In Animal Sentience this year, Brian Key's "Why fish do not feel pain" provoked over 40 replies, including intriguing comments on tigerfish, rays and cichlids, mormyrids, invertebrates, plants, and robot fish but also comments written or co-authored by people who've been on the blue before: Lynne Sneddon (previously), Antonio Damasio (previously), and Culum Brown (previously). Less controversial threads of related interest include those on animal mourning and insect subjectivity.
RoboCup is a robotics competition featuring autonomous humanoid soccer-playing robots. The action may be a bit clunky at times, but there are some surprising moments. The project's goal is ambitious and maybe a bit threatening for fleshy carbon-based soccer players:
By the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup.
Break On Through by The Doors, played by vintage electronic equipment arranged by James Cochrane. Here's a version with vocals. [more inside]
Will Killer Robots Destroy Humanity? What The Future Of Robots Reveals About The Human Condition. Peter Thiel says 'Robots Are Our Saviours, Not the Enemy,' via. Brad DeLong reponds with The Rise of the Robots. Don't forget your 'Terrifying Robot Update,' especially when robots grow our food. Or maybe we'll get the Robots of Resistance, with human values. New World Order: Labor, Capital, and Ideas in the Power Law Economy. AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs. [more inside]
Though we're not (yet) to the point of actually implementing any strict laws of robotics, the limits for how much workplace robots can accidentally harm their human co-workers are now being discussed by standards-setting agencies. It's easy enough to say robots and humans cannot work in the same space, but once robots start collaborating with people (aka: COBOTS), large companies look to standards for safety measures and risk assessment. That's where the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (German: Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung, IFA) come in, with BG/BGIA risk assessment recommendations according to machinery directive (36 page PDF), based on real-world tests with robots on human subjects.
Remember the floating training remote in Star Wars? Some people have done DIY versions of the remote that can levitate on your desktop. However, leave it to NASA to create the real thing and call it SPHERES: Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites: robotic bowling balls (OK, 18-sided polyhedron satellites) with autonomous propulsion, power, avionics, software, communications, and metrology subsystems, that fly freely in the ISS. First tested in 2006, they have been upgraded with Android smartphones, which makes them (for now) the less terrifying item in Google's growing robotic arsenal.
A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
"Buy our car, but be aware that it might drive over a cliff rather than hit a car with two people." The Mathematics of Murder: Should a Robot Sacrifice Your Life to Save Two?
What Jobs Will The Robots Take? Eight Ways Robots Stole Our Jobs In 2013. Who is next? Soldiers? Rescue teams? Managers? Astronauts? [more inside]
The robots are here. George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen predicts that the trend towards automation will squeeze the middle class further still, and compares its effects on American politics to a too-overlooked 1955 short story by Isaac Asimov.
Nobel laureate's campaign calls for pre-emptive ban on autonomous weapons. As our technology advances, it becomes more and more feasible to give more and more autonomy to our drones. A new campaign led by 1997 Nobel laureate Jody Williams calls for an international ban on the design of autonomous weaponized drones. [more inside]
Robots at Work and Play (a photo gallery from the Atlantic).
Boston Dynamics is getting close to mastering quadrupedal motion with Big Dog and Cheetah (previously). And are working on bipedal motion with Petman (previously), but how about a robot that is able to leap (up to the top of) tall buildings in a single bound? Sand Flea! [more inside]
Soft robotics are inspired by animals which don't have hard internal skeletons, like squid, worms, and starfish. Developed at Harvard, with funding from DARPA, this particular soft robot, "not only walks, it knows several different gaits and can deflate to stuff itself through tiny little gaps." Another design here, and another (also), and another. In addition to movement, soft robotics can also be used for grip. More information about the Harvard lab is available here (with a student describing the research here).
RobotFilter: Korea Unveils World's Second Android (YouTube), China manufactures personal robot, Japan's domestic robot, Why the Japanese want their robots to act more like humans. Robot runs over water, robotic tentacle (mpeg), 'baby' robot learns like a human (avi 1,2), Pill-sized intenstinal robot, speedy robot, spider robots. Lego Unveils NXT Robotics Toolset, Lego robot plays Super Mario Bros, Connect Four, solves Rubik's Cube. Building an army of robots, Big Dog, (wmv), Robots break Asimov’s first law. [more inside]
Performing Artists and The Robot Uprising: Writers, Actors, and Directors bring us one step closer to the robot apocalypse, or provide us the necessary training to win the battle.
Some 30 billion pounds of steam every year flow beneath the streets of Manhattan from the Battery to 96th Street. While it is unknown to most New Yorkers, Con Edison's subterranean steam system is the biggest steam district in the world, larger than the next four largest U.S. steam systems combined... And it's got a robot. [MI]
On the Chilean island of Robinson Crusoe, a small GPR-enabled robot named Arturito (google translated page) has apparently just found "The biggest treasure in history..." (estimated at $10 Billion).
Dannybot is a short musical film about a lonely man whose robot goes off to war. It shouldn't be confused with What's Your Name, a music video about a lonely robot office worker, which itself shouldn't be confused with the previously-MeFi'd one about a worker who doesn't know he's a robot, or the one about the worker who is haunted by robots, or the much lower-tech Kraftwerk video "The Robots (mpg video), or the video about a robot scavenger in a third-world nation (mp4 video) (which itself shouldn't be confused with that previously-MeFi'd non-musical short about a robot cop in a third-world nation), none of which should be confused with any of the various shorts (Windows Media) and commercials(MPG) about breakdancing robots(streaming video). However, any of the previous videos about robots could have been made by the robots in this music video about robots making a music video(quicktime). If any of this is unclear, please contact your local League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots. (links mainly via Memepool and Antville.)
With My Special Partner, I can drink my way back to the 7th Millenium BCE for ancient music, and the fish’ll tell me how to get home.
DUBAI (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates is to mount robot jockeys on racing camels later this year after a ban on using children in the region's popular sport.
Honda has upgraded Asimo. They've added jogging, autonomous continuous movement, some new joint designs, and better intelligence, expanding the range of humanoid robots, which includes, the Qrio from Sony, Isamu, and Toyota's offering that entered the fray earlier this year (previously discussed). (More)
RoboDump I need one of these for my workplace
Made from a nickel-titanium alloy, and highly processed for electrical activation and long life, the thin black thread-like BioMetal acts as an artificial muscle. When powered, the BioMetal contracts. When power turns off, the BioMetal quickly cools and the wire extends again to its longer, starting length.
Koolio is a traveling autonomous refrigerator robot ... a cross between R2D2 and a vending machine.
But what about the terrible secret of space? Inteligent robot escapes, then gets run over by a car. The driver makes a bad joke.
For the gardener who has everything, a slug eating robot will seek and destroy those slimy gastropods destroying the garden. The only downside is having to admit the crappy beer you buy is for yourself and not for your slug traps!
Prototype mechanical soldier tried out in WWI! Your challenge on this site is to separate fact from fiction.