Boing Boing 

Meet Jeff: mockumentary/biopic about a giant, killer robot who plays himself

Meet Jeff is a Wired web-series that's a mockumentary about a robot actor called Jeff 1000 who has been given his own biopic, starring Summer Glau.

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Driving a legobot with a simulated worm nervous-system

More news from the Openworm project, whose Kickstarter I posted in April: they've sequenced the connectome of all 302 neurons in a C. Elegans worm, simulated them in software, and put them to work driving a Lego robot.

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The dirty secret of Google's self-driving cars


They've 700,000 miles, but mostly the same few thousand miles, over and over again -- because the cars only work if every single light, piece of street furniture, and other detail is mapped and verified by armies of human and computer analysts, and when anything changes, the mapping needs to be re-created.

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Weird SPAM-colored soft robot moves like a zombie hot dog

Harvard University released video of this unnerving soft robot that can move untethered through punishing conditions, including snow and fire, yet will remain resilient. It looks a bit like reanimated sliced SPAM in the time-lapse crawling footage, and like SPAM, it retains its shape even when its appendages are run over by a car.

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Micro-robots and programmable bees

robobees 3

National Geographic profiles Robert Wood, Harvard's maker of micro-robots inspired by nature, like these programmable bees.

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Barnacle robot to search ship hulls for contraband

MIT researchers demonstrated a barnacle-like underwater robot that can traverse a ship's hull to seek out secret compartments.

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Rubbery, crawling robot can traverse snow, fire

Harvard's Michael Tolley created the 65cm long, soft, pneumatic robot whose operating parameters allow it to run over -9'C terrain or walk through naked flames (for 20 seconds, at least).

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Trundling lidar-guided printerbot will find you and deliver your hardcopy


A Fuji-Xerox prototype printer-robot builds a model of the room and then drives itself to your desk to deliver your printouts, saving you the precious calories you'd waste, running around the office, trying to figure out which printer you sent your job to.

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Pesco on the softer side of robots

untitled Over at Businessweek, I wrote a feature about soft robots, from inflatable robot arms to an exoskeleton worn like a jacket.

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Music video: "Every Movie Robot"

"Every Movie Robot Supercut," Song A Day #2057 by Jonathan Mann.

Industrial cake-decorating robot

Bakery equipment manufacturer Unifiller's robot can frost and decorate a cake much more efficiently than you. (via Laughing Squid)

Self-folding origami robot crawls around

MIT and Harvard researchers developed a laser-cut robot that when powered up folds itself into a 3D shape and walks away.

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Telerobotic baseball fans

Korea's Hanwha Eagles baseball team have installed rows of telerobot "fans" in the stadium that are controlled by remote spectators. (Thanks, Chris Arkenberg!)

Japan eyes 2020 robo-Olympics

"In 2020 I would like to gather all of the world's robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills," said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week. This is where it begins, meatsacks.

Connect Four Robot

MIT student Patrick McCabe made a version of the classic game Connect Four where you play against a robot! (via Laughing Squid)

MIT researchers give us the finger (two of them)

MIT engineers have developed a pair of robotic fingers that are worn around your wrist to enhance your own grasp.The fingers are controlled by your own fingers via a new control algorithm.

"We could make this into a watch or a bracelet where the fingers pop up, and when the job is done, they come back into the watch," says researcher Harry Asada. "Wearable robots are a way to bring the robot closer to our daily life."

Animatronic face-ripping Undead Ted horror-toy

The 700th Undead Ted horror-toy was a face-removing, talking animatronic that sold for £420 on Ebay. I love that it can do more than one line; I like to think of it as the reincarnation of good ole Teddy Ruxpin. (via IO9)

Liz McGrath's customized toy robot

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The inimitable Liz McGrath created "Minerva," a recycled toy robot, for the "World's Greatest ONE of ONE Custom Toy Show" curated by KMNDZ opening tonight at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, California.

Snowdenbot performs tele-diagnosis and offers aid to reporter who had first epileptic seizure

Edward Snowden routinely hangs around at the New York ACLU offices by means of a BEAM telepresence robot, through which he can meet with journalists for "face-to-face" interviews. During a recent interview with Julia Prosinger from Der Tagesspeiggel, Prosinger had her first-ever epileptic seizure, brought on by the flickering screen where he appeared.

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Kickstarting Kibo: robot-blocks for kids 4-7

Jenise sez, "When I worked for a robotics company, I complained bitterly about the lack of robotic toys for my daughter to my boss, Mitch Rosenberg. Yesterday, he sent me an email with the answer to my problem: KIBO, a robot kit specifically designed for kids age 4-7. Mitch partnered with Marina Umaschi Bers, co-creator of Scratch Jr., to found KinderLab Robotics, Inc., and they're trying to produce the toy I dreamed of for my daughter."

Looks amazing, but it ain't cheap: $219 minimum to get the actual blocks, $349 for the full set.

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Plastic robots that self-assemble when cooked

MIT researchers have demonstrated a kind of Shrinky Dink robot, laser-cut 2-D plastic forms that when baked fold themselves up into 3-D robotic components, including electrical circuits and "muscles."

Domo Arigato Restaurant Roboto!

Chris Arkenberg visits an establishment where pop culture and history merge into a light show of singular magnificence.

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Design as parameterization: brute-forcing the manufacturing/ design problem-space

Here's something exciting: Autodesk's new computer-aided design software lets the designer specify the parameters of a solid (its volume, dimensions, physical strength, even the tools to be used in its manufacture and the amount of waste permissible in the process) and the software iterates through millions of potential designs that fit. The designer's job becomes tweaking the parameters and choosing from among the brute-forced problem-space of her object, rather than designing it from scratch.

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La Gigantesca Grua-Robot


I like the person looking through the window in the robot's face. (Via Arcane Images)

New poll on sex with robots

NewImage

One in five people in the UK would be willing to screw a robot, according to a new survey cited in the Daily Beast. That's all? The question was part of a study, by Middlesex University (seriously), that asked 2,000+ people about their views on technology. Apparently, 46% of those polled said they'd either have sex with a robot or at least not judge others who do.

Video: tiny swarm robots for microscale manufacturing

SRI International is creating coordinated systems of tiny ant-like robots that can build larger structures. The aim is a swarm of magnetically-controlled bugbots that could construct electronic devices, conduct chemistry for lab-on-a-chip applications, or do other micro scale manufacturing. It's part of the US Department of Defense's "Open Manufacturing" program. (via Re/code)

Zero-gee cocktail robotics


Samuel writes, "At Yuri's Night World Space Party in Los Angeles on April 11th 2014, my team and I will be announcing the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project. It's been nearly ten years in the making, and we still have a ways to go, but we have 3D printed glass designed to work in weightlessness. As part of the system we are also developing a 'drinkbot' which will mix and dispense a variety of drinks without the need for gravity."

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Robot symposium at UC Berkeley (Friday!)

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image: Margaret Taormina

Tomorrow, Friday (April 4), UC Berkeley is hosting a free symposium about "Robots and New Media." Organized by BB pal and Cal professor Eric Paulos, the lineup includes such robotics/design/media luminaries as Mark Pauline (Survival Research Labs), Hubert Dreyfus (UC Berkeley), Eric Stackpole (OpenROV), Ken Goldberg (UC Berkeley), and Carla Diana (U Penn.). This will be a mind-blower for sure. As JG Ballard said, robots are the "moral degradation of the machine." Robots and New Media

Why I don't believe in robots

My new Guardian column is "Why it is not possible to regulate robots," which discusses where and how robots can be regulated, and whether there is any sensible ground for "robot law" as distinct from "computer law."

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