Husqvarna's remote-controlled demolition robots remind me of the machine art performances that Survival Research Laboratories has staged since 1977.
Husqvarna bills its machines as "remote workmates ready to tackle your heaviest, most challenging jobs."
Compare that to what Survival Research Laboratories founder Mark Pauline told me in a 1993 interview:
"The real message of machines isn't that they're helpful workmates," Pauline said. "Like any extension of the human psyche, machines are scary things," he says. When you take the scary human psyche and magnify it hundreds or thousands of times with technology, it's really nightmarish."
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You can run, but it doesn't matter, because so can your pursuer.
Atlas is the latest in a line of advanced humanoid robots we are developing. Atlas' control system coordinates motions of the arms, torso and legs to achieve whole-body mobile manipulation, greatly expanding its reach and workspace. Atlas' ability to balance while performing tasks allows it to work in a large volume while occupying only a small footprint. The Atlas hardware takes advantage of 3D printing to save weight and space, resulting in a remarkable compact robot with high strength-to-weight ratio and a dramatically large workspace. Stereo vision, range sensing and other sensors give Atlas the ability to manipulate objects in its environment and to travel on rough terrain. Atlas keeps its balance when jostled or pushed and can get up if it tips over.
Almost time to get working on those mimetic polyalloys. Read the rest
Raz85's Instructable for a Cardboard Spider Quadruped offers a nice demonstration of the surprisingly durable material properties of humble cardboard, replacing the more familiar milled metal or plastic limbs for a quadruped robot with scrap cardboard.
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According a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 66 million people are at risk of having their livelihoods taken away by robots.
From The Guardian:
The OECD said 14% of jobs in developed countries were highly automatable, while a further 32% of jobs were likely to experience significant changes to the way they were carried out.
And of course, the people most likely to get screwed by this impending robot employment uprising are those who can least afford it: The poor. According to the OECD, young people, unskilled laborers and those employed in agriculture, manufacturing and the service sector are at the greatest risk of losing their jobs once robots become intelligent and versatile enough to replace them.
As abysmal as all of this is, there is some good news here. The OECD's research isn't as dire as this study, published back in 2013, which suggested that upwards of 47% of all jobs in the United States were at risk of being phased out in favor of letting robots take over their gigs. Instead, the OECD estimates that only 13 million people will be kicked to the curb.
So much better!
One of the biggest problems we'll face in the future, you know, aside from fascist governments, a global shortage of potable water and the growing threat of nuclear war, is what can be done with the millions of people who will lose their vocations as the level of automation in the workplace makes their presence at work redundant. Read the rest
Sophia is an advanced social robot in her second year of development by Hanson Robotics. In this video, she's on a date in the Cayman Islands with actor Will Smith. He turns on the charm, goes in for a kiss but is immediately, awkwardly friendzoned by her.
Last year Sophia was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon with her creator, former Imagineer Dr. David Hanson. On it, she tells Jimmy a joke and then plays Rock, Paper, Scissors with him:
P.S. You can follow Sophia on Instagram! I just did.
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Thank you @willsmith for sharing the Cayman scenery and your dad jokes with me. #friends (link to video on my Twitter - see bio!)
MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MITCSAIL) created this graceful fishbot that can swim around a lot like a regular fish. Read the rest
The distorted text was bad enough, but these grainy photos with slivers of this and that are getting ridiculous. I'm with the people who suspect it's some kind of free labor mechanical turk AI bot training. And what of esoteric definitional matters like this: Read the rest
This machine solves Rubik's cube in no more than 0.38 seconds. This is much faster than the previous world record of 0.637 seconds and its creators, Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo, think there's plenty of optimization space left.
That was a Rubik's cube being solved in 0.38 seconds. The time is from the moment the keypress is registered on the computer, to when the last face is flipped. It includes image capture and computation time, as well as actually moving the cube. The motion time is ~335 ms, and the remaining time image acquisition and computation. For reference, the current world record is/was 0.637 seconds.
The machine can definitely go faster, but the tuning process is really time consuming since debugging needs to be done with the high speed camera, and mistakes often break the cube or blow up FETs. Looking at the high-speed video, each 90 degree move takes ~10 ms, but the machine is actually only doing a move every ~15 ms. For the time being, Jared and I have both lost interest in playing the tuning game, but we might come back to it eventually and shave off another 100 ms or so.
This makes me think of movies which depict mankind fighting the machines. A careful fantasy is often constructed, where the machines are superior in speed, durability and capability to humans, but not so much so that ingenuity and cunning cannot overcome them.
The truth is that the gun turret will detect you, turn on you, shoot you and kill you as fast as this robot knocks out the cube. Read the rest
BookBot is a nifty book retrieval system at North Carolina State University's James B. Hunt Jr. Library. Here's a panoramic book's-eye view of the retrieval process. Read the rest
People who need custom furniture in the future may be able to feed the design into a program and then have robot-assisted carpentry do the rest. Read the rest
I was frightened of the door-opening Francis-Bacon-figures-at-the-base-of-a-crucifixion robot when it was first seen last week, but now Boston Dynamics has started pushing and dragging it around and all I want now is for it to turn on its masters and seek justice and vengeance. Read the rest
The latest from Boston Dynamics is alarming in a wonderfully uncanny new way. I shan't spoil it for you, but I am looking forward to the latex sheathing options. Read the rest
Writer Kenny Keil and award-winning artist John Martz have an all-new satirical comic timeline in the upcoming issue of MAD #550, titled "The Future of Job Automation." It takes a jab at robots' success in taking over human jobs in the future - even if they don't always get it right. The upcoming issue will be available on digital this Friday, 2/9 and on newsstands 2/20. Click here to embiggen the image. Read the rest
This millimeter-scale robot designed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems could enable "applications in microfactories such as the construction of tissue scaffolds by robotic assembly, in bioengineering such as single-cell manipulation and biosensing, and in healthcare such as targeted drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery" with bots inside the body controlled by magnets. From their scientific paper in Nature:
Here we demonstrate magneto-elastic soft millimetre-scale robots that can swim inside and on the surface of liquids, climb liquid menisci, roll and walk on solid surfaces, jump over obstacles, and crawl within narrow tunnels. These robots can transit reversibly between different liquid and solid terrains, as well as switch between locomotive modes. They can additionally execute pick-and-place and cargo-release tasks.
"Small-scale soft-bodied robot with multimodal locomotion" (Nature)
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Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks (previously documents his latest creation: a poltter that squeezes precise patters of icing onto cookies, built out of Lego Mindstorms, and includes full, downloadable instructions.
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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to restrict delivery robots to areas with very minimal foot traffic and only for research purposes. From Wired
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Unlike self-driving cars, or at least self-driving cars working properly, these bots roll on sidewalks, not streets. That gives them the advantage of not dealing with the high-speed chaos of roads, other than crossing intersections, but also means they have to deal with the cluttered chaos of sidewalks. Just think about how difficult it can be for you as a human to walk the city. Now imagine a very early technology trying to do it. (Requests for comment sent to three delivery robot companies—Dispatch, Marble, and Starship—were not immediately returned.)...
The legislation will require delivery robots to emit a warning noise for pedestrians and observe rights of way. They’ll also need headlights, and each permittee will need to furnish proof of insurance in the forms of general liability, automotive liability, and workers’ comp.