Moxie: the Emotionally Intelligent Robot Friend For Children

Although released in 2020 Moxie, the blue body, cartoon eye Moxie robot who wants to befriend your child might be one of the hot, high end toys of Christmas 2021. It currently retails at the manufacturer’s website for wallet-busting $799.

The companion robot was designed to support social, cognitive and emotional development in kids between five and ten. It does this via play based learning or lessons on things like turn-taking and eye contact. The company Emobided launched Moxie in 2020 at a much higher price point of $1,500, currently their website lists the regular price as $999 but currently reduced to $799. They are based in Pasadena, California.

Embodied has stated that their goal is to create robots that will benefit society. They say Moxie builds a relationship with children by teaching them how to label and navigate their emotions.

Moxie is equipped with microphones, sensors and cameras and has the benefit of expert technologist, and expert story tellers from Disney and the Jim Henson Company.

Time, in 2020, listed it as a one of the top inventions of the year.

According to the company, Moxie tries to rethink what human and machine interaction could be and they are rethinking these interactions by making Moxie socially and emotionally intelligent.

They believe inventions like Moxie could increase the emotional intelligence of soft skills that will make the next generation of children more balanced people as members of society.

 

 

 

 

Very Human Robot Writes Poetry and Creates Art

Artificial intelligence has been a part of science fiction for years and has often been portrayed as anywhere from troubling to outright evil.

AI is not commonly associated with things like art and poetry, but that is the purpose of the very realistic human-like robot, Ai-Da, invented by Aidan Meller in Oxford, England. She spends her time creating poetry and visual art. She is the worlds first robot of her kind and publicly performed some of her poetry that she wrote using her AI. The poetry was in celebration of famous Italian poet Dante.

Ai-Da performed her poetry recital at the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University as part of an exhibition marking Dante’s 700th death anniversary.

Ai-Da’s poem was a response to Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” Ai-Da’s AI analyzed Dante’s writing patterns and vocabulary but also her own databank of words—between the two her AI created the final product.

Ai-Da’s creator, Meller, stated that her ability to imitate human writing is so incredible it is hard to know it wasn’t written by a human.

Ai-Da doesn’t only write poetry, she also is very capable of creating works of art. She made one of the Dante exhibition. It was inspired by her own experience in Egypt when security forces detained Ai-Da and Meller over security concerns over the cameras in her eyes, which they wanted to remove. The piece is titled “Eyes Wide Shut.”

New Tech Extends Range of Deep Sea Exploration Robots

For much of human history we have explored and lived in some of the most extreme environments on the planet—mountains, jungles, deserts. However, the largest environment on Earth composing 70% of the Earth’s surface, the ocean largely remains a mystery to us.

Only about 20% of the ocean bed has been mapped.

A fuller picture of the ocean would bring many benefits including safer navigating ships, creating more accurate climate models, laying new telecommunication cables, the building of offshore windfarms and of course protecting marine species.

Many refer to this as the “blue economy” and it could be worth an astonishing $3 trillion by 2030.

While underwater robotic vehicles equipped with various equipment have been in service for quite a while and have increased the amount of data we collect and at a lower cost, many of these robots rely on batteries and have to return to the shore or a boat to recharge making it impossible for them to ever map the most remote parts of the ocean.

Yi Chao’s Seatrec startup is working on solving this challenge by channeling the natural temperature differences in ocean waters.

The technology can be attached to existing robots or Seatrec’s own ocean explorers. The device is a float that moves between warm and cold parts of the ocean. The materials inside the module the either solidifies or melts. This causes pressure that turns to thermal energy that power’s the robot’s generator.

 

Meet a New Personal Robot

There’s a new personal robot ready to help you. It’s called Ballie and is made by Samsung. It was introduced at CES2020.

It is a small rolling robot that reacts to your needs. In the video, you can see some of the capabilities. From waking up and opening your drapes, helping you with your exercises, your pets, connecting its camera through an app, turning on the TV for your pet, knowing to clean the floor with the vacuum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7N5UDZX7TQ

Atlas Robot

Boston Dynamics has a few projects they are working on in robotics. Boston Dynamics was founded in 1992 by MIT. In 2013, they were acquired by Google X which later became Alphabet, Inc. In 2017, Boston Dynamics was sold to SoftBank (remember Pepper?). We have previously discussed Spot also developed by Boston Dynamics.

Atlas is a 6-foot robot that is more humanoid with 2 legs. It was unveiled to the public in 2013. It has slowly been evolving. It now can do parkour (similar to military obstacle course training):




Robotics

Robots

See SpotMini run! In this TedTalk by Marc Raibert of BostonDynamics gives a demo of how far robotics have come. He talks about dynamic mobility, balance, and mobile manipulation. He has a few demonstrations on video and live to show some things they have done to meet the goals of using robots.

In one demonstration, they show some examples of what might challenge the robots if faced with some obstacles keeping them from what they are trying to do. For his live demonstration he shows the different movements of SpotMini – a dog-like robot. He shows on the screen what the dog robot is seeing and how the robot plans where and how it will step.

Romo the robot

Have you heard of Romo the robot yet? It’s a robot toy that uses your iPhone or iPod (4-5). So what does it do? It will respond to faces, play chase, roam around the house, connect with family and friends. There are guided missions, upgrades to unlock, and unlimited free play where there is a lab to try out activities. Its telepresence let’s you connect with an online Romo anywhere in the world.

It comes in 2 versions – the older pin cable for iPhone/iPod Touch 4 and lightning connector for iPhone/iPod Touch 5. The device costs $129 with free shipping. You will also need the apps available for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Learn more here.

Jody Victor

Another robot…

Last week we found a couple robots from Willow Garage. Well this week we found another one. This was developed by some people who left Willow Garage to start their own company, Unbounded Robotics. They are taking orders for YOUR new robot! UBR-1 will be available Spring 2014. The cost is $35,000. It is ROS-enabled (Robot Operating System), an open-source platform that you can enhance yourself by logging in remotely and writing programs.

UBR-1 can unload a dishwasher, fetch beverages, set the table. You can plug into its computer with one of the USB 3.0 expansion ports. It has a continuous run time of 3.5 hours and idle time of 10 hours.

Are you ready for this?

~ Jody Victor