From Boston Dynamics, the makers of BigDog, I bring you the Precision Urban Hopper:
The purpose of the jumping robot is to be able to scout enemy territory, and to that end it can jump as high as 25 feet. BBC News has more.
Mad Scientists Kevin Warwick and Ben Whalley at the University of Reading, UK, wants to build a robot controlled by human brain cells. Awesome.
They’re not doing it (just) because they’re afflicted with Science Related Memetic Disorder, though:
The team say that observing how their neuron culture responds to stimulation could improve our understanding of neurological conditions such as epilepsy.
For instance, the way large numbers of neurons sometimes spike in unison – a phenomenon known as “bursting” – may be similar to what happens during an epileptic seizure. If that behaviour can be altered by changing the culture chemically, electrically or physically, it might hint at potential therapies. [New Scientist]
The team of genuine Mad Scientists have already shown that a robot can be controlled using rat neurons, but a culture of human neurons would be a better model for human disease, so they want that next.
They just have to finish they’re work with the rat neurons, then they can start building the ROBOT WITH A HUMAN BRAIN!
I can hear the mad laughter from here… No, wait, that’s me.
Physarum polycephalum is a plasmodium slime mould that shies away from light but moves towards food. Abdrew Adamatsky and his team of researchers at the University of the West of England wants to program this mould into engineering robots.
[The Plasmobot] will be “programmed” using light and electromagnetic stimuli to trigger chemical reactions similar to a complex piece of chemistry called the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, which Adamatzky previously used to build liquid logic gates for a synthetic brain.
By understanding and manipulating these reactions, says Adamatzky, it should be possible to program Plasmobot to move in certain ways, to “pick up” objects by engulfing them and even assemble them. [New Scientist]
Single-celled organisms have already been use to control robots, this is simply taking things a step further: making a whole robot out of them.
The plan is to have the mould manipulate miniscule pieces of foam that can float on the slime to assemble components of micromachines.
1) Cracked comedy website lists “The Most Frequently Quoted Bullshit Animal Facts“: lemmings don’t commit mass suicide, ostriches don’t put their head in the sand and bumblebees do fly.
2) New Scientist has a gallery of microgravity physics:
3) io9 has a piece on the near-future technologies which will replace humans: android receptionists, surgeon robots and more.
I can´’t believe I almost missed this one: the Eccerobot is a robot designed to be as close to a human being as possible, not in outwards appearances, but in anatomy.
It has plastic bones, kite-line tendons and elastic cord muscles put together so as to mimic real human anatomy as closely as possible.
The team building the robot also want to give the robot human-like intelligence, which is decidedly easier said than done. And they haven’t exactly perfected the anatomy aspect of the robot yet:
Mimicking human anatomy is no shortcut to success, though, as even simple human actions like raising an arm involve a complex series of movements from many of the robot’s bones, muscles and tendons.
However, the team is convinced that solving these problems will enable the construction of a machine that interacts with its environment in a more human manner.
“We want to develop these ideas into a new kind of ‘anthropomimetic robot’ which can deal with and respond to the world in ways closer to the ways that humans do,” says Owen Holland at the University of Sussex, UK, who is leading the project. [New Scientist]
Here’s a brief video of the robot explaining how it works:
The question remains, however, whether the robot have any Dystopian Undertones, ifyouknowwhatImean?