CHIMP, a rugged and sturdy disaster response robot competing in DARPA’s Robotic Challenge


Meet CHIMP, one of 25 robotic soldier prototypes… er, I mean “disaster response robots,” competing in DARPA’s Robotic Challenge this month for the $2 million prize.

C – CMU – (Carnegie Melon University)
H – Highly
I – Intelligent
M – Mobile
P – Platform

Full article at PopSci

MegaBots – Giant Fighting Robot League


It is probably just a matter of time before we have real battle mechs… if the MegaBots founders have their way, we will have battle mechs fighting in leagues for our entertainment. The Kickstarter campaign fell well short of the $1.8 million campaign, but they will not be stopped by one setback.

“Among the parade of homemade gadgetry displayed at MakerFaire Bay Area over the weekend, one project towered above the rest: a 15-foot tall mech robot straight out of the pages of some robopocalyptic sci-fi novel. The MegaBot is a proof of concept for now — the first piece of a mech robot fighting league dreamed up by East Coast engineer entrepreneurs Matt Oehrlein, Andrew Stroup and Gui Cavalcanti.”

MegaBot attacks a car:

Full article HERE

Artificial Intelligence will surpass human intelligence (and potentially end the human race) within 100 years, according to Stephen Hawking


In December 2014, Hawking told the BBC, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

“Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.”

A few days ago, at the Zeitgeist 2015 conference in London, he added, “Computers will overtake humans with AI at some point within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours.”

Article HERE

From the “WORST IDEA EVER” category – Company intentionally designing a very angry AI


Just as some high level thinkers, such as Elon Musk, Nick Bostrom, and Stephen Hawking warn of the potential dangers of a superintelligent AI, and point out that before we do devise (or stumble into) superintelligent AI, we should figure out how to control it – a company in New Zealand called Touchpoint Group is creating an angry AI system imbued with the anger of a million angry humans (in the form of angry customer transactions with banks.) The goal is to help devise more effective ways for dealing with angry customers.

“The idea, in fact, is to help organizations deal with angry customers. As the Australian Business Review reports, Touchpoint is working with a bank so that its machines can better understand why customers get angry.”

They are spending $500.000 for this project… for reasons which are admittedly unclear to me.

Full article HERE

Drones can refuel without landing


Milestone: The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed for carrier-based operations. On April 22, the X-47B successfully conducted the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) of an unmanned aircraft.

“‘What we accomplished today demonstrates a significant, groundbreaking step forward for the Navy,’ said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager. ‘The ability to autonomously transfer and receive fuel in flight will increase the range and flexibility of future unmanned aircraft platforms, ultimately extending carrier power projection.'”

Full article HERE

First Semi-Autonomous Semi Licensed to Drive Itself on Highways


The self-driving vehicles are coming. And Freightliner’s SuperTruck is more than twice as efficient as a typical semi truck, potentially saving nearly 38,000 liters of diesel a year.

“They gave the truck a waste heat harvesting system; it extracts thermal energy from the engine exhaust (like a little steam engine) and then sends it back into the hybrid powertrain. The top of the trailer is covered in solar panels, and on a sunny day, the trailer’s air conditioning system can use solar power to run continuously without the truck even needing to be turned on. The truck got some extra smarts, too: it uses GPS to analyze the road ahead, and then optimizes its speed and shifting for upcoming terrain.”

Full article at ieee spectrum

Hexapod Figures Out How to Walk After Losing a Leg


The robot figures out that something has changed, goes into a recovery algorithm, and finds a new mode of locomotion.

“If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that chopping a futuristic death robot’s leg off does not significantly diminish its capacity to hunt you down. Want to know where that capacity for being utterly unstoppable came from? It’s this, right here.”

Full article at ieee Spectrum

TED Talks: Nick Bostrom: What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?


Philosopher and technologist Nick Bostrom explains that there is a problem we must solve before the potential of super intelligent machines is unleashed, and why.

“…this has profound implications, particularly when it comes to questions of power. For example, chimpanzees are strong – pound for pound, a chimpanzee is about twice as strong as a fit human male. And yet, the fate of [chimpanzees] depends a lot more on what we humans do than on what the chimpanzees do themselves. Once there is superintelligence, the fate of humanity may depend on what the superintelligence does.”

TED Talks

They can’t pass for human… yet, but the efforts continue – introducing Yangyang


China’s Shanghai Shenqing Industry (SSI) unveils Yangyang, created in a collaborative effort with professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from Osaka University.

“Ishiguro recently told IBTimes UK in Singapore that he believes robots will one day replace pop stars and Hollywood actors.
There are many possibilities, for example an idol singer [pop star]. An android robot is more beautiful, probably, and they never get tired and can keep singing songs forever, he said.”

Yangyang was modeled after Song Yang, a Chinese researcher working with SSI, and the robot features skin made from a special type of silica gel to replicate the texture of human skin.

Full article HERE

Combining a real robot with a virtual robot to demonstrate Microsoft’s new HoloLens Augmented Reality system


Microsoft has an AR (Augmented Reality system coming out called HoloLens. It appears to be a more advanced version of what Google Glass was going to be, before it fizzled.

Full article HERE

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