Remember the robotic Transformer shown off by Brave Robotics at last year's Tokyo Maker Faire? It seems the toy caught the eye of official Transformers toy maker Tomy, which is now working with Brave Robotics to create a commercial line, according to Italian hobby news Web site Hobby Media.
When Apple turns over part of its oh-so-important Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address to an unknown startup, you can be sure Tim Cook and Co. think they're dealing with some very cool technology.
That was very much the case with Anki, which was handpicked for a coveted slot as the poster child for what unknown developers can do with iOS. During its time onstage, Anki showed off what at first appears to be a simple toy car racing game, but what in reality might be the most advanced intersection of consumer-grade artificial intelligence and robotics ever.… Read more
Animals can do amazing things, and their behaviors and physical properties have inspired some groundbreaking tech. But what if we could do more with what animals make? Spider silk, for instance, has a tensile strength similar to that of alloyed steel -- and some fascinating potential uses.
But the silkworm is by far one of the most productive animals we rely upon. The silk it produces is strong, lightweight, soft, and beautiful -- and perhaps there are ways to use the creatures in new ways.
To explore the potential relationship between digital and biological fabrication, MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter research group has created the Silk Pavilion -- a 12-foot-diameter dome that's a collaboration between human designers, machines, and grubs. … Read more
iRobot wants to help you stay away from work meetings, a sentiment we can all applaud.
Developed with Cisco's TelePresence technology, the autonomously navigating machine is like a large, rolling webcam that lets remote users take part in "meetings and presentations where movement and location spontaneity are important." … Read more
It's only a matter of time, really. Google Glass, Epson's Movierio, the Oculus Rift, and similar technologies are at the cutting edge of wearable technologies. Sci-fi has certainly given us a glimpse at the potential future: internal links to the Internet, augmented eyesight and hearing, perhaps even full cybernetic bodies to house our minds.
We'll have the technology, we will build it. The question is, presuming it's safe, would you embed yourself with technology?… Read more
How close are we getting to actual brain control? It's starting to seem like it's not far off. On the sillier end of the spectrum, we've seen robotic ears and tails that respond to brainwaves, and more recently we've seen a brain interface for designing printable objects, a mind-controlled exoskeleton, and even mind-to-mind communication.
A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota has just added another exciting new technology to the list: a quadcopter that can perform feats of aerial agility, controlled entirely by the pilot's thoughts. … Read more
People who have lost fingers can try to get robotic hands that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Or they can try to 3D-print their own hand.
That's what Richard van As did after a woodworking accident in 2011 cost him four fingers. The South African carpenter decided to build his own fingers from hardware store parts but eventually turned to 3D printing.
Using a MakerBot Replicator 2 printer, he collaborated with Ivan Owen to create a prosthetic finger after much trial and error. They've since printed hands for four South African children who lack fingers. … Read more
When you think of killer robots, you probably imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger running around in a leather jacket and sunglasses, or even ED-209 from "Robocop" causing all kinds of damage. Those sorts of mechanical menaces from film are turning out to be the subject of some real concern in the actual world.
A month ago, Human Rights Watch launched a campaign aimed at stopping killer robots. "Urgent action is needed to preemptively ban lethal robot weapons that would be able to select and attack targets without any human intervention," the organization said in a release.
Now, Christof … Read more
Be afraid. Be very afraid of these three letters: LAR.
Lethal autonomous robots is what Christof Heyns, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, wants you to think about. He wants a global ban on the development of machines that can target people and kill them without supervision.
"The possible introduction of LARs raises far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace," Heyns said Thursday during the presentation of his latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. "If this is done, machines and not humans will take the decision on who is alive or dies." … Read more
Planetary Resources, a pioneer in asteroid mining, announced today that it is planning to launch the world's first publicly accessible space telescope.
The company, led by X Prize Foundation Chairman Peter Diamandis, said in April, 2012, that it planned to prospect and mine asteroids. But today the company expanded on that mission, saying that it is engaging "in another passion of our team: to make space exploration accessible to everyone." … Read more