Watch this amazing video of a robotic dragonfly in flight. Mimicking the movement of nature’s original, this artificial construct uses a baffling assembly of mechanics and every cutting edge tech you can think of to loft on its wings. The slow motion footage is especially fascinating.
Dragonflies are clever fliers--they can hover, accelerate quickly, stop on a dime, glide, and even fly backwards. As Festo notes, "For the first time, there is a model that can master more flight conditions than a helicopter, plane and glider combined."
The robot is driven by nine servos, a battery, and an ARM microcontroller stowed in a flexible polyamide and terpolymer structure. The head and tail are moved by passing an electrical current through nitinol muscles. The computer controls the frequency (15-20 Hz), twisting (90 deg), and amplitude (50 deg) of its four carbon fiber and foil wings and, by taking in a constant stream of wing data and body position, corrects for vibration for stable flight indoors or out.
in 1988 the Los Angeles Times newspaper published a series of predictions what life would be like in the sprawling city by the year of 2013. SIngularityHub has a nice article looking at the predictions, and seeing which they got right or wrong, and the reasons behind them. They did rather well with most predictions; the only real miss being one which called for the proliferation of robots in city life.
But of all the technologies expected to be part of daily life in 2013, the biggest miss by the article comes with robots. In fact, the mobile robot "Billy Rae" is depicted as an integral component to the household, much like Rosie The Robot was in The Jetsons. In the story, the family communicates with Billy Rae naturally as the mother reads a list of chores for cleaning the house and preparing meals. There's even a pet canine robot named Max that helps the son learn to read and do math. The robots aren't necessarily depicted as being super intelligent, but they were still expected to be vital, even being referred to as the "ultimate appliance."
an awesome video of Compressorhead performing an ACDC cover of TNT. The best part? All musicians are robots, humans need not apply! Stickboy (drums), Fingers (guitar), and Bones (bass) not only have the heavy metal sound, they look the part too. Stickboy was created in 2007 with 4 arms, 2 legs, 1 head, and no (meat) brain. Fingers joined Stickboy in 2009 and has 78 purpose built fingers; take that you lowly humans. Bones was crafted in 2012 as the highest precision bass player in known existence. To quote the original article:
the maker of the amazing Nanao robot is recruiting; over 30 positions are listed at the French company’s website. What is interesting is the way the company is searching for talent, using the above (very cool) video compilation. If robots are indeed the future as it claims, it’s both a little intimidating and very exciting at the same time. Either way, it certainly won’t be boring!
There are many scifi stories about humanity’s creations turning into their nemesis, but once again life is stranger than fiction. The machines are in fact taking over; however not in the form of menacing chrome robot overlords, but rather in the shape of ever evolving algorithms. They are everywhere, removing the function of decision making from the domain of human thinking. Case in point: stock trading.
We also don't know what the long term consequences are of […] this ongoing evolution from human traders to rapidfire AI. Sometimes things go wrong, a software glitch, an algorithm gone rogue and the music stops, like last week when Knight Capital lost $10 million a minute.
Yet if something were to go wrong -- some bug or mutated AI gone awry, big enough to create a feedback loop that cascades through the system -- it would happen in the blink of an eye. By then, for the humans at least, it would already be too late.
Algorithms are everywhere, suggesting your next purchase (“customers who bought this also looked at …”) or deciding what movie you should watch next (“people who liked this movie also enjoyed …”). And not even their creators can fully predict their behavior anymore.