Brian Heater
Brian Heater
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This is Boston Dynamics’ next commercial robot – TechCrunch

This is Boston Dynamics’ next commercial robot – TechCrunch

from a decades-long research robotics firm to a company that productizes and sells hardware has been a fascinating one to watch. There have been , including the very real lesson that at the end of the day, most robots in the world will be deployed for mundane tasks.Sure, the company will continue to court the public with fun viral videos of its technology dancing to the oldies, but when it comes to actually selling robotics, the targets continue to be the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs we humans just don’t want to do. Or, as I’ve been putting it for a while now, robotics are — more often...

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Brian Heater
Mar 29
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Talking robots with Ford – TechCrunch

Talking robots with Ford – TechCrunch

too far into this week’s roundup, I want to kick things off with an interview we haven’t published anywhere else. Earlier this week, to the new $75 million facility at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.The automaker told TechCrunch the set up is not an incubator, so much as “an extension of our global research and advanced engineering network.” Beyond the autonomous driving research, the company will be devoting a lot of research to how it can use third-party robots like Boston Dynamics’ Spot and Agility’s Digit, the latter of which was the centerpiece to a partnershipCurrently, the...

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Brian Heater
Mar 18
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Marco Rubio says he ‘stands with’ Amazon warehouse workers – TechCrunch

Marco Rubio says he ‘stands with’ Amazon warehouse workers – TechCrunch

Workers at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse have already received public support from Democratic politicians ranging from Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden, the latter of whom promised to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” late last year. Now, as many look to unionize, the team is getting some political backing from a more unexpected place.In an , Marco Rubio threw support behind the workers, in spite of “dangers posed by the unchecked influence of labor unions.” The Florida Senator notes Republicans’ historical tendency of siding with management, but adds “the days of...

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Brian Heater
Mar 12
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Robotics roundup – TechCrunch

Robotics roundup – TechCrunch

any opportunity to talk about soft robotics. There’s something other-worldly about the world of inflatable robotic bladders. Human beings are wont to develop robotics in their own image. The world of soft robots are something akin to what the technology would be like if it was developed by a sea creature.Certainly cephalopods like octopi and squid have been a major inspiration for the category, along with other invertebrates. The benefits of the technology is clear. These far less rigid structures are more compliant and are able to squeeze into more places and conform to different shapes....

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Brian Heater
Mar 4
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MSCHF mounted a remote-control paintball gun to Spot – TechCrunch

MSCHF mounted a remote-control paintball gun to Spot – TechCrunch

a number of ways in a number of different settings. I had the chance to control the robot for the first time at one of our Robotics events a number of years back, and drove one around an obstacle course at Boston Dynamics’ headquarters. More recently, I navigated it via web browser as a test of the robot’s new remote interface.But a recent test drive was different. For one thing, it wasn’t officially sanctioned by Boston Dynamics. Of course, the highly sophisticated quadrupedal robot has been out in the world for a while, and a few enterprising souls have begun to offer a remote Spot...

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Brian Heater
Feb 22
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Chromebooks had a banner 2020 – TechCrunch

Chromebooks had a banner 2020 – TechCrunch

2020 was a weird year by any measure. Certainly it was a wild ride for those in the consumer electronics category. Take smartphones — first there were manufacturing delays out of China, followed by an across the board decrease in demand. There are lots of reasons contributing to the latter, but the simplest and most prevalent one is that people just didn’t want to spend money to upgrade their devices.But the pandemic also changed how — and where — many people work and learn. It was an abrupt shift for many that required tech investments, even in the face of economic uncertainty. After years...

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Brian Heater
Feb 18
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MIT is building a ‘one-stop shop’ for 3D-printing robots – TechCrunch

MIT is building a ‘one-stop shop’ for 3D-printing robots – TechCrunch

Additive manufacturing has proven an ideal solution for certain tasks, but the technology still lacks more traditional methods in a number of categories. One of the biggest is the requirement for post-printing assembly. 3D printers can create extremely complex components, but an outside party (be it human or machine) is required to put them together.MIT’s CSAIL department this week a new project that attempts to develop robotics, drones and other machines than can be fabricated as part of a “one-stop shop.” The system is comprised of a software kit and hardware platform designed to create...

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Brian Heater
Feb 8
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Amazon warehouse workers to begin historic vote to unionize – TechCrunch

Amazon warehouse workers to begin historic vote to unionize – TechCrunch

On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board rejected Amazon’s attempt to delay a union vote set to begin on Monday, February 8. For many, the online giant’s bid was seen as a stalling tactic, including a motion to demand votes take place in-person — a clear health risk, as the COVID-19 virus still poses a major threat in the United States and globally.“Once again workers have won another fight in their effort to win a union voice,” Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement regarding the NLRB’s decision. “’s blatant disregard for the health...

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Brian Heater
Feb 7
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Fetch’s latest warehouse robot is designed to replace forklifts – TechCrunch

Fetch’s latest warehouse robot is designed to replace forklifts – TechCrunch

San Jose-based robotics company Fetch unveiled its latest robot this morning. The PalletTransport1500 is an autonomous bot designed specifically to replace forklift uses in warehouses. The systems, which are designed to pick up and deliver pallets, are capable of sporting payloads of up to 2,504 pounds.The device joins a number of different robotic forklift solutions from various companies, including Toyota. Though Amazon’s own Kiva Systems-produced robots are likely still the best-known pallet-moving robotics in the game.The system was developed with Honeywell Intelligrated’s Momentum...

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Brian Heater
Jan 28
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Google denies Pixel 5a 5G cancelation, confirming it’s coming this year – TechCrunch

Google denies Pixel 5a 5G cancelation, confirming it’s coming this year – TechCrunch

Sometimes you’ve just got to confirm an unannounced product to put the rumors to bed, I guess. That was Google’s strategy this afternoon, following earlier rumors that a chip shortage had put the kibosh on the mid-budget phone.In a comment to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson noted, “Pixel 5a 5G is not cancelled. It will be available later this year in the U.S. and Japan and announced in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.”That time frame would put the device’s arrival around late-summer, meaning it won’t arrive in time for Google I/O in May, as some speculated....

techcrunch.com
Brian Heater
Apr 9
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