Heraud researched the scourges of agriculture: hypoxic dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and Baltic Sea, the colony collapse of bees, soil degradation, and human health problems from allergies to cancers. “Everything tied back to the blind, rampant, broadcast spraying of chemicals,” Heraud says. He and Redden figured they could teach machines to differentiate between crops and weeds, then eliminate the weeds mechanically or with targeted doses of nontoxic substances. The two first considered hot foam, laser beams, electric currents, and boiling water. They’d market the robot to organic farmers, who spend heavily on chemical-free weeding methods including mechanical tillage, which can be both fuel-intensive and damaging to soil. After months of research, they faced a disappointing truth: There was no way around herbicides. “Turns out zapping weeds with electricity or hot liquid requires far more time and energy than chemicals—and it isn’t guaranteed to work,” Heraud says. Those methods might eliminate the visible part of a weed, but not the root. And pulling weeds with mechanical pincers is a far more time-intensive task for a robot than delivering microsquirts of poison. Their challenge became applying the chemicals with precision.
Posts tagged robotics
“We must prepare for unforeseen situations beyond the scope of expectation and imagination.”
Researchers from MIT, the University of Sheffield and the Tokyo Institute of Technology joined forces for a project that reads like something out of a William Burroughs novel.
Robotic killers that detect feral cats, spray their fur with poison and rely on them to essentially lick themselves to death have been deployed in the Australian desert for the first time. Feral cats are one of the biggest threats to many of Australia’s endangered species, killing millions of animals every day throughout the country – and controlling them has proved difficult.
Next, they designed an abuse-evading algorithm to help the robot avoid situations where tiny humans might gang up on it. Literally tiny humans: the robot is programmed to run away from people who are below a certain height and escape in the direction of taller people. When it encounters a human, the system calculates the probability of abuse based on interaction time, pedestrian density, and the presence of people above or below 1.4 meters (4 feet 6 inches) in height. If the robot is statistically in danger, it changes its course towards a more crowded area or a taller person. This ensures that an adult is there to intervene when one of the little brats decides to pound the robot’s head with a bottle (which only happened a couple times).
The results show that not all types of spookiness emerge in the same way from the brain. “They show that the neural networks involved in the feeling of a presence are not the same as those involved in out-of-body experiences or in seeing a doppelgänger,” says the lead author of the study, cognitive neuroscientist Olaf Blanke of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL).
Citing a need to “become more solid and get back to basics,” and “to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them,” Toyota CEO Mitsuru Kawai wants humans to take the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process.
an· i· so· tro· py : the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. Anisotropic Formations is a proto-architectural exploration of anisotropic aesthetics and structures through vector based 3d printing. Taking inspiration from 3d printed fashion, composite sail manufacturing and experimental application of 6-axis robotics, the project takes the anisotropic approach as both an aesthetic and a fabrication logic. Anisotropic geometry is vector-based and is directionally dependent. Combinations of these vectors result in rich surface and 3d qualities of varied densities, hierarchies and multi-directional layering. There was an imperative to pursue this design research in a post-digital platform, stepping out from the Euclidean flatness of the computer screen onto the non-Euclidean platform of the physical. Plastic extrusion provided direct access to vector geometry in physical space, enriching it with material agency. Flexibility of the scaffold allowed for multiple configurations and other possibilities. The project was realized through a series of iterations that subjected the design agenda to a series of different machining workspaces and digital-to-physical workflows. From Cartesian workspace of a conventional 3d printer to spherical workspace of multi-axis collaborative robotics and from vector based workflows of 3d modeling to motion based work flows of animation. Anisotropic Formations_SCI-Arc 13FA_Testa ESTm Vertical Studio Team: Salvador Cortez / Cheng Lu / Avra Tomara / Nikita Troufanov Instructor: Peter Testa Robot Lab Coordinator: Jake Newsum Anisotropic Formations Nikita Troufanov
Playfulness is what makes us human. Doing pointless, purposeless things, just for fun. Doing things for the sheer devilment of it. Being silly for the sake of being silly. Larking around. Taking pleasure in activities that do not advantage us and have nothing to do with our survival. These are the highest signs of intelligence. It is when a creature, having met and surmounted all the practical needs that face him, decides to dance that we know we are in the presence of a human. It is when a creature, having successfully performed all necessary functions, starts to play the fool, just for the hell of it, that we know he is not a robot.
Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines – some fully autonomous, some requiring human input – extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous for us to go. NASA currently has dozens of robotic missions underway, with satellites now in orbit around our moon and four planets – and two more on the way to Ceres and Pluto. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology at the beginning of the 21st century.
81 Homeless Robot.jpg (500×700) (via http://media1.break.com/dnet/media/2009/8/81 Homeless Robot.jpg)
collie-dog-russian-cyborg (via http://www.eversostrange.com/2011/03/03/cyborg-dog-in-russian-textbook/)
senster10-lrg.jpg (1330×1326) (via http://www.senster.com/ihnatowicz/senster/sensterphotos/senster10-lrg.jpg)
01-02pensive_mechanical_bodhisattva__ultraz1.jpg (via http://blog.naver.com/PostList.nhn?blogId=ultraz1)