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MWC: Cloud AI robot arrives

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CloudMinds Technology, a developer and operator of cloud AI and robotic solutions, announced the launch of a cloud AI based service robot, the XR-1, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, last week.

The XR-1 Robot – The First Generation of Compliant Service Robots Powered by Cloud AI

Developed by CloudMinds, the XR-1 is a highly intelligent service-oriented humanoid robot, representing a new level of technology development and commercialization in the area of intelligent robotics.

The XR-1 is powered by two new technologies: intelligent robot joints – Smart Compliant Actuators (SCAs), and a cloud brain – Human Augmented Robotic Intelligence with Extreme Reality (HARIX), a cloud platform that organically integrates AI capabilities such as vision processing, natural language processing, robotic motion control, vision-guided grasping and manipulation. By leveraging these new technologies, the XR-1 provides a significant leap towards the realization of truly intelligent assistants for humans.

The advantage of a “cloud robot” like XR-1 is that, by placing its AI brain in the cloud, it can utilize powerful AI engines, collective learning capabilities, and scalability, to achieve a high level of intelligence while still providing low cost and low battery consumption for the robot body. The CloudMinds’ cloud AI robotic operation platform has been deployed globally.

As part of CloudMinds’ robotic demonstrations, in Hall 7 Booth 7A60, the XR-1 robot delivered beverages and coffee to guests with its flexible arms built with compliant joints. A “compliant” joint is a joint that can detect resistance force and stop its actions until the resistance is gone. During the interaction with guests at the show, the XR-1 used a multimodal sensing subsystem to understand its surroundings and tasks. The smart joints  (SCAs) sensed resistant force applied by humans and other objects, and operated smoothly in a compliant manner. The XR-1’s 3D vision sensing system combined with HARIX platform’s 3D object recognition and other algorithms supports closed-loop visual feedback. These technologies enable the XR-1 to perform tasks accurately, smoothly and safely in an environment in which machines and humans coexist.

The XR-1’s ability was further demonstrated in a needle-threading demonstration where it precisely guided a thread through the small hole of a needle, repeatedly and effortlessly. The act was accomplished by controlling 14 SCAs collectively, a very difficult precision level for compliant actuators to achieve.

Completing its AI capability package, the XR-1 is equipped with a powerful cloud-based natural language processing system. It can accurately understand human users’ intents and take actions accordingly. It can also carry on meaningful and life-like conversations, even injecting humor at times.

Of course, the XR-1 is not “all work and no play.” Intermixed with other demonstrations, the XR-1 danced to a number of songs ranging from soft melodies to heart-pumping rhythms, with human-like grace, agility and smoothness. The dance routines were learned from human dancers. The beautiful routines combined with XR-1’s slender body and long arms mesmerized the audience. 

SCA – The Cornerstone of Volume Production of Compliant Robots

To achieve compliant, flexible and smooth movements similar to humans’, a robot needs high quality compliant joints. Until now, technologies that support such movement have remained in research labs rather than in commercial deployment, and have come at very high cost. To overcome that barrier, CloudMinds developed the intelligent and compliant actuator – SCA.

Each SCA has several embedded chips and multimodal sensors, supporting intelligent control algorithms and communication functions, to make the robot motion compliant, smooth, precise, and safe. This allows the robot to achieve human-like motion, or even better in some cases. The design also supports a variety of sizes to fit different robotic joints. Thanks to its highly integrated and compact design, and good support for applications, SCA has achieved a good balance of high performance and low cost. CloudMinds is ready to start mass production of the SCA, providing partners with much-needed components, features, and significant cost savings, elevating the entire service robotic industry.

“Based on a set of advanced technologies, CloudMinds will develop a number of intelligent compliant service robots, from wheeled to two-legged. Leveraging the 5G network’s high bandwidth and low latency, our cloud AI platform will rapidly grow its intelligence as well as its deployment size. We will usher in a new era of service oriented robotics.” – said Bill Huang, CEO and founder of CloudMinds.

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Nintendo announces Stranger Things 3 game

The Netflix Original show is set to launch a retro-style game on the Nintendo Switch.

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In collaboration with Netflix, developer BonusXP has created Stranger Things 3: The Game. It is the official companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series. The game and latest season are expected to launch on US Independence Day, the 4th of July, a date that will, of course, stick in American gamers’ memories.

This adventure game blends a distinctively retro 16-bit art style, reminiscent of games from the time when the series was set. It is claimed to have modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Players will be able to experience their favourite show through a mix of exploration, puzzles, and combat.

Just ad in the show, teamwork is at the heart of Stranger Things 3: The Game. Players can team up in a two-player local co-operative, or in single player mode alongside an AI partner. Players can choose to play as one of twelve characters from the show, each with different abilities and attributes. Together, they’ll play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen Stranger Things secrets, ensuring a fun experience for those new to the world of Stranger Things as well as for those familiar with the series.

Key Features:

  • Experience the show in a new way, exploring the eerie world of Hawkins to uncover new mysteries beyond what’s seen in Season 3.
  • Jump right into the action of this pick-up-and-play adventure: gameplay mechanics that allow players from beginner to advanced skill levels to get in on the fun.
  • Take your game to a higher level by trying out different character combinations and collecting all the secrets the expansive world of Hawkins has to offer.
  • Team up with a friend, leveraging drop-in/drop-out local co-op to take on the mysterious monsters of Hawkins together. While playing solo, use a collection of “buddy commands” to control both characters and still experience all the fun.
  • Choose from 12 playable characters, each with their own unique talents and stats.

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New AirPods and iMac in iStore this weekend

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iStore has announced availability of the new second generation AirPods and iMac, unveiled this week, in store this weekend.

The AirPods are priced from R2 899 and the new iMac from R23 499. Customers can also order these new products from iStore’s website.

“AirPods revolutionised the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love,” said iStore in its announcement. “The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free ‘Hey Siri’.”

AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new wireless charging case that works with Qi standard chargers. The wireless charging case can be ordered for R3 699. The case can be used with the first or second generation AirPods.

The iMac line now has up to 8-core Intel 9th-generation processors and powerful Vega graphics options, delivering dramatic increases in both compute and graphics performance. The new iMac is faster for everyday tasks, up to demanding pro workloads. It includes retina display, all-in-one design, quiet operation, fast storage and memory, modern connectivity and macOS Mojave.

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