Category Archives: AI

Disney Autonomous Animatronics

Robots – I have always liked the animatronics that Disney has placed in their parks. Now they are headed in a new direction with some new self-contained, autonomous animatronic characters – the Vyloo. I read about these today in the article “Disney has begun populating its parks with autonomous, personality-driven robots“.

These creatures have embedded cameras and sensors as well as the control electronics to make them come to life. These little robotic figures are programmed with actions and motions, but what makes them unique is the way they can sense their audience and interact with them.

I look forward to seeing these little guys and even more advanced versions in the years ahead. I can easily see where autonomous robots like these are going to be key to establishing the immersive experience that Disney wants to offer their visitors.


Robots Aid Restaurant Servers

Robots – Robots are coming. Some places they are already part of the workforce, like the Kang Nam Tofu House, a Korean restaurant in a strip mall in Milpitas, California.  A former Google engineer who owns the Kang Nam Tofu House developed a delivery robot he named Penny. The robot is being built by another company he co-founded, Bear Robotics.

The robot, which has supplemented servers rather than replacing any, delivers food and bills to tables. They claim this has freed the employees to focus more on customer service. The robot is small enough to navigate between the tables and has sensors to avoid obstacles. The robot is now being evaluated in pilot operations at a few other Bay Area restaurants.

How would you feel if a robot such as this delivered you food at your next restaurant visit?

Working Alongside Robots


Robots – I came across the article “How Should Your Company Prepare For Robot Coworkers?” this morning. if you are concerned as to how AI and automation will be affecting your job or you company, you should give it a read. It is short only taking about 5 minutes.

The gist of the article is that we need to start thinking how to incorporate AI and robotics into the work place alongside existing employees. the key thing is to modify work flow to incorporate what AI and robotics do well and have humans focus on the less mundane, higher intellect part of the job.


Boston Dynamics Robots Continue to Improve

Robots – I have been impress by the Boston Dynamics robots since their first models. They just keep getting better every year. This video was posted today on YouTube.


The Cost of Industrial Robots Predicted to Decline


Robots – In a recently published article “Industrial Robot Cost Decline” by ARK Invest, they predict that the cost of industrial robots will drop 65% by 2025. They say:

. . . costs will drop by roughly 65%, to levels much lower than most analysts now anticipate, by 2025. Combined with advances in machine learning and computer vision, this drop in costs should cause an inflection point in the demand for robots as they infiltrate new industries with more provocative use cases.

These are just machines with a significant helping of electronics. It is no surprise that the price will fall as the technology matures, just as it has in so many segments of the electronics industry. This just adds to the rush towards more robotics and automation.

The big question looking forward is how will all of this automation affect society. It is a move that can’t and shouldn’t be stopped, but some long range planning is needed to keep the wide introduction of robots and AI from being disruptive.


Self Driving Autonomous Trucks NOW on Texas Roads

I saw an article “Self Driving, Robotic Trucks Now Hauling Appliances From El Paso To California” yesterday. I was not aware that autonomous trucks were being tested in Texas, if only for a short distance, along I-10 towards California.

Frigidaire, robotic truck tech maker Embark and fleet management provider Ryder Systems have been using automated trucks to deliver appliances from El Paso to a warehouse in California since October. While the trucks employ Level 2 system now with a driver aboard, their goal is for full autonomous operation.

I think that we will see more and more of this, with fully autonomous trucks on the road before long. You will find a little more on this pilot operation in “Embark’s semi-autonomous trucks are hauling Frigidaire appliances“.


A Look at Modern Robotics

This video is a TED talk given by Marc Raibert is the founder and CEO of robot maker Boston Dynamics in April 2017. It really shows how far robots have evolved. It focuses on ‘SpotMini’ a multifunction robot.


Trailer for “The Machine”

Trailers – The SyFy Channel has ordered a pilot for a new series “The Machine”. This will be a TV series based on the 2013 movie of the same name, the trailer for which is shown above.

The concept will be that the world is being transformed by the emergence of Artificial Intelligence. While we are not there yet, our society is in the process of being massively changed by the growing introduction of robots, AI and Automation. The series will show the struggle between the emergent AI and humanity.

This might be a good series if it makes it through to production.


This is “National Robotics Week”


Predictions are that Robots, Automation and Artificial Intelligence will have an increasing role in our lives.

This week is National Robotics Week. This has been an annual recognition since 2010. Events are going on all over the country this week, most aimed at K-12 STEM. The list can be found here.


Amazon Delivering by Drone

We have all seen the hype about deliveries by drone. Now Amazon has begun some trial deliveries in the UK and hope to expand these efforts. The ‘Prime Air’ autonomous drone deliveries are just a trial for now. I don’t think that this will put UPS or FedEx out of business anytime soon, but it is a step towards automated delivery.