Created by artist Martin Backes, this installation of a lone “robot” singing 90s power ballads is almost hypnotizing in a quietly terrifying way.
Fittingly created with SuperCollider, a freeware audio program that synthesizes audio using algorithms, “What do machines sing of?” is an art project where the machine attempts to mimic human sentiment in an extremely haunting way:
“What do machines sing of?“ is a fully automated machine, which endlessly sings number-one ballads from the 1990s. As the computer program performs these emotionally loaded songs, it attempts to apply the appropriate human sentiments. This behavior of the device seems to reflect a desire, on the part of the machine, to become sophisticated enough to have its very own personality.”
Let’s hope the behavior of this device doesn’t reflect a desire, on the part of the machine, to become sophisticated enough begin giving motivational speeches to robots within earshot on how to overthrow the human race.
At Duke University a researcher who’s pioneering brain-computer interfaces has circuited four rats’ together via their brains and created a gooey and organic “Brainet”.
Miguel Nicolelis, the neurobiologist pioneering this neuroengineering at Duke University has spent 30 years doing similar experiments in hopes of uncovering the secrets of the human mind.
Earlier, in 2011, Nicolelis connected the brain of individual monkeys in order to get them to work a virtual monkey arm and grab virtual objects with it using only their mind. It didn’t take long for the each monkey to grasp the process mentally and move their extra invisible monkey hand.
Nicolelis then wondered if it were possible to string together several brains and have the work together to perform particular tasks. He used four rats to test the idea.
In order to get a drink of water the rats would have to learn to work together mentally to get a drink. In a short amount of time the rats were drinking regularly as normal.
Currently the rats have Frankenstein-like electrodes embedded in their heads. That will change as the technology progresses until it’s completely non-invasive.
What can we gain from a “brainet” as humans? Will we eventually become Borg-like? Is it smart to move toward a hive-mind? Who knows.
Downside? Enough people are connected via their brains and someone hacks the “brainet” to make the world bow before them. Upside? Natural disaster takes place and we use the “brainet” to locate those in need of help and almost telepathically send the information needed to medically aid those people even though the person at the receiving end might not be trained in life-saving techniques.
The entire idea is still in its infancy as to the possible applications but as Nicolelis points out:
“These computers will not do word processing or numerical calculation or internet searches, they will be tailored for very specific tasks like what animals are tailored for. It’s a totally different kind of vision for computation that we’re not used to.”
The whole process is intriguingly involved and fascinating….and somewhat terrifying.
Imagine waking up and being hooked to someone else’s brain?
Or imagine that this is slowly becoming a reality….
Two researchers at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design recently decided to make a record utilizing conductive paint.
Conductive paint is awesome…just think of it as paintable wiring.
Sounds great, right?
It is…unless you decided to make a record utilizing conductive paint.
“Conductive paint and resistive graphite were used to draw functioning circuits on paper disks. When the synthesizer completes the circuit its pitch is changed by the varying resistance of the graphite strips.”
The “varying resistance” ends up sounding like a very angry, very drunk R2D2 with an ear-piercingly bad motivator.
Two scientists, John Howell and Joseph Choi, of the University of Rochester have taken a couple of lenses, set them in a particular configuration and tah-dah! You can now hide your Harry Potter puppet in plain sight without anyone ever judging you for have a Harry Potter puppet in the first place.
Robots. We just can’t stop building them even though countless movies tell us where it’s all headed. Not only can we not stop trying to emulate ourselves mechanically, a small portion of the robotics community can’t stop trying to emulate creatures from the animal world.
One of the latest creations by a group called FORTH (Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas) is a tiny little robot trying to emulate the natural actions of octopi and squid.
The video above showcases the features and development of the robot as it goes from having bare legs to more efficient webbed legs to carrying an object in a couple of its legs (check out the little yellow ball it’s carrying) to going for a swim out among more natural life in the actual ocean.
It’s fascinating and almost relaxing to watch as it pulses through the water.
Relaxing until someone attaches tiny laser-guided torpedoes to it.
As the mechanical components that make up robotic prosthetics shrink, they’re integrating more easily into the lives of those that need them.
Drummer Jason Barnes built his own crude drumming hand but, after meeting an engineer who felt he could create something much more, Barnes now sports a pretty incredible robo-drumming arm. Using a technique called electromyography, the device responds to electrical signals as Barnes flexes his bicep. A secondary attachment for another drumstick was added that actually listens to what Barnes is playing and responds by playing along with what it’s hearing!
Giving talented people like Jason Barnes the ability to continue doing what they love and what they’re talented at is a fantastic way to get physically challenged people back to what they do best…
n this case it’s also the heralding of a whole new future for band battles.
Nope. We know what you’re wishing and your hopes are wrong. That’s not an old rice cake that someone dropped under the couch six months ago. It’s not a urinal cake either…because even that wouldn’t be as bad.
It’s exactly what your brain is screaming that it wasn’t right now…
That’s a block of cheese grown from…hold on to your lunch and put down anything you might be eating right now, kids…
Human toe cheese.
Not only did Christina Agapakis and Sissel Tolaas, who’re a part of an exhibit in Dublin called Grow Your Own…Life After Nature that is full of projects like this, create cheese wheels made from toe cheese. No. They swung for the wall by creating cheese wheels grown from other yummy ingredients like armpit sweat and bellybutton debris.
By scraping the bacteria from places that make every single one of cringe, they cultured that bacteria into cheese wheels that no one should ever, ever, EVER eat for fear of being that person for the rest of their lives.
But then again…if you served it to someone and they didn’t know what it was? Would that be a bad thing if they liked it?
We’ve all seen the video where we’re asked to count how many times a ball is passed between two teams of players only to be asked about the gorilla that passes through the video instead of the actual passes. We have all seen that video, right? Spoiler….there’s a gorilla in it.
In Moreno Valley, California police officers have taken that concept and applied it to an important lesson in safety.
And instead of a monkey…they’re using a gingerbread man.
3D printng is the ‘it’ thing right now. It seems like nothing can’t be printed. We can print plastic toys, metal parts and even cell tissues using additive manufacturing. So what’s next?
A Texas company is partnering with NASA to explore the idea of printing food during long, deep space missions. Systems and Materials Research and
Consultancy, a company in Austin, was recently awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Phase 1 contract concerning printing
food for astronauts. Currently astronauts eat foods that lose their micronutrients during the process they go through to become official space-food.
Eventually the prepackaged, off-the-shelf, single-servings the astronauts nom on now will make way for customizable recipes.
Anyone else excited to witness the first live-stream of a 3D-printed Thanksgiving dinner…in space? Us too.
There’s really not much to talk about here with a bunch of words. They’ll just get in the way of you pressing play and smiling like a little kid as your brain sort of automatically speculates on the possibilities of this in peoples’ homes.
We’ve all dreamed of the Holodeck being a part of our secret lair at home. Microsoft’s new IllumiRoom is a lot like watching a baby take its first steps in the direction of Holodecks becoming a standard part of any man-cave.
Sure we’ve seen mapped projections before like at Walt Disney World’s Magic, Memories and You show at the Magic Kingdom…but nothing on a consumer level and nothing with this kind of customization. Using a Kinect, a couple of cameras and some software, this is something that, while in its newborn stage, could lead to some truly innovative projects and ideas…or just mean that we’re going to be leaving our mother’s basements way less than we already do.
Recently a group of Japanese scientists at the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference in Orlando, Florida have unveiled
the latest incarnation of…
(sad, loungy drumroll please)
That’s right. Scientists have been working hard at making your television smell.
Do we really need to smell the elephants of Africa while watching a beautiful documentary about the animals?
No. Not really.
But advertisers sure would like us to get a whiff of things like the latest addition to the IHOP menu, the latest
colognes and Pilsbury would take the obesity problems in America to a whole new level when that little chubby, animated
chef shows up shoving a tray full of warm, delicious chocolate chip cookies in our faces.
Using gel pellets placed at the four corners of the monitor and small air-streams, scientists are able to get fairly
specific across the face of the monitor where the smell will seem to emanate from. Think of it like 5.1 surround sound but
your nose is the one in the recliner experiencing it.
Modern day theme parks like Universal and Disney often use gel packs or cartridges to send the smell of candy, food or, in the case of Universal’s
Halloween Horror Nights, the smell of rotting meat to add a subtle something to guests’ in-park experience.
What was unveiled at the conference is still fairly primitive but technological developments will continue to improve and
pretty soon you could be smelling the oil and smoking metal of Call of Duty…
Or the sweet, acrid smell of a Well Zombie from the Walking Dead.
We’re always making references to the ‘Robot Apocalypse’ or about all of us being enslaved by ‘our future overlords’ when it comes to our slowly evolving erector set-like counterparts. While 30 and 40-somethings stand around and make jokes, robots continue their often awkward baby-steps into being a part of our lives.
But what about the children?
You know…the children forced to oil the joints of the those aforementioned ‘future overlords’ so that they can continue their ‘overlording’ of the humans?
Those children won’t be worried because they’ll have grown up with robot friends at school.
Friends like ‘Robovie’.
Higashihikari (sneeze it and it’ll sound just fine) Elementary School in Kyoto began a 14-month experiment just a few days ago where a new ‘student’ joined the fleshy ankle-biters’ ranks in order to collect data that will help ‘Robovie’ and other tin-men of the future to interact more naturally with various people. That way, instead of speaking atomic-age sci-fi robotic phrases like “You will not be needed” or “Exterminate!”, they’ll be sitting us down quietly and gently breaking the news our enslavement is really for our own good.
Although this isn’t the first time that a robot has been placed in this kind of environment, this will be the longest amount of time that a robot has spent in the harsh, Lord of the Flies-like habitat of the elementary school student.
While everyone sits around and debates the cost of solar power and that anything that could effectively power your home right now would cost more than feeding your family for about a year, a teenager in Nepal has come up with a solution that NONE of us thought of…
Using human hair instead of silicon to generate electricity from our buddy, the sun.
Along with fellow students, this kid created a solar panel made using human hair that can generate enough electricity to charge a smartphone! It also brings the prices of this thing down to under $40.
Most people would be like, “Big whoop-de-doo. He can charge a phone.”
When you’re living in some of the less-developed parts of the world? The available wall-sockets are just a little…uh…limited.
When the Hall of Presidents attraction opened in Disneyland decades ago, the animatronics featured in it floored guests with their life-like movements. Disney became known for its animatronics in other attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and others. It was good ol’ Abe Lincoln, though that got a lot of attention…especially when he stood up.
But that was then.
Recently a video has surfaced on YouTube from a Disney R&D lab in Pittsburgh that hints at what they’ve been working on since then. Imagineers are now literally playing ball with a robot prototype that can track object movement and respond in real-time!
Being that this is just taking its baby-steps at this point, it both frightening and amazing to think about what Disney might have in the works for this type of interactivity with a robot and park guests.
From the video’s description:
Robots in entertainment environments typically do not allow for physical interaction and contact with people. However, catching and throwing back objects is one form of physical engagement that still maintains a safe distance between the robot and participants. Using an animatronic humanoid robot, we developed a test bed for a throwing and catching game scenario. We use an external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) to locate balls and a Kalman ?lter to predict ball destination and timing. The robot’s hand and joint-space are calibrated to the vision coordinate system using a least-squares technique, such that the hand can be positioned to the predicted location. Successful catches are thrown back two and a half meters forward to the participant, and missed catches are detected to trigger suitable animations that indicate failure. Human to robot partner juggling (three ball cascade pattern, one hand for each partner) is also achieved by speeding up the catching/throwing cycle. We tested the throwing/catching system on six participants (one child and ?ve adults, including one elderly), and the juggling system on three skilled jugglers.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t get bored of playing catch with the guests in the parks and decide one day to unbolt itself, head to Cinderella’s Castle and proclaim the Disney parks as the headquarters of our new robotic overlords!
We’ve seen tissues and body parts grown in petri dishes before. Nothing new, right? Now we’ve seen a human being’s own body used as a petri dish to grow a body part for her own body!
Sherrie Walters, a woman from Baltimore, has become that human being/test subject for an extremely radical and extremely weird procedure. Plastic surgeon and reconstructive surgeon Patrick Byrne has been looking for someone like Sherri Walters for quite a while to basically test a theory he had.
The discovery of a rapidly-spreading basal cell cancer in her ear in 2008 required the removal of part of her ear, part of her skull and her left ear canal. But now, in a groundbreaking and complicated set of surgeries, Johns Hopkins doctors have attached a new ear made from Walters’ own tissue.
Byrne used cartilage from Walters’ ribs to stitch together a new ear matching her right ear. He then implanted it under the skin of her forearm, where it grew for months.
Byrne later surgically attached the ear and its blood vessels. Then surgery Tuesday added shape and detail to the ear.
Walters still has two minor surgeries to go before the whole bizarre procedure is over with and she gets that ‘new’ ear.
And she’s got some sage advice before you ever end up in this situation:
“And it’s a cliche but use the sunscreen and if you are not sure about something, get it checked because that’s what I didn’t do.”
Different parts grown in different places? Hmm.
Every single guy right now is probably thinking about a particular woman in Total Recall.
News about this Rock Paper Scissors-playing robotic hand has been buzzing because people seem to think it’s novel and cute.
Mocking the slow reflexes of humankind is not novel and not cute. This is more like a total dig and a little kid saying ‘nyah nyah’ and then blowing mankind a big old raspberry. It’s our first glimpse at just how responsive robots will become in the very near future.
Developed at the Ishikawa Oku lab in Tokyo, researchers say they ‘wanted to show what human-machine cooperation systems are all about.’
A high-speed camera recognizes the shape of the human hand and one millisecond later, is able to determine what the result will be and throw the winning sign….every time…without fail.
Sure there’s a lot of awesomely respectable things that this kind of technology could be used for.
That’s all well and good but a human-robot interface with this kind of response time is bringing something even cooler closer to being a reality…