Connect with us

Technology

Hyundai takes 80-percent stake in terrifying Black Mirror robo-hound firm Boston Dynamics • The Register

Published

on

Hyundai has acquired a controlling interest in US robotics company Boston Dynamics from Softbank for US$880M.

The deal has been in the works since December 2020 when the board of directors at three Hyundai affiliates approved the purchase that would give them a combined 80 percent of the robot-maker. A SoftBank affiliate will keep the remaining 20 percent.

Boston Dynamics firm was founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology boffins in 1992. It’s since been owned by Google and Softbank.

The company’s agile creations are known for doing impressive gymnastics tricks and its maneuverable dog-like robot called Spot featured in a creepy Black Mirror episode.

Spot went on sale in June of 2020 and, in addition to enlivening dystopian television dramas, has been deployed by across the utilities sector, construction, manufacturing, and the resources industry. Boston Dynamics’ new robot, Stretch, assists in warehouse facilities and distribution centers.

However the company’s products have sometimes proven controversial, as in April 2021 the New York Police Department faced criticism for deploying a Boston Dynamics robot canine called Digidog, on grounds that it was scary and a privacy invasion. New York’s finest quickly terminated its US$94,000 contract with Boston Dynamics as a result.

Hyundai wants to use Boston Dynamics’ tech in less confronting roles as part of its plan to become a “Smart Mobility Solutions Provider.”

The auto-maker’s canned statement said:

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun said back in October 2019 that the group aims to have 20 percent of its business in robotics, a goal this acquisition will bolster. Half of Hyundai’s business will remain focused on vehicle manufacturing, with the remaining 30 percent aimed at “urban air mobility”.

A promotional video (see below) announcing the acquisition showcases Boston Dynamics’ technology serving as medical mobility devices, guide dogs for the visually impaired, medical assistants and dance partners; all applications likely to be better received publicly than Spot’s appearance in Black Mirror or on the mean streets of New York City. ®

Youtube Video

Source link

Technology

2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures | Technology

Published

on

The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms.

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

With Alphabet’s legendary commitment to products, we can’t wait to see what its robotics biz Intrinsic achieves • The Register

Published

on

Alphabet today launched its latest tech startup, Intrinsic, which aims to build commercial software that will power industrial robots.

Intrinsic will focus on developing software control tools for industrial robots used in manufacturing, we’re told. Its pitch is that the days of humans having to manually program and adjust a robot’s every move are over, and that mechanical bots should be more autonomous and smart, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and leaps in training techniques.

This could make robots easier to direct – give them a task, and they’ll figure out the specifics – and more efficient – the AI can work out the best way to achieve its goal.

“Over the last few years, our team has been exploring how to give industrial robots the ability to sense, learn, and automatically make adjustments as they’re completing tasks, so they work in a wider range of settings and applications,” said CEO Wendy Tan White.

“Working in collaboration with teams across Alphabet, and with our partners in real-world manufacturing settings, we’ve been testing software that uses techniques like automated perception, deep learning, reinforcement learning, motion planning, simulation, and force control.”

Tan White – a British entrepreneur and investor who was made an MBE by the Queen in 2016 for her services to the tech industry – will leave her role as vice president of X, Alphabet’s moonshot R&D lab, to concentrate on Intrinsic.

She earlier co-founded and was CEO of website-building biz Moonfruit, and helped multiple early-stage companies get up and running as a general partner at Entrepreneur First, a tech accelerator. She is also a board trustee of the UK’s Alan Turing Institute, and member of Blighty’s Digital Economic Council.

“I loved the role I played in creating platforms that inspired the imagination and entrepreneurship of people all over the world, and I’ve recently stepped into a similar opportunity: I’m delighted to share that I’m now leading Intrinsic, a new Alphabet company,” she said.

The new outfit is another venture to emerge from Google-parent Alphabet’s X labs, along with Waymo, the self-driving car startup; and Verily, a biotech biz. ®

Source link

Continue Reading

Technology

Charles River to create 90 new jobs at Ballina biologics site

Published

on

Charles River is expanding its testing capabilities in Ballina as part of its partnership with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca.

Contract research organisation Charles River Laboratories is planning an €8m site expansion in Ballina to facilitate batch release testing for Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca.

The expansion at the Mayo site will create an additional 1,500 sq m of lab space and 90 highly skilled jobs in the area over the next three years.

Click here to check out the top sci-tech employers hiring right now.

The company provides longstanding partners AstraZeneca with outsourced regulated safety and development support on a range of treatments and vaccines, including testing and facilitating the deployment of Vaxzevria for Covid-19 and Fluenz for seasonal infleunza.

The latest investment follows earlier expansions at the Ballina site and Charles River recently announced plans to establish a dedicated laboratory space to handle testing of SARS-CoV-2 and other similar pathogens that cause human disease.

“We are incredibly proud of the transformational changes we have implemented on site and the role that Charles River has played in supporting the safe and timely roll-out of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine,” said Liam McHale, site director for Charles River Ballina.

“Throughout the pandemic, our site remained fully operational while keeping our employees safe and having a positive impact on human health. Our expanded facility will provide us with the increased capacity needed to continue the essential services we provide to our clients.”

Charles River acquired the Ballina facility, which focuses on biologics testing, in 2002. The company employs 230 people at its two facilities in Ireland, including the Mayo site and a site in Dublin, established in 2017, which serves as the EMEA and APAC headquarters for the company’s microbial solutions division.

IDA Ireland is supporting the expansion. Mary Buckley, executive director of the agency, said Charles River is an “employer of long standing” in Co Mayo.

“The enhancement of its product lines and the development of additional capability at the Ballina facility is most welcome,” she added. “Today’s announcement is strongly aligned to IDA Ireland’s regional pillar and its continued commitment to winning jobs and investment in regional locations.”

Dan Wygal, country president for AstraZeneca Ireland, added: “Our Covid-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria, undergoes extremely robust safety and quality testing prior to becoming available for patients. We are committed to bringing safe, effective vaccines to Ireland and other markets as quickly as possible, and Charles River will continue to be an important partner in this regard.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!