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Ivan Kirigin's views on Robotics & Culture: future. perfect. progress.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Brain cells on demand

Regenerative medicine scientists at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute have created a system in rodent models that for the first time duplicates neurogenesis -- the process of generating new brain cells -- in a dish.

Writing in today's (June 13) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe a cell culture method that holds the promise of producing a limitless supply of a person's own brain cells to potentially heal disorders such as Parkinson's disease or epilepsy.
I love the was diseases are the first thing mentioned for such applications. I personally find the potential affects on society once intelligence can be increased without consequences to be more important. Unfortunately, like anti-aging, there is a certain societal aversion to playing god like this. FuturePundit often comments on the potentially huge positive effect an increase in average intelligence of even a minority of a population can have on GDP.

It would also be interesting to see what affect this has on growing wetware interfaces to computers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


AI dawns.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Extracting Video from the Brain

Stanley claims the decoding algorithm is simple since each point in space can be reconstructed at high resolutions from 6 to 8 pairs of cells. The more neurons are tracked, the higher the quality of the reconstruction. The following still frames from a video (top) are actual reconstructions (bottom) from the activity of 177 cells in a cat’s brain.

Check out his research page.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Grand Theft Auto Meets Robocop

An excellent vision application.
he Plate Hunter is based on optical character-recognition technology originally developed in Italy for sorting letters and parcels.

"Five to six years ago (Elsag) had really perfected postal sorting and realized that if they could read a postcard handwritten at 90 miles per hour, they could read license plates," said Windover.

A similar system has been used by the Italian carabinieri for the last three years, and is mounted on 3,000 Italian law enforcement vehicles.

Remington-Elsag has also developed a fixed system. Mounted on the side of the road, the reader can scan vehicles moving at up to 75 mph, with recognition rate in tests exceeding 95 percent, the company claimed.

Windover said false positives are "virtually nonexistent."

"In California, where we have the most experience, false positives are rare, occurring less than 1 in 100,000 reads," he said. "Importantly, 100 percent of all alarms from any read are verified by the operating law enforcement officer prior to a traffic stop or other action."
And the money shot: "It doesn't require the driver to do anything."

Japan Dreams of Robot Moon Base in 2025

Most people don't know it, but Russia sent robots to the moon in a much more efficient but much less inspiring push to the moon compared to Apollo.

Robots just make sense. You can send twice as many when you don't need human maintenance equipment, and because the moon is closer than Mars, they can be tele-operated more efficiently.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ultra-Lifelike Robot Debuts in Japan

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Brain cells grown in Lab

This is huge. First it could cure many degenerative brain diseases. Then it can be used for enhancement. Folks have been trying to do this for some time, but it seemed that growing new adult brain cells was impossible.

Monday, June 13, 2005

"The Man with the Bionic Ear"

very interesting

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Excellent Tech

"Grocery wholesaler James Hall has cut costs and administration time by investing a six-figure sum in a voice technology system to help staff pick out orders."

This is also discussed here, where the blogger thinks this will lead to a rise of robotics, in a very negative way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Both CMU entries reach robotic race

I'm looking forward to the competition. Someone will win this year. Next year there will be a huge push for mass production. The year after that, if there is a war going on, this technology will be used to automate everything from convoys to ambulances.

Unfortunately, with the regulatory impulse in America, it will be some time before transportation (usually the most expensive component of commodities like food) will benefit.

Call to bullpen: 'Give me R2-D2'

While Pirates pitcher Oliver Perez's job is in no danger, coaches and others who pitch batting practice before games could one day be relegated to the bench by a robot.

A preview could come tonight, when the S-3 Platform Robot, built by Aliquippa-based RoPro Design and Beaver County Area Vocational Technical School, will deliver the first pitch as the Pirates square off against the Baltimore Orioles on "Robotics Night" at PNC Park.

So automated pitching machines don't count? I guess they never use them in a game. They should have a 0th inning, where 3 batters from both teams compete in hitting against a really powerful pitching robot. This could be used both to break ties and humiliate merely human players.