Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Robots And Other Tech To Evacuate Wounded Soldiers (Maybe)


Wanted: Robots To Evacuate Wounded Soldiers -- Popular Mechanics

A Pentagon study looks at the future technology for evacuating wounded soldiers, including UAV rescuers, human hibernation, and more.

On the battlefield of the future, a wounded soldier could be scooped up by a robot, placed in a specially equipped drone, and then flown to the closest manned-medical center, where he or she is diagnosed with automated equipment that can deliver treatment without human intervention. Of course, that brings up the question: If robots can do all that, will there be human soldiers on the battlefield?

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My Comment: A summary of what is in the works.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mind-Controlled Robot Unveiled

The robot that can be controlled by the brainwaves of a paraplegic person wearing an electrode-fitted cap Photo: Alain Herzog / EPFL

Mind-Controlled Robot For Paraplegics Unveiled -- The Telegraph

A robot that can be controlled by the brainwaves of a paraplegic person wearing an electrode-fitted cap has been unveiled.

A paralysed man at a hospital in the Swiss town of Sion demonstrated the device, sending a mental command to a computer in his room, which transmitted it to another computer that moved a small robot 37 miles away in Lausanne.

The system was developed by Jose Millan, a professor at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne who specialises in non-invasive interfaces between machines and the brain.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Robots That Can Be Blown Up But Keep On Working

Bombs Away Click here to get a bigger view of this amazing image. Reuters/Saad Shalash

The Robots That Can Be Blown Up and Keep On Detecting IEDs -- Popular Science

The homemade bombs known as IEDs accounted for 60 percent of all U.S. military injuries in Iraq and have killed more than 21,000 Iraqi civilians. Last November, a month before the last U.S. troops departed, Iraq’s federal bomb squad paraded with bomb-disposal robots in Baghdad. QinetiQ North America has sold 16 of the $100,000 remote-controlled Talons to the Iraqi police.

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My Comment: Better robots than our dedicated soldiers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Should We Blame Robots For Mistakes On The Battlefield?

Credit: Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Lab / University of Washington

Should Robots Be Blamed For Battlefield Mistakes? -- Discovery News

If a robot in combat accidentally kills a civilian, who is to blame?

This isn't as straightforward of a question as it sounds. A team of scientists presented a study at the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction and found that although robots don't have free will, people sometimes treat them as if they do.

The researchers had 40 undergraduate students play a scavenger hunt game with a human-like robot named Robovie. The robot was controlled remotely, but it appeared autonomous to the students.

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My Comment: I would blame both .... and if the programmers did their jobs properly .... the majority of the blame should then be on the human operators.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Person's Job Is To Build Robots

Roboticist: This Is My Job -- Popular Mechanics

As a 12-year-old, Matt Bunting built robots that chased his cat around the house. Now, here's professional roboticist making machines inspired by biology.

When Matt Bunting was 12, he began building robots—simple rovers driven by remote control. His parents were supportive of his hobby, but one member of the household wasn't so thrilled. "I'd make the rovers chase after my cat," Bunting says. "It would hide, so I had to make a robot to invade its privacy!" His robots became more sophisticated, and when he got to the University of Arizona, he built a hexapod with artificial intelligence. Bunting's professor offered him a job in the Robotics and Neural Systems Lab, where the 25-year-old now creates robots inspired by biology. "I knew that this was what I wanted to do, and now I'm doing it," he says. "It's incredible."

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My Comment: Lucky guy .... but I suspect that there is a lot of pressure on him.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Drones Will Not Be Taking Over Our Wars (For Now)

Live Fighters Aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge, pilots play a key role in shows of force and complex missions. Even as drones become integrated into the fleet, pilots will lead. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tommy Lamkin

The Human Element -- Popular Science

Why drones won't be taking over our wars anytime soon.

Early in 2008 on the Black Sea coast, a Georgian drone flying over the separatist enclave of Abkhazia transmitted an instantaneous artifact from the age of human flight—the video record of its own destruction by an attacking fighter jet. What happened that day was born of incendiary post-Soviet politics. The Kremlin backed Abkhazia and was furious that Georgia had bought surveillance drones to watch over the disputed ground. Georgia’s young government flaunted its new fleet, bullhorning to diplomats and to journalists like me what the drones were documenting of Russia’s buildup to war. I remember the Georgian bravado. We have drones. Ha! We have arrived. Tensions led to action. Action came to this: A Russian MiG-29 intercepted one of Georgia’s unmanned aircraft, an Israeli-made Hermes 450, which streamed live video of the fighter swinging into position. The jet pilot fired a heat-seeking missile. Viewed on the drone operator’s screen down below, the missile grew larger and its exhaust plume grew longer as it rushed near. Then the screen went fuzzy. Georgia’s drone was dead.

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My Comment
: Drones may not be taking over our wars now .... but the trend is shifting to that goal.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Robot Prostitutes?

Photo: SEX TOURISM: Are sex robots the future, like in Steven Spielberg's AI Artificial Intelligence?

Robot Prostitutes 'The Future Of Sex Tourism' -- Sydney Morning Herald

The future of sex tourism lies in robot prostitutes, two New Zealand researchers have theorised.

Management professor Ian Yeoman, a futurist with an interest in tourism, and sexologist Michelle Mars from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, have looked to how red light districts might operate in the year 2050.

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My Comment: Probably a discount will be involved (for the robots).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

US Navy’s New Drone Is A Mine Hunter

Photo from Defense Tech

US Navy’s New Drone Hunts Mines Wherever They Hide -- Gizmodo

The US Navy is building a fleet of mine-hunting ships that investigators say aren’t all that hot at finding mines. So in the coming years, those ships are going to get drone supplements to dive deep below the sea to spot the underwater weapons. Think of ‘em as pairs of robotic glasses.

This is a scale model of the Navy’s newest drone sub, called the Knifefish. Manufactured by General Dynamics, the Navy unveiled it for the first time on Monday at its annual Sea Air Space convention just outside Washington DC.

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More News On The US Navy's Newest Drone

U.S. Navy and General Dynamics Unveil Model of Minehunting, Heavyweight UUV -- Defpro
General Dynamics and U.S. Navy introduce model of unmanned, minehunting, undersea vehicle -- Military & Aerospace
Navy Will Give Nearsighted Minehunter Robotic Glasses -- Danger Room
Navy unveils unmanned undersea mine hunter for the littoral combat ship --
Meet the Navy’s Knifefish Mine-Hunting Robot -- Defense Tech

Monday, April 16, 2012

Climbing Stairs And Push Ups: The Latest Advancements To The Military Robot (And Family) Designed To Replicate A Human -- Daily Mail

What could be more intimidating than a military-crafted robot? How about one that can walk on two legs and in its latest advancement, do push ups and climb stairs?

With funding by the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency the walking two-legged PETMAN humanoid robot has been advanced to do just that - and quite possibly faster than many Americans can, while certainly not expressing their fatigue.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Building A Supercomputer That Will Simulate The Entire Mind

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Scientists To Build 'Human Brain': Supercomputer Will Simulate The Entire Mind And Will Help Fight Against Brain Diseases -- Daily Mail

* The 'brain' will take 12 years to build
* It will feature thousands of three-dimensional images built around a semi-circular 'cockpit'

The human brain’s power could rival any machine. And now scientists are trying to build one using the world’s most powerful computer.

It is intended to combine all the information so far uncovered about its mysterious workings - and replicate them on a screen, right down to the level of individual cells and molecules.

If it works it could be revolutionary for understanding devastating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and even shedding light into how we think, and make decisions.

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My Comment:
12 years to build .... hmmmm .... faster please.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Artificial Intelligence Will Soon Be Passing The Turing Test

Artificial Intelligence Could Be On Brink of Passing Turing Test -- Wired Science

One hundred years after Alan Turing was born, his eponymous test remains an elusive benchmark for artificial intelligence. Now, for the first time in decades, it’s possible to imagine a machine making the grade.

Turing was one of the 20th century’s great mathematicians, a conceptual architect of modern computing whose codebreaking played a decisive part in World War II. His test, described in a seminal dawn-of-the-computer-age paper, was deceptively simple: If a machine could pass for human in conversation, the machine could be considered intelligent.

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My Comment:
Some would say that we are there already.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quantum Walkers Have Now Been Created

Quantum computing will revolutionise the speed and performance of computers. Credit: Macquarie University

Quantum Walk Towards New Supercomputers -- Cosmos

LONDON: Quantum walkers, which are single sub-atomic quantum particles that can be made to travel on a two-dimensional grid, have been created in a new step towards quantum walker-based quantum computing.

Imagine trying to isolate a single sub-atomic quantum particle that you can't see, with no mass and no charge, that will readily pop in and out of existence, and then make it travel through a virtual dot-to-dot grid obeying a strict set of rules.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Creating a Quantum Computer

IBM's 2-D Superconducting Qubit Mounted on a Chip IBM Research via Flickr

How It Would Work: Creating a Quantum Computer -- Popular Science

A working, large-scale quantum computer is still a decade away, but researchers are currently turning a critical corner from theory to building the first small quantum systems.

Silicon semiconductors have taken us a dazzling distance along the computing road. But even if they continue unabated to get faster and more powerful (and it’s growing more difficult to make that happen) there’s a limit to what classical computing can do.

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My Comment: A Quantum computer is still a long way-off .... but we are getting there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Most Convincing 'Robot Woman' Ever

Living Doll? 'Geminoid F' Is Most Convincing 'Robot Woman' Ever - She Has 65 Facial Expressions, Talks And Even Sings -- Daily Mail

It may only be a matter of months before boy bands and teen actresses are replaced by robots - after a talking, singing fem-bot with 65 facial expressions wowed crowds in China.

Geminoid F can produce smiles and even enigmatic, quizzical expressions, using mechanical actuators underneath her rubber 'skin'.

Her creator says his goal is to create a robot that can fool people into believing it's a human being.

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My Comment: Yup .... they are getting better every year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DARPA Wants Humanoid Robots

DARPA's Robotics Challenge is a contest to design robots for dangerous disaster relief situations from natural or industrial disasters. (Credit: DARPA)

Disaster Zone Robot Competition Announced By Pentagon -- BBC

A competition to develop next-generation robots capable of saving lives in disaster zones has been unveiled by the Pentagon's advanced research laboratory.

Darpa says it wants "adaptable robots with the ability to use human tools - from hand tools to vehicles".

It plans to hold a series of emergency response physical challenges.

A $2m (£1.3m) prize is being offered to the team with the best technology. The competition begins in October.

The agency says it hopes software engineers, video game developers and other experts from fields outside robotics will take part "to increase the diversity of innovative solutions".

Read more ....

More News On DARPA's Quest For A Humanoid Robot

US military offers millions for the first humanoid robot -- MSNBC
Seeking Robots to Go Where First Responders Can’t -- New York Times
DARPA Wants Humanoid Robots That Can Drive Tractors, Open Doors and Save the Day -- Popular Science
DARPA: Build us robots that drive -- and use power tools -- CNET
DARPA Seeking to Build (Friendly) Terminators -- PC Mag
The U.S military wants YOU, to build a humanoid robot -- Ubergizmo
DARPA Challenge Seeks Robots To Drive Into Disasters -- Information Week
DARPA wants rescue robots, offers $2M prize -- TG Daily
Humanoid Robots DARPA Hopes Will Save Human Lives -- Atlantic Wire
DARPA's Next Grand Challenge - Humanoid Robots -- The Future Of Things
DARPA's next Grand Challenge to focus on humanoid robots -- Endgadget
Pentagon eyes 'human like' handyman robots: But why? -- RT

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Real World Of Robots Does Not Match Fantasy

Robot Realities Fail Fictional Fantasies -- BBC

Our mental fantasy of what a robot should look like is so clouded by movies that many of us would struggle to identify a real one, writes Quentin Cooper.

Gort in the original The Day The Earth Stood Still; Bender from Futurama; the huge Talos in Jason & The Argonauts; Robby in Forbidden Planet; the Gunslinger in Westworld; Huey, Dewey & Louie in Silent Running; ED-209 from Robocop, and the (admittedly obscure) Yo-Yo in 70s TV series Holmes & Yo-Yo. They’re just a few of my favourite film robots, and that’s without bringing in androids, replicants, cyborgs or semi-sentient computers.

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My Comment: No 'terminator robots' running around in the near future.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Radio Telescope Will Be Powered by $43-Million IBM Supercomputer

Radio Telescope Square Kilometer Array Will Be Powered by $43-Million IBM Supercomputer -- Sci Tech Daily

The world’s largest telescope will be the Square Kilometer Array, and when it starts peering into radio waves emanating from the skies, it will generate 1,000,000 terabytes of data each day. All of this data needs to be processed, and IBM is building a supercomputer to handle it.

1,000,000 terabytes, or one exabyte, is a lot of information, and it will be generated by 15,000 small antennas and 77 larger stations. The main focus of the Square Kilometer Array is to shed light on the origins of the Big Bang. One exabyte a day, that’s twice as much information as there is traffic on the Internet each day.

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My Comment: I can see the line-up of radio astronomers waiting to get their hands on the data from this project.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Here Comes The Humanoid Robots

As if existing robots, like the Army's Battlefield Extraction Assist Robot (BEAR), weren't humanoid enough -- Darpa wants next-gen robots to resemble us even more. Photo: U.S. Army

Military Wants Humanoid Robots In The Driver's Seat -- MSNBC/Innovation

New job demands include steering a vehicle and climbing a ladder.

A U.S. military agency once focused on self-driving robot cars has turned its attention to humanoid robots that could roam tomorrow's battlefields. An upcoming announcement suggests the military wants robots that can steer a vehicle from the driver's seat, use a key to open a locked door, climb a ladder and perform handyman repairs.

The robots must also have the brains to carry out their jobs with only loose supervision from humans, based on the unofficial leak of a new Grand Challenge for humanoid robots hosted by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Such details emerged from a talk by Gill Pratt of DARPA at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Industry Day held on March 20, according to the robotic news portal Hizook.

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More News On The U.S. Military wanting Humanoid Robots

DARPA seeks humanoid robots in Grand Challenge -- CNET
Darpa’s Next Grand Challenge: Build Us Lifelike, Humanoid Robots -- Danger Room
Humanoid Robot Creation Becomes New Focus for DARPA -- Tech & Biz
DARPA Wants Humanoid Robots That Can Drive Tractors, Open Doors and Save the Day -- Popular Science
Pentagon eyes 'human like' handyman robots: But why? -- RT
DARPA's next Grand Challenge to focus on humanoid robots -- Endgadget
The U.S military wants YOU, to build a humanoid robot -- Ubergizmo
New DARPA Grand Challenge to make humanoid robots -- Next Big Future

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When AI Machines Overtake Man

When Creative Machines Overtake Man -- Kurzweilai

Machine intelligence is improving rapidly, to the point that the scientist of the future may not even be human! In fact, in more and more fields, learning machines are already outperforming humans. As noted in this transcript of a talk at TEDxLausanne on Jan. 20, 2012, artificial intelligence expert J├╝rgen Schmidhuber isn’t able to predict the future accurately, but he explains how machines are getting creative, why 40‚000 years of Homo sapiens-dominated history are about to end soon, and how we can try to make the best of what lies ahead.

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My Comment: The above video is a must see. Enjoy .... and be concern.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The U.S. Army's Mechanical Mule Is Too Noisy

Mechanical Mule Makes Itself Sort Of Useful -- Strategy Page

April 1, 2012: The U.S. Army's latest design of, well, a mechanical mule for the infantry spent the last three months being tested in Afghanistan. Four of these vehicles were sent there to operate with the troops. The SMSS (Squad Mission Support System) is a six wheeled, 1.7 ton vehicle that can carry 544 kg (1,200 pounds) of cargo and will follow whoever is carrying its controller and can operate by itself for short distances.

The SMSS had passed most of its tests in the United States and was then used by some troops with combat experience. There it was discovered that the vehicle was too noisy for patrol work (which is what infantry spent most of their time doing out in the bush). The noise issue was noted earlier, the manufacturer reduced it somewhat and added the capability to run very quietly for a short while. But this was not enough because troops in the field noted that even with no engine noise, the sound of the vehicle moving and breaking branches as it moved was enough to alert any nearby enemy.

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My Comment: The number one problem with this tool in the battlefield is noise .... a problem that is not going ot be solved soon.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How Machine Intelligence Is Evolving

Marcus du Sautoy with one of Luc Steels's language-making robots. Photograph: Jodie Adams/BBC

AI Robot: How Machine Intelligence Is Evolving -- The Guardian

No computer can yet pass the 'Turing test' and be taken as human. But the hunt for artificial intelligence is moving in a different, exciting direction that involves creativity, language – and even jazz.

'I propose to consider the question "Can machines think?"' Not my question but the opening of Alan Turing's seminal 1950 paper which is generally regarded as the catalyst for the modern quest to create artificial intelligence. His question was inspired by a book he had been given at the age of 10: Natural Wonders Every Child Should Know by Edwin Tenney Brewster. The book was packed with nuggets that fired the young Turing's imagination including the following provocative statement:

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