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AI

Gitamini is a cute, compact, cargo-carrying robot that will follow you around like a dog

Piaggio Fast Forward, a subsidiary of storied Italian automotive firm Piaggio, has launched its second robot, a compact version of its cargo-carrying bot Gita named Gitamini.

The form and function of Gitamini remain the same as that of full-sized Gita (the name is Italian for a small trip or outing). The robot consists of two large wheels, a central trunk, and a machine vision system that it uses to identify and follow its owner. Gitamini weighs 28 pounds and can carry up to 20 pounds in its interior for 21 miles. That makes an interesting comparison to Gita, which can carry more — 40 pounds but only for 12 miles.

Gitamini uses an array of cameras and sensors, including radar (not available for the original Gita), to navigate and follow its user. To activate this follow mode, you simply stand in front of the Gitamini and tap a pairing button. The robot will then lock on to you using vision only (no GPS or Bluetooth are utilized) and will follow you at speeds of up to 6mph.

The original Gita (left) and new Gitamini (right).
Image: Piaggio Fast Forward

The robot’s trunk can be locked and its follow mode disabled, but there are no active theft mitigation features. When asked about this, Piaggio Fast Forward’s CEO Greg Lynn told The Verge that it was “unlikely someone could get away with walking away with it unnoticed” as it’s such a noticeable object. “A stolen Gita isn’t of much use to anyone as it uses a secure connection to a phone to be unlocked, updated, and used,” says Lynn. “We have yet to learn of a Gita being stolen or broken into while being used or when parked.”

The Gita has always been a bit of an odd product. It certainly looks fantastic, and videos suggest it works more or less as advertised (though it’s noisier than you might expect). But it’s not clear exactly who’s going to spend thousands of dollars on something that only carries a few bags and is stymied by steps and stairs. Gitamini doesn’t change any of these basic annoyances, though it is at least a little cheaper — it costs $1,850 (and will be available to buy from October 15th at mygita.com) while the launch sees the price of the original Gita drop to $2,950.

When we asked CEO Greg Lynn about the robot, he declined to share any sales figures with us but said there were Gita robots operating in “half the states in the US […] with a focus on the Southern belt where outdoor weather is more friendly year-round.”

“Most of the consumer Gitas are being used to replace car trips for neighborhood errands in a variety of communities, and they are used outdoors for round trips of a mile or more,” said Lynn. Though, he noted that the company had some business customers, too. There are currently Gitas in eight airports in the US (including JFK and LAX) and a number more in planned communities, like Water Street Tampa in Florida and Ontario Ranch in California.

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Game

Naughty Dog reveals more details about ‘The Last of Us’ remake for PS5 and PC

As if official confirmation was actually needed after the leak earlier today, a remake of 2013’s The Last Of Us is coming to PlayStation 5 on September 2nd. Sony put together a trailer showing some of the gorgeous visuals of The Last of Us Part I and noted that the remake is coming to PC as well. The bundle also includes the excellent Left Behind expansion.

The developers used original performances from Ashley Johnson, Troy Baker, and the rest of the cast, but utilized a new AI and refreshed the combat. The effects and exploration have been enhanced as well. The team is harnessing 3D audio and the DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. There will be more accessibility features than the original game had too, building on the extensive options in The Last of Us Part II. More details will be revealed in the coming months.

The remake is a full-price game at $70. Opt for the $80 Digital Deluxe edition and you’ll be able to unlock some items and features early, including a speedrun mode, explosive arrows(!), weapon skins and modifiers for faster crafting and healing. The $100 Firefly edition includes all of those bonuses as well as a steelbook cover for the physical version and four issues of the The Last of Us: American Dreams comic. There are pre-order perks for every version too.

That’s not the only news about the franchise that was revealed today. It’s long been acknowledged that a standalone multiplayer games set in the world of The Last of Us was in the works, and now Naughty Dog has revealed more details about what’s in store. Studio co-president Neil Druckmann, the director of the first two games in the series, showed the first concept art at Summer Game Fest.

TLOU multiplayer game

Naughty Dog

Druckmann said it will be “as big of as any of our single-player games that we’ve done, and in some ways bigger.” It has its own story and a new cast of characters, along with a fresh setting. It’s led by a team of Naughty Dog veterans who have worked on the series as well as the Uncharted games. More details will be announced next year. 

Following that announcement, Druckmann touched on the HBO’s upcoming The Last of Us series. While lots of set photos have popped up over the last year, he showed the second official still from the show. It shows Joel (Pedro Pascal) and (Bella Ramsay) taking cover. Bump up the brightness on the image, though, and you’ll see something lurking in the background.

The Last of Us show

PlayStation Productions/HBO

It also emerged that Johnson and Baker, who played Ellie and Joel in the games, will appear in the show, but their roles haven’t been revealed as yet. Filming will wrap on the first season tomorrow. While the series is expected to arrive next year, Druckmann said that fans will hear more about it “very soon.”

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Categories
Game

‘Lost Judgment’ will let you team up with a dog detective

Lost Judgment, the sequel to detective adventure Judgment, arrives in a couple of months and Sony has given a deeper look at what to expect with a gameplay trailer. For one thing, there are a ton of mini-games for you to check out, including a Sonic the Hedgehog one.

You’ll be able to tail and chase suspects, once again adopt disguises, harness Takayuki Yagami’s parkour skills and use a bevy of gadgets. Perhaps most excitingly, you’ll have a companion dog who can help you find targets and assist in fights.

When it comes to combat, you can draw from a variety of martial arts forms, including the new counterattack-centric snake style. The trailer also shows off more of Yagami’s side-quests while he’s undercover as a high school advisor. You’ll be able to build and control a robot in the robotics club, for instance.

It’s not exactly surprising that there’ll be so much to see and do here, given the depth of the original and developer Ryu ga Gotoku Studio’s history with the Yakuza series. The trailer gives just a taste of what you’ll be able to do in Lost Judgment, which arrives on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on September 24th.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Tech News

The USPS’ dog attack rankings is the 2020 scorecard we never knew we needed

The United States Postal Office released a chart ranking individual cities and states in dog attacks for the year 2020. This is not the first time the USPS released such a chart – as such, they have numbers of dog attacks available for both the top 25 cities and the top 10 states. While it’s certainly not a ranking a state should be proud of, it’s interesting to see which states have the most (reported) dog attacks on postal workers this past year – and which states have had the most dog attacks reported since the ranking system began to be tabulated.

The reason this listing is made public by the USPS is to make citizens of the United States aware of the dangers of dog interaction with postal workers. A dog doesn’t need to be a BAD dog to have a violent encounter with a postal worker – they could be a GREAT dog defending their family from what they perceive as a threat.

As the USPS suggested in their dog promotion: Dog bites are entirely preventable, and “one bite is too many.” To avoid negative interactions, the USPS recommends that, when a letter carrier comes to deliver the mail, dogs should be inside the house or behind a fence, “away from the door or in another room,” and/or on a leash.

For the year 2020, the number 1 city for reported dog attacks on USPS employees was Houston, Texas. Houston had a total of 73 attacks in the year 2020. The next entry on the list was Chicago with 59 attacks, followed by Los Angeles with 54. Cleveland had 46, Denver had 44, Baltimore had 43.

Number 7 on the list for 2020 was Columbus, OH, with 37 attacks. San Antonio, TX had 36, San Diego, CA had 35, tied with Detroit for 10th place. The rest of the list was pretty close, with between 13 and 34 attacks in the year 2020.

The ranking went as follows: Louisville, St. Louis, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Toledo, Miami, Long Beach, and Albuquerque. Next was Shawnee Mission (KS), Charlotte (NC), Dayton, Canton, New Orleans, Omaha, Fort Worth, Wichita, Memphis, Richmond, Flint, Tulsa, San Francisco, Rockford, Syracuse, Arlington, Jamaica (NY), Rochester (NY), Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. The last 5 entries were tied for 25th place with 13 bites.

The top 10 dog bite states for the year 2020 started with California, with 782 attacks. Texas was second with 402 attacks in 2020, then Ohio with 369. The rest of the list went as follows: NY (295), PA (291), IL (290), MI (253), FL (198), NJ (179), and VA (169). About half the states on the top list had attack rates go down, somewhat, from 2019 to 2020. California went up – as did IL, MI, NJ, and VA.

ALSO NOTE: One of the most important tips the USPS has for families with kids, is the following. “Pet owners should remind their children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat.”

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Categories
Game

Warhammer 40K game squeezes rat to control robot dog

Bear with me here, the following journey down this game control rabbit hole is worth the mental gymnastics. The folks at the game company Games Workshop hold the license to the game Warhammer 40,000, AKA Warhammer 40K. This game universe is best known as a tabletop game, complete with massive amounts of paint-it-yourself parts that’ve become more successful than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Game publisher Focus Home Interactive worked with Games Workshop to license Warhammer 40K story elements to create the game Necromunda: Hired Gun. This is a game that takes place in the Warhammer 40K universe. This game will be released soon on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC on June 1, 2021.

Above you’ll see the first major “reveal trailer” for the game Necromunda: Hired Gun. In it, you’ll get a peek at the intense action and bullet-riddle madness that’ll make this game worth a play. If everything we experienced in the best FPS ever made remains just-as-fun here in Necromunda, we should have a winner on our hands. Wall running aplenty – moving all around the map for the win!

But here’s the thing – this is the part that makes this game look like it’s going to be above-and-beyond the pale… in a good way? You’ll get to control a bionic dog. As Kotaku notes, the “cyber-mastiff” will be controlled by the user with a rat-shaped chew toy. This is going to be beyond strange.

The screenshot you see at the head of this article comes from Streum on Studio and Focus Home Interactive, the folks developing and publishing this game. It feels like the first time we ever played Unreal Tournament, or DOOM. It’s weird. It’s sort of disturbing. It’s exactly what we needed to get interested in a game that might otherwise have been lost among the shooters.

Cross your fingers this game is everything it professes to be. We’ll be playing as soon as possible – squeaker rat right out the gate!

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Categories
Tech News

Boston Dynamics’ terrifying robot dog now has an arm and can self-charge

Spot the four-legged robot has already proven adept at dancing, running,  and err, falling over — and the old dog is still learning new tricks.

Boston Dynamics has given Spot a new robotic arm that can grasp, carry, place, and drag a variety of objects.

The secretive firm today showed off Spot moving tools, pulling levers, opening doors, and closing valves, at a launch event for a new lineup of the robots.

The arm can manually or semi-autonomously perform physical work or act on data insights at construction sites, underground mines, power plants, and offshore rigs.

[Read: How much does it cost to buy, own, and run an EV? It’s not as much as you think]

The arm is one of several new additions to the Spot lineup. Boston Dynamics has also launched a self-charging version of the robot, and web-based software that operators can use to control their fleet of from a virtual control room.

CEO Robert Player said there are now more than 400 Spots in the world:

Our goal is to make Spot your go-to platform for mobile data collection and manipulation.

Businesses can buy one of the quadrupeds for $74,500. But it might be a while before you can get one to clean your house or make your dinner.

Spot’s terms and conditions of sale currently prohibit home use of the devices — although the company has hinted that this will change in the future.

Published February 2, 2021 — 20:39 UTC



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