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Are We Entering a Robot Golden Age? NVIDIA’s CEO Thinks So!

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Humanoid Robots

Humanoid robots are advancing rapidly while prices are falling. Top-of-the-line humanoid robots are getting ready to debut on the market for as little as $10,000. NVIDIA’s CEO Jensen Huang predicts that these two factors will accelerate the golden age of robots.

The market for humanoid robots in China alone is expected to hit $16.5 billion by 2030. Companies like NVIDIA and Tesla are scrambling to position themselves for this new reality.

Humanoid robots can mimic human movement, behavior, and thinking. They effortlessly integrate into society and handle everything from mundane tasks like cleaning to more specialized skills like surgery. Experts predict that humanoid robots won’t simply replace existing jobs but will expand fields and even create new ones. Imagine the possibilities if you have an army of robotic super geniuses working 24/7.

Humanoid Robots Are Already Being Used

Humanoid robots are working in the manufacturing and aerospace sectors. China and the US are market leaders in AI-powered robots and are using them to perform complex and dangerous tasks that were previously performed by humans. The US, China, and Russia are seeing an increase in successful space missions. 

Stanford has a humanoid robot capable of deep-sea diving. The robot, called OceanOneK, can explore shipwrecks and, thanks to its arms and hands, perform complex tasks. The robot can reach depths that would kill a human diver.

Israeli start-up company Intuition Robotics has released a companion robot called ElliQ. This robot is designed to prevent elderly people from becoming lonely. ElliQ is AI-powered and is capable of having deep and enriching conversations on virtually any topic.

We’re in the very early stages of humanoid robots being used for practical tasks. The ultimate dream is that every person will have a personal robot tending to their needs, and robots can take over all dangerous jobs.

A Robot Arms Race Is Heating Up Between China and America

Major tech companies are muscling into the humanoid robot market. Tesla and NVIDIA have developed their own robots. Additionally, OpenAI, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos are investing in different robotics start-ups, including Figure AI and Agility Robotics, which are betting big on the upcoming humanoid revolution. The Oregon-based company has built the world’s biggest humanoid robot production facility, which can churn out 10,000 bots per year. 

China has also become a hotbed for humanoid robots. In November 2023, the Beijing Humanoid Robot Innovation Center was established. The center brings together 100+ Chinese robotics companies, which are forming a complete supply chain. 

While not to be outdone by their rival, the Beijing Institute for General Artificial Intelligence released its humanoid robot TongTong on April 27 at the 2024 Zhongguancun Forum in Beijing, which was held from April 25 to 29. TongTong is capable of performing a range of domestic chores, such as serving drinks. The humanoid robot could even be employed as an assistant at nursing homes to provide basic care and companionship for residents.

China is home to other advanced robots like H1 from Hangzhou Unitree Robotics and PX5 from Xiaopeng Pengxing. H1 is currently the fastest humanoid robot on the planet, capable of running at 3.3 meters per second. However, it does need to improve its gait, which is slightly unnatural This robot isn’t just a sprinter; H1 is capable of performing all kinds of athletic stunts, from running up and down stairs to handling complex terrain, and it can even backflip!

NVIDIA has formed a strategic partnership with Unitree Robotics. Unitree will focus on robotics, while NVIDIA will supply the artificial intelligence hardware and software. NVIDIA is a global leader in GPU and AI chip technology and provides Unitree’s robots with the brain power they need to effectively perform complex tasks and continue to improve their capabilities.

The Space Race kicked off in 1955 and pitted the USSR against the United States. We’re calling 2024 the start of the humanoid robot race, and this time, China takes on America to see who can release the most advanced robot at the lowest price point. The next 20 years are going to be incredibly exciting as experts predict that humanoid robots will reach 80% human similarity. We can’t wait to get our personal robot butlers!

Read more: Humans vs Robots: Could Robots Replace Humans in Sports?

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Cyprus Computer Society to Host Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad

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Minoan Robot Sports

The Robot Olympics is coming to Cyprus. The Cyprus Computer Society has added all kinds of fun sporting events to the Robotex festival. This new robot sports series, dubbed the Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad, will be held in Cyprus for the first time ever.

The Hellenic Educational Robotics Organisation and the Cyprus Computer Society are working together to put on an epic robot sporting spectacle. The competition will take place at the Sports Centre of the University of Cyprus on June 29 and 30, 2024.

Everyone is free to enter the event. All ages, including students and adults, are encouraged to join. It only costs €50 per team to participate. 

What Events Are in the Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad?

The Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad will feature robot sumo, car racing, maze escape events, line following challenges, shot put, archery, and more. The robots are going to be exhausted after being put through so many challenging competitions.

Robot sumo, or Pepe sumo, will be the most hotly contested event. This robot sport started in the 1980s in Japan and has now spread around the world with hundreds of thousands of participants.

In robot sumo, two autonomous robots are placed in a circle and then attempt to push each other out. Whoever remains in the circle wins, just like in sumo wrestling. Despite its simplicity, it actually requires some serious engineering skills. Participants need to design a robot that can not only locate the opponent but also detect the edge of the circle and avoid being pushed out!

The maze escape event will be another competition to keep an eye on. The robots will be dropped into a maze and use their sensors to figure out where they are and find a way out. Whichever robot can emerge from the maze the fastest wins. 

While the maze escape may seem like a fun game, it actually has some serious real-world applications as well. Roboticists are currently designing robots that they hope will one day perform search and rescue missions. Being able to navigate unknown and complex terrain is an essential skill these search and rescue bots need to master.

What Do the Winners of the Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad Get?

The winners will earn a spot at Robotex International in Estonia, which will be held in Tallinn from December 6 to 7, 2024. Again, they’ll get to put their robots on display against the best teams from all around Europe.

At Robotex International in Estonia, the winners will get to rub shoulders with industry leaders and potentially score internships. The latest robotics technology will be on display, and there’ll be a host of startups looking to recruit talent.

Diversity and Gender Equality a Cornerstone of Event in Cyprus 

The organizers of the Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad have made a concerted effort to get girls and women involved. There are also special events for school children hosted by the robots for an Inclusive Society organization. 

The school children will build Lego robots and compete in different challenges. There are categories for elementary and high school children. Apart from the robot building and sports competitions, there’ll also be interactive exhibitions and music performances, so attendees of all ages will enjoy the festival. The Cyprus Computer Society is doing a great job inspiring the next generation!

Cyprus’ President Believes in the Power of Robotics

The Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad is being sponsored by Nikos Christodoulides, the President of Cyprus. The event, organized by the Cyprus Computer Society, has managed to attract a number of major public and private sector sponsors.

The Bank of Cyprus and XM are sponsoring the Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad. Other big companies and institutions helping fund the event include Neapolis University Pafos, Hellas Sat and Huawei, ZEBRA Consultants, and Novatex Solutions Ltd.

We’re in the very beginning of robot sports. Events like the Minoan Robot Sports Competition Global Olympiad give us a glimpse into the future, where the most famous athletes may not be human at all. Don’t be surprised if, in 30 years, more people will be tuning in to watch the Robot Olympics than the traditional Olympic Games! 

Read more: How Robots Can Positively Impact Sports

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Drone

From Passion to Full Time career — how Thomas Bitmatta changed his life — and so can you

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Changing Passion in a lucrative career

Thumbnail from YouTube interview with Thomas

There’s a moment in life when you stand at the edge of a decision. 

Before you, lies the comfortable, the known. Behind you, the whisper of what could be beckons — a call to adventure that won’t silence. For Thomas Bitmatta, known in the drone racing skies as BMS Thomas, that moment wasn’t just a fleeting thought. It was a crossroads. And his choice? To leap.

Thomas’s story isn’t one of overnight success or serendipitous luck. 

No. 

It’s a narrative hewn from the bedrock of passion, a relentless pursuit of mastery in the fast world of FPV (First-Person View) drone racing. In the grand scheme of life’s pursuits, Thomas chose a path less taken, and it has made all the difference.

The Ascent Begins

Imagine, for a moment, a hobby. 

Now watch as that hobby turns into an obsession, that obsession into a calling. This is the genesis of BMS Thomas’s journey from an intrigued enthusiast dabbling in drone flights to becoming a beloved icon in the global drone racing community.

“Today, I bring you the story of a dreamer who dared to chase his dreams across the skies.”

Thomas’s story began quietly in Australia, sparked by a simple YouTube video. 

Fast forward through years of tinkering, learning, and countless flights, and you find the moment where hobby crossed into destiny. Thomas didn’t just enter the world of drone racing; he redefined his life’s trajectory with a racing drone’s throttle.

Racing Against the Wind

In conversation, Thomas shared insights of his early days, reminiscing about the makeshift races in Melbourne, the allure of the Japan drone league, and his subsequent ascension to international fame. Each race, each flight was more than competition; it was a chapter in his ongoing tale of self-discovery and perseverance.

“It’s more than just flying,” Thomas reflected. “It’s about pushing boundaries, both the drones and my own.”

His journey highlights not merely the evolution of a racer but the transformation of a life through passion. Amidst talks of tracks, technicalities, and tournaments, there’s a subtle yet profound message: dedication, coupled with a love for one’s craft, can elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Navigating Through Turbulence

Yet, the path was not free of challenges. In his chase for passion, Thomas navigated through rough moments — balancing the demands of competitive racing with the rigours of building a career. Sponsorships didn’t come easy, nor did the recognition. It demanded more than skill; it required visibility, influence, and a deep-seated belief in the value of his pursuit.

“And then, something clicked. The right place, the right time, and suddenly, the support came.”

Thomas’s narrative serves as a beacon for anyone standing on the brink of pursuing their dream. It’s a testament to the truth that success, in any field, is a concoction of passion, persistence, and a willingness to forge ahead despite the odds.

Can you do it as well?

Today, BMS Thomas continues to race, not just as a competitor but as an inspiration. His journey tells us that to follow one’s passion is not to walk a path free of obstacles, but to navigate through storms, propelled by the heart.

“If there’s anything my journey has taught me,” Thomas said, “it’s that dreams are not just fleeting whims. They are the seeds of our future.”

See, life, much like drone racing, is not about the fear of falling. It’s about the thrill of flight, the pursuit of passions, and the unwavering courage to chase the horizon, no matter where it leads.

And so, to anyone teetering on the edge of decision, remember BMS Thomas. Remember that when passion takes flight, the sky’s not the limit — it’s just the beginning.

Watch the full interview with Thomas here

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The World Robot Championships Are Coming to the Netherlands in July

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World Robot Championship

Over 3,000 roboticists from 45 countries are heading to Eindhoven University of Technology from July 17 to 21, 2024, to take part in the World Robot Championship. They’ll put their autonomous robots to the test in a number of competitions, including soccer, rescue, and home based tasks. Organisers expect over 400 teams to participate and 50,000+ spectators.

The event isn’t just about intense competition. The goal of the World Robot Championships is to accelerate the development of affordable and reliable robot technology to aid in the betterment of society. There will be numerous workshops and demonstrations, including interactive displays for children. 

RoboCup Soccer

Soccer is by far the most popular event at the World Robot Championships. In this event, two teams of five robots play two 15-minute halves. They use a standard FIFA ball, and whoever scores the most goals during the allotted time period wins!

All the robots are 100% autonomous, the roboticists aren’t allowed to control the bot football players at all. They’re custom-designed and divided into different leagues based on weight and size.

The robots are decked out in sensors and powered by AI. They’re capable of playing strategically, identifying the ball, goal, teammates, and other opponents. Currently, the robots play soccer like three-year-olds, but it’s an amazing feat of engineering that, without assistance, they can dribble, shoot, and pass.

The founders of the organization have a very ambitious goal. They want to create a team of robots that can defeat the reigning human World Cup champions by 2050. We can’t wait to see the robot version of Messi effortlessly dribbling past the world’s best human players and slotting goals with ease.

RoboCup Rescue

One of the major potential use cases for autonomous robots is search and rescue. Robots can venture into environments that are too dangerous for human rescuers and, thanks to their superhero-level strength, save people from disastrous situations.

In the RoboCup Rescue, robots are tested on their ability to navigate challenging environments autonomously. They’re judged based on proficiency in performing complex tasks such as moving obstructing objects, turning off switches, and picking up and carrying away injured people.

This competition has been taking place for over 20 years. Even though progress is slow due to the sheer complexity involved, scientists hope that within 50 years, there will be robot first responders who can consistently outperform humans. 

RoboCup Home

Everyone dreams of having their army of robots that can effortlessly handle household chores. In this competition, you’ll get to see exactly how far away that reality is.

In the RoboCup Home, robots undertake a range of challenges, including rearranging messy rooms, serving breakfast, putting away groceries, and even welcoming guests. Roboticists believe that within a few years, their robots can help people with mobility issues. 

Again, the robots are fairly rudimentary, and we’re still a long way from a robot butler who can do the gardening, wash your clothes, and then whip up dinner. However, these autonomous robots are progressing very quickly. Within 40 years, we’ll probably have robot servants who can handle basic household chores.

The Netherlands Has Become a Hub for Autonomous Robots

The Netherlands may be a small country with just 17 million people, but they punch well above their weight when it comes to robots. Just in Eindhoven alone, there are five RoboCup teams, including the multiple-time world champion Tech United (TU/e). There is also RIF (Fontys) Robot Sports (VDL), RoboHub (Fontys), and Falcons (ASML).

Dutch Universities are at the forefront of AI and robotics. And it seems the next generation is in safe hands, as hundreds of Dutch high school students will also take part in competitions for juniors. Don’t be surprised if the next Telsa or Boston Dynamics comes out of the Netherlands in the next 10 years.

The World Robot Championships kicks off on July 17 and is taking place in Eindhoven at the University of Technology. You’ll get to see the latest autonomous robots and see them compete in soccer and domestic chore competitions and even perform search and rescue missions.

If you can’t attend, don’t worry; many of the events will be live-streamed and uploaded to YouTube. Don’t forget to check out the RoboCup, where miniature robots Messis and Ronaldos will be mesmerizing spectators all over the pitch!

Read more: Are We Entering a Robot Golden Age? NVIDIA’s CEO Thinks So!

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