Robot Saviours

Article by Michael Szollosy

Tscc_3We’ve all seen the terrifying headlines:

‘Rise of the Cybermen: The Terminator-style bionic ear that could give people “superman” hearing
‘Terminator is nigh: Shape-shifting material that instantly switches from solid to liquid could lead to a new generation of robots

And the rest.
Undoubtedly, there is a great deal of anxiety out there about the development of robots and artificial intelligence. Some of these fears are well-founded, of course, and some less so. We’ve been presented in the popular media so often – in films, video games and in the popular press –  with the image of robotic monsters and genocidal AI that it’s a wonder that public have not demanded that these dangerous toys be taken from scientists and forever locked away, their development forever prohibited for the good of all life on earth as we know it. (A similar public attack is underway regarding GMOs, for example; again, many of these are well-founded and some are not.) Continue reading

Living Machines 2013

What’s the relationship between living and artificial systems? How can we combine the two to form sophisticated solutions to challenges in science and engineering? The annual conference Living Machines puts these questions under the microscope.
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Our Fascination With Mechanical Creations

An ancient Arabic machine  manuscript

An ancient Arabic machine manuscript

What’s so great about machines?

It’s easy to see how some of today’s mechanical marvels like NASA’s Mars Spirit Rover or The HRP-4C, created by The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), inspire jaw-dropping wonder. Who made that? And how on earth does it do that? Are all natural questions that come to mind in the face of these modern works. However, there’s something about animated bits of wire and metal that have intrigued humans for centuries.
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Artists, Philosophers and Robots

Ghost in the Machine- Guy David

The development and design of future technology should foster some unlikely alliances

The late professor of English and Cultural studies at De Montfort University, Nicholas Zurbrugg, focused largely on the analysis of the contemporary, the experimental and the avant-garde. His 1999 paper, Virilio, Stelarc and ‘Terminal’ Technoculture, published in Theory, Culture and Society,
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Make Your Own Robot

Designed, programmed and printed!

The video above displays three prototypes resulting from a new project lead by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). With a 10 million USD grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the collaboration of teams from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, researchers hope to develop technology that could enable anyone to manufacture their own customized robot.
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iCub: the Robot Dj

The iCub and a human jam together on the Reactable

At the Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems group (SPECS) at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, it’s just your average Jam session. Fellow music makers include a PhD student, a robot and the Reactable! The demonstration featured in the video above merges two projects into one: The Reactable and the Experimental Functional Android Assistant  (EFAA), which is using the iCub robot as its main research platform.
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Robot and Frank

Take a sneak peek at a favourite from this year’s Sundance Film Festival

Robot and Frank premiered this week at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Directed by Jake Schreier and written by Christopher Ford, this dramatic comedy features a relationship between an elderly man and a robot bought for him by his kids who are concerned about his well being .
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Robots at School

Spelling help robot — Girl, 10, Germany

“What would happen if robots were a part of your everyday life—at school and beyond?”

Latitude, an international research consultancy, asked  nearly 350 children in Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, the UK and the USA to draw a picture and write a story that answers the  question above.

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Shakespeare and Robots

A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s Mechanical cast members

The video above features a special performance of a Shakespearean classic put on by Texas A&M University several years ago. The students and professors involved in the production thought this would be a great way to see how people respond to and interact with robots. Continue reading

Robot Companions: Student Design Competition

Calling all art and design students from Sheffield Hallam University!

What will the next generation of robot helpers look like? If you’ve got a vision,
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