convention

22 Červenec, 2016 - 17:37
To Protect and Serve

Police robots are increasingly becoming a norm nowadays, with many police departments and units adapting technology to better protect citizens. Who could have thought law enforcement would turn to high school students to protect one of the largest, and most volatile, events of the year?

That is exactly what the Cleveland Police’s bomb squad did. They tapped 20 local high school kids to build them a bomb-seeking robot in time for the Republican National Convention.

The team from the Youth Technology Academy at Cuyahoga Community College was asked to build the bot, nicknamed “Scoutbot,” to rove the grounds around the Quicken Loans Arena.

After encountering the kids at a routine training session at the college, the boys in blue realized they could fill their need for a quick and agile bomb bot. “I wanted something simple, to check suspicious packages, and do it quickly,” Sargent Tim Maffo-Judd of Cleveland Police’s bomb squad told CNN.

Bomb Bot Lite

Why tap high school kids when the police have their own bomb-sniffing robot? “Our main bomb bot can go up and down stairs, shoot things, and blow things up,” said Maffo-Judd. “But it takes 20 minutes to set up.”

In contrast, Scoutbot could be up and running in just five minutes. The bot looks more like a modified toy remote-controlled car: the six-wheeled machine is equipped with a 360-degree camera, night vision, and has a range of 400 feet.  It was built mostly of aluminum and some 3D printed parts. The whole robot is only 12 inches tall, 18 inches long, and 6 inches wide, making it perfect for crawling into tight spaces to look for bombs. It was funded by a $500 grant from a Cleveland Police foundation and spare parts from around their workshop.

The post High School Students Built the Bomb-Seeking Robot Used at the Republican National Convention appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Google Used Their Deepmind AI to Slash Their Electric Bill

22 Červenec, 2016 - 15:00

Google put artificial intelligence Deepmind in charge of controlling parts of its data centers to reduce power consumption, manipulating computer servers and equipment to manage it.

The result: A 15% improvement in power usage efficiency (PUE) that would eventually make their $600 million investment in the AI well worth the long-term savings, which could easily reach millions of dollars through the years to come. Notably, the typical electricity prices that companies pay in the U.S. range from about $25 to $40 per MWh.

Demis Hassabis. University of Oxford.

In 2014, Google says its electricity consumption totaled 4,402,836 MW—comparable to the average yearly consumption of more than 350,000 U.S. family homes, with its data centers hiking up their usage the most.

DeepMind Co-Founder Demis Hassabis says the benefits of Deepmind is that, not only has the power usage decreased, it’s a huge saving in terms of cost and also great for the environment.

“It controls about 120 variables in the data centers. The fans and the cooling systems and so on, and windows and other things,” Hassabis said. “They were pretty astounded.”

The post Google Used Their Deepmind AI to Slash Their Electric Bill appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

This RoboGlove Is More Than Just A Helping Hand

22 Červenec, 2016 - 01:00

Inside the RoboGlove are actuators connected to artificial tendons. Talk about giving someone a hand…

The post This RoboGlove Is More Than Just A Helping Hand appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Geofencing Software Update Protects Drones From Wildfires

21 Červenec, 2016 - 20:04

Drone company DJI announced it will be adding real-time wildfire alerts to its geofencing system. According to the DJI website, the company’s geofencing software, Geospatial Environment Online (GEO), provides “up-to-date guidance on areas where flight may be limited by regulation or raise safety concerns.”  When wildfires are taking place, the geofencing system will note where they are, which in turn will prevent the drones from flying into them. 

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

This update protects the drone from getting damaged and prevents drone owners from becoming a nuisance and hindering any rescue efforts or fire suppression that might be underway.

Drone owners will get accurate and updated information, as wildfire data will directly taken from the AirMap app. The app pulls this information from the Department of Interior’s incident command system. Wildfires tend to spread rapidly, and by the time the FAA’s notices go out, they’ve either reached other regions or are already extinguished.

The post Geofencing Software Update Protects Drones From Wildfires appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

A New Robot Restores Functionality To The Physically Disabled

21 Červenec, 2016 - 20:00

Robotic kitchen tools and physical disability tools are all the rage right now, and many companies are looking to ride the wave. But this company is looking to ride both waves, with this nifty new kitchen robot for the physically disabled.

Meet Obi, the little robot arm designed to empower people afflicted with physical disabilities and give them back the dignity of feeding themselves. After having their meals divided into four bowls, sufferers of conditions such as ALS, cerebral palsy, MS, Parkinson’s and brain or spinal injuries could feed themselves through a simple interface: one button moves the arm between the bowls, and another selects that food, dips the spoon in and brings it up to the diner’s mouth.

Inputs can be customized, and the bot has big bright “Buddy Buttons” on the table. These buttons could also be placed on the floor as foot pedals. Pillows that respond to the slightest squeeze allow for head and cheek activation, while a small mouth-piece switch can be triggered through sip or puff actions.

The basic package for Obi is available at $4,500 and includes the plate, placemat, a large and small spoon, charging cable and user documentation. The “Buddy Buttons,” pillows and mouth-piece are ordered separately

The post A New Robot Restores Functionality To The Physically Disabled appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

The Future of Dining: An Autonomous Robot Takes Your Order, Cooks It, and Serves You

21 Červenec, 2016 - 16:25

Bratwurst Bot is an autonomous machine that can take a customer’s order, cook, and serve bratwurst on its own. It made its first public appearance at an event for German State Representatives, the Stallwächter Party. It served over 200 sausages over the course of the evening.

The bot takes orders using a web front end, a pair of RGB cameras, and some custom software to make sure the sausages are cooked perfectly. Sausages and a robot. The perfect party.

Most noteworthy, this Bratwurst Bot is made from parts off the shelf. The creators are hoping to show the increasing flexibility of service robots.

For last year’s Stallwächter Party, the company made an autonomous bartender. However, that bot had a living sidekick. This sausage slinger was able to cook and serve without human help.

This is just the latest development in automatic food service. From order taking to making burgers the prospects of robot chefs are very exciting.

The post The Future of Dining: An Autonomous Robot Takes Your Order, Cooks It, and Serves You appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Researchers Are Fingerprinting Infants And Using AI To Track Vaccinations

21 Červenec, 2016 - 15:23
No Identification Records

Researchers from the Michigan State University are using GPU-powered artificial intelligence and fingerprints to help keep kids healthy. Many children living in developing countries lack any form of identification, making it hard to know what babies have received which vaccine or booster shot.

“We want to make sure there’s complete coverage, that every child is given the right vaccinations,” research lead Prof. Anil Jain says. “With fingerprint-based health records, we can track this.”

Apart from keeping track of vaccination shots, fingerprint scans can also help authorities identify missing children or resolve cases in which newborns are swapped at birth. However, Jain and his team says it been a challenge to capture a usable fingerprint from the soft, pliant skin of babies, especially when they keep on moving.

“When you put a finger on the sensor and apply the slightest pressure, there’s a lot of distortion in the fingerprint image,” Jain says. The ridges and valleys on the fingerprint are not yet well-defined, so the contrast is poor.

Image source: Michigan State University AI-Fingerprinting Combination

To that end, Jain’s team developed machine-learning algorithms to enhance the quality of fingerprint scans using accelerators to train their deep neural networks. They also worked with fingerprint-scanner maker NEC to create a scanner designed for infants, with more than twice the resolution of a standard scanner.

Researchers fingerprinted more than 300 babies at Saran Ashram Hospital in Agra, India. They were able to identify infants who were first fingerprinted at 6 months or older with nearly 99 percent accuracy, but for babies who are four weeks-old, the accuracy rates fell to 80 percent.

“We’re designing our own fingerprint-matching (software) and training it using GPUs and deep learning,” Jain said.

The technology can be used in hospitals, by healthcare workers who serve several villages, and also in the small, sometimes remote clinics where many children receive health care.

The post Researchers Are Fingerprinting Infants And Using AI To Track Vaccinations appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Police Are Using Minority Report-Like Softwear To Analyze Body Cameras

21 Červenec, 2016 - 15:01
Searching Aid

Mixing police and technology is nothing new, but historically, this has mostly been done to help catch bad guys. Technology that helps police the policemen? Not as common.

But as this development shows, it is quickly becoming a reality. The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office has partnered with Vū Digital for the use of special video tech to aid police and prosecutors when searching through footage collected by body cameras worn by patrolling policemen.

Vū Digital, a Jackson, Mississippi-based video metadata company, has provided the city of New Orleans with S.M.A.R.R.T. or Storage Metadata Automated Redaction Review Technology.This technology allows the user to analyze the video content, and actually skip to parts where relevant content is.

It also time stamps relevant information, creating a searchable database.

Vu Digital Combing through

It does this using advanced algorithms to decipher and tag data. It breaks down the video into frames and then analyzes each frame for faces, text, and audio, then tags and time stamps this metadata.

One of the key features of the new S.M.A.R.R.T. technology is that it makes video completely searchable. The software creates an audio transcript and record of faces and text in each video through an automated system, which means an officer or investigator can type in a person’s name or keywords like “drugs” and search for when and where it was spoken in the video.

SMARRT can even be used to identify and remove portions of video that are not relevant to the case. A user can highlight and remove unimportant information, such as faces, words, and audio, all the while keeping a complete audio trail that stores these edits.

“Research shows that the use of body cameras reduce citizen complaints, but only if the video and audio data can be easily, quickly and cost effectively indexed, referenced, cataloged and managed in a responsible, cost-effective manner,” said Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon A. Cannizzaro, Jr in a press release. “With S.M.A.R.R.T., we use computer vision technology to make that a reality.”

The post Police Are Using Minority Report-Like Softwear To Analyze Body Cameras appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Following Tesla Crash, China Bans The Testing of Autonomous Cars on Highways

21 Červenec, 2016 - 15:00
Not These Roads

China is enforcing a ban on testing self-driving cars until regulations covering the technology are in place, which is fair enough, as it would give legislation some time to keep up with the emerging technology.

Recently, three incidents of crashes involving Tesla’s self-driving feature on the Model S were reported, one of which was fatal. As expected, legal liabilities can become complicated.

Drivers testing the Autosteer feature seem to have a tendency to completely let go of control of their vehicle, despite warnings that the self-driving features of Tesla are in beta state. The website states, “Tesla requires drivers to remain engaged and aware when Autosteer is enabled. Drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel.” But sadly, people don’t.

Tesla’s Autosteer (Beta). Tesla Motors.

Other countries are also drafting laws to cover the new technology: Germany is reportedly considering laws requiring “black boxes” in self-driving vehicles.

Until these regulations are concluded and enforced, companies creating autonomous vehicles will have to test their products within their premises and not on highways.

The post Following Tesla Crash, China Bans The Testing of Autonomous Cars on Highways appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Meet The AIVC, the AI-Powered Venture Capital Firm

21 Červenec, 2016 - 07:00
Artificial Everything

Artificial intelligence is certainly affecting everything we do. And much of that innovation with AI comes from venture funding. So it’s no surprise that one day, someone would think of mixing these two things.

Meet The AIVC, the online portal for an artificial intelligence-powered venture capital firm. It, in its own words, is “The world’s first Venture Capital fund powered entirely by Artificial Intelligence.”


According to the site, The AIVC is 100% data driven. It uses historical data and advanced predictive algorithms to make investment decisions, much like a normal VC would. It supposedly includes insight into every venture capital deal ever done, updated in real-time.

Stepping into the platform, one gets asked questions normal for a pitch, albeit in a snarky, rude kind of way. “What is the highly differentiated, uniquely memorable and mildly ridiculous name you’ve given your company?” and “Is your product for irrational human beings or evil, monolithic corporates?”  are just some of the questions it poses to pitchers.

Oh, and it has advanced Unicorn Identification Capabilities.

Jokes on us

If the above sentences have not clued you in or you don’t want to check out their website, we need to clue you in on a little secret: the whole thing is a joke. But like most jokes, the thing is half-meant.

The whole website is tongue in cheek humor– a wry and funny look at the world of AI: start-ups and fundraising.

In a statement by its anonymous creators, they said:

We believe our world is too heavily influenced by investor discussion that aims to be independent and analytical, but is actually driven by not wanting to miss out on “hot” companies and by pattern recognition; and populated by founders overly focused on “winning” investment instead of building great companies.

We’re not overly idealistic – investors are necessary and hugely enable innovation, and getting founders to be thoughtful about taking money is simply good company building. We’re hoping The AIVC will start an organic conversation about these issues.

The post Meet The AIVC, the AI-Powered Venture Capital Firm appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Meet Hortum: A New Cybernetic Lifeform

20 Červenec, 2016 - 23:00

This garden-machine hybrid houses plants in its 12 motorized panels.

The post Meet Hortum: A New Cybernetic Lifeform appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Germany Plans on Requiring ‘Black Boxes’ in Autonomous Cars

20 Červenec, 2016 - 17:54

Germany is requiring autonomous cars to have ‘black boxes,’ similar to those in planes, to record details of untoward incidents. Germany’s Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt’s proposal is said to also include the requirement of riders to stay seated in front of the steering wheel, even if they don’t have to steer the wheel or mind traffic. This follows after the recent Tesla Motors’ autopilot-related accident.


The proposal requires the boxes to record data when the self-driving mode is turned on. Specifically, the device will note when the driver turned on the self-driving feature and when the driver took over for manual driving. This is aimed to help identify who is at fault when an accident happens.

The proposal will be sent to other German legislative bodies this summer for approval.

The post Germany Plans on Requiring ‘Black Boxes’ in Autonomous Cars appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

This New Drone Could Rid The World of Land Mines in Just 10 Years

20 Červenec, 2016 - 17:28

According to the United Nations, each year, landmines kill somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people. Sadly, a vast majority of these individuals are innocent civilians (children, women and the elderly) as opposed to armed combatants.

As the UN website states, “Many mines remain from the Second World War. In addition, since the 1960s as many as 110 million mines have been spread throughout the world into an estimated 70 countries.”

Now, a team led by designer Massoud Hassani created a device that can autonomously detect and detonate land mines. The device, called Mine Kafon Drone (MKD), has the potential to rid the world of these deadly explosives in less than ten years.


The drone is designed to make the detection of land mines cheaper, safer, and easier. It has six rotors and three different attachments. The first is used to map the area, the second is a meta detector used to detect the presence of mines, and the third one is a robotic arm that is used to place the detonators at the right locations.

The drone then retreats from the area, and this is followed by the detonation of the land mines.

The creators of MKD previously created a mine detonator called Mine Kafon. Hassani and his team are currently raising funds for their device on Kickstarter, aiming to receive € 70,000 ( US$77,000) in funding.

The post This New Drone Could Rid The World of Land Mines in Just 10 Years appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Machine Learning Algorithm Uses Speech Patterns to Diagnose Depression

19 Červenec, 2016 - 20:48

Researchers out of the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a tool that can identify signs of depression through speech patterns. The team thinks it could help diagnose the condition more accurately.

Past studies have identified those with depression speaking in a particular manner. Speech may become flatter, more monotone, and people start uses longer pauses due to the condition.

Algorithm for Depression 

SimSensei, the machine the scientists are developing, uses an algorithm to find vowel sounds associated with depression. It is designed to work alongside doctors as they assess patients, not replace the human element completely. It performs a frequency analysis on the patient, to spot signs of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

SimSensei uses an algorithm developed in 1967 called the ‘k-means algorithm,’ which can put large data sets into clusters based on average values, which can then be compared against ‘normal’ speech patterns. Researchers ran their algorithm on 253 volunteers, who were also asked to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire.

“The experiments show a significantly reduced vowel space in subjects that scored positively on the questionnaires,” the authors explain. “These findings could potentially support treatment of affective disorders, like depression and PTSD in the future.”

Helping Hand

Previous studies find that only about half of patients with depression are correctly diagnosed by their doctors. Having a digital assistant on hand, like SimSensei, could be hugely helpful for doctors who would otherwise be relying on their own observations and the information conveyed by the patients themselves. The system has also been employed as part of a job interview training program designed to get veterans prepared for life away from the army by helping to analyse their speech, mannerisms, and conversational skills in virtual interview sessions.

The SimSensei team says it wants to use the algorithm to see if disorders such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s can be diagnosed as well. Therefore, it’s possible AI-assisted diagnoses could become an important part of human health services in the future.

The post Machine Learning Algorithm Uses Speech Patterns to Diagnose Depression appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

The Future of Travel: This Little Robot Checks Your Bags For You

19 Červenec, 2016 - 19:19

When you’re at the airport, one of the most time-consuming tasks — besides waiting in extremely long TSA security checkpoint lines — is the process of checking a bag. There can be anything from long lines to get to the counter to issues with weight (and having to remove that extra pair of shoes from your bag) — not to mention the checked bag fees, which can be fairly easy to avoid.

But now, there may be a possible solution to your checked baggage woes — in the form of a robot. The bot’s name is Leo, and it’s currently being tested out at Geneva Airport (GVA) to take care of everything required to check your bags. It’ll approach you outside the terminal, you’ll enter your flight details, put your bag inside of it, and it’ll print you out a luggage tag and then deliver your bag straight to the security screeners.

Watch the full video, below:

Leo can transport two suitcases (up to 32kg) at a time, and is programmed to avoid obstacles (including people) in its path. The Swiss company behind Leo, SITA, believes this new technology is the future of robotics in airports, but it’s not clear if it’s going to be used at any airports other than Geneva in the near future.

It seems like a neat idea, but there are sure to be kinks in the technology that SITA will have to work out before anything like this becomes widely available.

The post The Future of Travel: This Little Robot Checks Your Bags For You appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Drones Drop M&Ms to Protect Ferret Population

16 Červenec, 2016 - 19:38

Drones have had much credit for affecting a whole lot of our lives. And they just added another thing to their resume: eco-warrior.

Drones are being used to  distribute M&Ms covered in peanut butter and, more importantly, oral vaccines to an endangered species of ferret.

The black-footed ferret is close to being endangered, and a plague is steadily thinning their numbers. From being close to extinction in 1981, they are facing one of the most pressing threats to their survival in the form of the sylvatic plague.

The Black-footed ferret


But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a plan: use drones. Drones are being used to drop M&M’s to prairie dogs in the area, which make up about 90 percent of the black-footed ferret’s diet. This is anticipated to protect the prairie dog population, which will protect the ferret population.

As USFW biologist Randy Machett, tells The Guardian, “It is the fastest, cheapest way to distribute the vaccine. We are hopeful this oral vaccine will be used to mitigate plague sites and treat tens of thousands of acres each year.”

The trials are being held in Montana. If this trial is successful, a similar plan will also be implemented in Arizona and Colorado.

The post Drones Drop M&Ms to Protect Ferret Population appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

Algorithms Are Now Taking Over…Our Videogames

16 Červenec, 2016 - 01:00

DeepMind’s Q-Networks played at a human-level across most of the games.

The post Algorithms Are Now Taking Over…Our Videogames appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus

DARPA is Giving $2 Million To The Person Who Creates An AI Hacker

15 Červenec, 2016 - 17:49

DARPA has been mostly focusing on making new things, pushing the boundary of what is possible to build. But it also dabbles in other areas as well. Case in point: This new challenge it issued to hackers.

DARPA has just started the final round of the Cyber Grand Challenge, a competition among seven fully-autonomous computers to defend themselves and point out flaws in a DARPA computer. 

The catch: they’re all automated.

The challenge aims to solve a persistent problem in computer systems. Flaws in software often go unnoticed for around 312 days, time which can be exploited by hackers. And then once those flaws are noticed by a human, they still need to be understood, patched, and then released out to the broader community.

An automated system would allow such flaws to be be fixed within minutes, or even seconds, automatically.

The task for the participants is to program a DARPA-made computer to be able to recognize and understand previously-undisclosed software, find its flaws, and fix it. And once the challenge starts, they can’t change anything.

The first place team will take home $2 million, while second and third will get $1 million and $750,000, respectively.

The post DARPA is Giving $2 Million To The Person Who Creates An AI Hacker appeared first on Futurism.

Kategorie: Transhumanismus