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Posts Tagged ‘portfolio’

Disney shifts 3 million Infinity starter sets

January 20th, 2014 No comments

Disney shifts 3 million Infinity starter sets

The starter pack sells for approximately £59.99 and several expansion sets are already available.


Disney Interactive’s part-video game part-collectible figures creation Disney Infinity managed to sell 3 million of its starter sets.

The starter pack featuring Mr. Incredible, Jack Sparrow and Sully sells for £59.99 and launched in August last year. The game ended 2013 as one of the top 10 best selling titles in the US according to market research firm NPD.

Disney Infinity even managed to give Activision’s Skylanders series a run for its money. Infinity sold 551,000 units over December compared to Skylanders Swap Force’s 597,000 units.

‘We believe we’ve set the stage for Infinity to be an enduring video game platform,’ Disney Interactive president James Pitaro told the New York Times.

Alongside the starter pack, Infinity already has a significant portfolio of additional figures available for players, including sets from Cars, The Lone Ranger and Toy Story. Each figure unlocks new play modes and items in Infinity, although there is a limit to how much sets from different franchises can cross over in the game.

The whole system of Infinity reportedly cost Disney more than $100m to develop. It is available on the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, WiiU and even 3DS.

Disney Infinity has significantly reinforced the financial prospects of Disney Interactive as shown by the company’s fourth quarter financial reports. Driven by the success of Infinity, the studio reported a $16m profit in 2013 compared to a $76m loss in 2012.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/7APW2zup-4E/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/ZDjZi6tywo8/

Nintendo buys Wii Fit-related patent portfolio

January 10th, 2014 No comments

Nintendo buys Wii Fit-related patent portfolio

Nintendo initially came under fire from IA Labs for Wii Fit allegedly infringing its patents in 2010.


Nintendo has bought up a series of patents belonging to IA Labs, a technology firm that sued the gaming giant in 2010, alleging that the Wii Fit infringed upon them.

The patents filed by and granted to IA Labs covered a ‘computer interactive isometric exercise system’ that could ‘measure a force applied by a user to the effector’, a description which would neatly fit the Nintendo Wii Fit board.

IA Labs lost the patent lawsuit in 2012 with the ruling being upheld in a higher court in mid-2013 with the losing company ordered to pay Nintendo for some of the legal costs it had incurred.

When IA Labs was unable to pay the legal costs, the company’s entire patent portfolio was sold off to Nintendo at a Maryland sheriff’s sale.

‘Nintendo’s track record demonstrates that we vigorously defend patent lawsuits, like the IA Labs lawsuit, when we believe we have not infringed another party’s patent,’ said Nintendo of America vice-president and deputy general counsel Richard Medway. ‘This includes holding those who sueNintendo responsible for the costs and expenses incurred in patent litigation.’

Nintendo buying the patent portfolio served as partial repayment for the legal costs. The sale was also conducted to sell IA Labs’ other remaining assets as well.

‘Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others,’ added Medway.

Earlier this week, Nintendo lost a patent lawsuit relating to the glasses-free 3D technology used in its 3DS handheld consoles. A court ruled that Nintendo must pay Tomita Technologies 1.82% of the whole sale price of each 3DS sold, coming to approximately $105m in total.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/zcA7k1MsPAg/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/X0upynh6K38/

Battlefield 4 bugs spark investor lawsuit

December 19th, 2013 No comments

Battlefield 4 bugs spark investor lawsuit

Battlefield 4 has earned a lot of anger from fans due to its buggy state. DICE is currently working to resolve the issue.


Electronic Arts has been levelled with a class-action lawsuit from some of its investors who claim they were misled over the quality of Battlefield 4 and EA’s Playstation 4 library.

The publisher is accused of violating the Securities Exchange Act 1934 by making ‘materially false and misleading statements highlighting the purported strength’ of its products.

EA’s stock price rose due to comments made by the publisher during a particularly strong quarter which led to it raising its 2014 financial outlook. Following DICE’s announcement that it would be halting work on further Battlefield 4 expansions until the core game was fixed, EA’s stock price tumbled back down again.

The lawsuit specifically mentions that EA failed to mention that Battlefield 4 was going to have a rocky launch due to it being ‘riddled with bugs and multiple other problems’. It also mentions several performance issues with games in EA’s Playstation 4 portfolio that would mean the publisher was much less likely to meet its financial forecasts.

Talking to Polygon, EA stood up for itself and declared the claims as ‘meritless’. The company intends to defend itself aggressively and has confidence that the courts will dismiss the complaint.

Earlier this month DICE announced that it was halting not just development on extra Battlefield 4 content, but on all of its other projects as well until it could adequately resolve the series of connectivity issues and bugs that are currently affecting the title.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/nSbkALEb1_w/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/-uuytSH5a0I/

The biggest secrets on people’s smartphones? (Clue: not sexts)

December 11th, 2013 No comments

Now let’s see what he’s got in here.


(Credit:
Sorina Maghet/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

We are our phones. Our phones are us.

Which means that whatever we keep inside those smart little things encapsulates every aspect of our troubled characters.

Clearly, there are some aspects that we’d like to keep well hidden. Which is why a fascinating piece of research has attempted to discern just where our weakest point lies.

Performed on behalf of Clean Master — a KS Mobile product that claims to be able to really, really delete naked Snapchats — this research attempted to reveal the naked truth.

It asked 1,000 apparently honest Americans what was the one thing on their smartphones that they hoped no one else would ever see.

The natural American response would be “naked pictures of me.” Nudity is so feared in the United States that one sometimes wonders if its exposure causes brain damage. Or, at least, coronary conniptions.

Yet this research suggests that Americans have an even greater personal taboo: their bank information.

This is odd, given that most Americans are only too happy to reveal how much they earn and what wise investments they have secreted in their fancily-named portfolios.

Here, a fulsome 25 percent said they would be most mortified to have this information be seen by someone else.

So how many feared their naked snaps would be seen? A piffling 8 percent.

It may well be that this research happened to randomly select 1,000 very beautiful people. Or, coincidentally, an ungodly proportion of nudists.

Still, the second most embarrassing content from their phones that these people didn’t want revealed was e-mails and texts. Because, you know, everyone except Eric Schmidt has something to hide.

The three groups of people who represent the greatest threat to cause the greatest embarrassment if they happened upon your smartphone are — in order — friends, children, and co-workers.

Strangers and criminals come far down the list. Because they don’t know you, so how bad can it be?

You’re still fascinated by nudity, though, aren’t you? So please allow me to help you with that. Twice as many men as women admitted they had naked pictures of themselves on their phones.

I cannot confirm that this is because they use them to impress on Tinder, or because they are so disgracefully vain that naked selfies are the first things they look at in the morning.

Moreover, four times as many men as women admitted they had naked pictures of other people on their phones.

There is something very healthy, though, to learn that Americans still find money more precious than anything else.

I was fearing our nation was slipping for a moment.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/pW0o9UUEuOA/

Google and robots: The future just got a lot closer

December 6th, 2013 No comments

The Meka S2 humanoid head, from one of the robotics companies that Google bought.


(Credit:
Meka)

Ready or not, we’re about to enter the age of robotics.

That’s the message underlying Google’s announcement on Wednesday that former
Android honcho Andy Rubin would be aiming the company’s next “moon shot” at robots. Google has bought its way into the robotics game, purchasing seven companies to become the foundation of its robotics team, from makers of robotic arms and powered caster wheels to companies specializing in computer vision.

Google might seem like the corporate version of your eccentric rich uncle, throwing money at crazy projects like balloons that can broadcast Wi-Fi, medical record analysis, self-driving cars, and Internet-enabled glasses, but the analyst Ben Schachter says that the “moon shot” moves by Google all make sense.

“People that I’ve spoken with at Google in the past have said if it’s not going to be a $5 billion business, then it’s not worth doing,” Schachter said. That sum represents around an eighth of Google’s current annual revenue, a substantial amount even to Google.

The robotics announcement, he said, highlights that Google’s ambitious side projects are “ready for prime time.”

“Big companies think that these are potentially big markets. It’s the validation of the idea that these are real businesses now,” he said.

If these real businesses can score Google an extra $5 billion per year within a reasonable time frame — say, a decade — that means that Google has laid the foundation for diversifying its portfolio into areas not directly part of software and services.

However, just because Google’s already made a serious investment in robotics doesn’t mean that we’re going to be waited on hand and foot by Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the next decade. In fact, a science fiction robot as comparatively simple as Wall-E is going to be a stretch for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming our new robot overlords
Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor who works at the multidisciplinary intersection of robotics, social media, and art, thinks that Google’s robotics announcement will change the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but having a company like Google come into this field is going to put a huge boost of momentum into the research side,” he said. The robotics companies that Google has bought so far have brought some intellectual property with them, but Goldberg said he thinks that they’ve been as much about acquiring their talented employees.

It’s more than enough to give robotics a serious dose of funding and development attention, but it’s not yet ready for prime time. “Google sees that this is very viable in some time frame, but it’s not around the corner,” Goldberg said.

“That sets expectations unrealistically high,” he added.

Ruzena Bajcsy, also a UC Berkeley interdisciplinary professor with more than 40 years experience in robotics, said little to temper her enthusiasm for Google’s announcement.

“It’s very exciting that a company that started with software, search engines, came to the realization that the world is not only software. That real problems [it must deal with] are interaction — the physical world with the computational world,” she said.

How will Google-bots make first contact?
The fruits of Google’s labor won’t be seen for a while, but they’re likely to wind up in industries that are already established and lucrative, yet could benefit by some robotic disruption.

“In the next five years, you’ll see a lot of this technology in old-age homes, in hospitals, and maybe in some industrial applications,” said Bajcsy.


The robotic arms made by Autofuss, another company purchased for its robotics initiative, already has a public connection to Google: work on a Nexus 5 commercial.


(Credit:
Autofuss)

Both Bajcsy and Goldberg think that one of the first areas of consumer robot encounters will be in the home care field. Robots will be able to automate some of the more repetitive and dangerous tasks that human caretakers must complete, such as cleaning house or assisting a client with bathing.

“Just like you had to teach the Roomba, you’ll have teach the robot. In simpler environments, [robots] can teach themselves,” Bajcsy said. “More complicated floor plans,” such as houses with two levels, “are impossible right now.”

Still, robots at home make sense, she said, because that’s where the mass market is. Other potential applications include assisting the elderly or infirm when using Google’s self-driving
cars, and helping with language processing — from translation to image recognition. Basically, areas where Google already has invested resources are likely to become tasks that its first robots excel at.

Preventing the rise of evil robots
Bajcsy and Goldberg appeared to be representative of robotics experts, as it was difficult to find anybody who thinks that Google’s involvement is going to be bad for the field.

A self-powered caster built by Holomni, another Google robotics purchase.


(Credit:
Holomni)

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential problems facing consumer robotics that must be solved. One particular to Google is the double-edged sword of data collection. On the one hand, the company learns even more about human tasks and behavior, something that’s essential to successfully integrating robots into our lives. But the downside of that are the ever-present privacy concerns.

In 2010, Google research scientist James Kuffner came up with the idea of cloud robotics, robots that leverage the Internet, crowdsourcing, and open-sourcing to expand their processing power and knowledge base. It’s not hard to see how a cloud-connected robot that is gathering data in your home from all its various sensors could be a perambulating privacy violation waiting to happen.

“When you have a robot in your house, and it’s taking lots of data, and sharing it to the cloud, that’s a big privacy issue,” said Goldberg. “I’m absolutely not Pollyanna about this, it’s not unvarnished good news.”

Another is the issue of jobs, and what happens to the people working in positions that could be replaced by robots. Many of those jobs, especially in the home care and service industries, are low-paying positions. What kinds of employment can they seek if they’re replaced by an automaton?

“Is Google concerned? I don’t know. Anybody in this business has to be concerned,” said Bajcsy. “My answer is education, education.”

Whatever shape Google’s robotics plans take, and no matter how buffeted the neophyte robotics industry is by the news, Goldberg sounded a cautiously optimistic tone by quoting Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/yMzQY3zX9iM/

Google and robots: The future just got a lot closer

December 6th, 2013 No comments

The Meka S2 humanoid head, from one of the robotics companies that Google bought.


(Credit:
Meka)

Ready or not, we’re about to enter the age of robotics.

That’s the message underlying Google’s announcement on Wednesday that former
Android honcho Andy Rubin would be aiming the company’s next “moon shot” at robots. Google has bought its way into the robotics game, purchasing seven companies to become the foundation of its robotics team, from makers of robotic arms and powered caster wheels to companies specializing in computer vision.

Google might seem like the corporate version of your eccentric rich uncle, throwing money at crazy projects like balloons that can broadcast Wi-Fi, medical record analysis, self-driving cars, and Internet-enabled glasses, but the analyst Ben Schachter says that the “moon shot” moves by Google all make sense.

“People that I’ve spoken with at Google in the past have said if it’s not going to be a $5 billion business, then it’s not worth doing,” Schachter said. That sum represents around an eighth of Google’s current annual revenue, a substantial amount even to Google.

The robotics announcement, he said, highlights that Google’s ambitious side projects are “ready for prime time.”

“Big companies think that these are potentially big markets. It’s the validation of the idea that these are real businesses now,” he said.

If these real businesses can score Google an extra $5 billion per year within a reasonable time frame — say, a decade — that means that Google has laid the foundation for diversifying its portfolio into areas not directly part of software and services.

However, just because Google’s already made a serious investment in robotics doesn’t mean that we’re going to be waited on hand and foot by Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the next decade. In fact, a science fiction robot as comparatively simple as Wall-E is going to be a stretch for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming our new robot overlords
Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor who works at the multidisciplinary intersection of robotics, social media, and art, thinks that Google’s robotics announcement will change the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but having a company like Google come into this field is going to put a huge boost of momentum into the research side,” he said. The robotics companies that Google has bought so far have brought some intellectual property with them, but Goldberg said he thinks that they’ve been as much about acquiring their talented employees.

It’s more than enough to give robotics a serious dose of funding and development attention, but it’s not yet ready for prime time. “Google sees that this is very viable in some time frame, but it’s not around the corner,” Goldberg said.

“That sets expectations unrealistically high,” he added.

Ruzena Bajcsy, also a UC Berkeley interdisciplinary professor with more than 40 years experience in robotics, said little to temper her enthusiasm for Google’s announcement.

“It’s very exciting that a company that started with software, search engines, came to the realization that the world is not only software. That real problems [it must deal with] are interaction — the physical world with the computational world,” she said.

How will Google-bots make first contact?
The fruits of Google’s labor won’t be seen for a while, but they’re likely to wind up in industries that are already established and lucrative, yet could benefit by some robotic disruption.

“In the next five years, you’ll see a lot of this technology in old-age homes, in hospitals, and maybe in some industrial applications,” said Bajcsy.


The robotic arms made by Autofuss, another company purchased for its robotics initiative, already has a public connection to Google: work on a Nexus 5 commercial.


(Credit:
Autofuss)

Both Bajcsy and Goldberg think that one of the first areas of consumer robot encounters will be in the home care field. Robots will be able to automate some of the more repetitive and dangerous tasks that human caretakers must complete, such as cleaning house or assisting a client with bathing.

“Just like you had to teach the Roomba, you’ll have teach the robot. In simpler environments, [robots] can teach themselves,” Bajcsy said. “More complicated floor plans,” such as houses with two levels, “are impossible right now.”

Still, robots at home make sense, she said, because that’s where the mass market is. Other potential applications include assisting the elderly or infirm when using Google’s self-driving
cars, and helping with language processing — from translation to image recognition. Basically, areas where Google already has invested resources are likely to become tasks that its first robots excel at.

Preventing the rise of evil robots
Bajcsy and Goldberg appeared to be representative of robotics experts, as it was difficult to find anybody who thinks that Google’s involvement is going to be bad for the field.

A self-powered caster built by Holomni, another Google robotics purchase.


(Credit:
Holomni)

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential problems facing consumer robotics that must be solved. One particular to Google is the double-edged sword of data collection. On the one hand, the company learns even more about human tasks and behavior, something that’s essential to successfully integrating robots into our lives. But the downside of that are the ever-present privacy concerns.

In 2010, Google research scientist James Kuffner came up with the idea of cloud robotics, robots that leverage the Internet, crowdsourcing, and open-sourcing to expand their processing power and knowledge base. It’s not hard to see how a cloud-connected robot that is gathering data in your home from all its various sensors could be a perambulating privacy violation waiting to happen.

“When you have a robot in your house, and it’s taking lots of data, and sharing it to the cloud, that’s a big privacy issue,” said Goldberg. “I’m absolutely not Pollyanna about this, it’s not unvarnished good news.”

Another is the issue of jobs, and what happens to the people working in positions that could be replaced by robots. Many of those jobs, especially in the home care and service industries, are low-paying positions. What kinds of employment can they seek if they’re replaced by an automaton?

“Is Google concerned? I don’t know. Anybody in this business has to be concerned,” said Bajcsy. “My answer is education, education.”

Whatever shape Google’s robotics plans take, and no matter how buffeted the neophyte robotics industry is by the news, Goldberg sounded a cautiously optimistic tone by quoting Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/yMzQY3zX9iM/

Google and robots: The future just got a lot closer

December 6th, 2013 No comments

The Meka S2 humanoid head, from one of the robotics companies that Google bought.


(Credit:
Meka)

Ready or not, we’re about to enter the age of robotics.

That’s the message underlying Google’s announcement on Wednesday that former
Android honcho Andy Rubin would be aiming the company’s next “moon shot” at robots. Google has bought its way into the robotics game, purchasing seven companies to become the foundation of its robotics team, from makers of robotic arms and powered caster wheels to companies specializing in computer vision.

Google might seem like the corporate version of your eccentric rich uncle, throwing money at crazy projects like balloons that can broadcast Wi-Fi, medical record analysis, self-driving cars, and Internet-enabled glasses, but the analyst Ben Schachter says that the “moon shot” moves by Google all make sense.

“People that I’ve spoken with at Google in the past have said if it’s not going to be a $5 billion business, then it’s not worth doing,” Schachter said. That sum represents around an eighth of Google’s current annual revenue, a substantial amount even to Google.

The robotics announcement, he said, highlights that Google’s ambitious side projects are “ready for prime time.”

“Big companies think that these are potentially big markets. It’s the validation of the idea that these are real businesses now,” he said.

If these real businesses can score Google an extra $5 billion per year within a reasonable time frame — say, a decade — that means that Google has laid the foundation for diversifying its portfolio into areas not directly part of software and services.

However, just because Google’s already made a serious investment in robotics doesn’t mean that we’re going to be waited on hand and foot by Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the next decade. In fact, a science fiction robot as comparatively simple as Wall-E is going to be a stretch for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming our new robot overlords
Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor who works at the multidisciplinary intersection of robotics, social media, and art, thinks that Google’s robotics announcement will change the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but having a company like Google come into this field is going to put a huge boost of momentum into the research side,” he said. The robotics companies that Google has bought so far have brought some intellectual property with them, but Goldberg said he thinks that they’ve been as much about acquiring their talented employees.

It’s more than enough to give robotics a serious dose of funding and development attention, but it’s not yet ready for prime time. “Google sees that this is very viable in some time frame, but it’s not around the corner,” Goldberg said.

“That sets expectations unrealistically high,” he added.

Ruzena Bajcsy, also a UC Berkeley interdisciplinary professor with more than 40 years experience in robotics, said little to temper her enthusiasm for Google’s announcement.

“It’s very exciting that a company that started with software, search engines, came to the realization that the world is not only software. That real problems [it must deal with] are interaction — the physical world with the computational world,” she said.

How will Google-bots make first contact?
The fruits of Google’s labor won’t be seen for a while, but they’re likely to wind up in industries that are already established and lucrative, yet could benefit by some robotic disruption.

“In the next five years, you’ll see a lot of this technology in old-age homes, in hospitals, and maybe in some industrial applications,” said Bajcsy.


The robotic arms made by Autofuss, another company purchased for its robotics initiative, already has a public connection to Google: work on a Nexus 5 commercial.


(Credit:
Autofuss)

Both Bajcsy and Goldberg think that one of the first areas of consumer robot encounters will be in the home care field. Robots will be able to automate some of the more repetitive and dangerous tasks that human caretakers must complete, such as cleaning house or assisting a client with bathing.

“Just like you had to teach the Roomba, you’ll have teach the robot. In simpler environments, [robots] can teach themselves,” Bajcsy said. “More complicated floor plans,” such as houses with two levels, “are impossible right now.”

Still, robots at home make sense, she said, because that’s where the mass market is. Other potential applications include assisting the elderly or infirm when using Google’s self-driving
cars, and helping with language processing — from translation to image recognition. Basically, areas where Google already has invested resources are likely to become tasks that its first robots excel at.

Preventing the rise of evil robots
Bajcsy and Goldberg appeared to be representative of robotics experts, as it was difficult to find anybody who thinks that Google’s involvement is going to be bad for the field.

A self-powered caster built by Holomni, another Google robotics purchase.


(Credit:
Holomni)

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential problems facing consumer robotics that must be solved. One particular to Google is the double-edged sword of data collection. On the one hand, the company learns even more about human tasks and behavior, something that’s essential to successfully integrating robots into our lives. But the downside of that are the ever-present privacy concerns.

In 2010, Google research scientist James Kuffner came up with the idea of cloud robotics, robots that leverage the Internet, crowdsourcing, and open-sourcing to expand their processing power and knowledge base. It’s not hard to see how a cloud-connected robot that is gathering data in your home from all its various sensors could be a perambulating privacy violation waiting to happen.

“When you have a robot in your house, and it’s taking lots of data, and sharing it to the cloud, that’s a big privacy issue,” said Goldberg. “I’m absolutely not Pollyanna about this, it’s not unvarnished good news.”

Another is the issue of jobs, and what happens to the people working in positions that could be replaced by robots. Many of those jobs, especially in the home care and service industries, are low-paying positions. What kinds of employment can they seek if they’re replaced by an automaton?

“Is Google concerned? I don’t know. Anybody in this business has to be concerned,” said Bajcsy. “My answer is education, education.”

Whatever shape Google’s robotics plans take, and no matter how buffeted the neophyte robotics industry is by the news, Goldberg sounded a cautiously optimistic tone by quoting Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/yMzQY3zX9iM/

Google and robots: The future just got a lot closer

December 6th, 2013 No comments

The Meka S2 humanoid head, from one of the robotics companies that Google bought.


(Credit:
Meka)

Ready or not, we’re about to enter the age of robotics.

That’s the message underlying Google’s announcement on Wednesday that former
Android honcho Andy Rubin would be aiming the company’s next “moon shot” at robots. Google has bought its way into the robotics game, purchasing seven companies to become the foundation of its robotics team, from makers of robotic arms and powered caster wheels to companies specializing in computer vision.

Google might seem like the corporate version of your eccentric rich uncle, throwing money at crazy projects like balloons that can broadcast Wi-Fi, medical record analysis, self-driving cars, and Internet-enabled glasses, but the analyst Ben Schachter says that the “moon shot” moves by Google all make sense.

“People that I’ve spoken with at Google in the past have said if it’s not going to be a $5 billion business, then it’s not worth doing,” Schachter said. That sum represents around an eighth of Google’s current annual revenue, a substantial amount even to Google.

The robotics announcement, he said, highlights that Google’s ambitious side projects are “ready for prime time.”

“Big companies think that these are potentially big markets. It’s the validation of the idea that these are real businesses now,” he said.

If these real businesses can score Google an extra $5 billion per year within a reasonable time frame — say, a decade — that means that Google has laid the foundation for diversifying its portfolio into areas not directly part of software and services.

However, just because Google’s already made a serious investment in robotics doesn’t mean that we’re going to be waited on hand and foot by Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the next decade. In fact, a science fiction robot as comparatively simple as Wall-E is going to be a stretch for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming our new robot overlords
Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor who works at the multidisciplinary intersection of robotics, social media, and art, thinks that Google’s robotics announcement will change the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but having a company like Google come into this field is going to put a huge boost of momentum into the research side,” he said. The robotics companies that Google has bought so far have brought some intellectual property with them, but Goldberg said he thinks that they’ve been as much about acquiring their talented employees.

It’s more than enough to give robotics a serious dose of funding and development attention, but it’s not yet ready for prime time. “Google sees that this is very viable in some time frame, but it’s not around the corner,” Goldberg said.

“That sets expectations unrealistically high,” he added.

Ruzena Bajcsy, also a UC Berkeley interdisciplinary professor with more than 40 years experience in robotics, said little to temper her enthusiasm for Google’s announcement.

“It’s very exciting that a company that started with software, search engines, came to the realization that the world is not only software. That real problems [it must deal with] are interaction — the physical world with the computational world,” she said.

How will Google-bots make first contact?
The fruits of Google’s labor won’t be seen for a while, but they’re likely to wind up in industries that are already established and lucrative, yet could benefit by some robotic disruption.

“In the next five years, you’ll see a lot of this technology in old-age homes, in hospitals, and maybe in some industrial applications,” said Bajcsy.


The robotic arms made by Autofuss, another company purchased for its robotics initiative, already has a public connection to Google: work on a Nexus 5 commercial.


(Credit:
Autofuss)

Both Bajcsy and Goldberg think that one of the first areas of consumer robot encounters will be in the home care field. Robots will be able to automate some of the more repetitive and dangerous tasks that human caretakers must complete, such as cleaning house or assisting a client with bathing.

“Just like you had to teach the Roomba, you’ll have teach the robot. In simpler environments, [robots] can teach themselves,” Bajcsy said. “More complicated floor plans,” such as houses with two levels, “are impossible right now.”

Still, robots at home make sense, she said, because that’s where the mass market is. Other potential applications include assisting the elderly or infirm when using Google’s self-driving
cars, and helping with language processing — from translation to image recognition. Basically, areas where Google already has invested resources are likely to become tasks that its first robots excel at.

Preventing the rise of evil robots
Bajcsy and Goldberg appeared to be representative of robotics experts, as it was difficult to find anybody who thinks that Google’s involvement is going to be bad for the field.

A self-powered caster built by Holomni, another Google robotics purchase.


(Credit:
Holomni)

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential problems facing consumer robotics that must be solved. One particular to Google is the double-edged sword of data collection. On the one hand, the company learns even more about human tasks and behavior, something that’s essential to successfully integrating robots into our lives. But the downside of that are the ever-present privacy concerns.

In 2010, Google research scientist James Kuffner came up with the idea of cloud robotics, robots that leverage the Internet, crowdsourcing, and open-sourcing to expand their processing power and knowledge base. It’s not hard to see how a cloud-connected robot that is gathering data in your home from all its various sensors could be a perambulating privacy violation waiting to happen.

“When you have a robot in your house, and it’s taking lots of data, and sharing it to the cloud, that’s a big privacy issue,” said Goldberg. “I’m absolutely not Pollyanna about this, it’s not unvarnished good news.”

Another is the issue of jobs, and what happens to the people working in positions that could be replaced by robots. Many of those jobs, especially in the home care and service industries, are low-paying positions. What kinds of employment can they seek if they’re replaced by an automaton?

“Is Google concerned? I don’t know. Anybody in this business has to be concerned,” said Bajcsy. “My answer is education, education.”

Whatever shape Google’s robotics plans take, and no matter how buffeted the neophyte robotics industry is by the news, Goldberg sounded a cautiously optimistic tone by quoting Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/yMzQY3zX9iM/

Robot obsession signals sea change at Google

December 5th, 2013 No comments

The Meka S2 humanoid head, from one of the robotics companies that Google bought.


(Credit:
Meka)

Ready or not, we’re about to enter the age of robotics.

That’s the message underlying Google’s announcement on Wednesday that former
Android honcho Andy Rubin would be aiming the company’s next “moon shot” at robots. Google has bought its way into the robotics game, purchasing seven companies to become the foundation of its robotics team, from makers of robotic arms and powered caster wheels to companies specializing in computer vision.

Google might seem like the corporate version of your eccentric rich uncle, throwing money at crazy projects like balloons that can broadcast Wi-Fi, medical record analysis, self-driving cars, and Internet-enabled glasses, but the analyst Ben Schachter says that the “moon shot” moves by Google all make sense.

“People that I’ve spoken with at Google in the past have said if it’s not going to be a $5 billion business, then it’s not worth doing,” Schachter said. That sum represents around an eighth of Google’s current annual revenue, a substantial amount even to Google.

The robotics announcement, he said, highlights that Google’s ambitious side projects are “ready for prime time.”

“Big companies think that these are potentially big markets. It’s the validation of the idea that these are real businesses now,” he said.

If these real businesses can score Google an extra $5 billion per year within a reasonable time frame — say, a decade — that means that Google has laid the foundation for diversifying its portfolio into areas not directly part of software and services.

However, just because Google’s already made a serious investment in robotics doesn’t mean that we’re going to be waited on hand and foot by Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the next decade. In fact, a science fiction robot as comparatively simple as Wall-E is going to be a stretch for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming our new robot overlords
Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor who works at the multidisciplinary intersection of robotics, social media, and art, thinks that Google’s robotics announcement will change the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but having a company like Google come into this field is going to put a huge boost of momentum into the research side,” he said. The robotics companies that Google has bought so far have brought some intellectual property with them, but Goldberg said he thinks that they’ve been as much about acquiring their talented employees.

It’s more than enough to give robotics a serious dose of funding and development attention, but it’s not yet ready for prime time. “Google sees that this is very viable in some time frame, but it’s not around the corner,” Goldberg said.

“That sets expectations unrealistically high,” he added.

Ruzena Bajcsy, also a UC Berkeley interdisciplinary professor with more than 40 years experience in robotics, said little to temper her enthusiasm for Google’s announcement.

“It’s very exciting that a company that started with software, search engines, came to the realization that the world is not only software. That real problems [it must deal with] are interaction — the physical world with the computational world,” she said.

How will Google-bots make first contact?
The fruits of Google’s labor won’t be seen for a while, but they’re likely to wind up in industries that are already established and lucrative, yet could benefit by some robotic disruption.

“In the next five years, you’ll see a lot of this technology in old-age homes, in hospitals, and maybe in some industrial applications,” said Bajcsy.


The robotic arms made by Autofuss, another company purchased for its robotics initiative, already has a public connection to Google: work on a Nexus 5 commercial.


(Credit:
Autofuss)

Both Bajcsy and Goldberg think that one of the first areas of consumer robot encounters will be in the home care field. Robots will be able to automate some of the more repetitive and dangerous tasks that human caretakers must complete, such as cleaning house or assisting a client with bathing.

“Just like you had to teach the Roomba, you’ll have teach the robot. In simpler environments, [robots] can teach themselves,” Bajcsy said. “More complicated floor plans,” such as houses with two levels, “are impossible right now.”

Still, robots at home make sense, she said, because that’s where the mass market is. Other potential applications include assisting the elderly or infirm when using Google’s self-driving
cars, and helping with language processing — from translation to image recognition. Basically, areas where Google already has invested resources are likely to become tasks that its first robots excel at.

Preventing the rise of evil robots
Bajcsy and Goldberg appeared to be representative of robotics experts, as it was difficult to find anybody who thinks that Google’s involvement is going to be bad for the field.

A self-powered caster built by Holomni, another Google robotics purchase.


(Credit:
Holomni)

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential problems facing consumer robotics that must be solved. One particular to Google is the double-edged sword of data collection. On the one hand, the company learns even more about human tasks and behavior, something that’s essential to successfully integrating robots into our lives. But the downside of that are the ever-present privacy concerns.

In 2010, Google research scientist James Kuffner came up with the idea of cloud robotics, robots that leverage the Internet, crowdsourcing, and open-sourcing to expand their processing power and knowledge base. It’s not hard to see how a cloud-connected robot that is gathering data in your home from all its various sensors could be a perambulating privacy violation waiting to happen.

“When you have a robot in your house, and it’s taking lots of data, and sharing it to the cloud, that’s a big privacy issue,” said Goldberg. “I’m absolutely not Pollyanna about this, it’s not unvarnished good news.”

Another is the issue of jobs, and what happens to the people working in positions that could be replaced by robots. Many of those jobs, especially in the home care and service industries, are low-paying positions. What kinds of employment can they seek if they’re replaced by an automaton?

“Is Google concerned? I don’t know. Anybody in this business has to be concerned,” said Bajcsy. “My answer is education, education.”

Whatever shape Google’s robotics plans take, and no matter how buffeted the neophyte robotics industry is by the news, Goldberg sounded a cautiously optimistic tone by quoting Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/gKxZyZoUYkc/

Robot obsession signals sea change at Google

December 5th, 2013 No comments

The Meka S2 humanoid head, from one of the robotics companies that Google bought.


(Credit:
Meka)

Ready or not, we’re about to enter the age of robotics.

That’s the message underlying Google’s announcement on Wednesday that former
Android honcho Andy Rubin would be aiming the company’s next “moon shot” at robots. Google has bought its way into the robotics game, purchasing seven companies to become the foundation of its robotics team, from makers of robotic arms and powered caster wheels to companies specializing in computer vision.

Google might seem like the corporate version of your eccentric rich uncle, throwing money at crazy projects like balloons that can broadcast Wi-Fi, medical record analysis, self-driving cars, and Internet-enabled glasses, but the analyst Ben Schachter says that the “moon shot” moves by Google all make sense.

“People that I’ve spoken with at Google in the past have said if it’s not going to be a $5 billion business, then it’s not worth doing,” Schachter said. That sum represents around an eighth of Google’s current annual revenue, a substantial amount even to Google.

The robotics announcement, he said, highlights that Google’s ambitious side projects are “ready for prime time.”

“Big companies think that these are potentially big markets. It’s the validation of the idea that these are real businesses now,” he said.

If these real businesses can score Google an extra $5 billion per year within a reasonable time frame — say, a decade — that means that Google has laid the foundation for diversifying its portfolio into areas not directly part of software and services.

However, just because Google’s already made a serious investment in robotics doesn’t mean that we’re going to be waited on hand and foot by Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in the next decade. In fact, a science fiction robot as comparatively simple as Wall-E is going to be a stretch for the foreseeable future.

Welcoming our new robot overlords
Ken Goldberg, a University of California at Berkeley professor who works at the multidisciplinary intersection of robotics, social media, and art, thinks that Google’s robotics announcement will change the field.

“I don’t want to jump the gun, but having a company like Google come into this field is going to put a huge boost of momentum into the research side,” he said. The robotics companies that Google has bought so far have brought some intellectual property with them, but Goldberg said he thinks that they’ve been as much about acquiring their talented employees.

It’s more than enough to give robotics a serious dose of funding and development attention, but it’s not yet ready for prime time. “Google sees that this is very viable in some time frame, but it’s not around the corner,” Goldberg said.

“That sets expectations unrealistically high,” he added.

Ruzena Bajcsy, also a UC Berkeley interdisciplinary professor with more than 40 years experience in robotics, said little to temper her enthusiasm for Google’s announcement.

“It’s very exciting that a company that started with software, search engines, came to the realization that the world is not only software. That real problems [it must deal with] are interaction — the physical world with the computational world,” she said.

How will Google-bots make first contact?
The fruits of Google’s labor won’t be seen for a while, but they’re likely to wind up in industries that are already established and lucrative, yet could benefit by some robotic disruption.

“In the next five years, you’ll see a lot of this technology in old-age homes, in hospitals, and maybe in some industrial applications,” said Bajcsy.


The robotic arms made by Autofuss, another company purchased for its robotics initiative, already has a public connection to Google: work on a Nexus 5 commercial.


(Credit:
Autofuss)

Both Bajcsy and Goldberg think that one of the first areas of consumer robot encounters will be in the home care field. Robots will be able to automate some of the more repetitive and dangerous tasks that human caretakers must complete, such as cleaning house or assisting a client with bathing.

“Just like you had to teach the Roomba, you’ll have teach the robot. In simpler environments, [robots] can teach themselves,” Bajcsy said. “More complicated floor plans,” such as houses with two levels, “are impossible right now.”

Still, robots at home make sense, she said, because that’s where the mass market is. Other potential applications include assisting the elderly or infirm when using Google’s self-driving
cars, and helping with language processing — from translation to image recognition. Basically, areas where Google already has invested resources are likely to become tasks that its first robots excel at.

Preventing the rise of evil robots
Bajcsy and Goldberg appeared to be representative of robotics experts, as it was difficult to find anybody who thinks that Google’s involvement is going to be bad for the field.

A self-powered caster built by Holomni, another Google robotics purchase.


(Credit:
Holomni)

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t potential problems facing consumer robotics that must be solved. One particular to Google is the double-edged sword of data collection. On the one hand, the company learns even more about human tasks and behavior, something that’s essential to successfully integrating robots into our lives. But the downside of that are the ever-present privacy concerns.

In 2010, Google research scientist James Kuffner came up with the idea of cloud robotics, robots that leverage the Internet, crowdsourcing, and open-sourcing to expand their processing power and knowledge base. It’s not hard to see how a cloud-connected robot that is gathering data in your home from all its various sensors could be a perambulating privacy violation waiting to happen.

“When you have a robot in your house, and it’s taking lots of data, and sharing it to the cloud, that’s a big privacy issue,” said Goldberg. “I’m absolutely not Pollyanna about this, it’s not unvarnished good news.”

Another is the issue of jobs, and what happens to the people working in positions that could be replaced by robots. Many of those jobs, especially in the home care and service industries, are low-paying positions. What kinds of employment can they seek if they’re replaced by an automaton?

“Is Google concerned? I don’t know. Anybody in this business has to be concerned,” said Bajcsy. “My answer is education, education.”

Whatever shape Google’s robotics plans take, and no matter how buffeted the neophyte robotics industry is by the news, Goldberg sounded a cautiously optimistic tone by quoting Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/gKxZyZoUYkc/