This robot is very skilled at tossing bananas

TossingBot is a robot that teaches itself how to pick up and toss objects with great accuracy. Eventually, the robot -- designed by researchers from Google, Princeton, Columbia, and MIT -- could lead to more efficient pick-and-place (grab-and-toss?) robots for factory automation, debris clearing at disaster sites, or perhaps package delivery. Right now though, the TossingBot is quite good at throwing bananas into bins. From IEEE Spectrum:

Part of what makes TossingBot so useful is that the tossing technique significantly decreases the time that the robot spends on the “place” part of a pick-and-place task. Rather than spending time putting an object down, objects are instead (as the researchers put it) “immediately passed to Newton,” and the toss also means that the robot’s effective reach is significantly longer than its physical workspace....

The interesting bit of TossingBot itself is a deep neural network that starts with a depth image of objects in a bin, and goes all the way through from successful grasp to parameters for the throw itself. Since the throwing of an object (especially an unbalanced object) depends heavily on how it’s being held, grasping and throwing are learned at the same time. By measuring whether a grasp is successful by whether a throw is successful, TossingBot learns to favor grasps that result in accurate throws. As you can see from the video, the learning process itself is fairly clever, and the robot can be mostly just left alone to figure things out for itself, managing 10,000 grasp and throw attempts in 14 hours of training time.

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Possibly NSFW: A gadget that injects bananas with syrup

I might be 12, but my brain went straight to the gutter when I saw this weird banana-filling gadget. This thing is marketed to kids, even though it seems rather inappropriate!

So, this is how the $27 "Banana Surprise" works. You cut off the tip, just the tip. Then, you rest the fruit in the "Yumstation." Now, this is where the fun begins. You get out the tool and jam it into the end and then quickly pull out. And now, according to the directions, it's time to fill that hole with some sweet syrup, fruit puree, or cream.

Surprise, you have an oozing, dripping piece of phallic fruit!

It's just a banana. It's just a banana. It's just a banana.

Related: The phallic pop-up egg-on-a-stick cooker gadget

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Just look at this 1943 Busby Berkeley banana dance

Just look at it. (Thanks, Greg Cook!) Read the rest

Just look at these bananails.

Just look at them. (Thanks, Sean!) Read the rest

Just look at Nokia's revived banana phone

Once again offered in black and banana yellow, the new Nokia 8110 has a few upgrades on the original (such as 4G, a better camera, and more than 16 ringtones). But the classic's vaguely erotic curve is left exactly as it was.

It's hitting stores in Asia this month and will surely pop up online shortly thereafter; there doesn't seem to be any word on an official U.S. release. It's being made under license by HMD, which is developing its own operating system and appstore for dumbphones.

[Photo: LutherBlisset] Read the rest

Just look at this exploding, extremely ripe wild banana.

Just look at it.

(Thanks, Gwynne!) Read the rest

Just look at this banana-futures-speculation cryptocurrency

Just look at it. Read the rest

Look at this banana pose.

Just look at it.

(Thanks, Mom!) Read the rest

Just look at this banana-shaped pool-table

Just look at it. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Just look at these complicated, fragile independent New York banana supply-chains

Just look at them. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) (Photo: cropped from a picture by Vincent Tullo for the New York Times) Read the rest

Just look at these unsanctioned bananas in a highly sanctioned world

Artist Carson Davis Brown creates rogue art installations, and his latest work in progress does not disappoint: unsanctioned bananas the building lobbies. Read the rest

Just look at this enamel bananashark pin

Just look at it. (via Gameraboy) Read the rest

Just look at Stephan Brusche's incredible banana sculptures

Just look at them. Read the rest

Just look at these bananas in a Carmen Miranda/Busby Berkeley musical.

Robbo sez, "From the 1943 Busby Berkeley musical extravaganza "The Gang's All Here" - this is Carmen Miranda singing: The Lady In The Tutti-Fruity Hat. At around 3:20 they bring out the really big bananas." Read the rest

Just look at this lego banana-mecha being piloted by a dude in a banana suit

Just look at it. (Thanks, Sandro) Read the rest

Just look at this banana chestburster shoop

Just look at it. Read the rest

Just look at this magic chexmix-filled banana

Just look at it. Read the rest

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