We were watching an episode of “60 Minutes” this week that featured NASA getting back into moon and Mars voyages because people were just not all that excited about us being in space anymore. One of the things they have planned to include is the Robonaut that will be sent to do jobs that men can do with dexterous manipulation. Plans include setting up a moon colony to practice hanging out there for up to a month. Look for the project to begin around 2020 because right now there is not enough funding. Maybe NASA should contact Richard Branson for a monetary jump start.
Read More | CBS
Funded by DARPA, Boston Dynamics has developed the BigDog. About the size of a goat, it also has the dexterity of one. The gas-powered bot’s control system keeps it balanced so that it can navigate on all types of terrains. Sensors monitor such aspects as hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, and battery charge. Its legs move in an animalistic way and if something interferes, it simply absorbs the shock and carries on. Watch what happens when some dude decides to give it a kick.
Read More | Boston Dynamics
We always want to complain when we hear someone on a cellphone who is too loud. TheAudeo was originally designed for those who cannot speak but also can be utilized by those who can. Ambient designed the tech that translates thought into speech through a neckband by catching nerve signals. At this point, it recognizes about 150 words and phrases. The company is working on an improved version that will identify phonemes and thereby have a larger vocabulary base. This video is almost eerie, don’t you think?
Read More | Ambient
When Endeavor takes off this week, it will have more than a paper airplane and space boomerangs for the astronauts to play with. Dextre (for dexterous) will have to be built once he arrives on the ISS, for he is 12 feet tall with multi-jointed 11 foot arms. Costing about $200 million, he is tele-operated and will attend to some of the station repair jobs. Apparently the Canadian bot has a sensitive touch and precise control even without legs.
Read More | CSA
Can a boomerang work in space? That’s precisely what astronaut Takao Doi will find out when Endeavor takes off March 11. Doi is bringing two paper ones created by Yasuhiro Togai, a champ at the sport and space fanatic who taught him how to throw them. Although he believes they will not return, he wondered how they would react without gravity in the ISS. One is 13cm and the other is 20cm. It will be interesting to see if they are tested at the same time as the paper airplane we told you about a couple of months ago.
Read More | Pink Tentacle
Speaking of MoMA, not only are they exhibiting the likes of AT&T and Nokia at the museum, there is an incredible display online. Combining science with design, there are over 300 concepts in Elastic Mind that are translated into physical objects. The purpose, they say, is to “combine research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations.”
All we know is that spending a couple of hours on the site may not have the impact of seeing the show itself, but it certainly is worth the time. For example, in Collection for the Lonely Man, it includes the Sheet Thief, which winds up the bed clothes to the other side. Others are Cold Feet, Heavy Breather, Plate Thrower, and Hair Alarm Clock that will run hair across the user to wake him.
Read More | MoMA Elastic Mind
Researchers from Osaka University have developed SOTAB 1 (Spilled Oil Tracking Autonomous Buoy 1) with imaging sensors that can spot globs from a distance. The GPS bot dives down and when it senses something that resembles oil, floats back to the surface and “swims” towards the oil spill. SOTAB then helps cleanup crews by providing data on wind speed, and depth and temperature of the water. Still in the developmental stage, head researcher Naomi Kato hopes the 243 lb. robot will be available commercially in a couple of years.
Read More | Pink Tentacle
Once again, science has crossed over into the area of art. MIT has teamed with AT&T to create New York Talk Exchange, which debuted this week at the Museum of Modern Art. The NYTE measures the volume of IP and telephony that goes in and out of the city anonymously. It then is portrayed visually at the museum as well as on the Internet. Globe Encounters displays NY’s connections to other cities globally. Pulse of the Planet shows how they alter during a 24 hour period with time zone changes. The third exhibit studies the five boroughs and how they vary.
Studying the data shows that New York tends to “reach out and touch” Asia and South America, whereas London concentrates on New York and Europe. They are hoping that it will help in studies overall in the area of globalization.The display will be active through May 12.
Read More | MIT News
For years people have saved their pets through taxidermy, including Roy Rogers, who had Trigger and Bullet stuffed and placed in his museum. Now, thanks to a So. Korean company, you can have your pup forever immortalized by cloning. RNL Bio will gratefully accept your $150,000 and claims that there is a 25% possibility of success. Seoul National University will be performing the actual procedure and although RNL prefers creating guard dogs, they won’t turn down a beloved pet. While this is a nice idea if you adored your dog, you might want to double think the idea if he/she was hesitant to become housebroken when a puppy.
Read More | Korea Times
We never could get Venus Fly Traps to stay alive long enough to chomp down on all the nasty summer visitors. Now, with Discovery’s motion activated Trap, just feed it 3 AA batteries (not included) and its sensor will close its “mouth” on bugs without you having to tend it. Add bait if the flying creatures don’t want to go for the pseudo plant and, after they are captured, you can release them or study them for a bit. At a size of 4.25 x 4.25 x 9-inches, the plastic VFT will set you back $19.95.
Read More | Discovery Channel Store
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