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MIT teaches robots to ‘feel’ objects just by looking at them



MIT teaches robots to 'feel' objects just by looking at themMIT/CSAIL via CNN
MIT researchers used a sophisticated touch sensor and a web camera to teach robots to predict what something feels like by looking at it.

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are teaching robots to “see” what an object looks like just by touching it and predict what something will feel like by looking at it.

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have created a predictive artificial intelligence to help robots use multi-modal sensory inputs.

It’s something people do all the time.

If you look at a fuzzy sweater and a barbell, you’ll be able to tell that one is soft and the other is hard. Or if someone hands you a hammer, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of what it looks like, even if you’re blindfolded.

Robots can be equipped with visual and touch sensors, but it’s tougher for them to combine that information.

“The two directions is only possible because we humans have this synchronized information all through our childhood,” said Yunzhu Li, the lead author of a paper on the research. “We also want our robots to have this capability.”

The researchers put a special tactile sensor on a robot arm and had it poke stuff.

A webcam recorded the arm touching almost 200 objects, such as tools, fabrics and household products, more than 12,000 times.

They broke the video clips down into individual frames, which gave them a data set of more than 3 million visual/tactile-paired images. That information was used to help the robot predict what it would feel when it saw a certain image, and vice versa.

“If you see a sharp edge or a flat surface, you can imagine how it would feel if you go and touch it,” Yunzhu Li said. “This what we also want, to have our robots have this capability.”

This technology could be used to help robots figure out the best way to hold an object just by looking at it.

It could also help them locate a specific item, even if they can’t see it.

“You handle some cases where the light is off or you’re reaching into some box where you have very limited vision available, or even to the extreme consider you are reaching into your pocket and trying to find out where your keys are and grasp them out,” he said.

The data set only includes data collected in a controlled environment, but the team hopes to improve this by collecting new data out in the world.

A paper based on the research is scheduled to be presented Thursday at The Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition in Long Beach, California.

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The WhatsApp safety warnings you need to know about




Nearly everyone is on WhatsApp these days but very few people actually take the time to make sure they are using the app safely.

The Facebook-owned service is now the world’s biggest chat app, boasting some two billion members.

This means it is now a prime target for cyber attacks and the spread of malicious messages.

That’s why bosses have now issued a number of warnings on how to stay safe while on the site, reports the Express.

So read on for five tips which will help you use the app safely.

1) Set up two-step verification:

Two-step verification adds an additional layer of protection by requiring your six-digit PIN when resetting and verifying your WhatsApp account. This helps prevent your WhatsApp account being accessed in the event of your SIM card being stolen or your phone number compromised.

Setting up two-step verification is simple, and can be found in the ‘Account’ tab within WhatsApp settings.

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2) Get your profile privacy updated:

You have the power to control what details you share with others on WhatsApp in your personal profile. WhatsApp lets you decide who you’d like to share your profile information with – whether that’s everyone, just your contacts, or nobody.

At any time, you can restrict your Last Seen, Profile Photo, About and Status within WhatsApp’s privacy setting menu.

3) Sort your group privacy settings:

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The Group Privacy setting enables you to control who adds you to a WhatsApp group – enabling you to pick and choose which group chats you’d like to be a part of.

To enable it, go to Settings in your app, then tap Account > Privacy > Groups and select one of three options: “Everyone,” “My Contacts,” or “My Contacts Except”.

“My Contacts” means only users you have in your address book can add you to groups and “My Contacts Except” provides additional control for who among your contacts can add you to a group.

4) Lock your WhatsApp with Touch ID or Face ID:

WhatsApp offers its users the ability to add an extra layer of security to their accounts with Touch ID and Face ID for iPhone, and Fingerprint lock for Android.

As with many banking apps, you can also decide whether you would like WhatsApp to automatically lock you out of the app as soon as you close the app, or after various durations of inactivity.

5)Update the app regularly:

WhatsApp says it is constantly working to improve its service for users. That’s why many updates involve new and improved security features. To ensure your security standard is always top notch, make sure your WhatsApp is updated to the newest version available.

If your phone does not have its auto-update setting turned on, you will need to manually update WhatsApp by going to your phone’s app store, searching for WhatsApp, and tapping ‘update’.

In addition, you should always keep your mobile phone operating system up to date to get the latest security protections from Apple or Google.

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