Robots: We Love The Crazy Things They Do - InformationWeek

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2/4/2015
05:05 PM
David Wagner
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Robots: We Love The Crazy Things They Do

In the past year, we've made robots do some pretty crazy things. These are our favorites.
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Tending Bar
You can train a robot to make a drink. (I bet it does better at shaken than stirred.) But I don't think you'll ever replicate the smile and eager ear of a good bartender. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines now has a novelty robot that makes drinks. No word on how they plan to weaponize it so it can serve double-duty as a bouncer. 

(Image: USA Today)

You can train a robot to make a drink. (I bet it does better at shaken than stirred.) But I don't think you'll ever replicate the smile and eager ear of a good bartender. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines now has a novelty robot that makes drinks. No word on how they plan to weaponize it so it can serve double-duty as a bouncer.

(Image: USA Today)

2 of 12
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soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 9:07:28 AM
projecting
My first question would be: There's enough projectile vomiting going around that we actually need a robot to simulate it?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2015 | 8:20:33 PM
Re: projecting
@soozyg- I think the problem is that there wasn't enough vomiting on command. :)

No seriously, there are major issues in hospitals and the hospitality industry around how to cleanup after someone throws up. Specifically norovirus is a major problem on something like a cruise ship. When you vomit, some of the liquid aerosolizies and travels farther than was previously known.
soozyg
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soozyg,
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2/5/2015 | 9:11:16 AM
cooking robot
so interesting.

learns the most important part of the task

How does the robot do this? I'm sure it must be cued by language in cooking shows like "Now this is very important" or "Now, remember to...." but that's would be part of the script. What is the cook goes off script and doesn't use those key words?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2015 | 8:23:17 PM
Re: cooking robot
@Soozyg- Well, they say it is a complicated math formulat but they won't go into it because it is DARPA. But basically, what they've been able to do is make it understand what it is seeing so it doesn't need a script. It sees the person beating eggs, it gets that the whisk and the motion are the important part of beating eggs. So it icks up a whisk and beats eggs. It is amazing. 

I can't find the link, but someone recently programmed a TV camera to watch basketball and film the important parts, too. This is becoming a "thing" now where computers can see real life and focus on specific things as opposed to the whole.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/6/2015 | 9:55:13 AM
Re: cooking robot
what they've been able to do is make it understand what it is seeing so it doesn't need a script.

that is just cool.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 9:17:11 AM
disney
Leave it to Disney to create a robot that's just for wealthy people entertainment, that doesn't actually help anyone or improve life at all. I suppose those bartender robots are a similar notion, I just don't like Disney because, to me, they represent unhelpful conspicuous consumption.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2015 | 8:26:35 PM
Re: disney
@soozyg- Well, i don't think it is fair to complain that an entertainment company made an entertainment product. that' slike saying, "There goes NASA again, sending another rocket into space."

That said, there is real value to this. Teaching robots to do complex autonomous activites is hard. Miniaturizing it is harder. Think about a situation like manufacturing. Manufatcuring is a very comlex dance of movements that machines have to be meticiulously programmed to do. If you could teach robots to naviagte that process without being quite as choreographed, they'd be safer and better at their jobs. I'm not saying Disney is getting into manufacturing, but these sorts of technology have a way of inspiring other areas.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 9:14:57 PM
Re: disney
Dave, I see the potential in all the other robots your illustrated. The bartender robots even make sense, I could see them being used in a laboratory or something. I could even see the skiing robots saving people on mountains in treacherous places that people would never survive. But the turtle-like Disney robot that makes drawings in the sand? How does that help?

I'm sorry, I am not a fan of Disney. A friend of the family is a major executive there; she's like VP of New Business or something and I get to hear all the things that Disney takes over and then raises the price on.

I'm happy to hear about how that beach drawing robot will help.
BillDChandler
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BillDChandler,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/5/2015 | 10:47:17 AM
Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
As a batchlor  I'm interested in the potential of the IoT in the kitchen, to make my life easier, and it seems a cooking robot would be the perfect addition to that.  It would work with the other utilities, get new ideas and cook dinner.  Order food and put it away. Plan the meals, do the dishes. Even feed the cat when I'm away.  
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2015 | 11:43:12 AM
Re: Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
In all my years teaching swim lessons, I don't think I ever taught anyone to dive as gracefully as that robot.


I can see the terrifying implications of the cooking robot - that could easily fall into the wrong hands. Though it's hard to ignore the wonderful possibility of having a robot around to save me from my own cooking...
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 12:42:02 PM
Re: Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
Only want one of these unless it is capable of running to the store for all the recipe ingrediants it needs and you don't have. Doing that for the wife is one thing, I'll be darned if I'm doing it for a robot.

Maybe it can be partnered with that drone delivery service Amazon is working on, then we might have something here....
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 8:25:40 PM
Re: Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
Cooking robot would be a good news for me because I am lack of this skill.:-) However, I am doubting the flavor of this robot.:-)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2015 | 8:29:15 PM
Re: Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
@TerryB- I'm guessing if you can teach it to cook, you can teach it to go to the store and shop. I just can't wait for the first time my robot asks to borrow the car keys.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/5/2015 | 8:27:50 PM
Re: Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
@BilldChandler- Sounds like you are basically looking for the maid in the Jetsons. I think that's a splenid idea. Except I always found it a little odd that she wore the little french maid outfit.
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