Day: March 21, 2020

New robot developed at Stanford changes shape like a ‘Transformer’

The robotics team was inspired by the octopus which can change its shape and fit into small spaces.

Roboy the robot is fully compliant, soft, and huggable
Pascal Kaufmann introduces us to Roboy, which represents a new generation of robots.

On a recent sunny afternoon, Stanford University engineers pumped up their latest creation, turned on a few small motors and watched it move across a university green. The soft robot’s skeleton is built with flexible fabric tubes filled with air. Small motors move along the tubes to change the robot’s shape and allow it to move.
“The casual description of this robot that I give to people is Baymax from the movie Big Hero 6 mixed with Transformers,” said Nathan Usevitch, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Stanford who works on the project, in a press release.

The researchers published a paper Wednesday in Science Robotics about their invention.  

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2020 tech conferences: Dates, locations, and which events are changing due to COVID-19

2020 is here, and with it are all the usual tech conferences and events. If you’re a tech professional who travels for business, check out this list of events–you’re sure to find something that suits your speciality. We will update this list as new events and conferences are announced and dates are finalized. 

Note: The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has forced many conferences to cancel, postpone, relocate, or change to an online-only model. Look for a bracketed note next to a conference to determine if it has been affected. We will update this article if more changes to scheduled conferences are announced.

  • March 1: IoT in Action in Mexico City

  • March 2-4: Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Dubai

  • March 2-4: Gartner CIO Leadership Forum in Amsterdam

  • March 3-6: Cisco Live! in Melbourne [canceled]

  • March 4: DocuSign Momentum in San Francisco [online only]

  • March 4-5: Power Platform World Tour in

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    GitHub’s mobile app to go open source? Definitely “maybe”

    Commentary: Not all software makes sense as open source, but a GitHub mobile app just might.

    Image: Allmy, Shutterstock / Allmy

    In a world increasingly powered by open source software, there’s still plenty of software that really doesn’t need to be open source. Or, perhaps put a better way, there is software that could be open source and no one would care or contribute.

    GitHub’s new mobile app probably doesn’t fall into that category. While most developers won’t necessarily have interest or aptitude in contributing to a voice memo or word processing app, it’s a fair bet that they’d have plenty to say (and code) when it comes to GitHub.

    SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


    Soon after Ryan Nystrom, GitHub’s director of engineering, announced the new mobile app for iOS and Android, with the promise of “TONS more features in upcoming app

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    GM and Ventec Life Systems partner to ramp up production of ventilators – TechCrunch

    GM said Friday that it is working with Ventec Life Systems to help increase production of respiratory care products such as ventilators that are needed by a growing number of hospitals as the COVID-19 pandemics spreads throughout the U.S.

    The partnership is part of, a coordinated effort of private companies to respond to COVId-19, a disease caused by coronavirus.

    Ventec will use GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators. The companies did not provide further details such as when production might be able to ramp up or how many ventilators would be produced.

    GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement that GM is working closely with Ventec to rapidly scale up production.

    “We will continue to explore ways to help in this time of crisis,” Barra added.

    The need for ventilators is urgent as cases of COVID-19 pop up with increasing frequency as

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    How a strong telecommuting policy can benefit any organization

    If your employees are asking about telecommuting to work, you may find that a telecommuting policy helps make things clear to them. Here’s what you need to know.

    Image: Monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images/iStockphoto

    As workers look for better work-life balance and employers need to find talent to fill vital roles, telecommuting can accomplish both goals. More people are looking for the option of remote work when looking for a new job. Companies need developers, security experts, and devops professionals to lead digital transformation work and secure the enterprise. 

    SEE: TechRepublic Premium Telecommuting Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

    Several studies show that the trend toward telecommuting is not going away. In the 2019 State of Remote Work report, Owl Labs found that 24% of survey respondents would take a 10% pay cut to be able to telecommute. 

    Owl Labs also found that workers who work remotely some of the time are happier, feel more trusted,

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    Scientists suggest governments build a mobile tracking app to trace people exposed to coronavirus

    The scientists want to use a mobile app to help governments track, test and isolate people exposed to COVID-19.

    8 ways tech pros are helping healthcare providers cope with coronavirus
    Free telehealth toolkits, childcare calculators, and symptom screeners are a few of the tools and services now available to ease the burden on hospitals and doctors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Three researchers at the University of Oxford want to build an app to serve as a control center for coping with the
    . The app could do everything from sharing information about the coronavirus to tracking contact with other people to testing and even food delivery.

    This approach could replace contact tracing, a tactic that has helped several Asian countries control the outbreak in their communities. The app also could build herd immunity more quickly, which could reduce the impact of the virus.

    In a blog post on the

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