At Cambridge University, the Project for Existential Risk
is considering threats to humankind caused by developing technologies. It will be developing a prospectus for the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, to be launched by the Astronomer Royal
, a co-founder of Skype
and the Bertrand Russell professor of philosophy
. More detail
from the university, while the news excites some journalists
. [more inside]
is a replica of the famous 1980s electronic drum machine TR-808 – with robots playing the drum sounds.
The universe (which others call The Twitter) is composed of every word
in the English language; Shakespeare's folios
, line-by-line-by-line; the Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
, exploded; Constantine XI
, in 140 character chunks; Sun Tzu's Art of War
, in its entirety; the chapter headings of JG Ballard
, in abundance; and definitive discographies
of Every. Artist. Ever...
All this, I repeat
, is true, but one hundred forty characters of inalterable wwwtext
cannot correspond to any language, no matter how dialectical or rudimentary it may be. [more inside]
Robots at Work and Play
(a photo gallery from the Atlantic).
Television Without Pity
re-capper Jacob Clifton
has written a short steampunk story for Tor.com. “There’s a level on which the story is an indictment of using steampunk as a fashion or trend. It came about because I wanted to see what would happen if you substituted Jane Austen for Jules Verne in the steampunk equation...” The Commonplace Book
- a voice activated popcorn launching machine. Kinda cool, but my money's still on the robotic tweet powered popper
. (via @peeweeherman and keepoutofreach)
Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment
- "The poor do not employ one another, because the necessities they require are produced and sold so cheaply by the rich. The rich are glad to sell to the poor, as long as the poor can come up with property or debt claims or other forms of insurance to offer as payment..." [more inside]
The Giant Robot Invasion has begun!
You were warned this was coming and given tips to survive
. But one tip you didn't get - don't go near the bench
A team of Georgia Inst of Technology engineers has published
a study of the rolling action of Mexican jumping beans.
"The researchers developed an algorithm of the beans’ behavior, which they then used to program rolling robots to move in a controlled direction."
Interesting video of bean races included.
In 1999, 23-year-old singer-songwriter Bree Sharp
recorded "David Duchovny
," a fangirl ode to the male star of The X-Files
. After the demo tape proved popular in Duchovny's trailer, two X-Files
assistants created a celebrity-filled music video as a gag for the show Christmas party. A grainy bootleg of the video quickly went pre-Youtube-viral among X-Philes. Twelve years later, a high-definition version of the "David Duchovny" video sees daylight for the first time
. [more inside]
Robot hair washer
has twenty-four fingers [via
MIT is leading an NSF-funded project with researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Harvard that aims to enable anyone to "design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours."
Constructed from "cyber-physical primitives," the robots (some early examples here
) would be able to be made in bulk on demand and could help change the entire workflow of device and robot creation, from engineering to warehousing to assembly.
Boston Dynamics is getting close to mastering quadrupedal motion with Big Dog
). And are working on bipedal motion with Petman
), 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]
The Story of Animation
is a tongue-in-cheek educational film
about the process of animation, aimed primarily at potential animation clients who are more clueless than most about how these toons get made (and how long it's gonna take and how much it's gonna cost). Made by-and-for graduates of the The Animation Workshop
, an animation school in Viborg, Denmark, which has posted A LOT of impressive student works on YouTube... [more inside]
An engaging animated short about prejudice in a future in which robots have been banned.
Photographs by Thomas Jackson of strange moments in the life of a robot. [more inside]
British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000
is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD
is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
After the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927, all bets were off for live musicians who played in movie theaters. Thanks to synchronized sound, the use of live musicians was unnecessary — and perhaps a larger sin, old-fashioned. In 1930 the American Federation of Musicians formed a new organization called the Music Defense League and launched a scathing ad campaign to fight the advance of this terrible menace known as recorded sound.
The evil face of that campaign was the dastardly, maniacal robot.
How do robots see the world?
This is an experiment in found machine-vision footage, exploring the aesthetics of the robot eye. [SLVimeo]
"Uh Oh. Construction workers please note: Somebody just built a 20-foot tower using flying robots. No people involved."
Eric Guizo notes: "The ceiling of the room where the assembly is taking place was equipped with a motion-capture system. A computer uses the vision data to keep track of the quadcopters and tell them where to go — the same approach used at ETH's Flying Machine Arena"
A spherical flying robot has been developed at the Japanese Ministry of Self-Defense; it can zoom along indoors and outdoors at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, or just hover. Menacingly.
Science Fiction In The News
is a subsection of science-fiction site Technovelgy
, which tracks both the predictions of future tech made in science fiction past and present
and its manifestations in real life.
What tech, you ask? Well, if it’s appeared in your nightmares, it’s probably been on this page: [more inside]
Mobile Suit Gundam
premiered on April 7th, 1979 in Nagoya, Japan, and with it came the now three-decade-old franchise that launched a thousand plastic model kits.
MAY CONTAIN spoilers for a thirty-year-old beloved cultural touchstone that you've likely never seen or possibly even heard of.
DEFINITELY CONTAINS many, many links to TV Tropes.
Upgrade to 56K already. You're going to need it. [more inside]
Make Magazine has released its Ultimate Kit Guide
which rates 175 DIY kits. Kits like the: 6-in-1 Solar Robot Kit
, the Infrared Jammer Kit
, the KaraKuri Somersault Doll
kit, the Loud Objects Noise Toy Kit
. But best of all you will find the astounding MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer
. "The Thing-O-Matic is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. The Thing-O-Matic prints thing after thing, it's completely automated! You hit print and the machine does all the work. Want to print 100 butterflies? Easy. Want to print an entire chess set? No problem. Buy it, assemble it, and enjoy being the first on your block to live in the cutting-edge personal manufacturing future of tomorrow!" [more inside]
solves the Rubik's Cube puzzle faster than the human world record. [more inside]
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
), 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
Honda demonstrates the newest version of their Asimo robot.
"With a further advance in autonomy, the all-new ASIMO
can now continue moving without being controlled by an operator. Moreover, with significantly improved intelligence and the physical ability to adapt to situations, ASIMO took another step closer to practical use in an office or a public space where many people come and go."
Oh hi! You're here just in time for a trifecta of things we love: Cute little robots, fixed gear bicycles, and single-link YouTube posts! I hope you like it!
Do Androids Dream of Electric Authors? [NYTimes.com]
"So who was Lambert M. Surhone? Just looking at the numbers, you could argue that he’s one of the most prolific creators of literature who ever lived. But was he even human? There are now software programs — robots, if you will — that can gather text and organize it into a book. Surhone might be one of them."
Fukushima Robot Operator Writes Tell-All Blog.
"An anonymous worker at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear power plant has written dozens of blog posts describing his experience as a lead robot operator at the crippled facility." [Via]
Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life
of new projects and a print version by December have been made. [more inside]
[The principal] strode in front of the astonished student body in December with the $6,000 VGo robot ... "Meet the new electronic Lyndon," the principal announced. "Don't touch him when you pass him in the hall. Give him space. Don't sneak up on him—he doesn't have rear-view mirrors. Let him be like the other kids. Don't ruin it for him. This is Lyndon's only way to be a part of you."
Lyndon Baty's compromised immune system means he can't go to school. So his robot goes for him. [more inside]
Jim Babb first appeared in the ARG scene as Tim Scribbles, roommate to a robot in search of love
. More recently, he's been honing his skills with a family-friendly production called Socks Inc.
, where the only barriers to entry are an old sock, a webcam, and some imagination.
Now what happens when he applies his unique blend of quirky humor and unself-conscious style to the real world in a heartfelt proposal to his partner in crime? Julie, will you marry me? [more inside]
Team RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory)
of Virginia Tech has won first place
in the KidSize and AdultSize divisions of the humanoid league
of the RoboCup 2011
robotic soccer competition. RoMeLa’s team
of DARwIn (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence)
humanoids defeated last year’s champs, the Darmstadt Dribblers
, in the semi-finals on the way
to victory in the finals of the KidSize division. Meanwhile, RoMeLa’s CHARLI
took first place in the riveting Dribble & Kick AdultSize Final (slyt)
. [more inside]
Here, we refer to personality as the use of human personality characteristics to describe a robot vacuum cleaner. The translation from personality to behavior was inspired by a role play in which a group of actors was asked to act like a robot vacuum cleaner with these desired characteristics... Attributes, such as macaroni, were available to support acting out some of the situations (e.g. ‘cleaning a dirty spot’)... The actors were asked to act out situations—as if they were the robot vacuum cleaner—making use of motion and sound... In general, the actors either crawled about or walked around at a slow pace to imitate a vacuum cleaner. Often, a typical vacuuming sound was simulated by them. [more inside]