Weeknotes 126 – robot interactions in 5-minute cities

Last week, it was a mix of preparing for future plans, and having some nice projects presented. The two Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences teams I mentioned before here finished their design projects that dealt with predictive knowledge. The team ‘WePredikt’ added predictive behavior to the Somnox sleep cushion. Team ‘WeConnect’ designed a device to prevent burnouts by creating a kind of a reversed-Tamagotchi. Check their product pages to find out more details; overall I think they did a good job! I will dive into their learnings about adding predictive knowledge soon.

Some time ago, I was invited to a session on the future of mobility in the city by Urban Arrow. The report of the session is published, and I had time to post the main conclusions here.

I also checked some of the program of the Dies Natalis, that I mentioned last week. The theme was Resilient, and they tried to create an interesting online asynchronous experience. It can still be watched here. Always interesting to have new approaches, good input for the program committee for Dutch Digital Day that I am invited for again this year. Keep you posted.

Last week (or a week earlier maybe), a small upgrade to the online meeting setup: I received the OBSBOT camera, a Kickstarter project that I almost forgot that I had backed it. The OBSBOT Tiny is the cheaper camera with the same AI features of following you around and gesture-controlled zooming in and out. The image is entirely white and in the first weeks it works quite well. And it is a nice conversation starter. It is a nice example of how ‘AI’ is used to sell products nowadays and how it enhances products by not only connecting but also adding intelligence.

What else happened last week? Some interesting articles on HRI (Human Robot Interaction), as apparently this type of device, become standard part of CES.

On the human robotic interactions

Adorable Fish Bots Get Schooled in How to Swarm

Adorable Fish Bots Get Schooled in How to Swarm

“Meet Bluebot, a friendly swimming robot with big camera eyes. Put a few in a tank together and they’ll collaborate to complete surprisingly complex tasks.”It is a hot topic; what is the behavior we can design for humans and robots, especially in context of robot-behavior maybe?

CES 2021: The robots are still coming. These are some of the best ones on the way

CES 2021: The robots are still coming. These are some of the best ones on the way

More robots at CES, collected by a mass media newspaper. What do they choose?

Robot Displays a Glimmer of Empathy to Partner Robot

Speaking of human-robotic relations, this is an interesting experiment: “Like a longtime couple who can predict each other’s every move, a Columbia Engineering robot has learned to predict its partner robot’s future actions and goals based on just a few initial video frames.”

Pollen Robotics’ humanoid robot can be controlled remotely with VR

I am not sure if I think it is super interesting to have a robot copying human behavior via a direct link with VR gear. On the hand it is a nice way to be at multiple places at the same time, just to name a application.

What is even more interesting is the design of the robot thought. It is kind of friendly, and I think the two ‘eyes’ that have different size really contributes to the ‘cuteness-factor’.

Google (and Amazon) had some news this week..

The best of Google, now in new devices

The best of Google, now in new devices

Last week during a virtual CES Google Unpacked, we were introduced to a lineup of new products, with “all with the best of Google built in.”

Google trained a trillion-parameter AI language model

Google spreading up the AI competition: Researchers at Google claim to have trained a natural language model containing over a trillion parameters.

Amazon Announces Alexa Custom Assistant

“For the first time, Amazon enables companies to access Alexa’s advanced AI to build their own intelligent assistants with Alexa Custom Assistant”Definitely a potential breakthrough in the development of more interesting voice services.

More AI (related)…

Can an AI Predict the Language of Viral Mutation?

Can an AI Predict the Language of Viral Mutation?

Intriguing: “Computational biologists used an algorithm meant to model human language to instead predict how viruses could evolve to evade the immune system.”

Weber buys smart oven company June

Some years ago Sietse did his gradation project at INFO LABS on a intelligent barbecue as companion. “Now Weber has acquired June, the smart oven company. June will continue to develop smart ovens.”More interesting: will Weber use the intelligent cooking system of June to create a intelligent bbq….

general motors unveils a fully autonomous flying cadillac concept at CES 2021

general motors unveils a fully autonomous flying cadillac concept at CES 2021

The AV of the future is a flying object…

And some city related

saudi arabia unveils THE LINE, a linear development of smart cities connected without cars

saudi arabia unveils THE LINE, a linear development of smart cities connected without cars

saudi arabia (…) has unveiled plans for THE LINE, a 170 kilometer (106 mile) belt of communities connected without the need for cars and roads. A 5 min city concept.

A Tiny Twist on Street Design: The One-Minute City

A Tiny Twist on Street Design: The One-Minute City

While the “15-minute city” model promotes neighborhood-level urban planning, Sweden is pursuing a hyper-local twist: a scheme to redesign every street in the nation. ”

And to close…

Internet 3.0 and the Beginning of (Tech) History

Internet 3.0 and the Beginning of (Tech) History

An analysis of the state of technology and Internet where Ben Thompson is especially good at:
“Another way to think about the current state of affairs is that it is the inevitable economic endpoint of the technological underpinnings of the Internet.”

So far for this week. Let me end with some things to do this and next week.

Till next week!

Published by

iskandr

Iskander Smit is an innovation director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab, and chairman and organizer of ThingsCon Netherlands.

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