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Welcome to our Robot Overlords

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Welcome to our Robot Overlords

The Building Excellence team is working on a piece about home automation and connectivity for the Fall issue. During the research they stumbled upon some pretty amazing videos of robots doing all kinds of things that once seemed like something you’d only see in a futuristic sci-fi movie.

First up there’s BRETT (short for Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks) who has been taught to fold towels, then learned to cut his folding time down from 20 minutes to 90 seconds per towel.

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Then there’s Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini. This 30-kg, four-legged, one-armed, machine that looks like a headless dog, has 17 joints that enable it to walk, jog, climb stairs, and even open doors, no matter how many obstacles you try to put in his way.

Masons may want to take a closer look at SAM the Semi-Automated Mason who can lay bricks. On the upside, he’s not intended to put you out of a job. Instead, the developers want same to take some of the back breaking labour out of the job.

Finally, there’s Hanson Robobtics’ Sophie, who has been making the rounds on the talk show circuit. She uses artificial intelligence in her visual processors (i.e. eyes) to recognize facial expressions during conversation. Her own gestures are still somewhat, well, robotic-like, but certainly more realistic than many of the sci-fi versions that we’ve seen in movies and TV shows over the years.

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