Tag Archives | Robotics

Skynet Has Arrived? European Union Unveils RoboEarth, An Internet Just For Robots

tape_robotScientists have created a network which various smart devices and artificial intelligences will use autonomously to share information and learn from each other – increasing their capabilities. Should we just surrender now? The BBC reports:

A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being shown off for the first time. The system has been developed by research scientists from Philips and five European universities including Eindhoven.

It is the culmination of a four-year project, funded by the European Union. The eventual aim is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines.

“At its core RoboEarth is a world wide web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other,” said Rene van de Molengraft, the RoboEarth project leader.

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Google Buys Military Robotics Contractor

The company that creates terrifying machines such as BigDog, CHEETAH, and PETMAN for the Pentagon's DARPA division is now a subsidiary of Google. It remains to be seen how Google plans to combine the deployment of robots such as BigDog (below) with its knowledge of your intimate personal information and location at all times. The New York Times reports:
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for extraordinarily agile machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection.
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What Happens When Soldiers Get Attached to Their Robots?

leiaThere’s an interesting article at Medical News Today about the phenomenon of soldiers become emotionally attached to the robots they use in combat.

Via Medical News Today:

It’s becoming more common to have robots sub in for humans to do dirty or sometimes dangerous work. But researchers are finding that in some cases, people have started to treat robots like pets, friends, or even as an extension of themselves. That raises the question, if a soldier attaches human or animal-like characteristics to a field robot, can it affect how they use the robot? What if they “care” too much about the robot to send it into a dangerous situation?

Keep reading.

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Developing Robots To Care For The Elderly

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Will you believe your grandparents when they swear to you that the robots have turned on them? Via the Telegraph:

Experts believe that Linda, a £25,000 robot, could be the perfect solution to one of the biggest hazards facing elderly residents in care homes: falls.

Continuously sweeping the building in search of distressed residents is exactly the kind of repetitive task to which robots are ideally suited.

Not only could robots like Linda patrol corridors for continuous surveillance 24 hours a day, but they could perform additional tasks such as carrying messages or escorting patients to appointments.

The problem of teaching machines to distinguish between an everyday situation and an emergency is now being tackled by a £7m EU-funded project being conducted at six universities in Britain and abroad.

The project, known as STRANDS (Spatio-Temporal Representations and Activities for Cognitive Control in Long-term Scenarios) is focused on programming robots to learn about their environment and recognise when something is amiss.

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Slime Mold Expresses Its Emotions Through Robotic Face

Android technology may reveal the inner lives of simple and mysterious creatures, in disturbing fashion. Via New Scientist:
Slime mold finds the quickest path between food and has even shown signs of having memory – despite not having a brain. A human-like robot face has been hooked up so that its expressions are controlled by the electrical signals produced when yellow slime mold shies away from light, or moves eagerly towards food. Physarum polycephalum is a common yellow slime mold which ranges in size from several hundred micrometres to more than one metre. It is an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of identical unicellular organisms that merge together into one huge "cell" containing all their nuclei.
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Ken Goldberg’s Seismic Signals

Screenshot of Bloom, 2013, by Ken Goldberg, Sanjay Krishnan, Fernanda Viégas, and Martin Wattenberg.

Venue interviews one of the more interesting professors you’ll run into at any university, Ken Goldberg:

The Hayward Fault runs through the center of the UC Berkeley campus, famously splitting the university’s football stadium in half from end to end. It has, according to the 2008 Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, a thirty-one percent probability of rupturing in a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake within the next thirty years, making it the likeliest site for the next big California quake.

Nonetheless, for the majority of East Bay residents, the fault is out of sight and out of mind—for example, five out of six Californian homeowners have no earthquake insurance.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of a mile north of Memorial Stadium, and just a few hundred yards west of the fault trace, is the office of Ken Goldberg, Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Berkeley.

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Wang Zi Won’s Mechanical Buddhas

South Korean artist Wang Zi Won creates enlightened robots, including the Buddha and an idealized mechanical doll based upon himself, as a guidepost for a future in which technology lead to self-actualization:
Humans will evolve and adapt themselves to enhanced science and technology just as men and animals in the past evolved to adapt themselves to their natural circumstances. The artist sees this as our destiny, not as a negative, gloomy dystopia. The artist considers it important to escape from human bondage in order to achieve harmony between men and machines. He thinks this harmony can be achieved through the process of religious practices and spiritual enlightenment. The machine man was based on the artist, but this "I" is not a past "I" any more. His own existence vanishes, and a new being-as-machine man emerges. Z is thus a process of becoming the perfect "I".
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