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Archive for the ‘Robot’ tag

Mar 22, 2013

Robots for Japan’s Future: talk with them, move with them, live with them… All in time.

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, futurism, human trajectories, robotics/AI

NOT.GRANDMAS.ROBOT.NO.IS
Japanese People are Getting Old — Fast. So… Robots!

Japan is one of those great examples of how, when a society reaches a certain stage of development, population can stabilize itself based simply on quality of life (economic well-being, healthcare, community, Golden Rule morality, etc.). There is a challenge, however: population decline. In arguably one of the world’s most advanced capitalist nations, where 70% of GDP is based on the services economy and nearly all national debt is public held, a big die-off is… big problematic. Sure, the population decline will be gradual — but it’s inexorable, and Japan has to prepare now.

Make Robots, Not Babies?
A (perhaps questionable) study from the Japan Family Planning Association found that 1/3 of Japanese youth have no desire to get their groove on. They just don’t wanna hump each other. And as many of us know, it’s not just an enjoyable hobby, it’s where babies come from! Realistically, a decent number of respondents were probably lying, though. Because in Japan being fake polite and feigning ignorance to the nastiness & porno of human life is… a way of life (that’s a compliment — fake polite is far better than honest rude).

But actually, whether a large segment of the youth truly don’t want to make sweet love, or do, it doesn’t change the fact that Japan’s going to be running out of people. Factor in a rising women’s liberation, the destigmatization of birth control, and perceived economic instability — who knows what the actual equation looks like, but the answer is a birthrate of 1.39. And in case it’s not obvious, a birthrate of at least 2 is a replacement set for the parents; a population at stasis. Ain’t happening.

So, at the end of the day, replacing the lost population with robots, thereby replacing a lost labor force and augmenting the consumer economy — well, seems like a decent enough course of action.

Continue reading “Robots for Japan's Future: talk with them, move with them, live with them... All in time.” »


Mar 20, 2013

An Upside to Fukushima: Japan’s Robot Renaissance

Posted by in categories: engineering, existential risks, nuclear, nuclear energy, robotics/AI

FUKUSHIMA.MAKES.JAPAN.DO.MORE.ROBOTS
Fukushima’s Second Anniversary…

Two years ago the international robot dorkosphere was stunned when, in the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster, there were no domestically produced robots in Japan ready to jump into the death-to-all-mammals radiation contamination situation at the down-melting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

…and Japan is Hard at Work.
Suffice it to say, when Japan finds out its robots aren’t good enough — JAPAN RESPONDS! For more on how Japan has and is addressing the situation, have a jump on over to AkihabaraNews.com.

Oh, and here’s some awesome stuff sourced from the TheRobotReport.com:

Larger Image
 - PDF With Links

Feb 23, 2013

Keeping Humans Safe in Space: Meet Robot Torsos Justin, Robonaut, SAR-400, & AILA

Posted by in categories: fun, human trajectories, robotics/AI, space

JUSTIN.SPACE.ROBOT.GUY
A Point too Far to Astronaut

It’s cold out there beyond the blue. Full of radiation. Low on breathable air. Vacuous.
Machines and organic creatures, keeping them functioning and/or alive — it’s hard.
Space to-do lists are full of dangerous, fantastically boring, and super-precise stuff.

We technological mammals assess thusly:
Robots. Robots should be doing this.

Enter Team Space Torso
As covered by IEEE a few days ago, the DLR (das German Aerospace Center) released a new video detailing the ins & outs of their tele-operational haptic feedback-capable Justin space robot. It’s a smooth system, and eventually ground-based or orbiting operators will just strap on what look like two extra arms, maybe some VR goggles, and go to work. Justin’s target missions are the risky, tedious, and very precise tasks best undertaken by something human-shaped, but preferably remote-controlled. He’s not a new robot, but Justin’s skillset is growing (video is down at the bottom there).

Now, Meet the Rest of the Gang:SPACE.TORSO.LINEUPS
NASA’s Robonaut2 (full coverage), the first and only humanoid robot in space, has of late been focusing on the ferociously mundane tasks of button pushing and knob turning, but hey, WHO’S IN SPACE, HUH? Then you’ve got Russia’s elusive SAR-400, which probably exists, but seems to hide behind… an iron curtain? Rounding out the team is another German, AILA. The nobody-knows-why-it’s-feminized AILA is another DLR-funded project from a university robotics and A.I. lab with a 53-syllable name that takes too long to type but there’s a link down below.

Continue reading “Keeping Humans Safe in Space: Meet Robot Torsos Justin, Robonaut, SAR-400, & AILA” »


Feb 8, 2013

Machine Morality: a Survey of Thought and a Hint of Harbinger

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, engineering, ethics, evolution, existential risks, futurism, homo sapiens, human trajectories, robotics/AI, singularity, supercomputing

KILL.THE.ROBOTS
The Golden Rule is Not for Toasters

Simplistically nutshelled, talking about machine morality is picking apart whether or not we’ll someday have to be nice to machines or demand that they be nice to us.

Well, it’s always a good time to address human & machine morality vis-à-vis both the engineering and philosophical issues intrinsic to the qualification and validation of non-biological intelligence and/or consciousness that, if manifested, would wholly justify consideration thereof.

Uhh… yep!

But, whether at run-on sentence dorkville or any other tech forum, right from the jump one should know that a single voice rapping about machine morality is bound to get hung up in and blinded by its own perspective, e.g., splitting hairs to decide who or what deserves moral treatment (if a definition of that can even be nailed down), or perhaps yet another justification for the standard intellectual cul de sac:
“Why bother, it’s never going to happen.“
That’s tired and lame.

Continue reading “Machine Morality: a Survey of Thought and a Hint of Harbinger” »


Jan 20, 2013

Activelink Power Loader Gives HAL Some Competition, but Who’s Going to Fukushima?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, defense, military, nuclear, nuclear energy, robotics/AI


LEFT: Activelink Power Loader Light — RIGHT: The Latest HAL Suit

New Japanese Exoskeleton Pushing into HAL’s (potential) Marketshare
We of the robot/technology nerd demo are well aware of the non-ironically, ironically named HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) exoskeletal suit developed by Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai’s also totally not meta-ironically named Cyberdyne, Inc. Since its 2004 founding in Tsukuba City, just north of the Tokyo metro area, Cyberdyne has developed and iteratively refined the force-amplifying exoskeletal suit, and through the HAL FIT venture, they’ve also created a legs-only force resistance rehabilitation & training platform.

Joining HAL and a few similar projects here in Japan (notably Toyota’s & Honda’s) is Kansai based & Panasonic-owned Activelink’s new Power Loader Light (PLL)Activelink has developed various human force amplification systems since 2003, and this latest version of the Loader looks a lot less like its big brother the walking forklift, and a lot more like the bottom half & power pack of a HAL suit. Activelink intends to connect an upper body unit, and if successful, will become HAL’s only real competition here in Japan.
And for what?

Well, along with general human force amplification and/or rehab, this:

Continue reading “Activelink Power Loader Gives HAL Some Competition, but Who's Going to Fukushima?” »