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Biological Nanomachines

Posted 18 Aug 2001 at 14:56 UTC by The Swirling Brain

An article in Scientific American talks about that the future of nanoscience may be biological. This brings to my mind movies like BladeRunner and Dr. Who's Biological (Incubating?) Daleks. I guess you can only take mechanical so far.

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USAR Robots at IJCAI 2001

Posted 17 Aug 2001 at 12:51 UTC by josborn

The NY Times is running an article about the competition held at this year's IJCAI for Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) robots. The robots had to navigate three courses which got progressively harder in order to find targets, usually mannequins. The course was developed by the Intelligent Systems Division at NIST, which coincidentally, is where I work :-).

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Commercial Robotics

Buy Your Own Smart Dust

Posted 16 Aug 2001 at 14:26 UTC by steve

A new Smalltimes article details the progress made on smart dust over the last few months. robots.net covered smart dust and micro rocket technology and related privacy concerns in early May but a lot has changed since then. Kris Pister's micro-sized sensor platforms are moving into a commercial phase. A company called Crossbow is selling a prototype kit with 3 smart dust "motes" for $950 that should be quite interesting for all sorts of robotics uses. The Crossbow prototype motes are a whopping 1 inch in size but Pister's goal is for production units 1mm or smaller.

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Aquatic Robotics

U-166 and the Success of AUVs

Posted 16 Aug 2001 at 05:16 UTC by steve

We posted a story on the discovery of U-166 by an AUV in early June. Now Business Week Online has a detailed story about the discovery of the German sub as well as the future of AUVs in general. They conclude that despite the high initial cost of AUVs, the long-term cost savings will allow them to displace ROVs and other, older technologies.

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Air Traffic Control and Swarming

Posted 14 Aug 2001 at 21:36 UTC by steve

Flocking or swarming algorithms simulate the movements of bird flocks or schools of fish. Swarming algorithms have primarily been used in gaming and simulations, though the US Air Force has proposed using the algorithm for positioning of satellite constellations. Now, GĂ©raud Granger, a researcher from CENA, suggests that such algorithms could be applied to air traffic control. Granger and colleages have proposed a distributed system, called Free flight Autonomous and Coordinated Embarked Solver (FACES), that allows airplanes to coordinate navigation and avoidance manoeuvres. New Scientist has a short article on their work.

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Space Robotics

Helios UAV Breaks Altitude Records

Posted 14 Aug 2001 at 13:46 UTC by steve

The NASA Helios UAV project met a goal this morning when the solar powered, autonomous robotic platform reached an altitude of 96,500 feet (18 miles). This exceeds its own previous record of 80,200 feet as well as the record for jet aircraft of 85,068 feet set by the SR-71 Blackbird. The final goal for the project is sustained flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet which would simulate flying in the atmosphere of Mars. CNN has a story on the latest flight (which, after 24 hours in the air, is still in progress as this is written). See also the NASA Helios background page and this excellent non-NASA Helios site maintained by interns working on the flight team.

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Posted 13 Aug 2001 at 22:39 UTC by steve

A new article posted at Technology Review suggests that Neuroinformatics, the use of information technology to understand the human brain, is what's needed to get neural net research back on track. Most artificial neural network software is based on ideas about the human nervous system that are 40 years out of date and there's very little communication between neuroscientists and AI researchers. NIMH is proposing a neuroinformatics program called the Human Brain Project which could make it much easier for researchers in the two fields to share information.

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A New Review of the RL500 Robomower

Posted 12 Aug 2001 at 00:06 UTC by steve

Hubukai.com has published a new review of the Friendly Robotics RL500 Robomower. In addition to a detailed review, there are lots of photos.
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Facial Asymmetry as a Biometric

Posted 9 Aug 2001 at 14:10 UTC by steve

Facial Asymmetry is a familiar measure of attractiveness and has been used to evaluate expressions by psychologists. A new technical report from the CMU Robotics Institute proposes facial asymmetry as a new biometric for face recognition software. According to the paper by Yanxi Liu, the asymmetry of specific facial regions captures individual differences that are unaffected by facial expression and orthogonal to more traditional face recognition algorithms.

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Robot reporter to write news

Posted 9 Aug 2001 at 03:55 UTC by Rog-a-matic

This article in The Guardian talks about 'robot' software that may be used to write news articles in the future. Looks like a lot of this technology already exists which pulls text and headlines from news wires and creates a story. I suppose it could be used to create multi-language news feeds also. I find it interesting that some call this 'Robotics' and not just fancy software or even AI.

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