Posts from the ‘robot’ Category


Robot surfboard tracks great white sharks off the coast of California

What does this mean, apart from awesome? It means, you can get a free iPhone app to follow these (up to 6m+) babies around. 

Sharks in your pocket.

Way better than Polly Pocket.  

Read more. 

Too cool. Who doesn’t want to track great whites on their phone?

The Uncanny Valley

For the first time, the Japanese paper by Masahiro Mori describing the “uncanny valley” of humanoid figures has been translated. As our robots are becoming more and more lifelike, the importance of this paper also increases. It details the sharp decline in how much humans tend to accept an object once it reaches a certain level of human likeness. 

[Mori] also charts our affinities and lack thereof for still and moving objects, noting that our affinity is pretty high for a stuffed animal or a humanoid robot. But movement is key to our affinity — a humanoid robot would not move like a human, so it would be incredibly creepy, he says. 

The point where it becomes creepy is the beginning of the valley. Is it surpassable? We will have to wait and see. It will probably come down to whether we are more accepting of a robot once it can move and speak like we do, or if it’s the realization that despite how it looks it is not human. A subtle but important difference I think. Opinions?

The Joggobot is designed to either accompany or help train you on your runs. It can either float along next to you so you have “company,” or stay a distance in front of you and be set to go a certain pace. Fun idea, I think it would have issues with turns if it automatically shuts off if the colors on the shirt disappear, making running along winding paths difficult. Whether it could keep up at fast speeds might also be a problem. I don’t think I would use it personally, but if it does work for some people then it’s whatever gets you out there!

An autonomous car test was carried out in Spain last week by Project SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment). Working with Volvo, they have developed a reliable ability for cars to join with a “platoon” of other cars following the leader. While part of the group, the car completely takes over driving, keeping a 10 to 50 ft distance from the car in front of it. In this test, a truck and 3 cars traveled 125 miles over the course of the day, using public highways at a cruising speed of about 53mph.

The project has three primary aims: convenience, safety, and efficiency. Obviously, being able to work or read or any number of things on long commutes is handy. Also, because a lot of people do that sort of thing anyway while driving, the system would be able to alleviate the danger of human error (to some degree). By allowing the cars to follow each other much more closely and maintain safety, it also increases the ability to save fuel through drafting. The amount of fuel saved is the focus of their next set of experiments.

Those moments you realize we live in the future.