194 posts tagged robots
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)
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)
How Digital Labor Will Drive the Third Industrial Revolution
“By 2020, the labor reduction effect of digitization will cause social unrest and a quest for new economic models in several mature economies.” This dire warning from IT analyst Gartner has good pedigree: John Maynard Keynes coined the term “technological unemployment” in 1930 to describe labor-saving innovation outpacing the ability to find new things for people to do. In the 1970s, the lack of work in the imminent future was regarded as a major challenge — how would people survive permanent leisure? Go back two centuries and even in the midst of serfdom, Voltaire offered an answer: “Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.” So is it serious this time? Are we on the brink of Industrial Revolution 3.0? One battleground of profound change will be the office. This is the 21st Century factory, employing some 30 percent of the workforce in mature economies. The office has had a superb record in resisting productivity improvements. Despite enormous investments in IT, “knowledge” work seems to have been immune from silicon-based onslaught. So what is new? In a word: Robots. In the last few years, a new kind of digitized employee has moved from the factory floor to the back office of businesses and they are different from traditional IT. (via How Digital Labor Will Drive the Third Industrial Revolution | Innovation Insights | Wired.com)
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.
Enjoy these lighthearted and fun robotics videos while you can, because we’re slowly but surely creeping up on IROS and IREX. As of November third, it’s going to be all serious business, as we embrace insanity by attempting to bring you one of the world’s largest research robotics conferences and the world’s largest robot exhibition at the same time. We have just three more Fridays to psych ourselves up for this task, but it’s not quite time to panic just yet, so let’s start things off with today with a nice, friendly robot ape. iStruct, that robotic ape from DFKI in Germany, can now stand up on its hind legs, making the transition from quadruped to biped that took humans like a million years to successfully pull off (via Video Friday: Return of the Robot Ape, Anki Drive Battle Mode, and Why We Love Robots - IEEE Spectrum)
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
Pterodactyl-like bot “Daler” uses its wings for walking
The Daler can fly through the air with grace, but the fun doesn’t stop when this remote-controlled robot lands. The wings segment, and it clambers across the ground like an ungainly pterodactyl or bat. Most robots only use one type of locomotion. They fly through the air (raining death from above, in the case of US military drones), swim through the seas, like the Sharkbot or this robotic jellyfish, or crawl, run, and roll across the earth. However, the Daler—Deployable air land exploration robot—uses “adaptive morphology” to master the skies and the earth. It has a wingspan of 60cm, and using its battery-powered “Whegs”—wheel-legs—can fly for 30 minutes or walk for an hour. Developed at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Daler could one day be used in search-and-rescue, the robot’s inventor told Wired.co.uk. “The goal is to cover large distances as fast as possible in a forward flight configuration and then use hover or ground locomotion to search for victims,” said Ludovic Daler. “Being capable of multi-modal locomotion for a robot has an advantage in complex terrains where other robots would get stuck at some point.” At the moment, the Daler’s mastery of the earth is rather turtle-like, with a top speed of just 0.2m/s, and it needs to be thrown by hand to launch. But despite these shortcomings, this initial prototype shows how robots of the future could tackle any obstacle by changing their shape. The next version of the robot will include vertical take off and landing capabilities, says Daler. He is also investigating ways of allowing the robot to choose its gait depending on the terrain, as well as reducing the wingspan with deployable wings to increase its ground manoeuvrability. (via Pterodactyl-like bot “Daler” uses its wings for walking | Ars Technica)