Kurzweil spoke to Techonomy founder David Kirkpatrick about his new book on human thought, "How to Create a Mind," and the various themes that stem from it. Their talk was varied and at times scattered -- with a topic this big, you can imagine the temptation of tangents -- but Kurzweil had a few choice things to say along the way.
"I'… Read more
NASA and the European Space Agency say they have successfully tested an interplanetary communications protocol, with astronauts on the International Space Station using it to control a Lego robot in Germany.
The protocol is called Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN), and one of its creators is Vint Cerf, who helped come up with the original Internet Protocol suite. NASA and the ESA said on Thursday that DTN may one day allow "internet-like communications" with spaceships and help support infrastructure on other planets.
"The demonstration showed the feasibility of using a new communications infrastructure to send commands to a … Read more
Hurricane Sandy has destroyed houses, cars, and boats, and caused some $20 billion in property damage, but one robot rode out the storm at sea without a scratch, as far as its maker can tell.
Liquid Robotics said one of its Wave Glider marine robots named Mercury was 100 miles east of Toms River, N.J., when Sandy hit, but the machine continued to function.
It withstood winds of up to 70 knots and continued to transmit real-time weather data about the storm. … Read more
How do you contain a leaky nuclear reactor when you can't find the leak? Send in the robots.
Japan continues to struggle with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that was smashed in the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. It's radioactive and very dangerous. Decommissioning it will take decades.
Several robots and other tech are being thrown at the mess north of Tokyo, and Chiba Institute of Technology's Future Robotics Technology Center (fuRo) is developing another. Sakura is a small recon bot on treads that's designed to get into the bowels of the plant.… Read more
Perhaps the Red Planet isn't quite so red as we thought. NASA's Curiosity rover has been digging up some unusual bits in the soil of Mars. A couple weeks ago, the rover found a strange bright object which later turned out to be a part of the rover itself. Now we have a new mystery object to contend with.
Curiosity took a few scoops of Martian soil from a patch called "Rocknest." That activity uncovered a bright particle in the pit it created. Unlike the earlier object, NASA has confirmed the new piece is of Martian origin. There are others like it scattered around.… Read more
You're sweating in your bulky radiation suit, your dosimeter is freaking you out, and you're trying to close a valve that might just save a large portion of the population from some very nasty fallout.
Wouldn't it be nice to have some robotic help?
Japan's robot start-up Cyberdyne is modifying its Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) power suit for use by first responders in nuclear accidents.
The exoskeleton is being improved to help workers who have to wear heavy radiation protection clothing. Japan is still struggling with radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was severely damaged last year during one of the country's most powerful earthquakes. … Read more
Last time I stayed at an Ibis hotel, I had a good experience. Quick service, decent decor, and a great location in central Busan, South Korea. Sadly, it lacked a robot.
The international chain is making up for this shortcoming by offering something no guest can do without: a robot that paints your sleep patterns.
In a decidedly wacky PR stunt being held in Paris, Berlin, and London, Ibis commissioned a robot arm to turn select guests' sleep data into painted canvases.
Many people would probably say their handwriting has suffered the more they use computers to communicate. But imagine trying to exercise your rusty penmanship on letters that have not 1 or 2 strokes but 5, 10, 15, or more.
The Japanese often complain that sending e-mails and texts erodes their skills in writing the thousands of kanji, or Chinese characters, they learn in school. Some are maddeningly complex and, if rarely used, easy to forget.
But brush-painting kanji calligraphy is also a centuries-old art form. Keio University engineering professor Seiichiro Katsura has a way to help preserve it with his Motion Copy System robot. … Read more
The idea of teleconferencing has been around for a long time, especially in the corporate world. First there was the joining of phone lines. Next came the introduction of video, maybe even multiple screens from users in different locations. But that technology can be limiting and inflexible. As the remote user, you don't get a great view of the room and can't explore anything beyond its confines. Now companies like Anybots in Silicon Valley are hoping to make the experience more mobile and flexible with robots like the QB.
At Anybots' corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., the … Read more