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Posts Tagged "robots"

Anthropology in Practice

How will today’s technology change our concept of “work”?

View of New York City at night from the 30th Floor of the Millennium UN Plaza. Photo by Luigi Crespo. Click on image for license and information.

Change is hard. We meet it with some trepidation and skepticism. This is certainly true when it comes to technology. Each wave of technological advancement has changed the economy; and in each age where it has done so, the there has been a ripple effect. For example, did you know that one of the reasons [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

A Robot in Every Home? We’re Getting Close

Will we recognize our robot overlords when we meet them? “Say Cheese!” The burst of light to my right made me pause: my photo had just been taken. Sure, the sign at the Microsoft Maker Faire tent said entering the area gave them permission to use my image, but I hadn’t quite expected anything so [...]

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Dog Spies

Dog-Eared Reading (Volume 1)

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I recently saw a clip of Neil Patrick Harris hosting the 2013 Emmys. He was doing a bit about Google Glass and said he was watching an episode of American Horror Story on his contacts while hosting the show. And then, mid-sentence, he freaked out (1min 44sec)! Understandable; there’s a lot to freak out about [...]

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Observations

The Formula for Kick-Starting U.S. Manufacturing Begins with Technology

manufacturing,3d printing,material,robot

Much of what we buy in the U.S. is not made here, and hasn’t been for decades. If 2013 is any indication this could be changing, although the next generation of American manufacturing will differ greatly from its predecessor thanks to advanced technologies that rely on information rather than brawn. Early in the year, President [...]

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Observations

Civilian Drones to Change How We Respond to Emergencies

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You may think you know what a “drone” is. But the word  “clearly means a lot of things to a lot of different people,” according to Dean Jansen, co-director of the Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC), which took place in October. Jansen’s remark came while introducing one of the speakers at the multidisciplinary conference [...]

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Observations

Could Drones Make the Decision to Kill on Their Own? [Video]

It sounds like something out of the Terminator movies: automated drones that can identify, track and eliminate individual targets without explicit human approval. Today’s U.S. drones require a person to make the decision to fire. But, according to novelist Daniel Suarez, autonomous robotic weapons are virtually an inevitability. In this TED talk from the TEDGlobal [...]

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Observations

Robot Bees Learn to Fly [Video]

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In March, the Harvard University researchers behind the RoboBee project wrote an article in Scientific American that detailed the challenges of building a swarm of bee-sized robots. The effort breaks into three loose categories: first, you have to figure out how to build a insect-sized robot that can fly (and build a lot of them—no [...]

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Observations

Scientists Use Tiny Robots to Understand Ants [Video]

Want to know how ants think? Look to the robots. A study published in PLOS Computational Biology explains how researchers used tiny robots to investigate ant behavior. The researchers wanted to know if real ants use geometry to navigate their environment. They sent the robots through mazes where all paths diverged at the same angle, [...]

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Observations

A Visual Guide to the Social Acceptability of Various Human-Machine Interfaces

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Acceptable: Frowned upon: Only if you’re a billionaire, and even then probably not a good idea: Please, no: The MH2 Wearable Humanoid Robot, developed by scientists at Japan’s Yamagata University, “lives on your shoulder and can be remotely inhabited by your friends from anywhere in the world,” according to Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectrum‘s Automaton [...]

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Observations

Robots Evolve to Look Out for Their Own

robots evolve to learn to share

A robot must protect its own existence. This mid-20th-century dictate to the robotic clade from science fiction author and biochemist Isaac Asimov seems cleanly in step with Darwinian theory and the biological world of survival of the fittest. But as scientists continue to witness animals and other organisms habitually sacrificing themselves for the greater good [...]

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Observations

Flexible, rolling robot copies caterpillar’s escape mechanism [Video]

Bioinspired caterpillar robot

Robots inspired by nature are nothing new—in addition to all the humanoid bots out there, roboticists have mimicked numerous other animal species, for instance with the uncannily canine BigDog robot. So why not take inspiration from the humble caterpillar? After all, not only can lepidopteran larvae pass through narrow spaces, but some species also have [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How Lil Wayne, the NYC Octopus, Will Help Scientists Understand the Brain

BROOKLYN—It wasn’t hard to name Lil Wayne. He actually volunteered to take the rapper’s moniker. On April 2, Frank Grasso, director of the Biomemetic and Cognitive Robotics Lab at Brooklyn College, showed me around his lab spaces—from where they build mobile robots to where they keep their axolotls and fiddler crabs to the crown jewel: [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Suckers Have Groovy Secret for Strength

octopus sucker strength material tissue

Octopus suckers are extraordinary. They can move and grasp objects independently. They can “taste” the water around them. They can even form a seal on rough surfaces underwater. And as a many a diver, biologist and intrepid eater can attest, these little suckers are strong. This strength is astounding, especially considering that their tissue is [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

New Views into the Octopus’s Bizarre Moves

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We’ve known for centuries that octopuses get around one of two ways: one, by crawling over surfaces with their arms, or, two, swimming with the help of their siphon’s jet. But a new study (pdf) shows us that their movement is not quite so simple—and is far more fascinating. A team of researchers has been [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Inspire Soft-Bodied Robots–with the Power of Colorful Camouflage [Video]

octopus robot soft bodied camouflage

An octopus can slink through amazingly small spaces—often much to the chagrin of aquarium owners and zookeepers. These animals’ muscular, boneless bodies have just one hard part—a small beak. So the rest of their flexible forms can maneuver into crevasses, along tiny tubes and even through small holes in a finely woven fisherman’s net. By [...]

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PsiVid

Behind the Scenes of “Box”– Mixing Design, Storytelling and Technology

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That mesmerizing installation of light and illusion using 3D projection mapping and robots, Box, that I shared with you last week, left me a bit unsettled. Why? Because, as I watched, I kept asking myself in my mind, “HOW DID THEY DO THAT?” instead of sitting back and enjoying it. (I’ve been often accused of [...]

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Symbiartic

Childhood of Tomorrow: Simon Stålenhag Interview

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Some artists find a synthesis of style and subject that causes their work to resonate deeply within us. We experience new memories and ideas while we look at their images. The paintings of Simon Stålenhag do just that. They feel like Polaroids from a childhood we never had in the future. I’m thrilled to present Stålenhag’s artwork [...]

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Symbiartic

Future of the Big Five

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Will our desire to hunt remain after we’ve stripped the Earth of its megafauna? This concept art series-in-progress by Robert Chew focuses on the future of Africa’s Big Five – rhinoceras, cape buffalo, elephant, lion and leopard – and seems to suggest a future where the forms linger even if the animals in their natural [...]

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Symbiartic

Dinosaurs & Robots rocking Anchorage

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Several weeks ago here on Symbiartic, I posted the promotional image for the Robots & Dinosaurs science-art exhibit by artists Raven Amos and Scott Elyard. Rockstar science-blogger Maggie Koerth-Baker of Boing Boing also featured the show. From all accounts on Raven and Scott’s blogs, the show has gone quite well!  So well in fact, they’ve [...]

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Talking back

A Robot Helps Listen In on Brain Cell Chatter

Erwin Neher and Bert Sakmann received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1991 for their development of the patch-clamp technique, which records currents coursing through single ion channels in cells. For neuroscientists, one form of this technique  has become the gold standard for probing information about the goings-on inside a cell. It can [...]

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