Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS
- A new Star Wars trailer was released! Nerdy goodness!
- The BB8 robot was actually created and was recently rolled out on stage.
- It was announced that Sphero was the company behind the real life build…and that they will be selling it come Christmas 2015.
- Dave asked whether people would patent the balancing technology. John Oliver from Last Week Tonight did a piece about patents. The show also has done a piece about how bad for profit schools are.
- More people in the US trust the Daily Show over other news programs. Chris is one of them.
- Dave had a chance to buy an amazing collection of components. However he later found out they were all desoldered and exclusively throughhole.
- Dave saw a video from Adam Savage talking about storing parts. It is a fantastic, if not expensive, solution.
- TSMC 16nm FinFET recently began qualifying
- Chris went to a Freescale event to see if it would be a good fit for a micro. He didn’t ask if the NXP/Freescale merger would affect part availability.
- Wired wrote about John Deere tractors claiming the software on board entitles them to DMCA protection. LAME.
- We had previously discussed this when walking about enabling firmware that unlocked higher level features on scopes that users did not pay for (having tons of trouble finding it, if you know the episode number please let us know in the comments)
- There is legislation in NY and Minnesota that would require hardware makers to allow for repair of products they make.
- MakerBot is laying off 20% of their NY staff and shutting down the retail stores. This was not surprising though it stinks for the people working there that got laid off. Chris recommends the documentary, “Print The Legend” which shows how messy it got at MakerBot (and slightly less messy at Formlabs).
- Dave has seen people walked out by security upon layoffs. Chris has not but thought of “Black Friday” from Arrested Development.
- When thinking about the shutdowns due to business changes, Chris mentioned the glassblowers at Bell Labs
- The robots (machines) are coming. Chris is worried, Dave is not. Some workers love them now, will they forever?
- It might not necessarily be silly like a chef mounted to your cabinet or a robot that feeds you tomatoes while running, but there are useful robots and bits of automation that will begin to obsolete workers.
- Baxter is a good example of why robots are coming: cheap, simple components, easy to program and has kind features. They were sure not to cross the uncanny valley.
- Perhaps we can set up some kind of monkey guards from quadcopter.
- There was an episode of Innovation Hub talking about the economics into the future
- Ending on a positive note: 3DRobotics and DJI Quadcopter just released awesome new aerial cameras (with drones). They are effectively self piloting. They will give us tons of beautiful new images. Chris was struck by this album of aerial photos (via reddit) where the photographer took pictures that would now be considered illegal.
Thanks to David Blackwell for the picture of the robots coming
Good episode! I recently purchased a Baxter robot to put in the middle of my electronics lab for the electronics engineering technology program I teach at a community college. We use it to complement a robotics and automation course I teach, but a secondary (and maybe even more important) use that I have found is in recruitment of new students to the field of electronics/electrical engineering!
Chris mentioned his eyes following his hands. The folks at Rethink Robotics have modified the code so that this only happens while you are training him (so that the monitor is always facing your direction.) They found that the head constantly moving during operation was hard on the head assembly. The more important use of the face (from a human factors standpoint) is the communication of the robot status through facial expressions. Here is a video of Baxter stacking a pyramid which is what I use to demo the robot to high school and middle school students who tour our lab from time to time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZsPD2ESoTg You’ll notice the eyes do not follow movement during the task, but the facial expression changes at the end to indicate that he needs further instruction since he has finished his task.
I fall kind of middle of the road on the argument (*ahem* discussion) between Chris and Dave. I think robots are definitely getting better (and more importantly, less expensive.) However, I do think it’s going to be many, many years before they can even approach the versatility and ability to respond to random events that humans have.
Keep up the great work! I love both the Amp Hour and EEVBlog. Some episodes are required watching/listening for my students!
Chris Gammell says
Darnit Clayton, you’re supposed to take my side! However, the fact that you actually have hands on, every day experience with a robot (specifically the one we were talking about) means you know way more than we ever will. Thanks for sharing, that was a great example video!
I’m not necessarily not on your side. I just think that there’s so much work to do to get the human equivalent. Fortunately, there are a lot of smart people working on it! To be honest, I’m amazed when I think about how technology in general has advanced in my lifetime (I was born in the mid-70s.) Even the advancements since 2000 are amazing! If the next 30-40 years are just as fruitful, then we have a LOT of cool stuff to look forward to.
Matt Findley says
Sometimes I wonder why I continue to listen to this podcast b/c the electronics high water mark for me has been an arduino based data logger hooked to a light sensor. This evening I realized that the juxtaposition of Dave and Chris has a lot to do with what keeps me engaged. I really really appreciate the mid-western sensibilities that Chris brings to the table. Chris is a person that does not hold the polyannaish view of technology that other podcast hosts of this genre hold. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that is Cleveland vs the eternal optimism of California. Go to any american legion or VFW hall in the mid west and you will get similar opinions – perhaps not as clearly formed, but mid west at their core.
Chris Gammell says
Thanks! …I think 😀 I am definitely a rust belt baby and a midwesterner at heart.
Eric Hankinson says
Chris, I was at the Freescale IoT Tour as well and thought that I saw you but didn’t want to introduce myself incase of mistaken identity. Did you check out the semi trailer? I was more impressed by the different goodies in the trailer than the Powerpoint sessions.
Chris Gammell says
No way! Sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet. Be sure to stop by our meetup if you’re in town at the time: http://www.meetup.com/Charged-Conversation/
The truck was actually much better than I expected! Atmel also has a truck but it’s totally lame in comparison. This one had good demos and expands upwards to have a classroom upstairs. I told them I have to make fun of them less for copying Atmel now.
Chris, I am amazed at your patience when dealing with Dave and his rants on subjects he knows absolutely nothing about,,, Like today’s example of the Law…
Dave doesn’t seem to get that knowledge about one area, electronics, doesn’t equate to knowledge about other specialties.
Steve Dalton says
Rafael Souza says
Good show; I can relate to the calming effect of desoldering boards… I do that after long and stressful work days and can attest to the relaxing and sometimes exciting effect, especially when an unusual part is perfectly desoldered – something similar to Shahriar’s excitement by tearing down an optical microwave analyzer (HP70001A).
I also go through the less fun task of sorting the parts (including some SMDs), as no next-day (and expensive) delivery beats the immediate availability of a throwaway part to use in a project or prototoype.
BTW, I loved the monkey whipping the drone’s ass! 🙂
Regarding Baxter, the Danish company ‘Universal Robots’ also makes “collaborative robots”, as they are called (actually just robot arms). Here is an IEEE Spectrum article about their newest and smallest one, the ‘UR3’:
You can find a lot of videos of their robots in action on youtube.
I’ve been looking at robotics a lot recently and thinking about how they’ll impact society. I work in a supermarket and have seen a ramp up of automation in the last few years. Managerial tasks are slowly being automated. More intelligence is going into sales/order forecasting. I think people would be surprised just how few people it takes to run a supermarket. We’ve slowly seen an uptake of automation in the warehousing and distribution, but the next step in the future is at store level/on-line orders.
The retail sector in Australia employees about 5% of the population, and I’ll be honest, most of us could be easily replaced by robots that are available now or in the next decade. They haven’t got to be intelligent robots, as it is now I put my brain into sleep mode for 8 hours a day and operate on muscle memory. It think that’s kind of the point Chris was trying to get across, skilled workers are safe (at the moment) but what are the future jobs for unskilled workers? Even if you have a 1-2% increase in unemployment, that’s not good for the economy. Either through lack of opportunity or misfortune, not everybody has the starting point in life to be a skilled professional.
Having said that, as long as we’re aware of this and the transition is handled well, I think things will mostly sort themselves out. As always there’ll be winners and losers. Who knows, maybe kids will get after school jobs as apprentice roboticists instead of checkout operators. Always a silver lining.
Some relevant links
Amazon currently has a robotics challenge to pick individual items for orders. http://amazonpickingchallenge.org/
Just the other day I put together a YouTube playlist of warehouse automation technology that I think is awesome. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5bPGIgENP8&list=PLrazmRVvYuFR89Uxob5XlSarauZJHtgW6
ru4mj12 (@ru4mj12) says
There’s a good innovation hub episode that touches upon robots and jobs:
Although, in the discussion, they say that there are so many STEM jobs that they don’t all get filled…
Yet, in another ihub episode, they say just the opposite
Also, the parts bunker looks amazing!
Travis K says
David Kohanbash says
Great episode. Chris you did a good job correcting Dave about robotics.
A while back I was at a talk where the speaker (i forget the who the speaker was) said that robots today have the:
Vision of a two year old;
Speech of a four year old;
Manipulation skills of a six year old;
and the social skills of an eight year old.
As you said robotics is very multidisciplinary and relies on advances in many other fields. The size of computing, more efficient motors, many orders of magnitude better sensors, the cost of everything, battery technologies, etc.. have all been pivotal in robotics development. Also with better computers our software has gotten better. Calibrating a camera used to be a complex and long task, now it is relatively quick and painless using openCV or similar.
Early robots used to think, think, think, move, think, think, think, move, …
Now we can just think and move.
This DIY project ( that uses a toy sphero) can give hint on how the BB-8 used in movie was made. http://makezine.com/projects/make-this-mini-star-wars-bb-8-ball-droid-with-a-hacked-sphero/ . Also the robot discussions, specially bartender one made me recall this funny episode of last week tonight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boI4D1FlIVs
I can’t count the number of dave-talking-about-robots-induced facepalms this episode made me suffer 😡
The thing I don’t get is this: usually he is the one (in his videos) debunking wacky theories by applying a little bit of science and engineering to it, and yet here, when he talks about how to build BB-8, his “obvious” solution “[he is] sure” of do not hold to the most basic physics examination :/
Sure I don’t blame not knowing about the details of robotics. Committing enthusiastically the same mistakes he repeateadedly call people “dickheads” for making though, that’s a let down.
A bit of a follow up. This popped up on Twitter today.
‘Any boss would prefer a robot’
A Chinese government program in Guangdong is trying to replace humans with machines.
the problem is not being sued for playing with the scope hardware, is it?
because flashing an entirely selfwritten or found open source code should
be legal. as in soldering about in it, using parts of it for whatever,…
if its a question of ripping their software, well its theirs.
that requires a closer look into how much of it is closeable in the first place.
and for how long. with a third of the revenue going into public education again.
matt holland says
Chris, that joke about 1/2 of Americans are dummer than the average only works on people that think average is the same thing as median. Just saying 🙂
matt holland says
although after a bit of research it seems that IQ scores are designed to have a normal distribution. so if we’re talking IQ scores then the joke is mathematically correct! ok that’s enough pedantism for today.
Great episode! CGP Grey did a very relevant video about the Robot-worker replacement problem a while back, actually, that touches on a lot of this, called “Humans Need Not Apply”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU
Watching Dave’s video on the component collection, there were plenty of new parts in there – though it was a bit blurry. Glad the show notes didn’t reflect much of that rant during the show.
Things got a bit uncomfortable at the end, largely because Mr right doesn’t listen too well. It seemed to me Chris had a reasonable point, and history supports his concern.
dont worry, we have peak robot revolution now. its just that in a thousand years from now it will seem
like an instant change. thats what it is at the end, a change. regardless of calling it threat, challenge,
opportunity or just an event.
if there will be a time where i have to look onto a screen showing me a dumb face expression,
instead of signaling me to repeat the action because of unclear instructions, it better be punchproof.
sorry, format was ok when writing
Every time you guys talk about the Daves, the Kids in the Hall “These are the Daves I know” starts playing in my head https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nvzEqsZIGo
Steve Dalton says
Listening to the Robot discussion was very frustrating. Dave has a point – but all his knowledge is anecdotal – he is clearly uneducated in this and hasn’t even seen Baxter or any of these things up close. I would suggest going to his local university in Sydney and seeking out the Robotics and Computer Vision departments – they are sure to have one and would be happy to demo to someone like Dave.
I was also sceptical until I saw Baxter at the ARC Centre for Robotic Vision at QUT in Brisbane.
As far as guests go – there is a good Australian one that I can recommend. Peter Corke at QUT is running this MOUC at the moment
and he wrote a book on Computer Vision in robots. They are doing work with Baxter but also autonomous subs that kill invasive starfish on the Great Barrier Reef and all sorts of other cool things. His course has been very popular and is one of the first big Australia MOUCs that I have seen.
Happy to introduce you to them if you like – but a certain co-host needs to be more respectful I think – if he just calls BS on everything he doesn’t agree with without doing some research I think it would not be a good podcast. Just sayin 🙂
just read the linked article in wired and it makes me laugh and cry. dont miss it!
Anton Maes says
The CEO having a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder value is actually a myth with no basis in law (at least in the US). It comes out of the “Shareholder Value Revolution” of the 1970s and 1980s.
Andrei Cimpoca says
Except that there is a responsibility and Washington Post is a crap newspaper like most mainstream media. I fail to see the difference between Fox News and them. It does not matter whether it is expressly written into law, as long as the shareholders can put massive pressure on whatever CEO they choose or go for a proven sociopath right from the start. And in the unlikely event that Jesus were put in charge of Chevron or whatever, when shareholders decide to take it to court, they have legal precedents on their side so it’s pretty much a settled case.
The first case was Dodge v. Ford Motor Company, 170 NW 668 (Mich 1919)
Yup, the father of contemporary industry himself got one between the ass cheeks.
Then the least known https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP_Smith_Manufacturing_Co._v._Barlow
and then https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shlensky_v._Wrigley
And besides, this kind of dog eat dog attitude is what is rewarded in the current socio-economic system. You need no law requiring people to eat. They tend to do that out of their natural self preservation instinct.
Frank Buss says
You should definitely do an interview with a Singuarity expert, like Ray Kurzweil (who is a good engineer as well, he created cool pianos and good speech recognition systems, now working at Google to create AI things) or Socrates ( https://www.singularityweblog.com ) who interviewed hundreds of people in this area and especially thought and talked about ethical conseques, like unemployment because of technological advances, or about drone abuses.