“iRobot” is Now a Very Real (And Scary) Thing – Watch!

iRobot

A showstopping exhibit at SXSW this year did not feature humans. Rather, it was of two humanoid robots having a discussion.

The conversation took place between “Skeleton,” an “exo-naked robot,” which has the same eerie look of the robots in the Will Smith movie iRobot, and a female humanoid robot named “android U.” The robots discussed the skills needed to make ramen versus sushi, in very natural human dialogue.

Their discussion was an example of an advanced discussion dialogue system that is the result of collaboration between two Japanese researchers. Dr. Ishiguro Hiroshi is a lauded artificial intelligence roboticist from Osaka University and Dr. Ryuichiro Higashinaka is a scientist who specializes in human communication and artificial intelligence. He is with NTT Communication Science Laboratories.

The robots are actually listening to one another and then making responses based on what the other stated. The discussion dialogue system uses NTT’s proprietary voice recognition technology.

The exhibit was part of the “Japan Factory” showcase that featured the most cutting-edge technology and science from the island nation. Last year, the Japanese tech floorshow welcomed over 4,000 visitors.

“In this age, robots can talk like humans, and virtual reality is able to turn fantasy into a reality,” said Kumiko Kitamura, executive producer of Japan Factory stated in a press release.

“The fusion of humans and robots, the real and virtual, technology and craftsmanship, and consciousness and the subconscious all happens synchronously. Echoing this trend, Japan Factory wants to reveal the great potential of the intersection of technology and information; as well as how it can enhance the way we live,” said Kitamura.

According to a statement from Dr. Ishiguro’s Ishiguro Laboratory in the exhibit, the purpose of the robot discussion was to demonstrate their team’s work to “develop new generation information infrastructures in human-like robots that can naturally interact with humans.”

Robots are predicted to be integrated into every facet of human life by 2025. The race is on to make them easy for the average person to interact with.

There is also growing anxiety and concern about robots displacing much of human labor. It’s a subject matter that was covered at this year’s SXSW in the session, “Robots vs Jobs: Technological Displacement is Here.”

Watch the interaction between the two robots in the video below:

 



“iRobot” is Now a Very Real (And Scary) Thing – Watch!

iRobot

A showstopping exhibit at SXSW this year did not feature humans. Rather, it was of two humanoid robots having a discussion.

The conversation took place between “Skeleton,” an “exo-naked robot,” which has the same eerie look of the robots in the Will Smith movie iRobot, and a female humanoid robot named “android U.” The robots discussed the skills needed to make ramen versus sushi, in very natural human dialogue.

Their discussion was an example of an advanced discussion dialogue system that is the result of collaboration between two Japanese researchers. Dr. Ishiguro Hiroshi is a lauded artificial intelligence roboticist from Osaka University and Dr. Ryuichiro Higashinaka is a scientist who specializes in human communication and artificial intelligence. He is with NTT Communication Science Laboratories.

The robots are actually listening to one another and then making responses based on what the other stated. The discussion dialogue system uses NTT’s proprietary voice recognition technology.

The exhibit was part of the “Japan Factory” showcase that featured the most cutting-edge technology and science from the island nation. Last year, the Japanese tech floorshow welcomed over 4,000 visitors.

“In this age, robots can talk like humans, and virtual reality is able to turn fantasy into a reality,” said Kumiko Kitamura, executive producer of Japan Factory stated in a press release.

“The fusion of humans and robots, the real and virtual, technology and craftsmanship, and consciousness and the subconscious all happens synchronously. Echoing this trend, Japan Factory wants to reveal the great potential of the intersection of technology and information; as well as how it can enhance the way we live,” said Kitamura.

According to a statement from Dr. Ishiguro’s Ishiguro Laboratory in the exhibit, the purpose of the robot discussion was to demonstrate their team’s work to “develop new generation information infrastructures in human-like robots that can naturally interact with humans.”

Robots are predicted to be integrated into every facet of human life by 2025. The race is on to make them easy for the average person to interact with.

There is also growing anxiety and concern about robots displacing much of human labor. It’s a subject matter that was covered at this year’s SXSW in the session, “Robots vs Jobs: Technological Displacement is Here.”

Watch the interaction between the two robots in the video below:

 



Love Tech? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Go to CES 2018 [WATCH]

CES

CES 2017 came and went. Every year the show, which is already huge, seems to get even bigger. Organizers spared no expense in delivering a fantastic conference since this year marked the 50th anniversary of CES.

The big hits at the show were vehicle tech, internet-connected home devices, robots, and tech products to teach kids skills such as programming.

There was also some incredible tech beauty products. The O’2 Nails Mobile Printers lets you print any design you can imagine on your nails:

Image: O2 Nails (Image: O’2 Nails)

 

YouCam Makeup, a company that creates virtual makeovers for selfies with an app, launched a new product that works with makeup outlets such as Sephora. Using the YouCam new app, you can virtually try on makeup from Sephora and then go into Sephora and purchase the cosmetics.



The iGrow is an FDA 510k-approved hair growth device. It grows hair using Low-Level Light Therapy. This is a therapy that “utilizes laser or light energy below a specific energy threshold and within a specific wavelength,” according to iGrow’s manufacturers. The founder of the company says there is clinical evidence to show that this therapy triggers cellular activity leading to hair growth.

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

There were robots all over. Many were concierge robots, designed to offer customer service at business locations. LG demonstrated its robot built to help customers in airports. The robot rolled across the stage at LG’s event.

Image: LG (Image: LG)

 

There was so much to see. As a journalist who has been to CES for the past four years, I was also delighted to see more African Americans at this year’s show than previous years. I’m eagerly anticipating a special showcase dedicated to the amazing technology coming from Africa in 2018.

Watch the video below for a quick and dynamic recap of the technology at CES 2017:



 

 

 

 

Love Tech? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Go to CES 2018 [WATCH]

CES

CES 2017 came and went. Every year the show, which is already huge, seems to get even bigger. Organizers spared no expense in delivering a fantastic conference since this year marked the 50th anniversary of CES.

The big hits at the show were vehicle tech, internet-connected home devices, robots, and tech products to teach kids skills such as programming.

There was also some incredible tech beauty products. The O’2 Nails Mobile Printers lets you print any design you can imagine on your nails:

Image: O2 Nails (Image: O’2 Nails)

 

YouCam Makeup, a company that creates virtual makeovers for selfies with an app, launched a new product that works with makeup outlets such as Sephora. Using the YouCam new app, you can virtually try on makeup from Sephora and then go into Sephora and purchase the cosmetics.



The iGrow is an FDA 510k-approved hair growth device. It grows hair using Low-Level Light Therapy. This is a therapy that “utilizes laser or light energy below a specific energy threshold and within a specific wavelength,” according to iGrow’s manufacturers. The founder of the company says there is clinical evidence to show that this therapy triggers cellular activity leading to hair growth.

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

There were robots all over. Many were concierge robots, designed to offer customer service at business locations. LG demonstrated its robot built to help customers in airports. The robot rolled across the stage at LG’s event.

Image: LG (Image: LG)

 

There was so much to see. As a journalist who has been to CES for the past four years, I was also delighted to see more African Americans at this year’s show than previous years. I’m eagerly anticipating a special showcase dedicated to the amazing technology coming from Africa in 2018.

Watch the video below for a quick and dynamic recap of the technology at CES 2017:



 

 

 

 

8 Educational STEM Toys for Kids at CES 2017

STEM Toys

CES 2017, the annual technology trade show in Las Vegas, emphasized how ubiquitous robots and artificially intelligent devices will become integrated into our lives over the next decade. The demand for engineers, programmers, and technology experts to keep devices and platforms safe from hacking will continue to increase.

That said, it’s never too early to get tech into the little hands of kids, to prepare them for a technologically encompassed world. This year’s CES featured STEM toys from around the world; perfect for introducing children to concepts in programming and engineering. Take a look through the gallery, to see some of the best STEM toys f0r kids of all ages and skill levels that were featured at CES.

 

1. Ablix Robot STEM Kits

 

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

Ablix’s kits helps kids learn about project structural building, touch sensors, temperature sensors, magnetic sensors, multisensor integrated applications, program debugging, and more. Inside the kit is a project building manual and CD with a curriculum, software, programs, and videos.


2. Circuit Cubes

 

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

Designed by engineers with their own kids in mind, Circuit Cubes are electronic building blocks that add sound, motion, light, and sensors to young makers’ creations. An added plus is that they also work with Legos.


3. CoDrone

 

Image: Black Enterprise Image: Black Enterprise

 

CoDrone is a portmanteau for “coding” and “drone.” Created by Robolink, the company’s mission is to make STEM education fun and accessible. What can be a more fun way of learning to code than with a drone you can also fly?


4. Domgy

 



Roobo’s adorable Domgy robot makes a great companion for children and is a way to introduce kids to robots. Domgy plays music, can navigate itself indoors, performs facial recognition, along with a host of other features.


5. Edwin the Duck

 



Edwin may be the world’s first IoT rubber ducky. Edwin connects with his accompanying app to play soothing, nighttime sounds to help kids go to sleep, and it helps children learn through songs and educational games. Edwin also functions as a real, traditional rubber ducky because he’s waterproof. Additionally, the non-toxic material makes Edwin a good toy for teething.


6. Makeblock

 

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

Makeblock offers Arduino-based, STEM,  robotics building kits that can be programmed with the Scratch language. There are kits available for those new to robotics and programming, and for those who are more advanced. Makeblock’s kits are used as actual classroom teaching tools.


7. Square Panda

 

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

Square Panda turns an iPad into “a multisensory phonics learning system.” With Square Panda and the iPad, kids have interactive phonics learning games and a Bluetooth play set, with actual colorful letters kids can pick up and match with objects on the screen.


8. Zyrobotics Zumo Learning System

 

Image: Black Enterprise (Image: Black Enterprise)

 

Zyrobotics is a startup co-founded by Dr. Ayanna Howard, an African American, female roboticist, who has worked with NASA. The Zumo Learning System includes a tablet, math games, and a wireless smart toy named Zumo. The apps are designed for kids from kindergarten to third grade.

 

 

9 Examples of the Most Insane Tech That Will Be at CES 2017

CES 2017

CES, the world’s largest consumer technology trade show, is here again. The event will be held January 3-7, 2017, in Las Vegas. Expected are big announcements related to virtual reality (VR), drones, connected cars, robots, artificial intelligence (AI), smart devices, and IoT. Black Enterprise will have boots on the ground at the event to bring your live coverage.

We did, however score a few sneak peeks from some of the companies demonstrating their products and services at the event. Here are a few of the zaniest stand-outs that caught our attention, which we can’t wait to see and experience in person.

1. Naughty America Virtual Reality Porn

 

When virtual reality is embraced by the porn industry,  you know the technology has truly gone mainstream. Set to revolutionize the way people consume carnal content, Naughty VR will offer demonstrations of its VR pornography at CES.

We invite all interested media to experience Naughty America VR, and encourage all headset manufacturers to visit our booth to see how well Naughty America VR videos play on their devices, including Oculus, HTC, Samsung, Carl Zeiss, Sony, and Google,” says Ian Paul, CIO of Naughty America.

Here is someone testing out the Naughty America VR experience (it was the most SFW video we could find):

Source: YouTube, Funny Hot Girls

2. Child’s Robot Companion, PuddingBeanQ

 

PuddingBeanQ answers the questions under eight-year-olds ask of life, the universe, and everything.  It also teaches music, basic math, and understands up to 50 languages. PuddingBeanQ has rich, human-like emotions that appeal to young kids, and it will react to human touch, plus instigates interactive games that encourage movement.

It will also correct poor posture through monitoring a child’s gestures, while everyday chitchat encourages good personal hygiene and study habits. Note, the below image is not of the PuddingBeanQ, but of another earlier child’s robot from the same company.

Image: Roobo Image: Roobo

 

3. Artificial Intelligence Kitchen Solution, Hello Egg

 

Hello Egg is a smart kitchen assistant. The assistant plans your weekly meals according to your dietary preferences and adjusts to unpredicted events, like a spontaneous, at-home dinner with your vegetarian friend. It supervises your pantry, organizes your shopping list, and even orders your grocery delivery. Hello Egg provides you with easy-to-follow, step-by-step, voice-navigated video recipes and answers any cooking-related questions with the help of AI.

 

4. Turn Your iPhone into a Video Game Console

 

Hate the control limitations of a touchscreen and keyboard when mobile gaming? GameSir, a Hong Kong-based game controller company, will demo the M2 Gamepad game controller for iOS. The controller connects via bluetooth, and it can also be used with the iPad, iPod, and Apple TV.

 

5. Wireless Speaker That Floats in Mid-Air

 

LG will demo its Levitating Portable Speaker. This is a wireless speaker capable of delivering high-quality audio that actually hovers in the air. Powerful electromagnets provide the visual effect of levitation. It’s also a 360-degree, omnidirectional speaker with deep bass from the embedded subwoofer.

Image: LG Image: LG

 

6. A Robot You Build at Home, STEMI

 

Meet STEMI, the STEM skills-building robot. You put this little hexapod robot together yourself, using video tutorials as guidance, then you can learn about technology, including 3D modelling, electronics, and programming a mobile application.

7. Grow Hair With Lasers

 

The LaserBand 41 is a portable beauty gadget that is designed to stimulate hair growth. It provides a highly effective treatment, parting hair and creating an unobstructed path for the laser light to reach your hair follicles.

 

Image: HairMax Image: HairMax

 

8. ‘Tittle’-ating Lights

 

Tittle Light is an LED light designed to titillate the senses.

From the company’s website:

“With Tittle Light, users can easily set the stage for any occasion with a variety of settings such as ‘mood light,’ ‘music visualizations,’ ‘clock’ displays, and customizable 3D ’emojis.’ The mood lighting feature complements every occasion, from romantic with the ‘sexy time’ or ‘sunset’ settings, to fun with the ‘fireworks’ or ‘twilight’ settings, as well as celebratory with the ‘rainbow’ and ‘sparks’ settings.”

 

Image: Spin-R Image: Spin-R

 

9. Self-Cleaning Smart Toilet

 

TOTO will demo a smart toilet that cleans itself using the company’s Actlight cleansing technology.

Here is a video from the company’s self-cleaning toilets at last year’s CES:

Source: YouTube, NewsBeat Social

 

Black Robotics Engineers on Whether Robots Will Kill Us All

Robots

On a lively panel at Black Enterprise’s TechConneXt Tech Summit, two black robotics engineers discussed artificial intelligence and robotics. Both weighed in on whether robots are harmful to human beings, and especially to the livelihood of people of color.

Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu (Image: File)

The panel, hosted by CEO and founder of facial recognition tech company Kairos, Brian Brackeen, included Terrence Southern, a tech founder and robotics engineer for GE. Also participating was Dr. Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, an award-winning and esteemed roboticist at NASA.

A portion of the panel focused on the anxious perceptions people harbor about robots and their threat of replacing human labor as well as their potential danger.

Many Jobs Will Become Obsolete

Southern was adamant that these machines would replace some jobs. “There is already a robot chef,” he told the audience. Indeed, German company Moley Robotics created a robot chef that can create a meal from scratch by mimicking the movements of a human chef.

He also mentioned that many fast-food enterprises are looking at robots as a way of automating business operations and cutting costs.

Trebi-Ollennu quelled some fears about job loss after an audience member asked about robot labor’s impact on blacks and other minorities, who are already at a disadvantage in the job market.

Robots mean that there will be more “high-skill” jobs available, said Trebi-Ollennu. He mentioned that it is important that classrooms provide adequate skills young people will need to work in a high-tech world.

Some of the new jobs that will be in demand according to both panelists will include robot programmers, technicians, builders, and people that can fix and maintain automated vehicles.

How Deadly Are Robots?

One woman in the audience asked the question that was surely in the back of many minds: With artificial intelligence and robotics, can intelligent machines hurt or even kill humans?

Southern pointed out that many industrial robots are huge machines with the ability to crush or maim any humans working next to them. He said that “collaborative robots” are a big area of research because they allow robots and humans to work safely side-by-side.

Trebi-Ollennu insisted that any notion of robots eventually dominating or killing humans was the stuff of science fiction. “We use them as tools to help humans,” he assured.

 

 

Get Ready for the Upcoming Drone Overtake

drones

Until recent years, drones were mostly high-tech, remote control toys, but they are increasingly being used as weapons of war. Soon, drones will also reign supreme in commercial markets.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are of high interest to tech investors who see huge revenue potential. According to Drone Industry Insights, 2015 was a record year for UAV funding, with 89% of professional investments in the drone market by venture capitalists.

The commercial sector is so ripe for UAV penetration, that many companies that made recreational drones, shifted focus to commercial models. From The Drone Market Environment Map 2016:

“3DR, for example, completely gave up the recreational sector and is focusing on commercial solutions only. Insitu expanded their portfolio and started manufacturing platforms not just for military, but also for civil and commercial applications.

DJI, the market leader in the recreational sector, now expands into the commercial market with platforms for professional media production and agricultural crop dusting solutions.”

UAVs will make a huge impact on the education, emergency, inspection, oil and gas, real estate, and agriculture business sectors.

Some examples of commercial drone use:

  • Colleges and universities are developing unmanned aircraft system programs to expand research across many disciplines.
  • Just recently, the Hamilton County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office announced it will use drones to gather evidence for court cases, detect bombs, and find missing persons. Other agencies are implementing similar strategies.
  • In the mining industry, drones are being explored as cheaper and safer ways to map deposit sites and explore for minerals via remote control.
  • The agricultural drone market is expected to reach $480 million by 2026. These drones will be used for spraying crops, gathering data about plant and soil health, harvesting, and more.
  • Amazon is set to launch its Prime Air service that uses small UAVs to deliver packages up to five pounds. Google and Walmart also plan to deploy drone delivery services.

 

Get Ready for the Upcoming Drone Overtake

drones

Until recent years, drones were mostly high-tech, remote control toys, but they are increasingly being used as weapons of war. Soon, drones will also reign supreme in commercial markets.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are of high interest to tech investors who see huge revenue potential. According to Drone Industry Insights, 2015 was a record year for UAV funding, with 89% of professional investments in the drone market by venture capitalists.

The commercial sector is so ripe for UAV penetration, that many companies that made recreational drones, shifted focus to commercial models. From The Drone Market Environment Map 2016:

“3DR, for example, completely gave up the recreational sector and is focusing on commercial solutions only. Insitu expanded their portfolio and started manufacturing platforms not just for military, but also for civil and commercial applications.

DJI, the market leader in the recreational sector, now expands into the commercial market with platforms for professional media production and agricultural crop dusting solutions.”

UAVs will make a huge impact on the education, emergency, inspection, oil and gas, real estate, and agriculture business sectors.

Some examples of commercial drone use:

  • Colleges and universities are developing unmanned aircraft system programs to expand research across many disciplines.
  • Just recently, the Hamilton County, Tenn., Sheriff’s Office announced it will use drones to gather evidence for court cases, detect bombs, and find missing persons. Other agencies are implementing similar strategies.
  • In the mining industry, drones are being explored as cheaper and safer ways to map deposit sites and explore for minerals via remote control.
  • The agricultural drone market is expected to reach $480 million by 2026. These drones will be used for spraying crops, gathering data about plant and soil health, harvesting, and more.
  • Amazon is set to launch its Prime Air service that uses small UAVs to deliver packages up to five pounds. Google and Walmart also plan to deploy drone delivery services.

 

5 of the Most Far-Out Uses of Robots at RoboUniverse

This weekend, the RoboUniverse robot expo was held in New York City at the Javits Convention Center. Robotics companies and researchers hailed from all over the globe to show off the latest in the robotics industry and lend their expertise to a number of thought-provoking panels. Clearly, the robot revolution is underway. Here are 10 of the most mind-boggling uses for robots and robotics presented at RoboUniverse:

[Related: 10 Black Women Changing the World via Science and Technology]

Co-Bots (Cooperative Robots) Will Displace More Human Labor:
Cooperative Robots were a big focus of RoboUniverse. Co-bots are becoming co-workers that are mobile and able to perform just-in-time tasks that are programmed by their human masters.

Robotic Exoskeletons Will Allow the Paralyzed to Walk:
Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni, the founder of suitX, the robotic exoskeleton company, gave a keynote about exoskeletons. SuitX’s Phoenix technology is currently being tested to help paraplegics stand and walk slowly.

The goal is to eventually create exoskeletons that would allow the disabled full mobility and to create suits that human workers can wear to withstand impact and injury in dangerous environments.

The Military is Testing Autonomous Drones to Detect IEDs:
5D Robotics was at the expo displaying its advanced drone technology. Its drones are being used in military exercises to detect and disarm mines and other IEDs. Its IED defeat kit consists of an autonomous mine detecting robot, which can automatically map the ground of a designated area, paired with a heavy duty mine clearance robot which uses 5D positioning to accurately return to marked hazards.

Researchers Want to Physically Connect Human Brains and Robots
An ever-advancing area of research—neurorobotics—explores the science of physically connecting the brain to robotic and mechanical connections and also on building computer models of sections of the brain based on neural network technology. One of the goals of this type of research is to fuse humans and robots to “a physical, mechanical agent which actively supports (healthy, elderly and disabled) people in performing activities of daily living.”

Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) is the Next Big Cloud Thing:
Expect to see in the next few years, massive advances in service robots fueled by cloud technology, said several panelists who took part in the “Robots as a Service (RaaS)” session at RoboUniverse.

Just as companies can now, thanks to the advent of cloud services, deploy custom data analytics solutions, for example, from cloud technology, businesses are expected to be able to adopt robotic services to fit their needs, as easily as they can now acquire online storage.