Monday, November 7, 2011

Jumpng Robots To Afghanistan

The Army will soon test in Afghanistan the Sand Flea, a wheeled robot built by Boston Dynamics and Sandia National Labrotories that can leap over walls and through second-story windows. Boston Dynamics

Jumping Robot To Get Tested In Afghanistan -- Army Times

Army Col. Peter Newell, head of the Rapid Equipping Force, walked through the streets of Kandahar, Afghanistan, with ground commanders, who pointed to the 18-foot walls that line the many compounds both inside and outside the city.

On patrols, soldiers saddled with 100-pound loads either must scale the walls or kick down the doors to search the compounds, putting soldiers at risk from booby traps or utter exhaustion. Without access to an overhead unmanned air system, the units are also left vulnerable to an ambush.

Ground commanders told Newell they need another option.

Read more

My Comment: While not a game changer, it will have a big impact on how this war (and others) will be conducted.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Video: Humanoid Robot Petman Works Out

From Popular Science:

Everyone's favorite headless bipedal bot is back, just in time for Halloween. Petman won't be riding any horses around Sleepy Hollow, though - just showing off his moves on a treadmill. Boston Dynamics is developing Petman to test chemical protection clothing for the U.S. Army, and if he's joining the army, obviously he needs to get in shape.

Read more

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jaguar To Be The World's Fastest Supercomputer Again

ORNL's Petascale Jaguar Supercomputer The petascale Jaguar is the world's fastest computer, but DARPA wants to take computing to the next level.

Jaguar Is Getting A GPU Upgrade, To Make It The World's Fastest Supercomputer Again -- Popular Science

The new souped-up supercomputer will be renamed Titan.

Back in June when the latest edition of TOP500 dropped (TOP500 lists the world’s top supercomputers), Japan’s K Computer leapt ahead of China’s Tianhe-1A supercomputer to become the biggest, baddest computing platform on the planet. But after more than a year of slipping down the ranks as its competitors across the Pacific surged ahead, Oak Ridge National Labs Jaguar supercomputer is poised to become the fastest computer in the world once more.

Read more

Monday, September 26, 2011

Watch BigDog (Video)

Video: Watch BigDog, PopSci's Favorite Quadruped Bot, Romp And Grow Through The Years Robot Of The Week -- Popular Science

With its own theme song to boot.

The proud roboticists at Boston Dynamics compiled a nice new video featuring the greatest highlights from the life and times of BigDog, to whom PopSci first introduced you five years ago. From robot pup playtime to a beach vacation in Thailand, BigDog has had plenty of adventures.

Several of them have been chronicled in these pages — click here for a clip of BigDog scrambling to regain its balance after slipping on a patch of ice, for instance. But the below video has the added bonus of a new bluesy theme song, with a beat seemingly written to match BigDog’s jaunty gait.

Read more

My Comment:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tiny Robot To Attempt The Hawaii Ironman Triathlon

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Tiny Robot To Attempt Hawaii Ironman Triathlon -- MSNBC/Reuters

'Evolta', just 20 inches tall, is expected to complete course in about a week

TOKYO — After scaling the cliff walls of the Grand Canyon and driving the Le Mans racetrack for 24 hours, a tiny Japanese robot is set for a new challenge — Hawaii's grueling Ironman triathlon course.

Fitted with three different bodies, the hand-sized "Evolta" from electronics firm Panasonic will swim, bicycle and run its way through one of the world's toughest triathlon routes, the company said Thursday.

"This is very tough even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth a challenge," said Tomotaka Takahashi, who created the green-and-white toy-like robot.

Read more

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How 9/11 Inspired New Robots

The PackBot, first used in response to 9/11, helps explore an overheating nuclear plant in Japan this year.

How 9/11 Inspired A New Era Of Robotics -- CNN

When Robin Murphy saw the World Trade Center towers fall on September 11, she knew of an unexpected group that could help respond: robots.

Robots had never been tried in such real-world disasters, but they had gotten much smaller and more nimble in the years before that tragic event. So Murphy, a professor of computer science at Texas A&M University, and a small group of her fellow roboticists decided it was time. The robots were ready.

Read more ....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Computer That's As Clever As A Human?

Rollo Carpenter, the inventor of the Cleverbot

Has Inventor Made A Computer That's As Clever As A Human? -- The Independent

Rollo Carpenter's Cleverbot was smart enough to convince a group of techies it was a person. But can it fool Tom Peck?

Given that, in countless science fiction films, the moment when the computers start thinking for themselves tends to coincide with the end of the world as we know it, it is perhaps a little unsettling that an American inventor has for more than 20 years been sponsoring a prize to encourage such a feat.

More worrying still, a conversational computer by the name of Cleverbot has arguably just come closer than ever to doing it.

Read more ....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quantum Computers Closer to Reality Than Ever

Chip for Quantum Computing The two black squares are the qubits, or processor; the center meandering line is the quantum bus; and the lateral meandering lines are the quantum memory. Erik Lucero

Two Key Advances Bring Quantum Computers Closer to Reality Than Ever -- Popular Science

Researchers on two continents are reporting two big breakthroughs in quantum computing today — a quantum system built on the familiar von Neumann processor-memory architecture, and a working digital quantum simulator built on a quantum-computer platform. Although these developments are still constrained to the lab, they’re yet another sign that a quantum leap in computing may be just around the corner.

Read more

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A One-Armed Personal Robot For The Rest Of Us

PR2 SE Half the arms, nearly half the price. Willow Garage

Willow Garage Introduces Discount PR2 SE, a One-Armed Personal Robot for the Rest of Us -- Popular Science

Willow Garage’s PR2 has provided a unique, open source robotics platform to all kinds of labs and institutions that otherwise wouldn’t have access to a complex robotics system--but not to that many. For all the absolutely cool things you can do with PR2, the $400,000 price tag is prohibitive--only about two dozen commercial and academic labs have their own PR2s. So, in an attempt to make their robot more accessible, Willow Garage is introducing the PR2 SE this week, a pared-down version of the same robot costing a mere $285,000.

Read more ....

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Next Generation of Computer Chips

Caltech engineers have developed a new way to isolate light on a photonic chip, allowing light to travel in only one direction. This finding can lead to the next generation of computer-chip technology: photonic chips that allow for faster computers and less data loss. (Credit: Caltech/Liang Feng)

Engineers Solve Longstanding Problem in Photonic Chip Technology: Findings Help Pave Way for Next Generation of Computer Chips -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) — Stretching for thousands of miles beneath oceans, optical fibers now connect every continent except for Antarctica. With less data loss and higher bandwidth, optical-fiber technology allows information to zip around the world, bringing pictures, video, and other data from every corner of the globe to your computer in a split second. But although optical fibers are increasingly replacing copper wires, carrying information via photons instead of electrons, today's computer technology still relies on electronic chips.

Read more ....

Friday, August 5, 2011

Remote Control Toy Trucks Save Lives In Afghanistan

Afghanistan War: Hobbyists' Toy Truck Saves 6 Soldiers' Lives -- ABC News

Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is on duty in Afghanistan now after tours with the Army in Iraq. He has traveled with standard-issue equipment -- weapons, helmet, uniform, boots and so forth -- plus a radio-controlled model truck his brother sent.

The truck is not a toy to him. He says it just saved six soldiers' lives.

"We cannot thank you enough," said Sgt. Fessenden in an email from the front that his brother Ernie, a software engineer in Rochester, Minn., shared with ABC News.

Read more

More News On How Remote Vehicles Save Lives In Afghanistan

Remote-controlled toy truck saves the lives of six U.S. soldiers after it finds bomb in Afghanistan -- Daily Mail
Hobbyists' toy truck saves 6 soldiers' lives in Afghanistan -- Stars and Stripes
Remote-control truck gift saves soldiers’ lives -- Yahoo News/Lookout
Toy truck saves soldiers from bomb -- UPI
A Toy Truck Saved the Lives of Six Soldiers in Afghanistan -- Gizmodo
This Toy Remote Controlled Truck Saved The Lives Of 6 U.S. Soldiers -- Business Insider

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Robot That Learns Functions It Was Not Programmed To Do

Thinking For Itself: The Robot That Learns Functions It Was Not Programmed To Do -- Daily Mail

It is not quite Skynet, but robots that can learn have finally arrived.
Japanese researchers have developed a robot that can perform functions it was not programmed to do.

The machine uses past experience and its own knowledge to make a judgement about the best way to proceed.

Read more ....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bionic Microrobot Walks On Water

The water strider robot in action. (Credit: Image courtesy of American Chemical Society)

Bionic Microrobot Mimics the 'Water Strider' and Walks On Water -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2011) — Scientists are reporting development of a new aquatic microrobot that mimics the amazing water-walking abilities of the water strider -- the long-legged insect that scoots across the surface of ponds, lakes and other waterways. The bionic microrobot incorporates improvements over previous devices of this kind that position it as a prime candidate for military spy missions, water pollution monitoring, and other applications, the scientists say.

Their study appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

Read more ....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Picture 1 Million Robots

Foxconn Facility. Wikimedia Commons

Foxconn Plans To Replace Its Gadget-Building Unhappy Human Workforce With 1 Million Robots -- Popular Science

For some people, this story about robot workers taking human jobs may be good news.
Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory firm that makes nearly half the world’s electronics, aims to replace 1 million of its workers with robots within in the next three years, the company announced over the weekend. The factory bots will reduce labor costs and improve efficiencies, the company’s founder, Terry Gou, told the Xinhua news agency. And they will be unable to take their own lives.

Read more ....

Monday, July 25, 2011

The U.S. Army's Robot Mule Ready For Deployment

Photo: Lockheed Martin

Army Preps Robot Mule for Afghan Action -- The Danger Room

Meet Lockheed Martin’s Squad Mission Support System, a $500,000 robotic mule. If it can get the gear off the backs of soldiers during an ongoing trial run in New Mexico without overturning or driving off into the sunset, the Army wants to send it to Afghanistan.

No wonder: deployed soldiers have dozens of pounds of batteries, ammo, communications equipment and other kit they have to carry on their backs, on top of heavy armor. That’s why the military’s enamored with a variety of remotely controlled and even wearable machines to lighten the load. Some are deeply quirky, designed to resemble a headless dog.

Read more ....

My Comment: At $500,000 per unit .... that is one expensive mule.

"Blackfish" The U.S. Navy's Remote-Controlled Robot

"Blackfish" The U.S. Navy's Remote-Controlled Jet Ski Robot -- The Danger Room

The Army has autonomous robots scampering around on land. The Air Force has killer drones dropping bombs from the air. Now the Navy — understandably just a little jealous, and clearly not satisfied with its robotic helicopters — prepares to add two new seafaring ‘bots to the mix.

“Blackfish” is a remote controlled, sawed-off jet ski meant to patrol ports for terrorist swimmers up to no good. “Harbor Wing” is a 60-foot, 10-ton, environmentally friendly sailboat with a catamaran’s hull, packed full of surveillance equipment meant to aim a stealthy, sailor-free eye on far away horizons. Both vessels would surf around without a human on board.

More News On Blackfish

First line of defence: The robotic jet ski that can see underwater when patrolling harbours for terrorists -- Daily Mail
Robotic Jet Ski Set to Patrol Harbors -- Discovery News
Navy tests robotic jet skis -- TG Navy
Navy testing robot Jet Ski for harbor patrols -- CNET
Robot Jet Ski Patrols Harbors Looking for Baddies -- Technabob
Navy testing remote controlled jet ski to detect swimming attackers -- Slash Gear
The Blackfish is a new remote controlled jet ski the Navy plans to add to their fleet -- Ubergizmo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

American Soccer Robots Dominate World RoboCup 2011

CHARLI-L2 Contemplates the Ball RoMeLa

American Soccer Robots Dominate at the World RoboCup 2011 -- Popular Science

Soccer fans, rejoice: America has won the World Cup. Well, the robot World Cup.

In the finale of RoboCup 2011, two Virginia Tech robots took top honors in the adult-size and child-size categories. The full-size humanoid CHARLI-2, making its public debut at RoboCup, won the adult-size robot soccer match with a penalty kick, beating Robo Erectus of Singapore 1-0.

Read more ....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Meet The World's Most Advanced Robot

World first: Ecci's creators say it is the most advanced robot ever created with tendons, muscles, bones, a brain and the visual capability of a human

The Real Life C-3PO: World's Most Advanced Robot Has Muscles, Tendons... And Ability To Correct Its Own Mistakes -- The Daily Mail

It looks like a stripped-down version of Star Wars character C-3PO.

But this robot is science fact not fiction - and one of the most advanced in the world.

Ecci, as it has been named, is the first ever robot to have 'muscles' and 'tendons', as well as the 'bones' they help move. All made of a specially developed plastic.

And most advanced of all, it also has a brain with the ability to correct its mistakes - a trait previously only seen in humans.

Read more ....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Leap Forward For DNA-Based Computers

A wiring diagram illustration depicts a system of 74 DNA strands that constitute the largest synthetic circuit of its type ever made. The circuit can compute the square root of numbers up to 15, though very slowly. (Lulu Qian / Caltech / June 2, 2011)

Research Marks A Leap Forward For DNA-Based Computers -- L.A. Times

A system involving 74 DNA strands can calculate square roots of numbers up to 15, though very slowly. Scientists say the goal is to devise computers that can interact directly with living cells — and perhaps fight disease.

Caltech researchers have produced the most sophisticated DNA-based computer yet, a wet chemistry system that can calculate the square roots of numbers as high as 15.

The system is composed of 74 strands of DNA that make up 12 logic gates comparable to those in a silicon-based computer, the researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science. But the system operates a little more slowly than a conventional computer: It takes as much as 10 hours to obtain each result.

Read more ....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How Quantum Entanglement Will Help Computers Cool Themselves

The Tianhe-1A Supercomputer NVIDIA

Quantum Entanglement Means Computers Could Cool Themselves By Deleting Information -- Popular Science

But don't wipe your hard drives just yet.

It’s common empirical knowledge that computing generates heat--go ahead, touch the bottom of your MacBook--but a new paper in the journal Nature claims that it doesn’t have to. In fact, under the right conditions, theoretical physicists say that deleting data can actually produce negative heat--that is, it can have a cooling effect. That’s right, this is a quantum mechanics post. Exit now if you don’t want a headache to start the weekend.

Read more ....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Phase Change Memory-Based 'Moneta' System

A view of the internals of the Moneta storage array with phase change memory modules installed. (Credit: UC San Diego / Steve Swanson)

Phase Change Memory-Based 'Moneta' System Points To The Future Of Computer Storage -- Science Daily

A University of California, San Diego faculty-student team is about to demonstrate a first-of-its kind, phase-change memory solid state storage device that provides performance thousands of times faster than a conventional hard drive and up to seven times faster than current state-of-the-art solid-state drives (SSDs).

Read more ....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lockheed Martin Buys A Brand New Quantum Computer

Quantum Computer Courtesy D-Wave

Lockheed Martin is Buying One of D-Wave's Brand New Quantum Computers -- Popular Science

The very notion of quantum computing is a bit mind numbing, and the technology is so nascent that researchers aren’t even really sure of the best way to go about constructing a quantum computer. Nonetheless, D-Wave Systems Inc. has just sold one of its eponymous D-Wave One quantum computing systems to none other than Lockheed Martin, along with a multi-year contract to keep the thing working.

Read more ....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Robot Breaks Rubik's Cube Record by Solving Iconic Puzzle In Just 10 Seconds

Thinking INSIDE The Box: Robot Breaks Rubik's Cube Record by Solving Iconic Puzzle In Just 10 Seconds -- The Daily Mail

Ruby beat previous android record of 18.2 seconds, set by the Cubinator
Human record of 6.24 seconds is held by Feliks Zemdegs

A robot that can solve the Rubik's Cube in just over ten seconds has been developed by scientists.

The android - called Ruby - first scans the initial status of the scrambled cube before setting to work.

She is able to both survey and solve the iconic puzzle in 10.18 seconds.

Read more ....

My Comment: OK .... I am impressed.

More below ...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Robot's Supersonic Air Jets Allow It To Climb Most Surfaces

Video: Robot's Supersonic Air Jets Allow It To Climb Just About Any Surface -- Popular Science

Many wall-walking robots mimic natural adhesives--like the sticky feet of geckos--to remain fixed to a surface while they scale it.

But this little bot uses nothing but a supersonic version of a well-known principle of fluid dynamics to cling to just about any surface--without the surface of its grippers ever actually touching it.

Read more ....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

10 Incredible Facts About The Human Brain

10 astounding facts about the human brain

10 Astounding Facts About The Human Brain -- The Telegraph

Last night, BBC One's Inside the Human Body focused on the brain. Here are ten remarkable facts about our most complex organ.

* The human brain is so sophisticated it takes nearly 20 years to mature

* In the womb, humans grow 8,000 new brain cells every second

* By the time humans are born they have all the brain cells they will ever need

* The human brain is the "most sophisticated thing" in the known universe

* New-born babies can recognise their mother’s face after just a few hours

Read more

Friday, May 20, 2011

Robots Learning Their Own Language

The 'Lingodroids' Learning Language via IEEE Spectrum

Robots Learn To CreateTheir Own Spoken Language -- Popular Science

Having a computer for a brain has its perks, but it has its drawbacks as well. Language is a tough concept for robots, as words can convey the abstract as well as the concrete and robots have trouble knowing the difference (and grasping the abstract). That makes human-machine interaction less than intuitive for humans and confusing to ‘bots. But Australian researchers are hoping to change that by teaching robots to communicate verbally in a language of their own creation, the same way humans did.

Read more

Thursday, May 19, 2011

By Working As A Team, Autonomous Swarming 'Bots Can Quickly Explore and Map Structures

GT's Henrick Christensen With One of the Team's Autonomous Mapping 'Bots Georgia Tech

Working as a Team, Autonomous Swarming 'Bots Quickly Explore and Map Structures -- Popular Science

A swarm of intelligent, autonomous robots from Georgia Tech may soon be leading the charge into dangerous and uncertain situations, providing valuable mapping intel to first responders, military, or police behind them. A team of researchers there have developed a team of small, rolling robots that can autonomously communicate with one another to quickly build a detailed floor plan map of an entire structure and beam it to nearby humans.

Read more ....

My Comment: I can see recon units and FOBs having this tech as standard in the next 15-20 years (if not sooner).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Researchers Hope to Build a Brain

Photo from Corbis

Modelling a 'Magical Machine'. Researchers Hope to Build a Brain -- Spiegel Online

A research team called the Human Brain Project hopes to build a complete computer model of what project leader Henry Markram calls a "magical machine." They are seeking to secure a billion-euro grant from the European Union for the project, which could result in disease cures, new supercomputers and intelligent robots.

Read more ....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reverse Engineering The Brain

RUBI the robot tutor interacting with children in San Diego. RUBI is an acronym for Robot Using Bayesian Inference. Credit: University of California at San Diego

Reverse Engineering The Brain -- Cosmos

SYDNEY: Can we really create a computer which can discern complex patterns, recognise facial expressions, decode meaning from speech and even understand our emotions? It's only a matter of time, says a leading researcher.

That’s the vision that drives Terrence Sejnowski, a leading authority on computational neuroscience who is trying to understand the inner-workings of the human brain – how we learn, form memories and interact with our environment – in order to develop computer devices that can emulate these processes.

Read more ....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Japan's Geminoid Robot Is Uncomfortably Realistic

Japan's New Goateed Geminoid Robot Is Uncomfortably Realistic -- Popular Science

The latest Geminoid robot is one of the most realistic, and thus creepiest, android we've ever seen. The skin, hair, goatee (!), and facial expressions are real enough to fool you for a few seconds while it sinks in that something very, very weird is going on.

Read more

Friday, February 11, 2011

All The Digital Data In The World Is Equivalent To One Human Brain

Supercomputer An IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer rack. Wikimedia Commons

From Popular Science:

If you could put all the data in the world onto CDs and stack them up, the pile would stretch from the Earth to beyond the moon, according to a new study. The world’s technological infrastructure has a staggering capacity to store and process information, reaching 295 exabytes in 2007, a reflection of the world’s almost complete transition into the digital realm. That's a number with 20 zeroes behind it, in case you're wondering.

Read more

Monday, February 7, 2011

Roaches Inspire Robotics

Locusts like these in Eilat, Israel, are inspiring future robotic advances.
(Credit: Photo by Prof. Amir Ayali)

Roaches Inspire Robotics: Researchers Use Common Cockroach To Fine-Tune Robots Of The Future -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2011) — Ask anyone who has ever tried to squash a skittering cockroach -- they're masters of quick and precise movement. Now Tel Aviv University is using their maddening locomotive skills to improve robotic technology too.

Prof. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology says the study of cockroaches has already inspired advanced robotics. Robots have long been based on these six-legged houseguests, whose nervous system is relatively straightforward and easy to study.

Read more ....

My Comment: Cockroaches?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Making ‘Smart’ Robots For Reconnaissance

A Marine operates the then-new Dragon Runner robot in 2004 at Combat Outpost Ramadi, Iraq, in July 2004. DARPA is developing an intelligent, autonomous robot that could take recon troops out of danger. Staff file photo

DARPA Making ‘Smart’ Robot For Reconnaissance -- Marine Times

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing an intelligent, autonomous robot that could take reconnaissance troops out of danger.

Reconnaissance missions are among the most dangerous in the military, often requiring small, vulnerable teams to go behind enemy lines.

“They typically occupy the position in teams of four, for durations well over 24 hours,” DARPA reports. “While in position, they are exposed and difficult to support.”

Military leaders have expressed a desire for an unmanned system that would remove these troops from harm’s way, according to DARPA.

Read more ....

My Comment: I can see the day when US soldiers will use both ground and air reconnaissance robots to assess the threat level in a particular region. Such reconnaissance robots will also be used to monitor activity outside of FOBs and larger bases. If the enemy is mobilizing for an attack .... you will have a head's up in being aware of what you are about to confront.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Internet For Robots Lets Bots Share Instructions And Learn From One Another

Robot to RoboEarth to Robot RoboEarth

From Popular Science:

Well, we’ve seen this movie before (literally speaking). A group of robotics engineers at the University of Technology in Eindhoven are developing an Internet for robots; a kind of online database from which robots can download instructions and to which they can upload “experience.” According to its creators, their RoboEarth system will allow robots to share information and learn from each other, allowing the benefits of machine cognition and learning to proliferate through a network of bots. Cue the SkyNet comparisons.

Read more ....

My Comment: Yup .... cue the Skynet comparisons.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The iRobot Roomba And Scooba

Sponsored Post: The iRobot Roomba and Scooba iRobot

Sponsored Post: The iRobot Roomba And Scooba -- Popular Science

The iRobot Roomba and Scooba will leave you floored.

The modern American home has become a minefield of microscopic ordnance. Dust bombs... pet hair parapets... corn chips strewn like spent shell casings. It’s an unruly battlescape that requires the kind of constant vigilance that none of us has time to practice.

Which is why iRobot, a company that builds bomb detecting robots for the military, also employs state of the art technology in its Roomba and Scooba cleaning robots. The Roomba autovac is the beneficiary of ongoing technological advancements made by iRobot’s team of roboticists. Followed by the Scooba line of hardwood, linoleum and tile floor washers, the two persistent robots combine to remove up to 98 percent of household dirt and dust and up to 97 percent of bacteria*.

Read more ....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Slithering Robots Learn To Stand On Their Own Four Feet

A new robot learns to slither, then crawl, before it can walk. Credit: Joshua Bongard

From Live Science:

Robots that evolved from crawling babies into upright adults could help pave the way for better bots.

Using a computer program, researchers at the University of Vermont simulated a population of naive "baby" robots. The robots had to complete various tasks in their virtual environment, such as finding objects and walking toward them. Those robots that performed poorly got deleted, while the best-performing ones remained "alive."

The robots that changed their body forms (like tadpoles growing into frogs) learned to walk more rapidly and developed the most stable gait, the researchers found.

Read more ....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Best Of Web Video: Kinect-Controlled Robot

From New Scientist:

Our top video this month is a robot controlled with a Microsoft Kinect game controller

Microsoft Kinect's game controllers have been popular with hackers since their launch in November last year. The sophisticated depth-sensing camera can detect your gestures from afar, typically to play video games. But we've seen it hacked to control a digital bird, morph an image and even to apply digital clothing to a topless man (watch these hacks here). Now developer Taylor Veltrop has used the system to control a small humanoid robot (see video above). The camera recognises a person's arm movements and turns them into commands for the robot, allowing it to mimic them.

Read more ....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Super-Tough Robotic Hands Are Now Real (Video)

Video: Scientists Smash A Super-Tough Robotic Hand With A Hammer -- Popular Science

Good news everyone! German robotics researchers have built a hyper-strong hand that can withstand hammer blows! Come and shake the hand that will someday wring our species' collective neck.

Read more ....

My Comment: We are getting to that age when robots are just like us .... but stronger (and probably a bit smarter).