Researchers at MIT have created M-Bots, small cubes with internal flywheels that use angular momentum to move and magnets to help them stay aligned, as demonstrated in a video. At this point, the robots are not strictly autonomous; rather they are controlled by commands sent by radio.
Pretty stunning cockpit perspective footage of unmanned aerial vehicles interacting in close quarters, flying with a range of flyers (Echelon FPV). [more inside]
Can autonomous vehicles navigate the law? This year has been full of big news about the progress of self-driving cars. They are currently street legal in three states and Google says that on a given day, they have a dozen autonomous cars on the road. This August, they passed 300,000 driver-hours. In Spain this summer, Volvo drove a convoy of three cars through 200 kilometers of desert highway with just one driver and a police escort. Cadillac's newest models park themselves. The writing, one might think, is on the wall. But objects in the media may be farther off than they appear.
The Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm (ANTS) "...is a generic mission architecture consisting of miniaturized, autonomous, self-similar, reconfigurable, addressable components forming structures. The components/structures have wide spatial distribution and multi-level organization. This ‘swarm’ behavior is inspired by the success of social insect colonies...." ANTS may one day teem through the solar system.... (last two links large QT files) [more inside]
Perhaps you'll recall DARPA's Grand Challenge where autonomous vehicles competed in a off-road race for $1,000,000 but most barely made it off the starting blocks? Yeah, well, they are doing it again this year for $2 million this time. Just one thing: Don't bet on Princeton. [last two links .MOV]
Full text of White Paper on Tibet's March Toward Modernization (Part 2) (Part 3) I don't agree with Tibet being administered as an Autonomous Region, but doesn't this amount to displacing Native Americans and putting them on reservations as part of the US' westward expansion? [press release]