Posts Tagged ‘robotics’

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Robot Reading Robot Writing

December 18, 2012

Computer-Authored Books Are On Sale On Amazon: It’s one of those cliches that everyone’s got a book inside them. And that doesn’t mean you’ve just chewed your way through War and Peace, but that we all have one novel sitting inside our brains, unwritten, just waiting to hit the Kindle bestseller list. However, writing a novel is tough—all those words, all those ideas, plus you have to put it all together in a narrative unless you want to go all Joycean—but then you’ll never get rich quick.

So, why not let an algorithm do the hard work for you? They owe us anyway for letting them take over the world. This is what programmer Philip M. Parker, a professor at INSEAD, has created: an algorithmic system that takes raw data from internet searches and databases and magics it into book form using a template, so that us non-machines can digest it easier. He’s managed to create hundreds of thousands of books this way and lots of them are for sale on Amazon through his name and his company EdgeMaven Media.

Text (Kevin Holmes) and Image (robotlab) via The Creators Project

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Robot book scanner reads 250 pages per minute: Created by Japan’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory, the BFS-Auto uses high speed, automated page flipping and real-time 3D page recognition to accurately scan books at a rate of over 250 pages per minute. That’s about a novel per minute, an Oxford Dictionary in under 10 minutes, or an entire 32-volume Encyclopedia Britannica set in roughly two hours.

Text and Image via DVICE

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DARPA’s Pet-Proto Robot Navigates Obstacles

October 30, 2012

Pet-Proto, a predecessor to DARPA’s Atlas robot, is confronted with obstacles similar to those robots might face in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). To maneuver over and around the obstacles, the robot exercises capabilities including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will test these and other capabilities in a series of tasks that will simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment.

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Calligraphy robot uses a Motion Copy System to reproduce detailed brushwork

October 15, 2012

A research group at Keio University, led by Seiichiro Katsura, has developed the Motion Copy System. This system can identify and store detailed brush strokes, based on information about movement in calligraphy. This enables a robot to faithfully reproduce the detailed brush strokes.

This system stores calligraphy movements by using a brush where the handle and tip are separate. The two parts are connected, with the head as the master system and the tip as the slave system. Characters can be written by handling the device in the same way as an ordinary brush.

Unlike conventional motion capture systems, a feature of this one is, it can record and reproduce the force applied to the brush as well as the sensation when you touch something. Until now, passing on traditional skills has depended on intuition and experience. It’s hoped that this new system will enable skills to be learned more efficiently.

Text via <strong>DigiInfo

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Design and print your own robot: MIT project, funded with $10 million NSF grant, could transform robotic design and production

August 27, 2012

MIT is leading an ambitious new project to reinvent how robots are designed and produced. Funded by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the project will aim to develop a desktop technology that would make it possible for the average person to design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours.

“This research envisions a whole new way of thinking about the design and manufacturing of robots, and could have a profound impact on society,” says MIT Professor Daniela Rus, leader of the project and a principal investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “We believe that it has the potential to transform manufacturing and to democratize access to robots.”

“Our goal is to develop technology that enables anyone to manufacture their own customized robot. This is truly a game changer,” says Professor Vijay Kumar, who is leading the team from the University of Pennsylvania. “It could allow for the rapid design and manufacture of customized goods, and change the way we teach science and technology in high schools.” Continue HERE

Text and Image via MIT News

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Soft autonomous earthworm robot at MIT

August 14, 2012

Earthworms creep along the ground by alternately squeezing and stretching muscles along the length of their bodies, inching forward with each wave of contractions. Snails and sea cucumbers also use this mechanism, called peristalsis, to get around, and our own gastrointestinal tracts operate by a similar action, squeezing muscles along the esophagus to push food to the stomach.

Now researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University have engineered a soft autonomous robot that moves via peristalsis, crawling across surfaces by contracting segments of its body, much like an earthworm. The robot, made almost entirely of soft materials, is remarkably resilient: Even when stepped upon or bludgeoned with a hammer, the robot is able to inch away, unscathed.

Sangbae Kim, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, says such a soft robot may be useful for navigating rough terrain or squeezing through tight spaces.

Text via MIT

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With Willpower, and a Jolt of Electricity, Paralyzed Rats Learn to Walk Again

June 1, 2012

A new kind of rehabilitation restored voluntary movement to rats with severely damaged spinal cords. The rat stood on its hind limbs at one end of a narrow runway. It wore a tiny black vest attached to a robotic arm that hovered above its head. Without such mechanical support, the rat would have fallen over—its spinal cord had two deep cuts, rendering its back legs useless. Rubia van den Brand, then a doctoral candidate at the University of Zurich, stood at the other end of the runway, urging the animal to walk. Although the robotic arm kept the rat upright, it could not help the creature move; if the rodent were ever to walk again, it would have to will its feet forward. For the first time since van den Brand began her experiments, the rat moved one of its back legs on its own—a small, effortful step. She ran to her boss’s office with the news and a crowd immediately gathered in the lab to watch what many had deemed impossible.

Excerpt from an article written by Ferris Jabr, Scientific American. Continue HERE

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On Cuteness & Manufacturing Trauma

May 9, 2012

“Zack loves dinosaurs but until now he has never seen one bigger than himself. This is his reaction. Zack is 2 1/2 years old.”