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Hello? Is anyone there?

It has been awhile since we’ve posted an update here. We’ve just been very heads down on development of our companion robot. The age of “personal robotics” is only just beginning and creating one is more challenging than it might seem. Creating such a platform takes much more than PC, tablet, or mobile phone, in part because there are many more components, not only on the hardware side, but also for the software. This new “personal” generation requires more autonomy and more natural interaction, and natural interaction typically means supporting spoken input. While speech technology has seen improvement over the years, it still remains a most challenging form of input, much more prone to error than keyboards and mice. Even in human conversations, recognition isn’t always 100%. Advances in speech input have only set user expectations higher. We are pleased when speech oracles like Siri, Echo, or Cortana get it right, but typically very disappointed when…

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The Rise of Emotional Robots

There seems to be an ever increasing number of new stories about emergence of robots, but I wanted to single out a number of recent announcements that I found quite interesting.  The first is the announcement of Google’s latest strategy with regards to self-driving cars. It’s certainly not new that Google has been investing in self-driving cars. They have been traveling the streets of San Francisco and the freeways of the Bay Area for some time now. However, the latest information reveals that Google is applying what they have learned from retrofitting conventional cars with sensors and computers to these own custom vehicles. Unlike their predecessors, the new Google cars are smaller and designed to only travel about 25 miles per hour. Also, unlike their more conventional cousins, they have no explicit controls (i.e. no steering wheel), other than an emergency stop button. They have also been designed to have soft exteriors, likely not so much…

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Amazon, Google, and Robots! Oh My!

By now you have likely read about the interesting news about robotics developments related to Amazon and Google. This has raised several inquiries about the significance and its impact on what Hoaloha Robotics is doing. First, with regards to Amazon’s suggestion that they might be delivering packages by autonomous drones within the next 5 years, the concept of flying drones delivering packages to your doorstep seems fraught with challenges that make this highly unlikely. However, I take it somewhat as more of a publicity move to help stimulate online purchasing for the holidays. In addition, I also think it enables Amazon to highlight the innovations they are thinking about to make deliveries to you even faster. What was surprising is that the video showed the drone flying out of what looked like a conventional warehouse. It might have been more impressive if they had shown it in a Kiva Systems-equipped warehouse,…

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