A Worm's Mind In A Lego Body: Timothy Bubisce of the OpenWorm project (previously) has uploaded a neural mapping, or connectome, of the C. elegans worm as software into a Lego robot. The result? It kinda sorta behaves like a worm would. So, not quite the Kurzweillian dream of uploading one's consciousness into a machine, but still fascinating.
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.
Sparked is a short film by Cirque Du Soleil about a solitary inventor. And his lampshades.
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.
On July 27th, the cross Canada journey of hitchBOT will begin in Nova Scotia and make its way to BC as part of an experiment that looks at the interaction between people and increasingly ubiquitous technology.
A robot with a broken leg learns to walk again.
The Camera In The Mirror (Via sweetkid)
Inside Edward Snowden’s Life as a Robot. "Since he first became a household name a year ago, Edward Snowden has been a modern Max Headroom, appearing only as a face on a screen broadcast from exile in Hong Kong or Russia. But in the age of the telepresence robot, being a face on a screen isn’t as restrictive as it used to be." Indeed: Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure. [more inside]
"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?
Gofor is a Drones-as-a-service concept. "Drones are summoned much like taxis in other popular service apps. Your desired task is either noted at the outset using presets, or customized using voice commands." [more inside]
An actual robot is playing THREES live right now on the internet. It is probably better than you at THREES, but at least your arms are longer, so.
Jordan Wolfson and Spectral Motion take us another step closer to the singularity with a vision of the exotic dancers of 20 minutes from now. [more inside]
What Jobs Will The Robots Take? Eight Ways Robots Stole Our Jobs In 2013. Who is next? Soldiers? Rescue teams? Managers? Astronauts? [more inside]
At the age of 13, Sherwood "Woody" Fuehrer started building a pretzel-can bodied robot named Gismo out of spare parts. [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.
Double is the ultimate tool for telecommuting. From anywhere in the world, you have a physical presence in the office and can speak to co-workers at anytime. Double is a remotely controlled, mobile teleconferencing system, enabling conversations to happen anywhere and anytime.
Boston Dynamics ( Previously, previously, previously) recently released video of its brand new 4-legged running robot - Introducing The WildCat
Peter Purgathofer, an associate professor at Vienna University of Technology, built a Lego Mindstorms robot that presses "next page" on his Kindle repeatedly while it faces his laptop's webcam. The cam snaps a picture of each screen and saves it to a folder that is automatically processed through an online optical character recognition program. The result is an automated means of redigitizing DRM-crippled ebooks in a clear digital format. It's clunky compared to simply removing the DRM using common software, but unlike those DRM-circumvention tools, this setup does not violate the law.
World's first talking robot sent into space Japan has launched the world's first talking robot into space to serve as companion to astronaut Kochi Wakata who will begin his mission in November. [more inside]
Lexie Kinder is a nine year old South Carolinian who used to be homeschooled, due to heart and immune system problems. But this spring, her family began experimenting with an alternative — a camera-and-Internet-enabled robot called VGo that swivels around the classroom and streams two-way video between her school and house. [more inside]
What won the war? The weather helped. For while the Allies had access to all the Atlantic meteorology, the Axis couldn't easily predict what systems were rolling in from the West - and with the Battle of the Atlantic the one thing that Churchill said kept him awake at night, knowing which way the wind blew certainly needed a weatherman. Or Britain would never be starved into submission. The Weather War was complex and engaging, [more inside]
Robots can now assemble IKEA furniture better than you can.
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]
Remember BigDog, the robot 'mule' that Boston Dynamic is developing? Well, now it throws cinderblocks. [more inside]
Throwing and Catching an Inverted Pendulum with Quadrocopters. From Robohub, a website about all things robotic.
The Monopoly game has used the same 8 "base tokens" (car, thimble, boot, scotty dog, battleship, top hat, iron, wheelbarrow) since the 1950s (with a few extras added to "Deluxe Editions"), and since it's been 15 minutes since Parker Brothers' last promotion, they're doing internet voting at their Facebook page to "SAVE YOUR TOKEN". In "American Idol" style, the one with the fewest votes will be replaced by the top-vote-getter among 5 "New Tokens" (robot with mustache, big-ass diamond ring, cat, helicopter, awkwardly-balanced guitar). So far, Scottie Dog has a third of the votes (take THAT, cat people), while Whellbarrow and Absurdly-Oldfashioned-Iron are bringing up the rear. VOTE DAILY to support your favorite "chocking hazard for under 3 yrs. old"
AskMeFi is (or rather, might be) accused. Metatalk is a beautiful sword (+4 attack). Mefi music is energetic. [more inside]
Today I am sharing a video of a woman with quadriplegia who has trained her brain to use a robotic arm to feed herself chocolate. Merry Christmas!
120 years ago, in Paris, Blaise Bontems made a mechanism for reproducing birdsong. More recently, Michael Start restored it to working condition and recorded a video. [more inside]
The Futurist Magazine along with The World Future Society predicts the future with a list of the top trends and forecasts for 2013 and beyond.
Korean robot prepares salad... very slowly. It also is (apparently) capable of loading a dishwasher, although there's no video of that.
A harpsichord automaton. Malcolm Messiter: "After hours of struggling with a soldering iron, suddenly it all became worth it when the system just worked flawlessly. The sheer joy and satisfaction of seeing and hearing it work for the first time was extraordinary. It played Soler’s Fandango, Brandenburg 5, the Goldberg Variations, and even the Flight of the Bumble Bee, late into that first night!" [Project direct link (PDF, from p.27)].
Robots at Work and Play (a photo gallery from the Atlantic).
LS3 - Legged Squat Support System can carry 400lbs over 20 miles without refueling. And is the stuff of nightmares.
Even if you don't have a fondness for building-sized, stomping war machines, you might find this detailed interview and pictorial about the process of designing, from concept to texturing, a mech interesting.
The EOL Robot band (previously), consisting chiefly of repurposed obsolete computer equipment, has learned some new songs. Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger". The House of the Rising Sun. Little Drummer Boy.
Aimee Mann's [previously, previously] highly anticipated eighth studio album CHARMERS is due out in September, and the songstress is about to go on tour to support it. But she's worried about the toll that touring will take on her. The solution (courtesy of sporadic mefite John Hodgman and a dead-panning Laura Linney)? A robot double. [more inside]
'textbook definition of surrealism' In his epic new bio of James Brown, "The One"--an account of not just the man's life and music, but a panoramic view of African-American, southern and American political and cultural history of the 20th Century--author R.J. Smith briefly discusses "Future Shock," a dance show that Brown hosted in the mid-1970s. It aired on a pioneering Atlanta station, WTCG, a Ted Turner-owned UHF station that would become a satellite channel by the end of 1976. Along with the pay-only HBO (started in '75 in select markets), WTCG paved the way for a cable TV revolution. Its name would be changed to WTBS (otherwise known as Superstation WTBS) in 1979. [more inside]
Homebuilding a 474mm tall model of "Robocain" from 1990's Robocop 2, complete with a working head. Clips of Robocain and the other Robocop prototypes from the movie. All photos from the project. Bonus music link: Front Line Assembly performing the Robocop 2 sampling Mindphaser live.