If you told me yesterday that today there would be a robot that balances on a single ball and can locomote itself around the room on said ball, I’d say you were a crazy person. Well, you’re not a crazy person. Bossa Nova Robotics, makers of the Penbo line of robotic toys, has just launched the mObi [sic], a robot that “is based on technology that allows the robot to balance on a ball and move seamlessly with a single point of contact on the ground, enabling natural omni-directional movement, slender design profiles and superior navigation in human environments.”
This weekend marks the centenary of Alan Turing’s birth. Turing was one of the greatest computer scientist of all time. In a 1950 paper that outlined what has come to be known as the Turing Test he offered a way out of endless philosophical speculation about whether computers could ever be classed as ‘intelligent.’ He said that if human judges ask interview questions of a hidden computer and a hidden person and cannot tell the difference after five minutes, the computer should be considered intelligent. Nowadays, programmers compete yearly for theLoebner Prize, which is won by the computer that is most often mistaken for a human.
But the Turing Test’s application is no longer limited to questions of artificial intelligence: Social scientists too are getting in on the action and using the test in a completely new way — to compare different human subjects and their ability to pass as members of groups to which they do not belong, such as religious and ethnic minorities or particular professional classes. With the Turing Test, sociologists can compare the extent to which subjects can understand people who are different from them in some way.
Read more. [Image: Anton Zabielskyi/Shutterstock/Rebecca J. Rosen]
“Roachbot” Learns how to Flip Under Counters Like the Real Thing
Recently, researchers …demonstrated that cockroaches can perform “rapid inversions” on a ledge, a previously unknown behavior. Surprisingly, while on a research trip at the Wildlife Reserves near Singapore, the researchers discovered a similar behavior in lizards and documented geckos using this technique in the jungle…
Next, Full’s group teamed up with roboticists from Berkeley’s Biomimetic Millisystems Lab to see if DASH could be taught to do the same sort of thing. Sure it could:
Video: PolyPEDAL Lab
DASH, unlike cockroaches or geckos (or CLASH, for that matter), doesn’t come with claws, so the researchers “simulated claw action” by sticking some Velcro onto DASH’s front and hind legs, and then adding more Velcro to the top and underside of the ledge to form pivot and catch points.
Image: PLoS One
…the Berkeley researchers have started to develop designs for both active and passive bio-inspired claws. With the ability to naturally stick to surfaces and these new acrobatic tricks, the UC Berkeley teams say DASH could soon be able to make speedy transitions between running and climbing, eventually leading to”highly mobile sentinel and search-and-rescue robots that assist us during natural and human-made disasters.”
Robotics today is like the Internet in the 1990s: Fuel it with the right combination of technology, people, and money, and it will explode into a formidable new industry that will profoundly reshape people’s lives.
I have been having these backporch talks with Caleb Chung, about robotics, artificial life, and marketing, and his root concepts behind his designs.
Last night we talked about his three laws of robotics.
- Feel and convey emotions
- Be aware of themselves and their environment
- Learn and develop over time
He is currently at the TED Talks Anniversary in NYC, how lucky am I to source natural social interaction as part of my research for my story?