A Momentary Flow

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Photos of a Strange, Thriving Humanoid Robotics Movement

Japan is famous for its robotics industry which has developed everything from faceless industrial robots that power factories to cybernetic cats that provide companionship to the elderly. There’s also a subculture of scientists trying to create robots that could pass as humans and London-based photographer Luisa Whitton has captured their stories in a series called What About the Heart? A scholarship provided Whitton with the opportunity to travel to Japan to meet with robotics pioneer Hiroshi Ishiguro, who became famous in tech circles for having built an eerily creepy robotic copy of himself. “I was initially drawn to the uncanny and surrealistic aspect to Ishiguro’s story, and this area of robotics specific to Japan which has a reputation in pushing the boundaries between science, art, and philosophy,” says Whitton. The result is a collection of photos that appear to capture robots in the throes of electronic existential crises. (via Photos of a Strange, Thriving Humanoid Robotics Movement | Design | WIRED)

Source Wired

Robot Linda to meet the public at London’s Natural History Museum
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Having a robot around the house might be nice, but not if it keeps stepping on the cat and tripping over the coffee table. This month, the public will get the chance to meet a robot at the Natural History Museum in London that may be a bit kinder to furniture and tabbies. The University of Lincoln’s Linda robot, which will mingle with visitors, is designed to learn about its surroundings and make it easier to work human environments. Looking like a pair of eyes in a fishbowl stuck on traffic cone, Linda is a mobile robot developed by the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science. Its name is a reference to “Lindum Colonia,” the ancient name for the city of Lincoln. It’s one of six robots built for the £7.2 million (US$12 million) STRANDS project, which aims to produce robots suitable for working with security guards and staff in nursing homes. Most state-of-the-art robots are given maps of their surroundings, or create them when they begin operations in an area. This works, but human environments tend to change over time as furniture is moved, people come and go, and objects disappear and reappear. These degrade the robot’s map as anomalies build up. The result is that most robots can only operate for a few hours before needing to restart and remap the area. (via Robot Linda to meet the public at London’s Natural History Museum)

Robot Linda to meet the public at London’s Natural History Museum
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Having a robot around the house might be nice, but not if it keeps stepping on the cat and tripping over the coffee table. This month, the public will get the chance to meet a robot at the Natural History Museum in London that may be a bit kinder to furniture and tabbies. The University of Lincoln’s Linda robot, which will mingle with visitors, is designed to learn about its surroundings and make it easier to work human environments. Looking like a pair of eyes in a fishbowl stuck on traffic cone, Linda is a mobile robot developed by the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science. Its name is a reference to “Lindum Colonia,” the ancient name for the city of Lincoln. It’s one of six robots built for the £7.2 million (US$12 million) STRANDS project, which aims to produce robots suitable for working with security guards and staff in nursing homes. Most state-of-the-art robots are given maps of their surroundings, or create them when they begin operations in an area. This works, but human environments tend to change over time as furniture is moved, people come and go, and objects disappear and reappear. These degrade the robot’s map as anomalies build up. The result is that most robots can only operate for a few hours before needing to restart and remap the area. (via Robot Linda to meet the public at London’s Natural History Museum)

MIT’s cooking up robots that can assemble themselves in the oven
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It’s 2050, and you’re prepping the oven to bake your next robotic minion while a 3D printer spews out its components. Wait a sec… bake a robot? As strange as that sounds, there’s already a group of MIT researchers developing the technology and the printable materials that can self-assemble into a robot when heated. Since we usually bake food and not robots (and this is all very new), the researchers are experimenting with different materials to find the best option. One is aluminum-coated polyster that folds or twirls itself to form the proper components inside an oven. The other is PVC plastic sandwiched between rigid polyester sheets full of cuts and slits — upon heating, the PVC becomes deformed and the slits close, forcing the whole thing to bend and fold into place. Also, the scientists are looking into developing a system that uses CAD files to create 2D patterns, as described in one of the two papers they published about the research. Obviously, the team’s not going to develop the perfect material and method overnight, but MIT professor Daniela Rus says they ultimately hope to make it possible to create useful robots anytime. (via MIT’s cooking up robots that can assemble themselves in the oven)

MIT’s cooking up robots that can assemble themselves in the oven
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It’s 2050, and you’re prepping the oven to bake your next robotic minion while a 3D printer spews out its components. Wait a sec… bake a robot? As strange as that sounds, there’s already a group of MIT researchers developing the technology and the printable materials that can self-assemble into a robot when heated. Since we usually bake food and not robots (and this is all very new), the researchers are experimenting with different materials to find the best option. One is aluminum-coated polyster that folds or twirls itself to form the proper components inside an oven. The other is PVC plastic sandwiched between rigid polyester sheets full of cuts and slits — upon heating, the PVC becomes deformed and the slits close, forcing the whole thing to bend and fold into place. Also, the scientists are looking into developing a system that uses CAD files to create 2D patterns, as described in one of the two papers they published about the research. Obviously, the team’s not going to develop the perfect material and method overnight, but MIT professor Daniela Rus says they ultimately hope to make it possible to create useful robots anytime. (via MIT’s cooking up robots that can assemble themselves in the oven)

Marco Tempest: Maybe the best robot demo ever

Marco Tempest uses charming stagecraft to demo EDI, the multi-purpose robot designed to work very closely with humans. Less a magic trick than an intricately choreographed performance, Tempest shows off the robot’s sensing technology, safety features and strength, and makes the case for a closer human-robot relationship. (Okay, there’s a little magic, too.)

Want a dog but don’t want to deal with dog poop or allergies or fleas? The Omnibot Hello! Zoomer Dog Robot is the robotic pet you’re looking for.

This man-made version of a dalmatian recognizes over 45 words (English and Japanese), has voice recognition, and can be trained to perform a variety of tricks, including shake, roll over, and play dead. Of course, unlike a dog, Zoomer also comes with a USB cord and needs to be charged for an hour to get twenty minutes of use. Just think of it as a nap… that includes electricit (via Omnibot Hello! Zoomer Dog Robot | GeekAlerts)

Want a dog but don’t want to deal with dog poop or allergies or fleas? The Omnibot Hello! Zoomer Dog Robot is the robotic pet you’re looking for.

This man-made version of a dalmatian recognizes over 45 words (English and Japanese), has voice recognition, and can be trained to perform a variety of tricks, including shake, roll over, and play dead. Of course, unlike a dog, Zoomer also comes with a USB cord and needs to be charged for an hour to get twenty minutes of use. Just think of it as a nap… that includes electricit (via Omnibot Hello! Zoomer Dog Robot | GeekAlerts)

#SelfieBot by Orbotix

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(by Go Sphero)