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Medical robotics: Would you trust a robot with a scalpel?

Medical robotics: Would you trust a robot with a scalpel?
Driverless cars? Google has already wheeled one out. Robo-cops? Prototypes are on the scene. Love-bots? One in six people say they would have sex with an android. It might seem like a solution dreamed up by Aldous Huxley, but it’s already a reality. It might conjure up an image of Star Wars’ C-3PO in scrubs, but many of these medical machines are actually closer to the robots used to build your car. Not that a lack of automation is anything to be sniffy about; these machines still use powerful computers to carry out difficult jobs. Where the researchers are taking their cue from the seriously sexy technology of driverless cars is, for example, in the development of domestic robots for palliative care, be it helping you make a cup of tea or alerting the doctor if you skip your medication. For surgeons, who are often backing the development of these robots, the benefits of a machine like the da Vinci system are manifold. But it isn’t just about high precision. And well they might.

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Robot farmers are the future of agriculture, says government Will robot feet in near-future time walk upon England's mountains green? And will there be drones flying overhead from England's pleasant pastures seen? A new vision of robots patrolling the meadows and cornfields of the UK may seem dark and satanic to some, but according to farmers and the government it is the future, and will bring efficiencies and benefits, and an end to some of the most back-breaking jobs around the farm. An increasing number of "farmbots" are being developed that are capable of finicky and complex tasks that have not been possible with the large-scale agricultural machinery of the past.

3D printed pills, dildos, guns and babies By this point, you’re already well aware of 3D printers and how they’re continuing to push technology to mindblowing places we didn’t expect to end up in. They’re even available for the general public. As of this week, the US just approved the first 3D printed pill. An anticonvulsant (treatment for seizures), Spritam previously had issues with dissolving, but thanks to 3D modification, more porous layers have been added to the pill. It doesn’t just stop with pills though. 3D printing is forecast to become an £5 billion industry by 2020. As for now, North America and Asia are on the forefront, but it’s expected that Europe will surpass North America within a decade.

Rise of the robots: how long do we have until they take our jobs? They have mastered the art of poker, helped write a cookbook and can cope with a basic conversation. The decision by a Japanese bank to staff their frontdesk with a bevy of robots is just the latest in a series of advances and predictions that at times appear to suggest we will all be replaced, professionally and socially, by automatons. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, has estimated that robots will reach human levels of intelligence by 2029, purportedly leaving us about 14 years to reign supreme. This Google technology will calorie count Instagram posts Google is working on new Artifical Intelligence that will use "sophisticated deep learning algorithms" to analyse a still photograph of food and analyse how many calories are on the plate. The creepy technology is called Im2Calories. It identifies what kind of food it is, gauges the size of the food in relation to the plate as well as any condiments and then calculates the estimated calorie count. Creator Kevin Murphy has insisted that the aim of this technology isn't to shame people about how many calories they are eating, but to enable people to keep a "food diary".

Amazon banks on rise of the robots to speed online orders to customers While the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos dreams of drones carrying out deliveries, the online giant has revealed that a horde of robots is already in action in 10 of its US warehouses. Orange, oblong and squat, the wheeled robots roll beneath shelves of goods, which they then lift and ferry around the warehouse, navigating by barcodes on the floor. Amazon is employing more than 15,000 of the robots, each of which weighs 320lbs and is able to carry as much as 750lbs, at 10 of its 109 global “fulfillment centers”. Top ten wearable tech inventions You may laugh at friends who are pretentious (and rich) enough to flaunt Google Glass, but Forbes has already proclaimed 2014 as The Year of Wearable Technology. The sensors and computing power we've become accustomed to in our smartphones has finally shifted to body-worn devices. Wearable tech has changed the way we work, play and socialize; in many ways, its enhanced every aspect of society.

Augmented humans: 'In five years you’ll see exoskeletons on the building site' Visions of humans running around in exoskeletons able to move faster, jump higher and hit harder from films such as Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow are no longer science fiction but a hidden reality right now. What started out as a military application helping soldiers carry large loads has spawned into applications in medicine, rehabilitation, construction and in the near future, possibly even sports. “We see the world of robotics as having a giant wave of human augmentation coming right at it,” said Nate Harding chief executive and co-founder of Ekso Bionics at CES in Las Vegas. “People will be running faster, jumping further and grannies will be showing off their new hip exoskeleton.”

Fashion Items Meet Contactless Payments Topshop is launching a collection of payment accessories that can be used to make low-cost purchases through use of bPay by Barclaycard Fashion retailer Topshop is launching a range of accessories that incorporate bPay by Barclaycard contactless payment technology. This new collection will enable consumers to make low-cost purchases with ease. Infusing fashion items with this type of payment technology marks its entrance into the mainstream, as the accessories are affordable and contactless payment makes the process of purchasing faster and easier. Topshop’s collection includes two different designs: a bold monster fish print and a luxe metal and snake effect. These will be featured on wristbands, smartphone cases, key chains, and stickers that can be placed on accessories or gadgets.

Man fitted with robotic hand wired directly into his brain can 'feel' again A new advanced robotic hand that is wired directly into the brain has been successfully tested, allowing paralysed man to “feel”. The hand, developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins university, is part of a research project into advanced replacement limbs funded by the US military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa). The 28-year-old man, who has been paralysed for more than a decade after a spinal-cord injury, had electrodes from the prosthetic hand inserted into his sensory and motor cortexes. This allowed him to both control the hand with thought and sense when the fingers of the hand were touched individually. Sensors in the hand detect pressure applied to any of the fingers and create electrical signals to mimic touch sensations.

Should Amazon Add This Rolling Delivery Drone to Its Courier Squad? - Innovation Toronto via A one-wheeled drone could solve several challenges of traditional and flying drone delivery Drone delivery has been discussed, promised and tested frequently over the past three years, with most of the focus on quadcopter and similar flying drone methods. Challenges to that model include some dangers of unregulated air traffic and a restrictive weight limit for feasible flying.

Burger Robot Poised to Disrupt Fast Food Industry I saw the future of work in a San Francisco garage two years ago. Or rather, I was in proximity to the future of work, but happened to be looking the other direction. At the time, I was visiting a space startup building satellites behind a carport.