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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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