Hat allows you to control a robot

The article describes a hat that detects brain signals from scalp sensors (rather than implanted electrodes). Those signals are then used to control devices:

Thinking hat for directing movements in robot

From the article: "The technology detects brain waves by using electrodes placed at strategic points on the scalp. They are positioned over brain areas, known to be involved in moving specific body parts. The computer can then distinguish between signals corresponding to different types of movement.

Previously, accurate detection of local brain activity has required electrodes to be implanted in the brain. This technique has allowed recipients to control robots and even send e-mails."


Robotic patients

Robotic patients help train doctors: "Faced with a growing number of medical students and few training hospitals, a Mexican university is turning to robotic patients to better train future doctors. Mexico City's UNAM University has opened the world's largest 'robotic hospital' -- where medical students practice on everything from delivering a baby from a robotic dummy to injecting the arm of a plastic toddler."


Robot Servants

Presenting American Robot Servants: "GeckoSystems, Inc., a leading developer of mobile service robots (MSRs), has announced completion of a revolutionary servant class personal robot designed for eldercare, childcare, and home security. This news isn't coming from Japan or Korea. GeckoSystems is based in Conyers, Georgia."



Grand challenge car overview

There are 2 really nice graphics in this article explaining the equipment.

Robot car takes the high-tech road: "In a warehouse in Irvine, a team of volunteer computer experts has been hard at work for more than a year building a robotic car for a Department of Defense-sponsored competition that could win the team a purse of $2 million. "


Military robots

'The time of robotics has arrived'

From the article:


Treasure-discovering robot

ROBOT DISCOVERS GOLD ON CHILE’S ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND: "The team used new robot technology that is able to scan the atomic composition of materials such as water, metals and petroleum buried up to 50 meters underground. Because the robot uses sonar to scan the ground, no digging has actually been done yet, but if the team is right, the discovery would be the largest buried treasure ever found anywhere."



Robotic models

The whole situation with Kate Moss last week makes you wonder how long human models will last:

Fallen woman: Shaming of a supermodel

From the article: Especially for static magazine photographs, it would seem like we are rapidly approaching the point where we can use synthetic models instead of human models. And there is a very good chance that humans would find the synthetic models more attractive. See, for example:

Virtual attractiveness

The article states: "Taking everything together it can be said that the most attractive face does not exist in reality - they are computed according to certain principles by machines. Having these results in mind it is also not surprising that a model agency from Munich chose 88% artificial faces (14 out of 16 selected faces) for potentially being interesting as a model for the category “beauty”."

Not only will the robots be smarter/stronger/faster, but the robots will be far more attractive than humans as well.



Casino robots

Dvorak Uncensored - Gambling With High Tech

From the article:Another job category goes to the robots... See also Robots taking jobs.



Robots and human conversation

Brit programmer wins chat-bot prize

From the article:



Robot Sentry Gun

This one is a little intimidating. A couple of "normal guys" have built a robotic gun and camera system intended to target and kill people. Lots of photos of the construction process.

Sentry Gun: "The idea of this project was to create a fully-automated sentry gun, capable of picking out a human target and accurately tracking and shooting him or her in the heart. Really, the idea was to find a cool robotics project for the summer while I was working at an advertising agency, and I'd only ever seen sentry guns in movies (like Congo) and video games (Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress Classic)."


Low-power chips to get more focus at Intel

Low-power chips to get more focus at Intel: "Intel plans to announce today that it has created a new manufacturing process for making semiconductor chips that run on low power, a major departure from its long-term focus on making ever-faster chips.

The world's largest chip maker has created a process to reduce power consumption for some of its chips up to 1,000 times. Such low-power chips are more suitable for smaller, portable electronics such as handheld computers and cell phones."


S. Korea combat robots

S. Korea says will develop combat robots: "South Korea announced it was developing highly sophisticated combat robots that could complement the roles of human soldiers on battlefields. "


U.S. Robot funding well behind other nations

Bot Builders Scramble for Cash: "Bekey said that robotics research funding has been dropping in the United States for at least the last decade, with NSF's funding now at less than $10 million per year.

In contrast, he said Japan's government will spend nearly $100 million in 2005. And over the next three years, Europe plans to spend nearly $100 million on a new program called Advanced Robotics. South Korea, meanwhile, spends $80 million on robotics research annually. "



Grand Challenge nearly here

Robotic vehicles set for desert adventure

From the article: Today approximately zero of the ground vehicles are unmanned. In 10 years, one-third of them will be unmanned. Presumably by 2025, almost all ground vehicles will be unmanned. That is the kind of pace we will see for robotic deployment throughout the economy. It will be rapid.


Calling all inventors

NASA launches contest in search for dirt-digging moon robot

From the article:



More human error

When I speak publicly about robots, one question that I get asked all the time is, "What makes you think that people would fly on airplanes or trains where the is no human in the cockpit?" I think people will actually be happy to get into robotic airplanes because they will be safer. Here is an example.

NTSB: Derailed train was going too fast: "A commuter train was going almost 60 mph faster than the speed limit just before it derailed, killing two people and injuring dozens, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.

Mark Rosenker said the Metra train was traveling at 69 mph and should not have been going faster than 10 mph when it switched tracks at a crossover just before jumping the tracks Saturday.

'Sixty-nine miles an hour is very, very fast when you're dealing with a 10-mile-an-hour restriction,' Rosenker said.

The speed information came from a preliminary reading of one of the train's three electronic data recorders, popularly known as 'black boxes,' Rosenker said.
Part of the investigation included an interview Sunday with the train's engineer. The 41-year-old man had been on the job for 45 days after completing Metra's six-month training program, which included at least some training along the route where the derailment occurred. He also had worked for more than five years as a CSX Corp. freight train engineer."


Robots and realtors

Realtors are being replaced by robots. In this case, the robots take the form of software and databases on the Internet. This article discusses the trend:

The 6 Percent Solution: Skip Real Estate Agents

From the article:$100 billion is a huge number. With approximately 100 million households in America, it means that every household paid about $1,000 to realtors last year. (!) As we eliminate realtors, each household will save $1,000 per year on average. And that is very good.

The question is this. There are about 1 million realtors in the U.S. Not all of them are "active", but let's say half are. If we eliminate 500,000 good, high-paying jobs, what are those people going to end up doing? See Robots taking jobs and Robotic Nation.



Robot weeds fields

Robot weeds fields: "Weeding is a major problem for ecological growers since it is both expensive and time-consuming... In ecological cultivation, weeding is performed manually... For an ecological grower of beets, weeding can cost about SEK 10,000 per hectare. With robot technology we estimate that these costs can be cut in half. In the long term this technology would also mean major environmental benefits by ultimately replacing chemical herbicides in traditional cultivation."

Eliminating chemical herbicides would be a major benefit.


Robot lifeguard

Robot lifeguard wins 15th International BraunPrize: "The BraunPrize for 2005 has been awarded to Jens Andersson from Sweden for his design "Rescue Buoy" - a swimming robot in the form of a lifebuoy. "

Nice photo with the article.




A fascinating article that predicts that AI software can do quite a bit of the work done by lawyers today:

Robo-justice - The Boston Globe

From the article:Of course it is quite easy to imagine AI software taking over the entire judicial system eventually and doing a better job than humans because the software would be unemotional.

There are about 700,000 lawyers in the U.S., and like doctors and pilots they are highly paid. There is a lot of economic pressure to eliminate them. If software can take over half of these jobs, it would save the economy billions of dollars. See also Robots taking jobs.



Robot revolution ramps up

Robot revolution ramps up

Fascinating article on the state of the art in industrial robots. For example:



HRP-3P humanoid robot

Humanoid robot for risky work unveiled : "The HRP-3P robot demonstrated its functions at Kawada's plant in the town of Haga in Tochigi Prefecture, walking on an icy surface as well as walking under simulated heavy rainfall. The battery-powered robot, which is 160 centimeters tall and weighs 65 kilograms, carries out remote-controlled and preprogrammed work."



New Solar Underwater Robot Technology

New Solar Underwater Robot Technology



Robotic Killer Droid

Truly Robotic Killer Droid Finds and Destroys Targets

From the article: Let's call this the official beginning of the end of human pilots in the cockpit.



Robot Programmers

Machines Better Programmers than Humans

From the article: Consider the very interesting point you reach where you can say, "Robot programmer, I would like you to write a program that is better at writing programs". See also:



Robot saves girl's life

BritainSaved by a computer lifeguard: "A young girl has been saved from drowning by an extraordinary computer system that keeps an eye on everybody in a swimming pool.

The girl was pulled unconscious from 12ft of water at the deep end of a public pool in Bangor, North Wales, when underwater cameras spotted that she was not moving and alerted a lifeguard. The lifeguard could not see the girl in the crowded pool but was able to respond to the alert within seconds.

It is the first time in Britain that the Poseidon surveillance system, manufactured by a French company, has helped lifeguards to save a swimmer from drowning. The campaign group Swimsafekids said last night that the rescue proved that the system could save many more lives if they were installed compulsorily."

This brings up a question that has been asked repeatedly here. What jobs will be left for humans to do in 20 or 30 years? See Robots taking jobs for details.


Robot makes you watch the road

Toyota Computer Makes You Watch the Road

From the article: If you are going to that much trouble, you might as well have the robot drive the car.


Home protection robot

Humanoid robot can recognize 10,000 words: "A 3-foot-tall humanoid robot that can recognize about 10,000 words and work as a house sitter will go on sale in Japan in September, its manufacturer said Monday.

The 'Wakamaru' robot can recognize the faces of up to 10 people and talk to them. When linked to cell phones, it can also monitor situations at home, such as a burglary or someone falling ill, according to Mitsubishi-Heavy Industries Ltd.

It said it would be the first time a robot with communication ability for home use has been sold. "



Robotic space penguin

Robotic space penguin to hop across the Moon: "The first lunar colonists may not be a humans but compact robots capable of jumping more than a kilometre in a single bound.

Engineers at US defence contractor Raytheon, in Massachusetts, have developed a robot, dubbed the Lunar Penguin, that could one day bounce across perilous craters and imposing mountains on the Moon's craggy surface using a set of compact rocket boosters."



Poker robots

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Bot: "CptPokr is a robot. Unlike the other icons at the table, there is no human placing his bets and playing his cards. He is controlled by WinHoldEm, the first commercially available autoplaying poker software. Seat him at the table and he will apply strategy gleaned from decades of research. While carbon-based players munch Ding Dongs, yawn, guzzle beer, reply to email, take phone calls, and chat on IM, CptPokr (a pseudonym) is running the numbers so it will know, statistically, when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

Smart, skilled players are rewarded in the long run, especially online, where there are plenty of beginners who would never have the nerve to sit down at a real table. But WinHoldEm isn't just smart, it's a machine. Set it to run on autopilot and it wins real money while you sleep. Flick on Team mode and you can collude with other humans running WinHoldEm at the table."



Nintendogs Teach Us New Tricks

Nintendogs Teach Us New Tricks: "Me, I think the appeal is much subtler -- and weirder. If we love Nintendogs, it's not merely because they're so adorable. It's that they're so needy.

The puppies are -- like many virtual life forms, from Tamigotchis to The Sims -- a rather helpless breed. You have to carefully monitor their hunger and thirst; when you're out for a walk, you have to shoo them away from street garbage so they won't eat it. Leave your puppy unattended for long enough and it'll become so filthy and distressed that it'll run away.

As it turns out, we're suckers for babysitting. Sherry Turkle -- the digital-age pundit and author of Life on the Screen -- has been researching the relationship between robots and people. She's discovered that the most popular robots are, unexpectedly, the ones that demand we take care of them. They trigger our nurturing impulses, the same ones we deploy toward infants, the elderly or any other vulnerable creature."



Manna in operation

Case Study: 99 Cents Only Stores' Efficient IT Infrastructure

From the article:This is straight out of the book Manna, so perhaps that would be a good name for the "as-yet-unnamed voice".

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