Pint-size humanoid robots have started an endurance race in Osaka, Japan, in what organizers are calling the world's first bipedal-robot marathon.
In the Robomarafull event, hobby and custom-built robots will attempt to complete a full 26-mile marathon by "running" around an indoor track 423 times. The foot-high robots aren't exactly speedy, so the contest will be decided by which robots are toughest.
Robots that topple over have to stand back up unaided, but their human handlers must recharge the bots' batteries and servomotors. The athletes can either run autonomously, following the colored course, or be controlled … Read more
Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers. Following the introduction is an edited transcript of the event. You can also click here for an FAQ on the new Thunderbolt technology.
Intel today is revealing some of the final details of its Light Peak technology as it makes its way into the first wave of consumer and business gadgetry.
University of Michigan computer scientists and engineers are at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco today presenting papers on two systems: a prototype implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients and a compact radio for wireless sensor networks.
What makes their presentation so remarkable is that both systems involve what is believed to be the first complete millimeter-scale computing system.
The near-invisible package is just over 1 cubic millimeter in size and includes an ultra-low-power microprocessor, a thin-film battery, a solar cell, memory, a pressure sensor, and a wireless radio with an antenna.
"Millimeter-scale systems...have a host of new applications for monitoring our bodies, our environment, and our buildings," said Professor David Blaauw in a news release. "Because they're so small, you could manufacture hundreds of thousands on one wafer. There could be 10s to 100s of them per person, and it's this per capita increase that fuels the semiconductor industry's growth."
The team points to Bell's Law, formulated by computer engineer Gordon Bell in 1972, which says that a new class of smaller and cheaper computers is developed roughly every decade. This is considered to be a partial corollary to Moore's Law, established in 1970 and named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (first names coincidental), which describes the now 50-plus-year trend that the number of transistors able to be placed on an integrated circuit doubles every two years.
The new system out of Michigan is being hailed as the first in a new class of millimeter-scale computing, and while the researchers are specifically targeting the medical side of body sensor networks, other potential applications include tracking such things as pollution, weapons, structural integrity, and more.… Read more
Researchers are ready to advance their tests of a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) from animals to human subjects, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency just granted them more than $6 million over the next three years to get those human clinical trials under way.
Ongoing research out of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh has already demonstrated that the team's tiny 10x10 array of electrodes implanted on the surface of a monkey's brain can process activity from individual neurons to guide a robotic arm through such simple tasks as turning doorknobs and … Read more
NASA's tough-looking Robonaut 2 is slated to ride the Space Shuttle Discovery into orbit this month, and now Japan says it wants to shoot its own humanoid robot to the International Space Station too.
Japan's space agency JAXA says it may put a humanoid on the ISS in 2013 so it can watch over crew members while they sleep and monitor their health and stress levels.
Engineers at the University of Tokyo and staff at advertising giant Dentsu apparently are working on the space droid.
It would be intended for communication--sending pics to Earth via Twitter and boosting public interest in the ISS. NASA, on the other hand, wants humanoid robots to perform tasks on space walks in the future.
"We are thinking in terms of a very human-like robot that would have facial expressions and be able to converse with the astronauts," JAXA's Satoshi Sano was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. … Read more
The Google Lunar X Prize competition now has an official roster of 29 registered teams, paving the way for a new race to the moon.
The X Prize Foundation today announced seven new teams that had been previously unknown to those who are following the competition. They include Mystical Moon of the USA and Space II of Israel, two teams that are trying to improve "scientific awareness" among the world's youth. Team Puli of Hungary is made up of "young Hungarian professionals," while the Penn State Lunar Lions of the USA are aiming for the … Read more
Twelve years after launch and seven years after it collected dust from comet Wild 2, NASA's Stardust probe streaked past comet Tempel 1 late Monday, capturing 72 Valentine's Day closeups to find out how the icy body has changed since it was visited by another NASA spacecraft in 2005.
The renamed Stardust-New Exploration of Tempel mission--Stardust-NExT--passed within about 110 miles of the nucleus of Tempel 1 at 11:40 p.m. EST Monday, using its navigation camera to snap a string of images and recording thousands of dust grain impacts as it raced past at a relative velocity … Read more
Here's one case where giving the finger while driving is a very good idea. The index finger, that is. Bending it makes the remote-controlled car in the SudoGlove system accelerate. Tilting your hand turns the car. Pressing your ring finger makes it go in reverse. Pinkie pressure turns on the headlights, siren lights, and siren sounds. Clapping honks the horn.
The SudoGlove, designed and built by engineering students at Cornell University, allows wearers to control a modded RC car using hand gestures. But it has implications for any hardware containing a wireless transceiver, says Jeremy Blum, a Cornell junior majoring in electrical and computer engineering and one of the students who worked on the SudoGlove as a final project for an information science class sponsored by Intel.
"All the processing is done on the glove side of the system, and simple 8-bit control values are transmitted that can be used to do just about anything on the control end," Blum told CNET. Just the other night, Blum created a computer interface that can be controlled by the glove. He'll display it and the hand-controlled RC car at BOOM 2011, Cornell's technology and innovation showcase, on March 9.
"By removing the distance between the user and traditional hardware devices," the students say, "our goal is for SudoGlove to feel more like an extension of the body as opposed to an external machine." … Read more
Telepresence robots are way cool, but way expensive. We've seen several platforms for these machines that let you remotely guide a robot around a distant location, with prices ranging from $15,000 for Anybots' QB system to $3,000 for the R.BOT 100.
Faced with reduced funding and an uncertain outlook, NASA's $18.7 billion fiscal 2012 budget prioritizes the Obama administration's major goals and objectives, focusing on maintaining the International Space Station, retiring the shuttle and ramping up efforts to spur development of commercial manned spacecraft.
The budget also reflects the administration's commitment to building a new heavy-lift rocket and a crew capsule that could be used for deep-space exploration.
But the budget follows the administration's proposal to freeze federal funding at 2010 levels for the next five years, resulting in a $276 million decrease for NASA compared … Read more