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Researchers develop robot that can be controlled by brain signals

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 A robot that can be controlled with your thoughts and brain signals has  been developed, says new research.

The robot is developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology  (EPFL), Switzerland.

The robot can be controlled remotely through brain signals and can perform  various tasks.

The team of researchers, headed by professor Jose del R. Millain, particularly had  disabled people in mind while working on the concept to restore a sense of  independence to the disabled.

Nine disabled people and 10 healthy people in Italy, Germany and Switzerland took part in the task of piloting a robot with their thoughts.

For several weeks, each of the subjects put on an electrode-studded hat capable of analysing their brain signals.

They then instructed the robot to move, transmitting their instructions in real time via internet from their home country.

By virtue of its video camera, screen and wheels, the robot, located in an EPFL laboratory in Switzerland, was able to film as it moved while displaying the face of the remote pilot via Skype.

The person at the controls, as if moving in place of the robot, was able to interact with whoever the robot crossed paths with.

“Each of the nine subjects with disabilities managed to remotely control the robot with ease after less than 10 days of training,” said Millain.

The brain-machine interface developed by the researchers goes even further.

The robot is able to avoid obstacles by itself, even when it is not told to. To avoid getting overly tired, the pilot can also take a break from giving indications.

If it doesn’t receive more indications, the robot will continue on the indicated path until it receives the order to stop.

The tests revealed no difference in piloting ability between healthy and disabled subjects.

In the second part of the tests, the disabled people with residual mobility were asked to pilot the robot with the movements they were still capable of doing, for example by simply pressing the side of their head on buttons placed nearby.

They piloted the robot just as if they were uniquely using their thoughts.

“Will robots soon become a fact of daily life for people suffering from a disability? too soon to say,” Milan said.

“For this to happen, insurance companies will have to help finance these technologies,” he added.

The findings were published in a special edition of Proceedings of the IEEE. (IANS)

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Amazon Arm Can Create A New-Age Tech Workforce in India

The functionality within the AWS AI platform leverages 'Amazon Polly' -- a text-to-speech service that uses advanced deep learning technologies

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robots
Robots are revolutionary and are changing the tech world.

Realising the need to create a workforce for Next-Gen technologies, several tech companies have started accelerators and incubators in the recent past to nurture talent in disruptive technologies in India.

On the other hand, global Cloud services platform Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, started on the mission long back to prepare an industry-ready workforce and nurture start-ups in the country. According to a senior AWS executive, the company is working very closely with the entire accelerator and incubator space in India.

Amazon Arm can change the tech world. Wikimedia Commons

“AWS has various programmes that it runs in India that help all the stakeholders further drive invested or incubated companies move forward on New-Age technology. This includes giving AWS credits for free. We do mentorship, we do training. We take them through labs,” Bikram Bedi, Head (India Region) at Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd (AISPL), told IANS.

AISPL is an Indian subsidiary of the Amazon Group which undertakes the resale and marketing of AWS Cloud services in the country. “Next, we help them in terms of ‘connect’. One programme we run is called ‘Enterprise Connect’ where we go to a bank or a manufacturing company, for example, and ask what kind of new solutions they are looking for in the digital space.

“They tell us that they are looking at such-and-such five areas. We will then go back to our start-up space and say hey, these AWS customers want these five kinds of solutions. The next step is proof of concepts (POCs) and then adoption,” Bedi informed.

When it comes to creating the right set of skills in the market, AWS has a clear-cut strategy. “The effort is broken into a couple of things. The first is around the existing workforce — start-ups, big enterprises and the thriving small and medium businesses (SMBs), etc. We regularly run training classes. Every office that we open in this country has a training room attached to it,” Bedi told IANS. AWS has been running training prgrammes for the existing customers across segments — around system administration, solution architecture and more.

Also Read: Amazon India, HackerEarth partner for Alexa hackathon

“The second piece you need to focus on is the emerging workforce, like students. We’ve built two separate programmes for them. One is called ‘Educate’ and the other is called ‘Academy,'” the AWS executive said. With the increasing demand for Cloud employees, AWS Educate provides an academic gateway for the next generation of IT and Cloud professionals.

Educate is primarily a shorter duration programme that helps academicians build assets, study programmes and learning modules around AWS. “Academy is the full-term course. We are working with a number of educational institutes to see how we can help build the right skill-sets for the market,” Bedi added.

The third part of building skills is to go out and organise regular outreach programmes across communities. AWS recently organised a full-day programme around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) called the “AIML Conclave” in Bengaluru that was attended by business leaders, data scientists, engineers and developers.

The event helped developers learn about Amazon AI and real-world use cases developed by Amazon and AWS customers — to build smart, customer-centric, scalable solutions in the Cloud and on the edge, using Amazon AI, AWS Internet of Things (IoT) and AWS Deep Learning.

This revolutionary technology can assist in IoT and Machine Learning.

AWS AI is also helping Indian developers build chatbots. Haptik, an AI-based chatbot platform, has partnered with AWS to offer solutions to customers in the country. In cooperation with AWS, Haptik aims to rapidly expand in the Indian chatbot AI market.

The functionality within the AWS AI platform leverages ‘Amazon Polly’ — a text-to-speech service that uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesise speech that sounds like a human voice. “We are striving hard to reach out to the wider community in India. We are trying to connect several pieces into one and create a right mix of skilled workforce for the new technologies in the market,” Bedi told IANS. IANS