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

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

LiveScience.com - Machine Offers Sight to Some Blind People

The project started 10 years ago when, to determine if Goldring had any healthy retina left, her doctors sent her to the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard. Technicians there used a diagnostic device called a scanning laser opthamaloscope, or SLO, to look into her eyes.

The SLO projected a simple image of a stick-figure turtle past the hemorrhages inside her left eye that contributed to her blindness and directly onto the retina of one eye. She could see the turtle, but wanted more, and asked the technicians to project the word "sun."

"And I could see it," Goldring said. "That was the first time in several months that I'd seen a word, and for a poet that's an incredible feeling."

Since then, Goldring has been working with other vision researchers and engineers to transform the $100,000 SLO into a more affordable machine. So far, by dumping some of the diagnostic equipment and replacing expensive lasers with cheaper light emitting diodes (LEDs), they have knocked the price down to $4,000.
This is inline with other advances initially used for those with disabilities.

I'd like to use something like this to have immersive virtual reality or hybrid reality where images are overlaid onto the real world, either utilitarian or aesthetic.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gunners Train with Army Game

I wrote about crows a few months ago. It is a tele-operated gun system where

This is a very interesting update where CROWS are simulated in the recruiting tool/video game "America's Army". In effect, they are training soldiers to use tele-operated weapons by letting them play games that simulate the operation.

This is geneous. We need more of it. How about an open API to Predator operation? Let video game makers do the simulation for you, and let interaction and graphic designers improve it.

PCB007 - Bleeding Edge: Flex Circuits as Robot Skin Sensors

Interesting thoughts about flexible skin-like sensors for temperature and pressure. I find the sex joke at the end pretty funny -- on a meta level as they aren't really kidding. Many people are serious about it.

I generally find it funny how most people act as if the multi-billion dollar sex industry either doesn't exist or isn't extremely interested in robotics :-D

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Scientist Tech - Breaking News - Robo-roach could betray real cockroaches

A matchbox-sized robot that can infiltrate a pack of cockroaches and influence their collective behaviour has been developed by European scientists.

The tiny robot smells and acts just like a roach, fooling the real insects into accepting it as one of their own. Through its behaviour, the robot can persuade a group of cockroaches to venture out into the light despite their normal preference for the dark, for example.

The researchers behind the robot believe it could be used to catch cockroaches and that bots designed to mimic other animals could one day work on farms controlling flocks of sheep and chickens by similar means.
I'd love to see a robot that can give commands to a dog -- or to train it.

The sheep idea is pretty bad. Sheep dogs are dirt cheap.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More on Grand Challenge Urban

The Third Grand Challenge will be hard. Read the pdf link for some details. Section 2.3 is especially important.

I don't know we will have a winner if the envrionment is very unconstrained.

On the plus side, robotic vehicles will be much, much closer to reality if we do have a winner. I'd expect comercialization within a year of completion of the course, and certainly deployed military applications within 2 years.

Note that one big problem with deployment are regulations. Though you can't guarentee human drivers, folks might want to guarenee a robot driver's safety. I think the razzle-dazzle of the event would convince plenty of people of the safety of a winning system.

DARPA Grand Chellenge III: Urban

Read this announcement (warning: pdf).

The problem is harder, and can be significantly harder depending on the conditions.

Does “obeying traffic laws” mean reading traffic signs? Will there be traffic? Will there be other sources of light or reflections in the urban area?

Will it be a steal & glass urban area or brick & wood?

Will there be obstacles in the road, like traffic cones or potholes?

Also note that they are giving money up front to some groups. Further, many groups can receive funds and the semi-finals, making research that much more worth it.

I look forward to the entrants. Hopefully, in 2007, this will be solved the first time around. Then the sensors and computation needed can be made cheap enough to be added to cars by 2010.

I’d like all cars and trucks to be option-automated by 2010 [meaning that humans would take over in worse conditions]. That could save tens of thousands of lives yearly, and raise productivity by a huge amount.