Monday, January 11, 2010

Real Life Robots

TOPIO 2.Image via Wikipedia
(Edit, to draft, Slurp)

Robots and the robot-ization of humans scare ol ultron above.

The robot, called Asimo, is the result of more than two decades of research by scientists all over the world, including a team at Edinburgh University.

Sethu Vikayakumar, professor of robotics at Edinburgh University, said that Asimo, which stands for “Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility”, represented a big step
towards a future where robots work alongside humans.

Toyota’s most recent humanoid robot prototype (one of many partner robots the automotive giant is developing) stands 130cm tall and weighs 50Kgr. Its legs have 7 degrees of freedom and it can run at an average speed of 7 km/h. In contrast, ASIMO’s maximum speed is 6km/h. The Toyota researchers had to develop new real-time methods for balance control. These methods make it possible for the robot to remain balanced when an external force such as a push from a human is applied when in motion.


Flapping-wing Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) from AeroVironment

According to a recent press release, DARPA has agreed to continue financing a research program for creating a small flapping-wing flying robot. AeroVironment are the happy recipients of 2.1 million dollars to continue NAV's development after achieving several breakthroughs during the now completed phase I of the project; phase I started in 2007 and lasted for 2 years while phase II is expected to continue until the summer of 2010. Specifically and as you can see from the below video, AeroVironment engineers have successfully built a small flapping-wing robot capable of hovering and flying in all directions under remote control.

The company plans to develop a robot that weighs no more than 10 grams and can be controlled from up to 1 mile away with a top speed of 10 meters per second. Obviously, there are numerous military applications for such robots including surveillance, reconnaissance, and even delivery of deadly payload with high precision.

boston dynamics military robot
The ultimate goal for BigDog is to develop a robot that can go anywhere people and animals can go. The program is funded by the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA.

The Pentagon has a new toy in its quest to further dehumanize warfare and bring humanity one step closer to robotic extinction: The EATR. (this isnt it)
Thomas the Tank Engine's true self revealed
The concept is pretty simple. The Energetically Autonomous Tactcial Robot will “perform long range, long endurance missions without the need for conventional refueling.” The EATR won’t need to refuel thanks to its ability to harvest its own fuel, BY EATING. It can use conventional fuels when they’re available, but the EATR can also “find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment and other organically based energy sources.” Skeptics will quickly shout science fiction on this one, but much like the PHASR, the EATR is not only real, but begging to be fast tracked into production, since DARPA is ready to match hungry investors dollar for dollar.
The EATR platform has endless possibilties, from surveilence to transport to “robotic swarms and cognitive collectives.”

Artists rendering of robotic swarm. Artist most likely in grade three
Artist's rendering of robotic swarm.

There are so few times I end up on the same page as the folks at Fox News. Originally, Fox posted a story about the EATR and suggested that it could feed on dead bodies, since warzones are usually filled with them and they are made up of organic material. Unfortunately, Fox pulled the original article so I can’t read it, but the corrected version (and other news stories) states that the EATR is strictly “vegetarian” feeding on things like plant matter and wood chips. The PDF presentation even includes multiple pictures of a happy herbavoric Rhino munching on plants to drive the point home.

You know, we could totally strap some lasers to this guy

Cyclone Power Technologies Inc assured the public that the EATR will be able to distinguish between vegatative mass and other materials, with a cybernetics expert backing them up saying “If it’s not on the menu, it’s not going to eat it.” They also quickly reminded us that the Geneva conventions clearly states that desecration of the dead is a war crime. Of course, I’m sure that certain US lawyers will be able to figure out a legal justification around that one.
CEO of Cyclone Power Technologies Harry Schoell attempted to calm the public’s fear of people eating robots by saying “We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission. We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.” Clearly, Harry never paid much attention to science fiction, because I’m sure that’s the same thing the team who invented Skynet said just before it became self aware and nuked the population.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a Comment