As Amazon moves major team out of Seattle, mayor of neighboring city celebrates ‘Bellevue Prime’

As Amazon moves major team out of Seattle, mayor of neighboring city celebrates ‘Bellevue Prime’

6:01pm, 26th April, 2019
Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak. (City of Bellevue Photo) Amazon is often criticized for its massive ambitions — which can sometimes seem . But the mayor of Bellevue, Wash., had nothing but praise for the Seattle tech giant when he delivered his annual State of the City address this week. John Chelminiak celebrated Amazon’s decision to from Seattle to Bellevue, where the tech giant was originally founded. The move will bring thousands of jobs to the city, which sits across Lake Washington from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. “It was a boost that we need and I think we all need to thank Amazon for coming back home,” Chelminiak said in front of a backdrop that read “Bellevue Prime.” This week Amazon in Bellevue, a major development site that could eventually become a centerpiece of the tech giant’s rapidly growing footprint there. Amazon in 2017. In less than two years, the company’s Bellevue presence has multiplied to more than 1 million square feet, not counting this new development site. Why it matters: Bellevue and Seattle find themselves in a bizarre love triangle with Amazon, which has an increasingly contentious relationship with its hometown. Amazon said the decision to relocate its critical worldwide operations team was due, in part, to Bellevue’s “business-friendly environment.” It’s easy to read that as a slight against Seattle City Hall, which Amazon has described as Sharing the spotlight: Though Chelminiak is thrilled about the influx of Amazonians, he spent more time during his speech praising Washington’s other tech titan. “I also want to talk about the importance of our community and another company that has done something that, in my mind, is beyond incredible and that is the effort by Microsoft to work in the affordable housing area,” he said. In January, Microsoft to support low- and middle-income housing in the Seattle region. The software giant is headquartered near Bellevue in Redmond, Wash.
Bellevue accelerates self-driving transit plans as Amazon moves major team from Seattle

Bellevue accelerates self-driving transit plans as Amazon moves major team from Seattle

1:20pm, 15th April, 2019
A graphic from the CommutePool grant application describes the proposed system. (City of Bellevue) For more than a year, transportation wonks and city officials have been working to turn Bellevue, Wash., into a smart mobility hub. But news that Amazon a major team from its Seattle headquarters to the nearby city is adding a new level of urgency to that goal. The plan is to launch CommutePool, a network of self-driving, electric vehicles serving commuters in Bellevue and Kirkland, Wash. Advocates for CommutePool are accelerating their Bellevue plans in the wake of Amazon’s announcement, according to Bruce Agnew, Director of ACES, the organization behind the project. Agnew says the CommutePool partners are “recalibrating our private fundraising goals in light of accelerated commercial development of downtown Bellevue.” The City of Bellevue is seeking private funding to test autonomous vehicles along fixed routes downtown at low speeds. They’ve partnered with (Automated, Connected, Electric, Shared), the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, and AAA Washington on the project. Together they are interviewing three transportation firms for the tests: Keolis, Transdev, and First Transit. ACES is co-chaired by Madrona Venture Group Managing Director Tom Alberg, and INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele. The organization to seek grant funding and lay the groundwork for self-driving transit in Bellevue. Madrona Managing Director Tom Alberg, who was one of Amazon’s first investors, speaks with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a Madrona event in 2015. (Madrona Photo) “We believe that we should receive the federal grant but, if not, we are encouraged that several of our major employers are interested in helping fund the launch of the program,” said Alberg, an early Amazon investor who is . Because efforts to secure public grant funding have been sluggish, Bellevue is exploring a new model to get its transportation vision off the ground. “We’re getting ready to do this CommutePool with or without a grant,” said Steve Marshall, who manages transportation technology partnerships for the City of Bellevue, back in February. “Particularly since Amazon’s made the announcements about having a lot more office space in Bellevue, we’re thinking that we ought to just go forward with this now and speed up the timeline.” The CommutePool partners are canvassing businesses in the area to seek funding for the project. In the next two weeks, they plan to meet with senior executives at Amazon. The launch date is dependent on fundraising. ACES hopes to launch tests during the final quarter of 2019 but the plans could be pushed out to early 2020. In April, that Amazon plans to relocate its entire Seattle-based worldwide operations team to Bellevue, Wash., adding thousands of employees to its new campus. The migration will begin this year and finish by 2023. The team will move into at least three Bellevue buildings: Summit III, a 17-story building , Expedia’s , and the 13-story Summit II building. Seattle employees may also move into Amazon’s Center 425 building. The news has Bellevue transportation officials doubling down on their CommutePool plans in anticipation of the arrival of thousands of new Amazon workers. Tapping the expertise of the region’s tech industry is key to the project. Amazon and Luum — a Seattle-based startup that provides commuting services — plan to develop an app to help travelers access the CommutePool system. The app will allow commuters to reserve parking at pick-up locations, reserve seats, and schedule pick-ups and drop-offs, according to the CommutePool . “If Amazon could start with this CommutePool service and then eventually expand it to be able to link to all kinds of public transit and bike-shares, other ride-shares, not only here but around the country, they’d be doing two things,” Marshall said. “They’d be helping their own employees in this area get to and from work but they’d also be setting up another business line.”
The team behind Baidu’s first smart speaker is now using AI to make films

The team behind Baidu’s first smart speaker is now using AI to make films

9:01pm, 7th April, 2019
The sci-fi blockbuster Westworld has been an inspiring look into what humanlike robots can do for us in the meatspace. While current technologies are to make Westworld a reality, startups are attempting to replicate the sort of human-robot interaction it presents in virtual space. , which just graduated from Y Combinator and ranked among TechCrunch’s from the batch, is one of them. The “Westworld” in the TV series, a far-future theme park staffed by highly convincing androids, lets visitors live out their heroic and sadistic fantasies free of consequences. There are a few reasons why rct studio, which is keeping mum about the meaning of its deliberately lower-cased name for later revelation, is going for the computer-generated world. Besides the technical challenge, playing a fictional universe out virtually does away the geographic constraint. The Westworld experience, in contrast, happens within a confined, meticulously built park. “Westworld is built in a physical world. I think in this age and time, that’s not what we want to get into,” Xinjie Ma, who heads up marketing for rct, told TechCrunch. “Doing it in the physical environment is too hard, but we can build a virtual world that’s completely under control.” Rct studio wants to build the Westworld experience in virtual worlds. / Image: rct studio The startup appears suitable to undertake the task. The eight-people team is led by Cheng Lyu, the 29-year-old entrepreneur who goes by Jesse and helped Baidu build up from scratch after the Chinese search giant Along with several of Raven’s core members, Lyu left Baidu in 2018 to start rct. “We appreciate a lot the support and opportunities given by Baidu and during the years we have grown up dramatically,” said Ma, who previously oversaw marketing at Raven. Let AI write the script Immersive films, or games, depending on how one wants to classify the emerging field, are already available with pre-written scripts for users to pick from. Rct wants to take the experience to the next level by recruiting artificial intelligence for screenwriting. At the center of the project is the company’s proprietary engine, Morpheus. Rct feeds it mountains of data based on human-written storylines so the characters it powers know how to adapt to situations in real time. When the codes are sophisticated enough, rct hopes the engine can self-learn and formulate its own ideas. “It takes an enormous amount of time and effort for humans to come up with a story logic. With machines, we can quickly produce an infinite number of narrative choices,” said Ma. To venture through rct’s immersive worlds, users wear a virtual reality headset and control their simulated self via voice. The choice of audio came as a natural step given the team’s experience with natural language processing, but the startup also welcomes the chance to develop new devices for more lifelike journeys. “It’s sort of like how the film Ready Player One built its own gadgets for the virtual world. Or Apple, which designs its own devices to carry out superior software experience,” explained Ma. On the creative front, rct believes Morpheus could be a productivity tool for filmmakers as it can take a story arc and dissect it into a decision-making tree within seconds. The engine can also render text to 3D images, so when a filmmaker inputs the text “the man throws the cup to the desk behind the sofa,” the computer can instantly produce the corresponding animation. Path to monetization Investors are buying into rct’s offering. The startup is about to close its Series A funding round just months after banking seed money from and Chinese venture capital firm , the startup told TechCrunch. The company has a few imminent tasks before achieving its Westworld dream. For one, it needs a lot of technical talent to train Morpheus with screenplay data. No one on the team had experience in filmmaking, so it’s on the lookout for a creative head who appreciates AI’s application in films. Rct studio’s software takes a story arc and dissects it into a decision-making tree within seconds. / Image: rct studio “Not all filmmakers we approach like what we do, which is understandable because it’s a very mature industry, while others get excited about tech’s possibility,” said Ma. The startup’s entry into the fictional world was less about a passion for films than an imperative to shake up a traditional space with AI. Smart speakers were its first foray, but making changes to tangible objects that people are already accustomed to proved challenging. There has but they are far from achieving ubiquity. Then movies crossed the team’s mind. “There are two main routes to make use of AI. One is to target a vertical sector, like cars and speakers, but these things have physical constraints. The other application, like Go, largely exists in the lab. We wanted something that’s both free of physical limitation and holds commercial potential.” The Beijing and Los Angeles-based startup isn’t content with just making the software. Eventually, it wants to release its own films. The company has inked a long-term partnership with , a Chinese sci-fi publisher representing about 200 writers, including the Hugo award-winning Cixin Liu. The pair is expected to start co-producing interactive films within a year. Rct’s path is reminiscent of a giant that precedes it: . The Chinese company didn’t exactly look to the California-based studio for inspiration, but the analog was a useful shortcut to pitch to investors. “A confident company doesn’t really draw parallels with others, but we do share similarities to Pixar, which also started as a tech company, publishes its own films, and has built its ,” said Ma. “A lot of studios are asking how much we price our engine at, but we are targeting the consumer market. Making our own films carry so many more possibilities than simply selling a piece of software.”
Why Amazon is pulling a giant team out of Seattle, and what it means for the tech giant’s home region

Why Amazon is pulling a giant team out of Seattle, and what it means for the tech giant’s home region

9:07am, 6th April, 2019
(GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) News that Amazon is , Wash., quickly ignited a debate in the region about the tech giant’s incredible growth and what the future holds. Is Amazon over Seattle? Why this team specifically? What does it mean for the future of Bellevue and the region overall? We address those questions and more on this episode of the GeekWire podcast. In a statement this week, Amazon said the relocation has to do with Bellevue’s “business-friendly environment.” Contrast that with Amazon’s about the Seattle City Council’s “hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses” and it’s not hard to interpret the move as a symbolic gesture. But it is important to note that Amazon isn’t necessarily scaling back in Seattle. The company still has about 10,000 job openings in the city and doesn’t plan to change that. Still, worldwide operations is a critical team at Amazon, the arm responsible for managing the company’s robust delivery infrastructure and getting packages to customers’ doors. It’s also a team innovating in some of the most promising technologies of the future, like automation and artificial intelligence. In addition to Amazon’s big move, we also discuss over unsolicited text messages to voters as he considers a formal presidential bid. And we preview the GeekWire Awards, now that the finalists have been revealed and public voting is underway . Listen to the GeekWire podcast above, or subscribe in your favorite podcast app.
Walmart and Google team up for new voice-powered shopping experience in battle against Amazon

Walmart and Google team up for new voice-powered shopping experience in battle against Amazon

11:50am, 2nd April, 2019
Google and Walmart formed an e-commerce partnership back in 2017. (Google Photo) Walmart today to let customers shop via voice command, the latest integration between the two companies as they both battle Amazon. Under the partnership rolling out this month, customers will be able to say, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” and add items to their virtual cart through voice command. Walmart will use historical shopping data to automatically identify the correct brand and size of an item, such as knowing whether customers drink 1 percent or skim milk. The Google Assistant is available on , primarily smartphones. The Walmart voice shopping experience works on any Google Assistant-powered device, including Google Home and Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones, smartwatches and more. Walmart and Google . The alliance ups Walmart’s e-commerce clout while giving Google a more robust voice shopping experience. Walmart is embroiled in an intense competition with Amazon to control the future of retail. And it has found some unlikely allies along the way in Amazon rivals Google (smart speakers) and Microsoft, which a cloud deal with Walmart last year. Amazon is the dominant player in cloud computing and it also . A new from International Data Corp. shows why smart home devices have become such an emphasis among big tech companies such as Amazon and Google. IDC expects the global market for smart home devices to grow 27 percent in 2019 to 832.7 million shipments. Looking ahead to 2023, IDC expects shipments to skyrocket to 1.6 billion, with most users placing multiple devices in their homes. Today, video and entertainment demand command 43 percent of the smart home market. That product type will continue to lead the way going forward, IDC predicts, but it will lose market share as home monitoring and security devices and smart speakers become more popular. “One important trend to watch is how smart assistants become integrated throughout the home,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Consumer IoT Program. “Smart assistants will act as the point of contact with multiple smart home devices and essentially become the cornerstone of the smart home experience. Already we’ve been seeing that with smart speakers and this will eventually move on to appliances, thermostats, and all sorts of video entertainment.”
Amazon rivals Walmart and Google team up for new voice-powered shopping experience

Amazon rivals Walmart and Google team up for new voice-powered shopping experience

11:19am, 2nd April, 2019
Google and Walmart formed an e-commerce partnership back in 2017. (Google Photo) Walmart today virtual assistant to let customers shop via voice command, the latest integration in a series of integrations between the Amazon rivals. Under the partnership rolling out this month, customers will be able to say, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” and add items to their cart through voice command. Walmart will use shopping data to automatically identify the correct brand and size of an item, such as knowing whether customers drink 1 percent or skim milk. The Google Assistant is available on , primarily smartphones. The Walmart voice shopping experience works on any Google Assistant-powered device, including Google Home and Home Hub, Android phones, iPhones, smart watches and more. Walmart and Google . The alliance ups Walmart’s e-commerce clout while giving Google a more robust voice shopping experience. Walmart is embroiled in an intense competition with Amazon to control the future of retail. And it has found some unlikely allies along the way in Amazon rivals Google (smart speakers) and Microsoft (cloud computing). Amazon is the dominant player in cloud computing and it also . shows why smart home devices have become such an emphasis among big tech companies like Amazon and Google. IDC expects the global market for smart home devices to grow 27 percent in 2019 to 832.7 million shipments. Looking ahead to 2023, IDC expects shipments to skyrocket to 1.6 billion, with most users placing multiple devices in their homes. Today, video and entertainment demand command 43 percent of the smart home market. That product type will continue to lead the way going forward, IDC predicts, but it will lose market share as home monitoring and security devices and smart speakers become more popular. “One important trend to watch is how smart assistants become integrated throughout the home,” said Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Consumer IoT Program. “Smart assistants will act as the point of contact with multiple smart home devices and essentially become the cornerstone of the smart home experience. Already we’ve been seeing that with smart speakers and this will eventually move on to appliances, thermostats, and all sorts of video entertainment.”
Microsoft and Adobe team up to take on Salesforce, leveraging LinkedIn for marketing and sales tools

Microsoft and Adobe team up to take on Salesforce, leveraging LinkedIn for marketing and sales tools

12:43pm, 26th March, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen announce a partnership at Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) Microsoft and Adobe are teaming up again, announcing to give marketers and salespeople new insights into purchasing teams inside big companies. The expanded partnership is notable as a new challenge to Salesforce, and for the way it leverages LinkedIn, which . Steve Lucas, Adobe’s senior vice president of digital experience, called LinkedIn “one of those clear holy grails” for business marketers in. The new features bring together several data sources to give users better insights about the teams and individuals that make buying decisions. The companies say the goal is to create a more personalized and targeted experience for sales teams. The LinkedIn integration seeks to build richer profiles in programs like Adobe’s Marketo Engage and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. “The ability to leverage the power of data to find the right opportunities and use insights helps marketing and sales to plan their next move with a member of the buying committee,” said Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president of business applications and global industry at Microsoft, in a statement. “Together with Adobe and LinkedIn, Microsoft can help to deliver an end-to-end solution that ultimately accelerates lead conversion and can create opportunities for improved servicing and better cross sell, resulting in higher lifetime value of the account.” Today’s announcement is the latest move in a tightening alliance between Microsoft and Adobe. Last year, they teamed up to announce several new features, including capabilities into Office 365 apps. That followed a announced in 2017.
MagniX and Vancouver’s Harbour Air team up to test all-electric plane for B.C. flights

MagniX and Vancouver’s Harbour Air team up to test all-electric plane for B.C. flights

8:06am, 26th March, 2019
MagniX’s 750-horsepower magni500 all-electric motor will be used on a converted Harbour Air DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver seaplane for tests. (Harbour Air Photo) Two Pacific Northwest companies — MagniX, an electric propulsion venture headquartered in Redmond, Wash.; and Harbour Air Seaplanes, an airline that’s based in Vancouver, B.C. — say they have a firm plan to create the first all-electric fleet of commercial airplanes. MagniX aims to start by outfitting a Harbour Air DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver with its 750-horsepower magni500 electric motor for a series of test flights scheduled to begin by the end of this year. The electric propulsion company, which shifted its global HQ from Australia to Redmond last year, has tested a prototype motor on the ground — but this would be the first aerial test of the technology. “The excitement level is yet another notch up,” MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski told GeekWire, “because now we’re not talking about just putting the system on an ‘Iron Bird’ on the ground and having it turn a propeller … but actually taking an aircraft into the sky, an actual aircraft that will be operating and taking people and cargo back and forth as well.” Ganzarski said the initial tests would be done without passengers, in the Vancouver area. Regulators from Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration would monitor the tests, under an arrangement that has yet to be worked out in detail, he said. If all proceeds according to plan, the converted plane would win a supplemental type certificate and clearance to start commercial service by 2022, Ganzarski said. Eventually, all of Harbour Air’s more than 40 seaplanes — — would go all-electric. Harbour Air flies routes between , mostly in British Columbia . The airline carries more than 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights each year. Due to battery limitations, Harbour Air’s first all-electric routes are likely to involve 10- to 20-minute trips between relatively close destinations, and not the Seattle-Vancouver “nerd bird” route. But the planes’ range will increase as battery technology improves. Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air Seaplanes, noted that his airline was the , through the purchase of carbon offsets. “We are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion,” McDougall said in a news release. “We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes.” Ganzarski paid tribute to Harbour Air’s willingness to push the envelope on electric propulsion. “They understand what it means to go all-electric early on,” he said. MagniX isn’t alone in pressing for electric-powered aviation. An Israeli startup called is reportedly in northwest France, thanks to an estimated $200 million in investment. Eviation’s Alice business and commuter plane could have its first flight at the Paris Air Show in June, if the company gets the regulatory go-ahead in time. Eviation aims to conduct further testing at its base in Arizona and move on to type certification and entry into service in 2022. Kirkland, Wash.-based is developing its own hybrid-electric airplane with backing from Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures — again, with 2022 as the target date for . Meanwhile, MagniX is working with other potential partners beyond Harbour Air. “I can tell you this, it’ll be a really exciting year,” Ganzarski said.
‘Feed me, Alexa.’ University of Washington team creates voice-controlled robot to help people eat

‘Feed me, Alexa.’ University of Washington team creates voice-controlled robot to help people eat

1:15pm, 9th March, 2019
Doctoral student Ethan Gordon commands the robot to feed him a strawberry. (James Thorne / GeekWire Photo) Robotics researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have developed a robotic system that can feed pieces of fruit to humans on command. The work is an early-stage project aimed at helping people who are unable to perform essential tasks live more independently. At a demonstration this week, doctoral student Ethan Gordon gave the command: “Alexa, tell the robot to get a strawberry.” The robotic arm swooped down to a plate, found a strawberry using sensors, stabbed it with a fork, and fed it to Gordon. To pull off the task, the researchers obsessed over details that most people intuitively know, but few of us study. The team trained their robot by asking real people to feed a mannequin. They then turned those habits into a set of rules. "Alexa, tell the robot to get a strawberry," commands doctoral student Ethan Gordon. Robots like this could one day help people who aren't able to perform everyday tasks live more independently. — James Thorne (@jamescthorne) Of the handful of fruits they trained the robot to work with, bananas are the hardest. If you spear then vertically, they slip off. If you stab them too much, they turn to mush. Leave them out on a plate, and they’ll become stickier over time. While picking the food presented a physics problem, feeding it to people made for an even trickier social one. “Feeding is so intimate. It’s also a social activity,” said Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, one of the researchers and a postdoc in the Allen School at UW. The team learned from people and caregivers how to make a robot feed people the way a fellow human would. The team rigged their robot up to receive commands from Amazon’s Alexa, but said that it could be integrated with other voice assistants as well. The team’s software is publicly available and their . From left to right, team members Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Hanjun Song, Siddhartha Srinivasa, Gilwoo Lee and Ethan Gordon. The research team also includes Daniel Gallenberger and Youngsun Kim. (James Thorne / GeekWire Photo) Robotic arms are so common on assembly lines that you might think they’re just a few years away from becoming home helpers. But Siddhartha “Sidd” Srinivasa, professor of computer science and engineering at UW, said that the day of a fully functional home-based feeding robot is most likely decades away. One tech company, , sells a robot that can feed people, but it requires the help of a caregiver and has limited functionality. Srinivasa splits his time between UW and Amazon, which last year to help the retail giant automate its fulfillment centers. Srinivasa came to Seattle from Carnegie Mellon University with of more than a dozen researchers in tow. More than with what are called activities of daily life, which include eating and five other common tasks like bathing and dressing. The researchers said the lessons they learned about intimate robot-human interaction could be applied to robots that help in these other activities. As they continue to develop the robot, the research team wants it to receive non-voice commands for people who cannot speak. They’re also collaborating with the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology at UW to get regular feedback from caregivers and patients.
“Feed me, Alexa.” University of Washington team creates voice-controlled robot to help people eat

“Feed me, Alexa.” University of Washington team creates voice-controlled robot to help people eat

12:13pm, 9th March, 2019
Doctoral student Ethan Gordon commands the robot to feed him a strawberry. (James Thorne / GeekWire Photo) Robotics researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have developed a robotic system that can feed pieces of fruit to humans on command. The work is an early-stage project aimed at helping people who are unable to perform essential tasks live more independently. At a demonstration this week, doctoral student Ethan Gordon gave the command: “Alexa, tell the robot to get a strawberry.” The robotic arm swooped down to a plate, found a strawberry using sensors, stabbed it with a fork, and fed it to Gordon. To pull off the task, the researchers obsessed over details that most people intuitively know, but few of us study. The team trained their robot by asking real people to feed a mannequin. They then turned those habits into a set of rules. "Alexa, tell the robot to get a strawberry," commands doctoral student Ethan Gordon. Robots like this could one day help people who aren't able to perform everyday tasks live more independently. — James Thorne (@jamescthorne) Of the handful of fruits they trained the robot to work with, bananas are the hardest. If you spear then vertically, they slip off. If you stab them too much, they turn to mush. Leave them out on a plate, and they’ll become stickier over time. While picking the food presented a physics problem, feeding it to people made for an even trickier social one. “Feeding is so intimate. It’s also a social activity,” said Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, one of the researchers and a postdoc in the Allen School at UW. The team learned from people and caregivers how to make a robot feed people the way a fellow human would. The team rigged their robot up to receive commands from Amazon’s Alexa, but said that it could be integrated with other voice assistants as well. The team’s software is publicly available and their . From left to right, team members Tapomayukh Bhattacharjee, Hanjun Song, Siddhartha Srinivasa, Gilwoo Lee and Ethan Gordon. The research team also includes Daniel Gallenberger and Youngsun Kim. (James Thorne / GeekWire Photo) Robotic arms are so common on assembly lines that you might think they’re just a few years away from becoming home helpers. But Siddhartha “Sidd” Srinivasa, professor of computer science and engineering at UW, said that the day of a fully functional home-based feeding robot is most likely decades away. One tech company, , sells a robot that can feed people, but it requires the help of a caregiver and has limited functionality. Srinivasa splits his time between UW and Amazon, which last year to help the retail giant automate its fulfillment centers. Srinivasa came to Seattle from Carnegie Mellon University with of more than a dozen researchers in tow. More than with what are called activities of daily life, which include eating and five other common tasks like bathing and dressing. The researchers said the lessons they learned about intimate robot-human interaction could be applied to robots that help in these other activities. As they continue to develop the robot, the research team wants it to receive non-voice commands for people who cannot speak. They’re also collaborating with the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology at UW to get regular feedback from caregivers and patients.