Children train robots in school to prepare for the future workplace

Children as young as ten years old are now learning how to train robots in their schools as a result of Rethink Robotics’ expanding distribution of the Baxter Research Robot.

The Baxter Research Robot is a humanoid robot designed to help in fields such as healthcare, manufacturing and education. The robots can typically be found in laboratories, graduate and undergraduate programs, and are even being used as an educational tool in primary school classrooms.

According to Scott Eckert, the CEO of Rethink Robotics, “By the time [today’s students] enter the workforce, robots will be integrated into nearly every industry, as we see in manufacturing today.”

Indeed, robots are becoming a crucial component for automotive, plastics, electronics and various other industries that string together manual tasks to build their products, as they provide cheap and reliable labour.

The increasing use of robots in many fields has stirred fears of job displacement for human workers. But by educating children about how to operate robots and perhaps even program or design them, we can ensure that people will adapt their future careers to the use of robots.

In addition, students will learn how they can improve the robots of the future to optimize efficiency in their workplaces while maintaining a healthy job market.

“These children will have an important advantage—experience—thanks to the K-12 schools, colleges and universities that are investing in robotics now,” Eckert stated.

Rethink Robotics has recently partnered with three new distributors, Robotshop, Teq, and Gaitech International, giving classrooms around the world the opportunity to use Baxter, not just those in the US where the Rethink’s robots are designed and manufactured.

“Robotics already play a large part in the educational market and corporate [research and development] markets and that will only continue to grow. Providing Baxter Research Robots to the Asian market is a logical and important step in that growth,” said Jenssen Chang, CEO of Gaitech International.

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The use of robots in the classroom points to a future where they are a normal and indispensable part of everyday life in our homes, school and workplaces. Nearly every job could require some level of interaction with robots.

As this vision of the future becomes a reality, it will become more important than ever for all people to have baseline knowledge about robots and how they operate.

Perhaps one day robot training programs such as the one Baxter provides will even become mandatory curriculum for schools.


Images and video courtesy of Rethink Robotics.


Steve “Woz” Wozniak to advise hologram emoji company that he calls “groundbreaking”

Apple’s co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak has found himself a new gig; Woz has joined the hologram emoji company, Mojiit, as an adviser.

In his role as advisor to Mojiit, the legendary entrepreneur and engineer will help assemble a world-class engineering team in addition to bringing investors and partnerships to the newly launched startup. Wozniak will also serve as mentor to Mojiit founder, Jeremy Greene.

“I’m thrilled to join Mojiit as an advisor,” said Wozniak. “Jeremy is a natural leader, the company is groundbreaking, it’s going to change the ecommerce space, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Created in 2017, Mojiit is the latest startup technology venture from Greene. The company’s tech essentially enables users to project and share 3D hologram emojis via smartphones.

The platform turns users into emojis by scanning their face, which can then be sent to loved ones and friends. Once a Mojiit message is received, it will map the area where it is received and place the Mojiit hologram there in real time, so it works in a similar way to Pokemon Go.

“Steve is one of the best and brilliant engineers in the entire world. But outside of that, he’s a wonderful man,” said Greene. “There isn’t anyone I’d want to be in business with more than this guy. He’s a legend. Who better to learn from than the guy who created the computer?”

Image courtesy of Nichollas Harrison. Featured image courtesy of Mojiit

In addition to consumer use, businesses of all kinds can tap into hologram emojis with Mojiit’s technology.

Mojiit investors already  include NFL alum Ed Reed, and the company was able to raise a total of $1 million in its seed round of funding.

Alongside the appointment of Woz, Entourage and Ballers producer Rob Weiss recently joined the company as a creative director.

“It’s exciting to expand beyond television and film to digital platforms,” said Weiss. “Hologram technology brings incredible opportunity to entertainment and media. I’m thrilled to be leading creative at Mojiit.”

Nanoengineers send antibiotic-delivering micromotors into the body to treat cancer-causing infection

Nanoengineers have demonstrated for the first time how “micromotors” that measure half the width of a human hair can be used to transport antibiotics through the body.

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego tested the micromotors in mice with Helicobacter pylori infections, which can also be found in about two-thirds of the world’s population and while many people will never notice any signs of its presence it can cause peptic ulcers and stomach cancer.

The mice received the micromotors – packed with a clinical dose of the antibiotic clarithromycin – orally once a day for five consecutive days.

Afterwards, nanoengineers evaluated the bacterial count in each mouse stomach and found that treatment with the micromotors was slightly more effective than when the same dose of antibiotic was given in combination with proton pump inhibitors, which also suppress gastric acid production.

Micromotors administered to the mice swam rapidly throughout the stomach while neutralising gastric acid, which can be destructive to orally administered drugs such as antibiotics and protein-based pharmaceuticals.

Because gastric acid is so destructive to traditional antibiotics drugs used to treat bacterial infections, ulcers and other diseases in the stomach are normally taken with additional substances, called proton pump inhibitors.

But when taken over longer periods or in high doses, proton pump inhibitors can cause adverse side effects including headaches, diarrhea and fatigue. In more serious cases, they can cause anxiety or depression.

The micromotors, however, have a built-in mechanism that neutralises gastric acid and effectively deliver their drug payloads in the stomach without requiring the use of proton pump inhibitors.

“It’s a one-step treatment with these micromotors, combining acid neutralisation with therapeutic action,” said Berta Esteban-Fernández de Ávila, a postdoctoral scholar in Wang’s research group at UC San Diego and a co-first author of the paper.

The nanoengineers say that while the present results are promising, this work is still at an early stage.

To test their work, the team is planning future studies to into the therapeutic performance of the micromotors in animals and humans, and will compare it with other standard therapies used to combat stomach diseases.

UC San Diego nanoengineers also plan to test different drug combinations with the micromotors to treat multiple diseases in the stomach or in different sections of the gastrointestinal tract.

Overall, the researchers say that this work opens the door to the use of synthetic motors as active delivery platforms in the treatment of diseases.

Image and video courtesy of the Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics at UC San Diego.