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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Transport, logistics and office jobs under threat

According to a research study from Oxford Martin School nearly half of US jobs could be susceptible to computerisation over the next two decades. 
The study, a collaboration between Dr Carl Benedikt Frey (Oxford Martin School) and Dr Michael A. Osborne (Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford), found that jobs in transportation, logistics, as well as office and administrative support, are at “high risk” of automation. More surprisingly, occupations within the service industry are also highly susceptible, despite recent job growth in this sector.
The study examined over 700 detailed occupation types, noting the types of tasks workers perform and the skills required. By weighting these factors, as well as the engineering obstacles currently preventing computerisation, the researchers assessed the degree to which these occupations may be automated in the coming decades.


Monday, October 28, 2013

UBR-1 $35k mobile robot released

Unbounded Robotics, a spinoff of Willow Garage, recently debuted its first machine, UBR-1, a head and multi-jointed robotic arm on wheels that runs on the open-source Robot Operating System, or ROS. The startup hopes UBR-1 will support the development of further applications for dexterous, mobile robots.
At $35,000, the robot is certainly accessible to institutions and startups, its intended audiences.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

3 million Euro grant for socially intelligent robotics research

Credit: Giraff Technologies
The Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam will be coordinating a new FP7 project to develop a socially intelligent telepresence robot system. A total grant of €3 million is awarded by the European Commission to this project. The project is titled TERESA (Telepresence Reinforcement-Learning Social Agent) and led by dr. Shimon Whiteson, aims to develop a socially intelligent telepresence robot system, in which a human controller remotely interacts with people by guiding a remotely located robot. The TERESA  system will automatically navigate among groups of people in a socially appropriate way and display socially appropriate body language when interacting with people around it. This new system will be used to help elderly people maintain social interaction by remotely participating in activities in elderly day centres when, due to illness or physical immobility, they are unable to physically attend. The robotic platform will be delivered by Giraff Technologies.