Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Meet Your New Robot Receptionist

Meet Your New Robot Receptionist, the DARPA ARM 'Bot -- Popular Science

Never worry about answering the phone or stapling documents again.

Bad news for long-term receptionists: DARPA's ARM (Autonomous Robotic Manipulation) robot can perform a whopping 18 different reception-ready tasks, from stapling to answering the phone to...turning on a lamp? Grasping things? Also it can't speak, or redirect calls, really, but it can drill a hole in a piece of wood, which I'm not entirely sure I can do, so it's an easy shoo-in for our incredibly prestigious Robot of the Week award. Congratulations! Watch the video after the jump.

Read more ....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Robot Helicopters Perform James Bond Theme

Flying robot quadrotors perform the James Bond Theme by playing various instruments --
including the keyboard, drums and maracas, a cymbal, and the debut of an adapted guitar built from a couch frame.

Robot Helicopters Perform James Bond Theme Music -- Christian Science Monitor

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab wowed attendees at this year's TED conference with a video of tiny robot quadroters performing the James Bond theme music.

Sometimes we just crave the simple things in life: smelling freshly baked bread, getting a baby to laugh, watching a cat fall asleep on your lap, or having someone scratch your back.

And other times, you just want to watch a bunch of robotic quadrotors performing the James Bond theme song.

If you are reading this story, now is apparently one of those times. If you haven't done so already, watch the video at the top of this page.

Read more ....

Monday, February 27, 2012

Who Wants To Live Forever?

Itskov, a 31-year-old media entrepreneur, says that he aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years. He says his technology will be of interest at first to the 'disabled and close to dying'

Who Wants To Live Forever? Russian Project Aims To Transplant A Human Brain Into A 'Davros'-Style Robot Body Within 10 Years -- Daily Mail

* Entrepreneur claims to have 100 scientists working on project
* Aims to 'transplant' human mind into robot body in 10 years
* Claims 'next stage' of science is to create a 'new human body'
* 'This project is leading to immortality,' says Dmitry Itskov

Human minds could be downloaded into robots within 10 years, allowing human beings to 'live forever', says the Russian entrepreneur who heads a hi-tech research project called 'Avatar'.

Itskov, a media entrepreneur, claims to have hired 100 scientists to reach this goal - and is now looking for other scientists to help with the project.

'This project is leading down the road to immortality,' says Itskov. 'A person with a perfect Avatar will be able to remain part of society. People don’t want to die.'

Read more

My Comment:
In ten years .... please.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Explaining Quantum Computing

Image via Wikipedia

MIT's Scott Aaronson Explains Quantum Computing -- Forbes

MIT’s Scott Aaronson, who works with the physics of quantum computing and is a friend of the blog, has a really great, down-to-earth article on quantum computing in the New York Times that I highly recommend reading as a nice primer for what’s possible and what isn’t.

Probably most interesting to me – and I follow quantum computing a lot – is one of the more overlooked aspects of quantum computing, and that’s its application to physics and chemistry research. Here’s a brief snippet.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Scott Aaronson's must read New York Times article on quantum computing is here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Hexapod Robot

Hexapod Robot Turns Into A Sphere And Back Again -- Forbes

Kåre Halvorsen, a Norwegian engineer, has a very cool side project that he’s working on. Called MorpHex, it’s a Hexapod robot capable of turning into a sphere and then back again. The project is still under construction (you can follow the details on Kare’s blog here), but it’s already shaping up to look very cool, as you can see in the video below.

Read more ....

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Terrifying Spider-Like Robot

Terrifying Spider-Like Robot Does Cartwheels; Hangs From Webs -- Y!Tech

We've seen a lot of videos of robots doing awesome things, from a bicycling robot to a robot designed to compete in triathlons. But leave it to a team of Japanese scientists to create something truly unsettling: A spider-like robot capable of doing cartwheels, hanging from webs, and picking up objects without compromising its stability.

Read more ....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Robot Fish

Real Fish Welcome Robotic Overlord Into Their School -- Wired Science

A robotic fish has sailed across an aquatic uncanny valley by tricking real fish into following it upstream.

The feat could lead to better understanding of fish behavior and perhaps some means to divert them from environmental disaster scenes.

“Although some previous works have successfully investigated the interactions between live animals and robots or animal-like replicas, none of these studies have considered robots that are designed to simulate animal locomotion,” wrote the authors of a new study about the robot.

Read more ....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Is Quantum Computing Possible?

Qubits in Liquid Helium D-Wave Systems Inc.

MIT Scientist Offers $100,000 to Anyone Who Can Prove Quantum Computing Is Impossible -- Popular Science

Scott Aaronson, a scientist at MIT who works mostly with theoretical quantum computers, issued a challenge to all of those deniers out there: prove that "scalable quantum computing is impossible in the physical world," and Aaronson will personally pony up $100,000 to the winner.

Aaronson works with quantum computing theory all day; sounds like he's sick of the constant chatter that quantum computing is not scalable, that the theory is purely theoretical. (Check out our interview with Seth Lloyd for a great beginner's guide to quantum computing.) There are as many skeptics as believers out there, so Aaronson is asking them to step up and prove that quantum computers will never be able to do useful work.

Read more ....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Breakthrough In The Development Of A Single-Atom Transistor

Physicists Foretell Quantum Computer With Single-Atom Transistor -- Wired Enterprise

Physicists at Purdue University and the University of New South Wales have built a transistor from a single atom of phosphorous precisely placed on a bed of silicon, taking another step towards the holy grail of tech research: the quantum computer.

Revealed on Sunday in the academic journal Nature Nanotechnology, the research is part of a decade-long effort at the University of New South Wales to deliver a quantum computer — a machine that would use the seemingly magical properties of very small particles to instantly perform calculations beyond the scope of today’s classical computers.

Read more ....

More News On The Development Of A Single-Atom Transistor

Less is more: Scientists create the 'perfect' single-atom transistor in dream computing breakthrough -- Daily Mail
Transistor Made Using a Single Atom May Help Beat Moore's Law -- SFGate/Bloomberg
Transistor made from single atom -- CBC News
Eureka! A single-atom transistor -- Asia One
Single-atom transistor may help beat Moore's Law -- Economic Times
Scientists Shrink Transistor To Size Of Atom -- SKY News
Quantum computing a step closer -- Boston Globe/New York Times
Scientists make 'perfect' single-atom transistor --
Researchers from Purdue and UNSW take a step towards quantum computing -- The Tech Herald
Transistor Made of Single Atom -- Technorati

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The 'Robot Tentacle'

A soft-bodied robotic octopus arm has been created by scientists in Italy. The waterproof limb is designed to mimic an octopus appendage as a model for underwater rescue robots of the future

Watch The Incredible Video Of The 'Robot Tentacle' - The First Stage Of A $13m Undersea Rescue Octopus -- Daily Mail

Italian scientists have created a working robotic 'tentacle' which can squeeze into tight spots - and even has suckers. It's the first 'soft robot' limb that can grasp objects.

It's part of a project to create a full-bodied synthetic sea creature which could be used to save people trapped underwater.

The $13 million 'robotic animal' will be complete by the end of the year.

Read more ....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Project Avatar

Project Avatar: U.S. Military Researches Ways For Soldiers To Control Robot 'Surrogates' Using Just Their Minds -- Daily Mail

The U.S. military is researching ways for its troops can use their minds to remotely control androids who will take human soldiers' place on the battlefield.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), the Pentagon's hi-tech research arm, has earmarked $7million for research into the project, nicknamed Avatar.

The ultimate goal of the project sounds, bizarrely, much like the fantastical plot of the the film of the same name.

Read more ....

Update: Pentagon’s Project ‘Avatar’: Same as the Movie, but With Robots Instead of Aliens -- Danger Room

My Comment: This has applications not only on the military .... but on everything else.

Friday, February 17, 2012

'Genius' Computer With An IQ Of 150

Artificial intelligence? The high-IQ software uses a mix of computer logic and 'human like' thinking to achieve higher scores than previous software

'Genius' Computer With An IQ Of 150 Is 'More Intelligent' Than 96 Per Cent Of Humans -- Daily Mail

* Software uses mixture of logic and 'human-like' thinking
* Score is classified as 'genius'
* It could 'spot patterns' in financial data

A computer has become the first to be classed as a 'genius' after scoring 150 in an IQ test.

The average score for people is 100. A score of 150 ranks the artificial intelligence programme among the top four per cent of humans.

The programme uses a mixture of mathematical logic and 'human-like' thinking, enabling it to outperform previous software on IQ tests.

Read more ....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hollywood's 'Avatar' Robot Created By Japanese Scientists

Telesar V transfers marbles from a cup to another cup for a demonstration at Tachi's laboratory in Yokohama Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Japanese Scientists Create Hollywood's 'Avatar' Robot -- The Telegraph

The sci-fi world of the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar has been brought one step closer to reality with the creation of a robot that mimics the movements of its human controller.

Japanese scientists have developed a robot that allows humans to direct its actions while also enabling them to see, hear and feel the same things as their android counterpart.

The TELESAR V robot can be seen as perhaps the first step towards a real-life echo of the Hollywood film Avatar, in which US soldiers were able to remotely control the genetically engineered bodies of an extra-terrestrial race they wished to subdue.

Read more ....