Artists might see the world differently, but these days, 97-year-old Hal Lasko has trouble seeing much of anything. That doesn't stop him, however, from making beautiful pixel art with Microsoft Paint.
Lasko, considered legally blind, has a condition known as wet macular degeneration, which causes loss of central vision. In theory, this sort of vision impairment would sound like something that could hinder an artist from creating illustrations, but it doesn't stop Lasko.… Read more
An internal investigation into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's role in the felony prosecution of recently deceased tech activist Aaron Swartz should conclude "in a few weeks," the professor conducting it says.
The statement from Hal Abelson, a respected professor of electrical engineering and computer science, was published today in The Tech, MIT's student newspaper. The paper also published a letter (PDF) from MIT President Rafael Reif dated yesterday asking Abelson to review MIT's "involvement."
Swartz killed himself two years to the day after he was arrested on felony counts relating to connecting … Read more
This week on Crave, we're back from CES with a look at some of the wackier stuff we spotted at the show. Then, Canadian astronaut Christopher Hadfield gives us a highly important grooming lesson on the safest way to clip our nails in outer space, and the Hal 9000 computer replica from ThinkGeek refuses to cooperate. … Read more
ThinkGeek boasts that the HAL 9000 life-size replica is the "most movie-accurate HAL 9000 replica ever created." Let's hope it's only movie-accurate enough to be entertaining and not deadly.
If you're a fan of HAL 9000 and want to bring a little bit of that relentless robotic terror into your home, you can plunk down $500 for a sentient computer of your own (minus the actual sentience.) This HAL 9000 is better-behaved than the real thing. You still get the menacing red LED eye, but he won't try to kill you.… Read more
You're sweating in your bulky radiation suit, your dosimeter is freaking you out, and you're trying to close a valve that might just save a large portion of the population from some very nasty fallout.
Wouldn't it be nice to have some robotic help?
Japan's robot start-up Cyberdyne is modifying its Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) power suit for use by first responders in nuclear accidents.
The exoskeleton is being improved to help workers who have to wear heavy radiation protection clothing. Japan is still struggling with radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was severely damaged last year during one of the country's most powerful earthquakes. … Read more
If you tend to feel smothered in your romantic relationships, these photos of vacuum-sealed couples might leave you gasping for air.
Yes, you read that right. Vacuum-sealed couples. Because what says love like being shrink-wrapped to your significant other like a couple of old wool sweaters trying to keep the moths away?
First, let us reassure the claustrophobic romantics out there that this isn't a 2012 version of getting pinned. It's "Flesh Love," a Japanese artist's exploration of the intimate ties that bind (very tightly).
"I am currently seeking new dimensions in portrait photography by challenging the majestic theme of mankind, defined through love," the artist known as Photographer Hal writes on his Web site.
New dimensions, indeed. … Read more
On March 8 and 9, 2011, just days before the largest earthquake in its recorded history literally moved Japan 8 feet, the country played host to the inaugural International Forum on Cybernics 2011 in Tokyo.
While calling the event groundbreaking might qualify as crass, researchers showcased some truly innovative ideas in the world of cybernics, an emerging field that Japan's University of Tsukuba Cybernics department describes as the "fusion of human, machine and information systems." The word itself is a fusion of cybernetics, mechatronics, and informatics.
One of those ideas, the HAL-5 exoskeleton robotics suit by Tokyo-based company Cyberdyne, is a wearable device that helps ordinary people accomplish extraordinary feats, such as lifting objects they otherwise couldn't. (We covered an earlier iteration of this in 2009.) Think of the improvements possible for caregivers, people with missing or paralyzed limbs, the elderly who want to continue living independently, factory workers, etc.… Read more
Panasonic has created a robotic bed that can transform into a wheelchair, allowing the elderly or people with disabilities to get up without assistance.
Users can remain in the bed while it turns into a wheelchair. Half of the mattress rises and half lowers while a motorized unit beneath it automatically slides out from the bed.
While in chair mode, the robot can detect people and obstacles and help users avoid collisions, according to Panasonic.
A controller allows for driving and returning to the bed.
The mattress can also help people turn over in bed to prevent bedsores.
The bed'… Read more
Google's Hal Varian would likely have raised an eyebrow at a term paper submitted by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the search market.
Varian, currently on leave from the University of California at Berkeley to serve as Google's chief economist, thinks a lot of the arguments advanced by Microsoft in justifying its 10-year deal for Yahoo search are, in a word, "bogus." Microsoft has said that it needs "scale" to compete in the search market against Google, saying that larger amounts of traffic and data allow it to improve the quality of its search … Read more