Forget BMW. The latest, greatest example of German engineering prowess is a terrifying, enormous dragon that literally breathes fire, and, according to the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s also the world’s largest walking robot. Read More
the robots are coming
Humans are relentless in our tendency to anthropomorphize, which explains everything from our love of Internet cat photos to the stubborn persistence of the Roomba. But this video, picked up by Boing Boing, demonstrates just how far our species of weirdos will go to make friends.
Researchers at the University of Calgary put volunteers in a room with a wooden stick rigged so it’d move around randomly. It had no face or display and made no sounds. And yet, people sitting in the room consistently interacted with it as though it were animate. “I don’t want to fight you,” insisted one bro in a polo. “No, I don’t want to fight you, robot!” Read More
God knows when Google’s autonomous cars will hit the streets for us commuters. And, Newt Gingrich’s enthusiasm aside, are drivers really ready to give up the wheel? Forget that, though: According to the Wall Street Journal, give it 20 years or so and it’s commercial trucking where self-driving vehicles look well nigh certain.
We were all ready to write off the youth of the species thanks to #followateen, and now DVice brings us a story about techie high schoolers that doesn’t evolve hazing, cyber bullies or trashy prom dresses. Will wonders never cease?
According to DVice, muscular dystrophy has left Nick Torrance, a student at Pinckney Community High School, wheelchair-bound. Luckily, two of his classmates won the 2012 SkillsUSA national robotics competition, and their coach told them to help him get his locker open easier.
And so: Read More
Does the prospect of Skynet keep you awake at night? Well, now there’s something you can do to fight your fears, besides chucking your Sarah Connor Chronicles DVDs. The BBC reports that yesterday, the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots officially launched in London.
The group is exactly what it sounds like. Founded by reps from nine different NGOs, including the Human Rights Watch, International Committee for Robot Arms Control and Nobel Women’s Initiative, the campaign wants a “pre-emptive and comprehensive ban” on fully autonomous weapons. Read More
When will driverless cars arrive, delivering commuters from the responsibility for actually steering themselves to the office? The Wall Street Journal talked to experts at the SAE International World Congress in Detroit, and the consensus says that “fully autonomous vehicles might hit the streets in meaningful numbers” by 2025.
Or, as the Journal puts it: Read More
Looks like DARPA is still hard at work combing through that office video library for new ideas. Wired reports that the Pentagon’s resident mad scientists have just released an update on their Phoenix project, an attempt to make satellites less earth-shatteringly expensive. And what have the brains in the basement (we assume their office is in a basement and also looks like the set of the IT Crowd) dreamed up?
Basically, it’s Wall-E in space. Read More