It's a surprisingly dangerous world out there in the trees. Sparrows sing, flit about, and fight like they're auditioning for a role on "Game of Thrones." Male swamp sparrows will even take their battles to the death. Before they get that far, though, there's a whole lot of wing-waving going on to mark their territory and signal their aggression.
Duke University biologist Rindy Anderson wanted to learn more about how these birds communicate with each other, so she and engineering undergraduate student David Piech built a cyborg robo-battle-sparrow of doom.
The Frankensparrow consisted of a miniature computer and robotics gear stuffed into the body of a dead sparrow. This allowed the researchers to control the wings. They took the Frankenstein sparrow to a breeding ground, played swamp sparrow invasion songs, and made it wave its wings at other males, the sparrow equivalent of flipping them the bird.… Read more
I love the one-upmanship going on in the word of 3D printing.
At CES 2013 I saw 3D-printed skateboards, flowers, and gear assemblies, and meanwhile there are now plans to print everything from body parts to buildings. So printing robots was only a matter of time.
InMoov is a full-size humanoid robot made from 3D-printed parts. Designed and built by Gael Langevin of Factices Ateliers in France, InMoov began last year as a hand, then an arm. It's now two arms and a head. … Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- What it's like to experience new technology after 25 years in jail.
- Ante up that $100 if you want to message Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
- Why the next big DJ will be an algorithm.
LAS VEGAS--How would you feel if you were hospitalized and your doctor were talking to you through a 5-foot robot?
RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant) is a remote-, iPad-operated telepresence bot. It's become the first self-navigating communications robot to receive FDA certification, developers InTouch and iRobot said at CES 2013.
The machine is approved "for telemedicine consults inclusive of active patient monitoring in high-acuity environments where immediate clinical action may be required," InTouch said in a release. Specifically, it's cleared for "active patient monitoring in pre-operative, peri-operative and post-surgical settings, including cardiovascular, neurological, prenatal, psychological, and critical care assessments and examinations." … Read more
LAS VEGAS--I used to try cleaning my godmother's pool with long, unwieldy nets and hoses, and always gave up in frustration.
With its rotating brushes, Mirra is designed to scrub any type of in-ground pool without using the pool's filtration system, a concept aimed at saving energy.
LAS VEGAS--When you come to CES here, you expect to see computers and TVs galore. Mobile phones, sure. Printer and speakers? Check. But a 50-foot-long mechanical snake?
Though we're in an arid, desert-like Nevada environment (never mind all the cement and golf courses), this isn't Burning Man. But sure enough, just behind the CNET trailer here, Titanoboa is strutting its stuff. And indeed, Titanoboa is a 50-foot mechanical snake.
Created by EatArt, the Vancouver arts collective, Titanoboa seeks to invoke the promise -- or the threat -- of global climate change, and the kinds of things we might start to see happen on this wonderful planet of ours. According to the Titanoboa project page: … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Robots that wash your windows are another dream of domestic automation, but most early models involve a cumbersome two-part unit that goes on both sides of a pane.
At CES 2013, China-based Ecovacs is showing off a new version of its Winbot window washer, one that doesn't require a magnetic support on the other side of the glass.
LAS VEGAS--Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, start your programming engines: Lego Mindstorms EV3 is here.
The third full generation of Lego's programmable robotics platform, EV3 is aimed at both enthusiasts -- young and old -- and educators, and blows past the previous generation with a long list of new features that add speed and power, intelligent programmability, and more ways to communicate with the robots. Lego expects to begin selling the product, which includes 594 Technic pieces that can be used to make five different robots, this summer at a retail cost of $350. It will also release … Read more
Norovirus is a particularly nasty virus that causes severe gastrointestinal upset. It's famous for turning cruises into nightmares. It's a tough little number that spreads easily and is hard to kill. To study it, you can't just ask a bunch of sick people to pop down to the lab and vomit on demand. That's where a robot nicknamed Vomiting Larry comes in.
Larry is a one-robot upchucking machine in residence at the Health & Safety Laboratory in Buxton, U.K. He's an anatomically correct model and his favorite hobby is barfing for science. He helps scientists determine how far the norovirus can spread. … Read more