Enterprise Pepper Robot Can Be Rented For $440 Monthly

Business is all about opportunity cost - most businesses would like to own their premises, but reality dictates that rental is the way to go until one makes such a huge profit and finds a suitable seller. Having said that, one’s business would also need to make adequate profit to cover the costs of operation - rental include.

August 01, 2015 at 06:07AM
5 things 'BattleBots' producers are planning if the show gets another season

“BattleBots” just aired its thrilling, flame thrower-filled, metal shrapnel-rich finale on Sunday and pronounced Bite Force its champion, but that doesn’t mean the competition show is finished — not by a mile.

The show did pretty well for ABC. It averaged 4.6 million viewers and saw increases in both viewers and the advertiser-coveted 18 to 49-year-old demographic over the past two weeks.

“We don’t know about Season 2 and I don’t want to jinx it," "BattleBots” co-founder and executive producer Greg Munson told Business Insider of the chances for renewal. “But, if you look at the Magic 8-Ball, it would say, ‘All signs point to yes.’”

“BattleBots” producers are definitely looking forward and feeling confident that ABC will renew the series for a second season (seventh if you count the five seasons it ran on Comedy Central from 2000 to 2002). And they’ve definitely given some thought as to what they’d like to do similarly and what they’d like to change up.

Here’s four things the producers have planned for a likely second season of “BattleBots”:

1.) Continue to emphasize the competition as a sport.
“We invested in the tournament as a trackable sports event,” executive producer and head of unscripted for Whalerock Industries, Chris Cowan, told BI. “I don’t want to be too self-aggrandizing although we do believe that it is legitimately a sport. This is not to challenge all the traditional sports that are out there. we just believe it’s a fantastic outlet for people who can get into real competition with these things.”

Next season, the series would continue its emphasis on the “March Madness-like” bracket, how it’s set up, and the back story behind the teams and their robots.

“We want it so you can guess who’s going to win the matches,” Cowan explained. “It’s more digestible to a broader audience, because we’re framing it in a way they understand.

2.) Improve on the technical coverage.
While the producers wanted to focus on builders and backgrounds, they found that the technical side of the competition wasn’t getting as much time to shine.

"A little more tech,” Munson emphasized. “I think the sport side of it is great. We’ve seen the pit and how the builders are working on them between rounds. I just want to see a little more of that. That’s something we can tweak for Season 2.”

3.) Hold the competition as an open-invitation tournament.
Due to time constraints, Season 1 had to be an invitation-only tournament in order to guarantee that everybody who competed was a builder of a high enough caliber for the tournament. But with Season 2, that could open up.

“Our dream for this is that it be an open invitation tournament,” Cowan said. “I’m hoping that what this show is doing is lighting the fuse of the imagination who want to now tear their lawnmowers apart and start building.”

Producers hope to have more competitors, more episodes, more matches, 

4.) Foster the evolution of bots through its rules.
In many ways, an open ournament helps here. But, the producers encourage competitors to find loopholes in the rules.

“With any established competition — it doesn’t matter if it’s a game show or a hundred-year-old sport — it’s almost tradition that the competitors will look for ways to evolve their interpretation of the rules,” he said. “You’re never going to be able to stop that. We actually encourage it as long as it’s done in good sportsmanship.”

“We have a small competition committee looking at the rules and trying to tweak them, so we encourage innovation in design,” Munson said.

5.) Encourage evolution through changes to the arena.
“It’s an entertainment program and we want the most exciting fights we can possibly put on television with the most badass, interesting and creative-looking robots and best builders,” Munson explained. “So, we also have to look at the arena itself and find ways to tweak it to push these builders to evolve their machines.”

SEE ALSO: This is why 'BattleBots’ was able to return to TV after 13 years

MORE: AMC’s new show 'Humans’ will change the way you look at your Roomba

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NOW WATCH: Mark Cuban just sent us this hilarious ‘Shark Tank’ spoof that replaces all the judges with clones of himself

Robot@Business Insider:
August 01, 2015 at 08:30PM
How to save a ton of money when using your smartphone overseas

If you’re traveling outside of the US, it’s nice to be able to use your smartphone.

It’s not only great to keep in touch, and could be essential if you have to work while you’re away from home, but it’s also useful for navigating an unfamiliar place, getting local information, making plans, and, of course, sharing photos.

But using your US-based phone outside of the country can get very expensive very quickly.

For example, I’m an AT&T subscriber, and international plans that allow me to use my phone in 150 countries start at $30 a month, on top of what I'm already paying each month.

That may not sound like much money, but the plans don’t give you much: a small fraction of the data you likely use each month, and a rate for phone calls that ranges from between $0.35 and $1.00 per minute. And if you don’t sign up for a plan before you use your phone in another country it could cost as much as $2.50 a minute and a whopping $19.97 per megabyte.

For example, here are some of AT&T’s international plans. Check out how much it costs just to get a 800 megabytes of data:

Verizon has similarly priced international packages that you can buy before you leave the US, or pay-as-you-go plans that cost as much as $2.99 per minute, $0.50 per text message, and $2.05 per megabyte.

Here are Verizon’s Preferred Pricing plans:

If you’re a Sprint or T-Mobile subscriber, you may be able to use your phone at no extra cost when you travel abroad in many countries. Both carriers actually offer free data and texting outside of the US, and voice calls for $0.20 per minute. But the data speeds are 2G — really slow if you’re used to 3G or 4G LTE — which may not be fast enough for you, depending on what you’re doing with your phone. And the coverage isn’t worldwide. Be sure to check where Sprint and T-Mobile offer free international roaming before your trip, and if your plan qualifies.

Still, Sprint and T-Mobile will charge you a lot if you want to use 4G or 3G data overseas, just like Verizon and AT&T do.

The best option

But the least expensive and easiest way that I’ve found to use your phone abroad is to buy a local SIM card, which gives you a local phone number in whatever country you’re visiting.

A SIM card is the little card that goes inside your phone and allows it to connect to a network. In many countries, you can find them in convenience stores, airports, and, of course, local carriers’ shops.

I recently went on vacation to Italy and Slovenia, and in both countries I bought prepaid plans that included SIM cards. It was not only easy to do this, but it was also cheap.

And I mean ridiculously cheap.

In Italy, two gigabytes of 3G data and 100 minutes of international talk time, which I could use to call the US, was under €20, or about $21.83. In Slovenia, one gigabyte of data was about €9 (about $9.83), and I was charged a low rate per minute, though I don’t remember what it was, to make phone calls.

This much data would have cost me hundreds of dollars if I had purchased my plan through AT&T or Verizon.

I bought the SIM cards at carrier shops — WIND in Italy, and Si.mobil in Slovenia — and the people working at the stores set up the phone for me. It only took a few minutes to choose a pre-paid plan, buy the SIM card, pop the SIM card in (be sure to save your old one for when you get back to the US!) and register the phone.

In Italy, we were required to show our IDs, which the store clerk photocopied. 

Buying a local SIM is also a great way to get some good local information that you may not find in a guidebook. The clerk at the WIND store gave us an incredible dinner recommendation — his favorite seafood place — and also told us where he goes to get the best gelato in Venice. 

It took a few hours for my phone to register to the network — a bit longer in Slovenia than it did in Italy — but soon after I visited the stores, I was able to use my phone like I use it in the US. It was very useful to help navigate the narrow and twisting alleyways of Venice.

I spent a week in each country, and I wasn’t planning on using my phone much — I was on vacation, so I didn’t need to work — so all the data I bought was more than enough. 

I also knew that there would be wifi networks at most of the places I stayed.

As my colleague Antonio Villas-Boas reported recently, streaming music for an hour — at typical quality — can use around 40 megabytes, and browsing a social networking app can use about twice that. Watching video from YouTube or Netflix, however, could eat up hundreds of megabytes an hour.

The networks in each country gave us speeds at 3G, which was fast enough for everything we wanted to do, like check email, use the GPS, and use apps like Business Insider, the New York Times, Facebook, Instagram, FaceTime, and more.

There are some important things consider if you’d like to buy a SIM card in another country and use it in a phone you bought in the US.

This only works if you have an “unlocked” phone. A locked phone is designed to work on one carrier's network, so in order to be able to use it on another network, it has to be unlocked. The good news is that thanks to a law passed last year, which made unlocking phones legal, new phones are increasingly coming unlocked.

All 4G LTE phones from Verizon, as well as most phones from the carrier, for example, come unlocked, and AT&T customers can request online instructions to unlock their phones.

But it’s a good idea to check with your mobile provider to see if your phone is unlocked and if it will work on a network outside of the US, especially if the phone is a couple of years old. 

For more on unlocking phones in the US, check out this great explainer from Kate Fox at The Consumerist

Also, because phone numbers are associated with SIM cards, you’ll lose your phone number as soon as you pop out your SIM and put a new one in. That means that people in the US won’t be able to reach you while you’re gone if they call or text your US phone number.

Be sure to hold on to your existing SIM card and keep it in a safe place. The clerk at the Si.Mobil store in Slovenia suggested using a small piece of tape to secure it to the card that your new SIM card comes on, which worked well.

Not having my US phone number didn’t matter to me, and probably won’t be a big deal to you. You can, of course, just give your new number to people who you think will want to reach you while you’re gone. But it’s much easier to use what are called “over the top” apps to call and text. These apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage, and Skype, use a wifi or cellular network instead of minutes, so you don’t need to worry about using up any minutes you paid for. 

So don’t worry about signing up for an expensive travel plan from your US carrier next time you go abroad. Just make sure your phone is unlocked, and buy a local SIM card when you arrive.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This robot wakes you up in the morning and checks if you turned off the oven when you leave the house

Robot@Business Insider:
August 01, 2015 at 07:01PM
Ping Pong death robot will teach you to serve (its dystopian needs)

When we envision the robot apocalypse, it doesn’t usually begin with an innocent game of table tennis, but a new video reveals that we might want to consider such a scenario

The Japan-based company Omron (a properly ominous sounding name) posted the video to show off how its automation technology can help humanity

See also: Steve Wozniak: In the future, robots will keep humans as pets

Omron’s video starts off well enough, showing a wide range friendly-looking frail humans playing ping-pong


But when the camera reveals the giant, instectoid robot hulking over the table returning human serves it looks like ping-pong is the last thing this death machine would be engaged in if it had its way Read more…

More about Japan, Robots, Ping Pong, Tech, and Apps Software

August 01, 2015 at 06:26PM