Friday, August 19, 2016

A New Endeavor

It's $ame old, $ame old when it comes to the war machine:

When robots go their separate ways" by Hiawatha Bray Globe Staff  August 19, 2016

BEDFORD — At iRobot Corp., the wars are over.

The company first made a name for itself by building remote-controlled military machines that picked through the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11 and disarmed Taliban booby traps in Afghanistan.

But in 2002, iRobot began selling a robotic home vacuum cleaner called Roomba, and today those home robots generate nearly all the company’s revenues. Shareholders noticed, and so did management.

And so in February, peace broke out at iRobot. In a deal worth up to $45 million, the company sold its defense and security division to the private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners as a new company, Endeavor Robotics.

The breakup frees Endeavor and iRobot to pursue very different strategies for future growth. Endeavor is counting on a big surge of new military orders. As older machines are retired, the Pentagon is planning to upgrade the fleet. And since Endeavor is already the Pentagon’s primary supplier of ground-based robots, with over 6,000 units sold under the iRobot brand, it is well positioned to compete for the upcoming contracts.

“The great thing about Endeavor now is that it is wholly dedicated to serving the military market, first responder market, and our industrial customers,” said the new company’s president, Tom Frost. “That means we can make decisions quickly that are best for our customers.”

For example, the US Army expects to buy hundreds of camera-equipped surveillance robots small enough to fit in a soldier’s backpack. These can be tossed through a door or window, then steered remotely around a building to check for booby traps or enemy soldiers. IRobot already makes a machine like this, called the FirstLook.

The Army is also in the market for a 150-pound robot similar to iRobot’s current PackBot machine, for use in surveillance and bomb disposal. Finally, the US Navy wants its own fleet of bomb-disposal robots.

So where do you PARC the damn thing?

The Defense Department is expected to request bids on all three of these programs by the middle of 2017. Endeavor plans to pursue each one. No dollar amounts have been announced for the programs, but a contract could easily run into the tens of millions of dollars, with additional revenue for spare parts and customized features like radiation sensors or chemical sniffers.

“It’s not a giant marketplace, and it certainly won’t have the impetus behind it we saw during the gulf wars,” said Dan Kara, a robotics analyst for ABI Research in New York.

But, Kara said, the decline in military spending for robots is over. “We’ve been in a couple of years of basically flat sales, and there’s expected to be small growth in the near term.” 

No, it's just the social services in au$tere AmeriKa.

Frost said the company is enhancing its current products with a laser mapping system that will enable a robot to quickly generate a map of its environment, then relay that data to other robots. Troops armed with tablet computers would be able to deploy robots to multiple locations by simply touching locations on the map.

With the NSA hacking tools being outed what is good is all this? 

Watchers watching watchers being watched?

“The idea is to make the control as simple as possible so that the operator doesn’t have to take his attention away from his other duties,” Frost said.  “The more driving it does on its own, the more the operator can concentrate on other things.” 

I think the "idea" is far more sinister: grid out the entire planet and leave no quarter. 

Of course, what would that have to do with cleaning up around the house?

The co-founder and chief executive of iRobot, Colin Angle, said the military business needed to be on its own to pursue new growth opportunities. For iRobot to provide sufficient capital for the consumer business, Angle said, “would have starved Endeavor, and it really needed to have its own access to capital and its own autonomy.”

Five years ago, when iRobot posted revenues of $465.5 million, 36 percent of it came from its sales to the US government. By 2015, revenues had surged to $618 million, but federal sales accounted for a mere 5 percent of the total.

While Roomba sales soared, the US military slashed its purchases of military robots as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wound down.

Those wars have wound down? Really? 

What do you do when the newspaper reporter is deluded or deceitful?

Angle is also using his robots’ mapping abilities in a radical new way. Future Roomba and Braava machines will map the location of a home’s intelligent devices, such as smart TV sets, networked audio systems, even light bulbs, and share that information with a central controller.

A central controller? Who is that going to be? 

Yeah, how radical that the vacuum will be mapping your living space if not more.

As consumers add more and more smart devices to their homes, the robot will keep track of them all while it tidies up the floor.

With every move they make they signal they no longer need us.

“The smart home wants to know where everything is and where you are,” said Angle. “The Roomba’s part in this is to make the map of your house, figure out where everything is.” That way, when you enter the living room and say “turn on the TV,” your smart home won’t turn on the bedroom set.

Since Pokemon has fizzled.

The success of this plan depends on whether consumers embrace the vaunted “Internet of things,” in which dozens of everyday device are connected to the home’s digital network.

But Angle thinks it’s bound to happen. And the spinoff of Endeavor Robotics proves that he’s quite willing to go his own way....

Which is what I'm going to do now.


So not only did the Terminator tell the truth, but the cat and the TV are keeping an eye on you with the smartphone right next to you.

Looks like the NSA knows all our secrets, and now so does everyone else

It's a development that could threaten the security of government and corporate computers, ‘‘the keys to the kingdom.’’  

The event that propelled us down this path:

"World Trade Center mall reopens, features new shops and restaurants" by Anne D’Innocenzio Associated Press  August 17, 2016

NEW YORK — The reopening — and reinvention — of the World Trade Center mall Tuesday reflects how much lower Manhattan has changed since the 9/11 attacks.

Once a scene of massive destruction, the area is now a vibrant one of office towers and upscale hotels, with three times the number of residents as before the attacks, weekday employees in industries beyond Wall Street, and millions of tourists visiting every year.

This is going to make me ill, this triumph out of tragedy bit from my lying war pre$$.

Shops from Apple to Forever 21 to H&M to John Varvatos will serve the increasingly diverse area where real estate experts say people have been eager for new stores and restaurants. The new spaces also let customers tap into technology, as some retailers use the space for their latest ideas.

The location is a ‘‘symbol of hope, opportunity, progress, and perseverance,’’ said Bill Hecht, chief operating officer of Westfield Corp.’s US division. Westfield manages the retail properties, while the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the real estate.

More than 100 stores will occupy the 365,000-square-foot center, with about 60 opening Tuesday and the rest by the winter holiday season. Ford Motor Co. is set to open this fall the first FordHub, a showroom for innovations that’s not a dealership. Shoe purveyor Aldo Group Inc. is using the opening to launch an app feature for its store, which will be rolled out to other locations. Digital billboards include a 280-foot-long one.

Food options include Eataly’s second Manhattan location, which features foods from Italy and coffee and gelato bars.

It stretches along a four-block underground network that spans the bases of three office towers. While mostly below street level, light beams in through the windows of the winged Oculus, designed by Santiago Calatrava, that top the transportation hub of 13 subway trains and river ferries. More than 300,000 commuters use it on a daily basis, many for jobs beyond finance in advertising and media.

That will bring a tear to the eye.

‘‘When you look at how many people now live in the neighborhood, how many commuters work in the neighborhood and how many tourists now are coming to the memorial, emotionally it was a no-brainer and financially it was a no-brainer,’’ Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s retailing chief, said at the store’s opening Tuesday.

More than 60,000 residents live within blocks of the World Trade Center area, about three times the number from right before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The former shopping mall in the World Trade Center was one of the most successful properties in the world, but catered to daytime weekday shopping, said Robin Abrams, vice chairman of The Lansco Corp., a real estate advisory firm. The new mall is expected to have a vibrant night and weekend atmosphere, and Hecht noted a deliberate move to include shops with necessities like drugstore Duane Reade. 

Do they throw weekend parties at the ore Holocaust™ Memorial? 

The tone of this whole article is warped. People will literally be dancing on graves. 

Maybe that's okay with you. I find it a tremendous insult to the dead. 

Westfield says 15 million travelers are expected to visit the area from the United States and around the world next year to see the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and other nearby places of interest. There is no signage on the side of the mall that faces the 9/11 memorial.

‘‘We have huge respect for this site,’’ Hecht said. On the anniversary of the attacks, the skylight of the Oculus — meant to symbolize the image of a dove released from a child’s hand — will open to bring in a slice of the open New York sky. 

For an inside job false flag that initiated World War III! 


Westfield said ensuring safety and security at the mall is the highest priority for it and the Port Authority. Uniformed police and private security will be present at the mall, Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo said, but declined to give specifics about any other measures.

‘‘As with any high-profile public location and transit center, there are extensive security measures that have been put in place with law enforcement and others,’’ Westfield said.

That doesn't seem to stop the "terrorists" from piggybacking on staged crisis drills. 


 Time to get off the blogging beam for a while.