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Category: Robotics

There are 2 posts published under Robotics.

Fake Tweets Used To Promote New Ad Products

Over the years the internet has become another media platform that survives financially  through promoting various products, tv shows, and films.

Visit your favorite clothing site and then cruise over to Facebook.  Odds are you’ll see an advertisement to the far left promoting a clothing store you like and certain sales you need to take advantage of.  The frustration of enduring advertisements has entered the realm of the internet.  An eye roll may induce when someone wants to listen to a new Jay Z song because they first have to sit through Wendy - The Progressive Car Insurance Lady.

But what happens when a social network exploits their user’s privacy in order to promote a product? Recently, Twitter apologized for faking tweets from real users for a mock-up promoting an ad platform.  These fake tweets depicted users talking positively about TV advertisements.  As SFGate’s website explains “The blog post promoted new Twitter Ads integration with tv commercials”.


These tweets look very real, however, users whose image and screen name were used soon spoke out.


These users were not informed that their profile pics and accounts were being presented in a post on Twitter’s blog - sent out to large amounts of users via @Twitterads Twitter account and re-tweeted to more than 1.5 million.


Neil Gottlieb replied “It’s disturbing and has no place” when referring to a Twitter blog post that featured a tweet of him saying “What is the song in the new @barristabar commercial?  I love it!!”.  Gottlieb who is in charge of the medical animation company 3FX in Philadelphia continued and said “To use my image and fake a tweet is wrong and needs to be addressed.”


Gottlieb is right. Taking users account information and using it to advertise products is a violation of privacy. If advertising like this becomes more popular and acceptable how long will it be before companies and other institutions are able to use users account information in order to state views that are not the user’s own.


Robotic Butler Becomes Reality: Meet HERB

We all know of Rosey the Robot Maid from the Jetsons; the outspoken robotic housekeeper with the frilly apron who rolls around on caster wheels.

The notion of robotic butlers or maids is not revolutionary, but the fact that they are becoming reality is. Turn to: HERB (Home Exploring Robotic Butler), Carnegie Mellon University’s two-armed robot, designed by The Personal Robotics Lab at The Robotic Institute. We were invited into the lab to meet HERB, and his robotics team, to get an inside look at who HERB really is…

High-tech hardware

HERB uses color video, a Kinect depth camera and non-visual information to discover over 100 objects in a home-like laboratory, like plants, furniture and food. He has a pair of low-power onboard computers, Pointgrey Flea and Dragonfly cameras, an LMS lidar, a rotating houyo lidar, and a Logitech 9000 webcam, which sit on a segway RMP200 base. HERB communicates with off-board PCs over a wireless network, and although its not possible today, it is plausible that he will be able to interact with the internet in the future.

An inside look…

As humans, we use domain knowledge to identify objects; we pick things up, look at them, and touch them to discover what they are. Similar to humans, HERB also uses domain knowledge: he is able to register whether an object moves on its own, if it’s on a table or in a cupboard, and he can lift it with both arms to determine weight. But how does he do this? Primarily with open source software, which syncs up nicely with the really cool hardware mentioned above.

Our Clearpath team is a huge fan of open source software, so we needed to learn more. Some of the open source libraries that are being used to power HERB include OpenRAVE, which is specifically designed for challenges related to motion planning, and GATMO, designed to track moving objects (and people) that exist in real-world environments. ROS is used for hardware drivers, process management, and communication on HERB.

Why is HERB so important?

There’s no arguing that HERB is extremely intelligent; his ability to discover and understand hundreds or thousands of objects in a room will be critical to the commercialization of the ‘robotic butler’. HERB’s abilities show prospect in assisting families or elderly with daily tasks such as putting things in the microwave and fetching various items. HERB isn’t just cool, he’s a breakthrough technology and a fantastic result of what collaboration with open source software can create.

Check out HERB’s latest feat, splitting an Oreo cookie in half!

Meghan Hennessey is Marketing Communications at Clearpath Robotics. The Company designs and manufactures unmanned vehicle robotics for research and development, serving leading researchers in academic, industrial and military industries. Clearpath Robotics is dedicated to automating the world’s dullest, dirtiest and deadliest jobs.