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.
A whole new level of Cosplay From the shut-up and take my money division of way kool comes this fan boy wet dream. With water driven rockets and a BB spittig Gatling gun this is sure to spice up the next Con you attend. Price (if you have to ask). I love Japan! YouTube Link with sound
Robbie is a short film assembled from NASA archive footage.
This might be the only video on the Internet of a bread robot violently committing suicide. [more inside]
"The purpose of this study is to develop a janken (rock-paper-scissors) robot system with 100% winning rate as one example of human-machine cooperation systems." [more inside]
What do you do when you want to do research with robots, but don't have the budget for decently powered robots? COTSBots! [more inside]
"Usavich" (Season One video) is a series of 90-second CGI cartoons made for MTV Japan about two Russian rabbits. It begins in a Soviet-era prison where Kirenenko*, a mob boss sentenced to death is sharing a cell with Putin (yes, that's his name), a common worker imprisoned on a trumped-up charge and counting the days until his release. And then it gets weird. (contains extreme cartoon violence, scatological gags, Russian stereotypes, transvestite chickens and shoe fetishes) [more inside]
For the first time since she was paralyzed by a stroke 15 years ago, a woman in the BrainGate2 clinical trial served herself a drink of coffee ... with a brain-controlled robot arm (with heartwarming video)
To understand the reasoning behind the android and why this particular science fiction author, above others, was chosen... [more inside]
“In this project, an attempt is made to approach the creation of sensitive and subtle expression by a humanoid robot using [an artificial butt.]”
"From days of long ago... from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend: the legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe!" [more inside]
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]
First there was the doomed cyborg Acoustic Kitty. Then the vaguely ominous man-outrunning robot cheetah. Now we have super stealth Robojelly, a robotic jellyfish.
Animatronic baby mechanism for anonymous job (SL Nightmare Fuel)
Here is one of the longer anime robot transformation sequences out there, clocking in at about 3 minutes and 28 seconds. SLYT [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).
Boston Dynamics, home of the amazing bigdog robot (previously, SLYT), has released an impressive video of their new bipedal robot PETMAN walking, squatting and doing pushups.
Bimbo the Dog never had it easy. First, he was forcefully initiated into a sadistic, subterranean, won't-take-no-for an-answer, candle-headed cabal. Then he was punched in the face by his own creation (among others), and summarily run out of town, where he was taunted by tombstones and other undead entities. *all YouTube links* [more inside]
To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
Will a slightly pared down version of the My Keepon, a fuzzy yellow dancing robot, be this year's holiday hit? (For extra added schmoopy, a portion of the proceeds will go to autism research.) Pretty fly for an AI.
With hundreds of millions of variations, Robohash is among the leading robot-based hashing tools on the web.
This is Zombotron. You can scavenge for items and kill the undead in this Flash game. Your less-advanced mechanical brethren may even shoot you on site, as they are only programmed to detect motion. Welcome to Zombotron.
21-year-old inventor Tim Pryde has come up with an alternative to the much-circumnavigated "chuggers" (chuggers previously) ‒ solicitous-but-impossibly-cute robot "Don-8r". [more inside]
"Cubelets is a robot construction kit; by combining sensor, logic and actuator blocks, young kids can create simple reconfigurable robots that exhibit surprisingly complex behavior." Watch the Cubelets Engineering Prototypes demo (1.01) on Vimeo. [more inside]
Claude Shannon and Marvin Minsky collaborated to create the concept of The Ultimate Machine, a device capable of shutting itself off after activation. Out of the numerous and often transparent homages to the invention, a new variant has emerged, with more rigorous defenses. [via]
(notes on) biology, a short stop-motion animation (5.39) by ornana films, features a robot elephant. You have to wait a bit, but it's worth it. Stuff gets good at about 2.25.
Hello, my name is FRIDA. I am a concept, developed as part of the Rosetta project, en EU-funded initiative to support the development of robots. Take a good look at me. I can be very romantic.
"My name is Blinky, and I just want to be your friend!" A well-crafted short film by Ruairi Robinson (slightly gory CGI ending may be NSFW).
Heather Knight is currently conducting her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and running Marilyn Monrobot Labs in NYC, which creates socially intelligent robot performances and sensor-based electronic art. One of Heather's robots, Data, is an aspiring stand-up comic. He also has a twitter page. Heather and Data were recently featured on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. In addition to working on her robots, Heather also collaborated on the OK GO Rube Goldberg video.
Meet the Geminoid DK, who looks exactly like Associate Professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark. If you're wondering why on Earth someone would want an exact robotic double of themselves, besides being TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY AWESOME, the Geminoid is going to be used for researching "emotional affordances" in human-robot interaction, the novel notion of "blended presence," as well as cultural differences (from different continents) in the perception of robots.
Braindriver is a car that allows you to steer, accelerate and decelerate with nothing more than the faint electrical signals generated by the brain.