DARPA-Funded Big Dog Robot Moves Almost Like a Real Dog

March 18 2008 / by FutureFly / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 20 Hot

Check out this DARPA prototype of a 4-legged robot that can navigate rugged, complex and slippery terrain. It is very odd to see something so alive moving around so normally minus a head, lungs and tail. Expect this product to soon be adapted for war, entertainment and then eventually commercial purposes. (Props to mathew ingram for the awesome and, as he puts it, creepy link.)

How soon do you expect to own a robot dog?

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Tomorrow's household robots will become amazingly intelligent

April 07 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 15 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

For years, entrepreneurs have been trying to create robots to perform life’s physical drudgeries. Building mechanical bodies has been easy, but creating artificial minds to control those bodies has been frustrating.

After countless commercial failures though, things are beginning to change. Computer power now provides enough thinking ability for robots to become financially viable.

With the ability to program more intelligence into robots, tomorrow’s silicon creatures will be able to provide adequate home maintenance and care for family members when needed. But here’s the concern; these futuristic ‘bots may be required to make decisions that could affect our lives, and experts predict that people will place more trust in robots that express human consciousness than those that simply act like machines.

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Merging with machines inevitable, scientists say

April 01 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 9

By Dick Pelletier

Today, we are entering the beginning stages of a society that many futurists believe will not end until man and machine become completely integrated into a single being – an enhanced human.

The biotech revolution, from 2010 to 2020, promises to correct many of our biological flaws including vulnerability to disease and telltale signs of aging. Doctors will re-grow cells, tissues and organs to replace aging body parts; and by as early as mid-2020s, most humans can look forward to an extended healthy lifespan of 200 years or more.

Molecular nanotech marks the next step in our march towards this futuristic society. From about 2025, we will enjoy home-replicators that provide food, clothing, and essentials at little cost; and tiny nanobots that roam through arteries and veins keeping us forever fit and healthy.

The final stage of achieving this remarkable future lies in supercomputers and artificial intelligence; powerful robot-like machines that many predict will outthink humans by 2030. These silicon marvels will possess reasoning and logic similar to our own, but can share data and knowledge millions of times faster than we can with our slow human language; a desirable feature that many humans will want to incorporate into their bodies, experts say.


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The Future of Insects - Frogs Don't Stand a Chance

April 07 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 9

In the future nanotechnology will empower not just humans, but will enable Super Bugs as well. Here’s a fun clip that illustrates just how powerful the Insect of Steel may become:

While this is of course a bit absurd, I could see high-priced government bugs with on-board electric shock, bad taste or sonic defenses ready for birds, lizards or pesky little children.

Future Robots Will Be Transformers

May 29 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 9 Hot

If you’re a big Transformers fan, as am I, then you’re going to dig this video of a new robot that can drive on wheels one moment, then reconfigure to walk on eight legs the next:

Seeing this functional version of a bot that can change its form leads me to believe that multi-function, multi-shape robots are likely to be the future. I mean, why not cram as many features as you can into a single robot? We’re already doing that with every other device ever made.

Robots Soon to Scale Walls

March 22 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 8

This video was posted by one of our favorite future bloggers, juldrich, on his personal blog Jump the Curve. We enjoyed it so much that we had to share it with our community over here as well.

Produced by New Scientist, the video portrays two different wall-climbing robots currently in development. They both employ the science behind rock-climbing to inform the robots’ anatomical structure. Imagine the utility and application of such robots – from rescue missions to construction sites, the technology being developed here will surely impact a variety of fields and be put to good use in the coming years.

How soon will wall-climbing robots be employed as fire-fighters or in rescue missions?

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Two Cool Window-Washing Robot Prototypes

March 24 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 7

Ever since I bought an iRobot vacuum Roomba (it works very well in most rooms), I’d been wondering when someone would build one that works outside buildings as a window washer. Therefore I was psyched to discover not one, but two such prototypes during my latest foray through the wonderful world of YouTube.

The first one is the cooler looking of the two and has been in testing for a few months. It’s an experimental model created at the University of Nebraska and actually sticks itself to the glass. See for yourself (but turn down the volume a little as the sound of the motor is a bit annoying):

The second robot is a more serious industrial machine that appears to be much closer to hitting the commercial market.


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Robots will surpass human intelligence by 2030, scientists say

May 26 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

Personal robots have been a long time coming, but scientists now say we can expect revolutionary machines that surpass human physical and intellectual abilities within 22 years.

Today’s robots are mostly industrial types found in factories. An example would be an arm that inserts a product into a box and places it on a conveyor belt. Domestic robots in the service area – vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, and security systems – are just beginning to find their way into homes. UN statistics show worldwide robotics sales increasing by double digits every year, which has encouraged a host of companies to invest aggressively in robotic products.

Robo-pets like Sony’s Aibo and NEC’s PaPeRo, priced from $2,000 to $5,000, are pleasing children and providing companionship for handicapped and elderly people around the globe. Available soon in the $10,000 to $30,000 range will be human-like robots such as Sony Qrio, Honda Asimo, and Toyota Personal Robot. These realistic marvels can speak and understand crude language, recognize family members by sight, and perform many butler, chef, and maid services.

European scientists, inspired by human biology, have created the world’s first shape-shifting robot. This amazing machine has the ability to morph into different shapes. It can start off as a small car with four wheels. If it approaches an impassible wall, it searches for a hole or crack and transforms itself into a snake. After passing through the hole, it might encounter a staircase where it would transform into a climbing device, go up the stairs, and then become a car again. (cont.)

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When Will You Lose Your Job to Robotics?

May 27 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 6 Hot

Futurist and professor Paul Saffo thinks that just as Japan will transition to a robotic society, so too will the United States and the rest of the world. He predicts the transition over here will be “more messy” and that a booming robotic manufacturing industry could potentially devastate the economy.

“New technology may destroy old jobs, but it also creates more jobs than it destroys,” explains Saffo in a recent Fora interview (see below), but “that may not be the case with the world of ubiquitous manufacturing robots.”

He points out that rapidly advancing robotics are replacing large manufacturing chunks one industry at a time. “What you see are industries calving off like icebergs, just a whole industry drops away, suddenly the human operators disappear,” he says. (cont.)

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Learning From Robots

June 26 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Business & Work   Year: 2020   Rating: 6 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

When contemplating the future, people need to keep a very open mind about what might be possible. Consider this article which describes how researchers at UC San Diego are developing facial recognition technology that can recognize if a person is having trouble understanding an educational lesson – say in mathematics or biology.

As the technology continues to improve, one possible implication is that smart devices and robots will become better and more effective teachers because they will be able to pace lesson plans to an individual student’s ability to comprehend the information which is being presented.

Longer term, it is possible that robots and other smart devices will become more effective teachers than even human teachers because the machines will understand each student’s learning idiosyncrasies and then present material in a manner which is optimized for that individual student’s learning style.

Now, I understand how discomforting the idea that a robot might be a better teacher than your old favorite third grade teacher, Mrs. Hubbard, ever was; but, as that wise American philosopher Yoggi Berra once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” (cont.)

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Garbage Spiders: Future Robots that Efficiently Piece Together and Monetize the Past

October 15 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Security   Year: 2020   Rating: 6 Hot

Atop a garbage heap amidst the expansive Westchester Landfill an iRobot Refuse Quantifier (iRQ) deftly went about its lucrative business.

Credit card receipt: inconclusive. Candy wrapper: M&M logo, no fingerprint. Check fragment: inconclusive. Candy wrapper: M&M logo, no fingerprint. Candy wrapper: Almond Joy, smudged fingerprint, image stored to temporary cache. Comb: zoom, hair strand: 92% match. Load level 2 protocols. Letter fragment: stamp fragment, zoom, puncture, contaminated sample. Product box fragment: Nintendo Wii logo, burnt, no data. Shredded tax documents: inconclusive, coordinates tagged in case of reassembly contingent on identity correlation.

The mechanical spider legs pumped and the little scavenger-bot systematically inched left, establishing a better focus point for its frontal laser array. The iRQ began scanning the next set of coordinates.

Tax document fragments continued. Shredded letters – stamp, saliva, contaminated. Faded notebook: pen indentations still palpable, scanning Page 1, correlation 18%. Load notebook sequence.

Shifting the bulk of its weight to its hind legs, the spider freed up the instrument-loaded fore-pincers and carefully commenced flipping pages.

Page 2: read ink, map indents, cross-reference Page 1, revise correlation, 64% – nearing identity threshold. Flip. Page 3: read ink, unique phrase discovered, initiate semantic sub-routine #22. Page 4: undecipherable complex symbols, snapshot, map indents, revise correlation… Sub-routine results registered. Revise correlation, 69%. Resume indent correlation, 73%, identity threshold reached. Regional identity match: subject #D471D-MZ. Persistent video commence. Ping spiders. Stream information to local node.

An identity match for a primary target had been established! Power surged from the tertiary battery outward as the spider maxed both input and broadcast. But something was wrong. The swarm network was not responding. Thus it was highly probable that the iRQ was now invisible to its peers and ultimately its owner.

Re-broadcast for 3 seconds. No ping back. Defensive algorithm, blend. Scan for disruption, risk assessment. Attempt new frequencies. Multiple frequencies inoperable. 84% deliberate disruption, 62% location awareness, evasive algorithm.

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Robots Rescue and Fix Trapped Victims

September 26 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2017   Rating: 5 Hot

October 16th, 2017, 02:12 The dreaded happens.

A 8.1 magnitude quake rocks the San Francisco Bay Area. The San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge partially collapses, taking some cars returning to the east bay after a night at the bars into the waters below. The new Oakland span, finished less than a year before, weathers the quake with only minor structural damage. The buildings in San Francisco don’t fair as well.

For Harrison Thomas, the only thing he remembered was that the walls were shaking right before the floor of his apartment suddenly disappeared.

Responders on the scene did a quick survey of the scene and deploy snake-like robots to search for survivors. After twelve minutes Harrison Thomas is found wedged between the flooring of the second and third floor. A piece of wood has speared his leg, pinning him in place.

The crew at the scene uses the robots diamond-edged belt saw to carefully saw their way through the wood in order to aid in his removal. A doctor from St. Louis, on call since the disaster, views the proceedings from his local hospital. Seeing Harrison’s body, he determines that a surgery must be made before the rescue crews get to him in order to save his leg.

Morphine is injected into his leg in preparation for the surgery. UV sterilized tools, located inside the snake, are manipulated over a secure wireless connection to repair the neural and vascular damage done to his leg. Hours later, crews finally unearth Harrison and take him to a mobile hospital set up in a warehouse at Pier 5.

Without this technology, he would have lost his leg, possibly even died.

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