OREANDA-NEWS. October 03, 2016. With droopy electronic eyes, two gangly arms and four spindly legs, MANTIS looks like it could be a sidekick in a science-fiction blockbuster.

This robot isn’t from a universe far, far away, but from northern Germany. And it was on display this week in Amsterdam among a half-dozen walking, flying and crawling machines powered by NVIDIA technologies playing a starring role at GTC Europe.

GTC attendees clustered around the MANTIS on the floor of the city’s Passenger Terminal to snap photos and talk to members of the team from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the University Bremen that put it together.

It’s both an ingenious design, and a classic machine learning problem. The robot can grasp and manipulate objects with its two arms while scurrying around on four legs. Or it can crouch down to use all six of its appendages to scuttle across particularly tricky terrain.

The challenge: the robot’s operator has to manipulate between 20 and 50 parameters as this machine moves. It’s unique design means it’s got tremendous potential. To make the most of it, the robot’s creators are working to use our Jetson embedded platform — and the power of deep learning — to make MANTIS truly autonomous.

The team’s engineers plan to use Jetson to help MANTIS evaluate how it moves through its environment. It can then create a knowledge base that Jetson can use in conjunction with the TensorRT high-performance neural network inference engine to put these lessons to work, in real time, as it moves.

MANTIS was a highlight of GTC Europe’s embedded track, which packed in 18 sessions by leading researchers, companies and startups talking about how they’re using deep learning and GPUs to push the boundaries of embedded technology.

Thanks to our Jetson embedded platform and the power of deep learning — the AI revolution kickstarted by GPUs — devices of all kinds are becoming increasingly intelligent. A few highlights:

  • Aerialtronics released one of the first commercial drones, Altura Zenith, using AI technology to visually inspect buildings, cell towers, wind turbines and more. All real-time processing is done onboard the drone.
  • Birds.ai is computer vision software for precision agriculture and inspection, enabling drones to count cattle, crops and more. Birds.ai customers can get a bird’s eye view of all of their assets through aerial imagery.
  • IIT and R1, also known as “your personal Humanoids,” are robots created to help people in their daily tasks in homes and offices. They cost about the price of a new TV.
  • Neurala has deep learning software, Brains for Bots, that runs in real time on a drone. With Neurala software, a drone can learn objects, scenes, people or obstacles. It can also recognize them when viewed by the camera, locate them within the video stream and track them as they move.
  • Parrot is showing its latest S.L.A.M. Dunk open development kit for the design of advanced applications for autonomous navigation, obstacle avoidance, indoor navigation and 3D mapping for drones and other robotic platforms in environments with multiple barriers and where GPS signals are not available.
  • Squadrone Systems is demonstrating real-time data collection and data analytics for logistics, site exploration and surveillance. These autonomous flying drones can scan items in bins and recognize misplaced items.