211 posts tagged Robotics
Last week we talked about Japanese adult toy company Tenga’s robotic hand job machine, which uses a mechanical apparatus to simulate manual sex while a user watches a virtual reality sex simulation. Turns out a company called FriXion is making that experience more intimate — in a way that could help lonely hearts and long distance relationship partners alike. While Snapchat, Facetime, and Skype make it easier to conduct long distance affairs, one still can’t exactly reach out and touch someone electronically. But FriXion is ushering in a new frontier in “robotics-assisted teledildonics.” And, yes, that word does mean what you think it means. In short, FriXion makes robot-assisted sex toys. Using FriXion devices, folks can simulate the feel of everything “from hand holding and kissing up to full penetrative sex.” The most advanced electronics “use real-time bidirectional force feedback telemetry, and can be configured for any gender or orientation,” explains FriXion in language we don’t really understand. It seems that users can connect electronically with people they know, or people they don’t know through a social network platform. The open platform API also allows designers to create their own apps and plug-ins to further widen the scope of robotic sex capabilities. FriXion calls it “an intimate experience straight out of science fiction and for a retail price of less than $200.”
This 6-Foot, 330-Pound Robot May One Day Save Your Life By Jason Kehe
Meet Atlas, the Pentagon’s 6’2”, 330-pound humanitarian robot. He was designed to save lives in disaster zones (like Fukushima). But while this Tin Man has a heart, he lacks a brain. In December, seven teams of scientists from top institutions, including MIT and Virginia Tech, will compete to code the bot for action. Each team will send its own Atlas into Darpa’s trials—eight tasks that will test his ability to navigate degraded terrain, drive a utility vehicle, and enter buildings. “We designed Atlas to facilitate programming, but we expect Darpa to make the competition challenging,” says Marc Raibert, president of Boston Dynamics, Atlas’ maker. Here’s the skinny on the massive bot. (via This 6-Foot, 330-Pound Robot May One Day Save Your Life | Danger Room | Wired.com)
Giant Fembots Dance With Dinosaurs in the Weirdest Show on Earth
TOKYO — Outside, the city is bracing for the most violent typhoon of the past decade, a storm with winds topping 75 mph that’s already dumping endless sheets of rain from the night sky. Yet it all seems mild compared to what’s happening inside a bunker of a theater two floors below the wind and the rain. You sit in the back row, stuffed into something a lot like a grade-school writing desk, a Bento box and green tea untouched on the tray in front of you. The food is almost inedible — cold rice and fish one step below what you’d find in a Japanese convenience store — but even if it were the finest sushi on Earth, you wouldn’t be eating. It’s hard to eat when watching bikini-clad go-go dancers do mock battle with pseudo-metallic automations from some alternate future universe — not to mention the blaring electronica, flashing lights, giant Fembots, robotic dinosaurs, stuffed panda ninjas, roving Segways, rainbow afro wigs, virtual fireworks, kabuki-style play acting, a Captain America shield, medieval iconography, and a sea of waving glow sticks. (via Giant Fembots Dance With Dinosaurs in the Weirdest Show on Earth | Wired Business | Wired.com)
Superfast rock-paper-scissors robot ‘wins’ every time
A robot developed by Japanese scientists is so fast it can “win” the rock-paper-scissors game against a human every single time.
The Janken robot - named after the game’s Japanese name - is a faster version of one unveiled by University of Tokyo researchers in June 2012. Version two completes its chosen hand shape almost at the same time as the human hand. It uses high-speed recognition and reaction, rather than prediction. Technically, the robot cheats because it reacts extremely quickly to what the human hand is doing rather than making a premeditated simultaneous action as the rules state. Taking just one millisecond (ms) - a thousandth of a second - to recognise what shape the human hand is making, it then chooses a winning move and reacts at high speed. Version one completed its shape 20ms after the human hand; version two finishes almost simultaneously. The scientists at the Ishikawa Oku Laboratory, part of the University of Tokyo, specialise in a range of technologies, including “sensor fusion”, which aims to replicate and improve upon the human senses using high-speed intelligent robots. (via BBC News - Superfast rock-paper-scissors robot ‘wins’ every time)
More and more, robots are moving into our everyday lives, and if they’re not going to end up being incredibly annoying, they’re going to have to learn to recognize and cope with human emotions. RoboKind of Dallas, Texas has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital for the further development of its Zeno R25 interactive humanoid robot, which is designed to interact with humans in an intuitive way by detecting and mimicking emotions. (via Robokind Zeno R25 social robot detects and mimics emotions - Images)
Human beings have long performed sexual acts with artifacts. Ancient religious rituals oftentimes involved the performance of sexual acts with statues, and down through the ages a vast array of devices for sexual stimulation and gratification have been created. Little wonder then that a perennial goal among roboticists and AI experts has been the creation of sex robots (“sexbots”): robots from whom we can receive sexual gratification, and with whom we may even be able achieve an emotional connection.
Qualcomm’s brain-inspired chip: Good phone, good robot
This month, chipmaker Qualcomm opened up about its progress and goals in work on a brain-inspired chip architecture. The results are impressive. Computers that can mimic the human brain pose a challenge that attracts many computer scientists. While some people take comfort in the difference between computers and humans, such scientists see the difference as a challenge and ask if the gap can be narrowed. Qualcomm, for one, is working away at a computer architecture modeled after the brain, imitating brain processes. In a recent blog posting, Samir Kumar, Qualcomm director business development, presented his overview of the company’s Zeroth processors, which are brain–inspired. “For the past few years our Research and Development teams have been working on a new computer architecture that breaks the traditional mold. We wanted to create a new computer processor that mimics the human brain and nervous system so devices can have embedded cognition driven by brain inspired computing—this is Qualcomm Zeroth processing.” The company envisions “neuro-inspired” chips for robots, vision systems, brain implants and smartphones that will sense and process information more efficiently than ever before. Qualcomm has been focusing on a class of processors called neural processing units (NPUs). designed to be massively parallel, reprogrammable, and capable of cognitive tasks such as classification and prediction (via Qualcomm’s brain-inspired chip: Good phone, good robot)
Imagine if an army of completely flat-faced cubes could roll around and even jump on their own, joining with one another to form a variety of large-scale structures. Well, that’s exactly what a team of robotics researchers at MIT are trying to turn into a reality – and they’ve already developed the cubes that could do it. Known as M-Blocks, the devices were created by MIT’s John Romanishin, Daniela Rus and Kyle Gilpin. Along with electronics that allow them to orient themselves relative to one another, each cube also contains a motor-driven flywheel, that spins at speeds of up to 20,000 rpm. When that flywheel suddenly brakes, the transfered momentum sends the cube flying in the direction that the wheel was spinning. Because the cubes additionally have magnets on each of their faces, they stick to one another when they make contact, until the flywheel in one sends it on its way again. In order to make sure that the magnets of any two cubes meet north-pole-to-south-pole, the magnets themselves are cylindrical, and mounted in such a way that they can roll in place. If the magnets on two cubes are brought together north-to-north or south-to-south, the resulting repellant force will cause them to turn until their north and south poles are facing one another – at which point they’ll join together. (via Self-propelled robotic cubes can form into structures)
It takes years of practice and intense concentration to master the art of painting, or if you’re a welding robot, just some really good programming. In a studio at the University of Konztanz in Germany just such a robot is dabbing its brush in paint as it works. The robot is called e-David, and it can reproduce any work of art it’s shown.
A welding robot is actually a good choice for a makeshift artist. These robot arms have three degrees of freedom in order to precisely aim a torch at bits of metal. It can just as easily be programmed to point a paintbrush at canvases as an arc welder at car doors. Researchers have given e-David a palette of 24 colors to work with, and it does okay for a robot. (via Re-purposed welding robot can forge any painting it’s shown | News | Geek.com)
"The thing that’s been missing in robotics is a sense of smell," said biology professor Joseph Ayers. For more than four decades, he has been working to develop robots that do not rely on algorithms or external controllers. Instead, they incorporate electronic nervous systems that take in sensory inputs from the environment and spit out autonomous behaviors. For example, his team’s robo-lobsters are designed to seek out underwater mines without following a predetermined course. "Now people want robots to do group behavior," said Ayers, noting that social insect colonies are the perfect model. "If you’re doing large field explorations for mines, you want to have 20 or 30 robots out there." In order to get robots to cooperate with each other, he needs them to act like ants or bees or termites. Bees waggle their behinds to communicate. Ants use almost two dozen scent glands, depositing a trail of "stinks" as they go about their business. It’s this behavior that Ayers wants to mimic in his next generation of biomimetic robots. To do so, he needs electronic devices that can sense chemical inputs, such as explosives. His idea is to integrate various microelectronic sensors that can interface with living cells. For example, a bacterial cell programmed to bind odorants in the environment may elicit a conformational change; that change may translate to an influx of calcium ions, which are detected by a second cell that is programmed to generate light when bound to calcium. In this way, Ayers said, "you can see smell." That output would then trigger microelectronic actuators that tell the robot to perform a particular action, such as moving toward or away from the stimulus. But in order for any of this to play out, somebody needs to build these futuristic device