Technology

Grab the RAID! Check out US military’s creepy swarm of deadly flying drones.

First we had giant rail guns, then killer robots, and now creepy deadly swarms of automated drones – all for the purpose of protecting the United States and giving little kids nightmares. What is a Perdix drone? The Perdix drone, or more accurately, micro-drone, was designed by the geniuses at MIT in 2013. Each drone has a wingspan of only 12 inches with tiny 2 ½ inch propellers. They are fast, nimble, and can fly for about 30 minutes on a single charge. What they do Perdix drones fly in swarms – large groups of tiny drones flying close together. The drones communicate with other drones in the swarm. This lets them act like a collective organism, similar to a swarm of bees or flock…
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Technology

Computer programming is a foundational skill that lets future generations do things with information we can hardly dream of

Fun Ways To Get Kids Interested In Learning How To Code We live in a world filled with information. This has always been true but today, the tools exist for all of us to see and use that information. Coding and computer programming are the foundational skills that will let future generations do things with the information around us that we can hardly dream of. We now must start teaching those skills to our children. Fringe Benefits At their roots, programming and coding are about two things: working with information and solving problems. It does not take much thought to realize that these two concepts are applicable in a virtually endless array of different applications. Children who learn the fundamentals of coding will be able…
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Technology

Meet the new Atlas robot and see how well it reacts to bullying

Boston Dynamics continues to blow us away with its amazingly lifelike robots and such is the case with the newest version of the Atlas robot. Atlas is a humanoid robot made by Boston Dynamics (the makers of the ever-popular BigDog military robot). Atlas can walk on two legs and use its “arms” to lift, carry, and climb (and maybe one day, fight back against robot bullies).  Atlas is even sophisticated enough to adjust and navigate through tight, cluttered places. Atlas features 28 hydraulically-actuated degrees of freedom and a sensor head with cameras and a laser range finer (LIDAR). It stands 5 feet 9 inches and weighs 180 pounds (compared to its 330-pound predecessor, that’s lightweight). There are several Atlas robots being manufactured. Check out the…
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Technology

Join the movement – stop the abuse of robot dogs!

Regular visitors to Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab know Reeko loves robots. In fact, he’s pretty much fanatical about Boston Robotics’ four-legged dog robots (fanatical enough that some of us are beginning to worry). Check out the amazing video below which features a public service announcement call-to-action to stop the abuse of robot dogs.  Join the movement! #stoprobotdogabuse   Funny video–stop robot dog abuse   Weighing in at 160 pounds, these wonderful robot dogs are able to run, climb stairs, jog next to its owner, and even recover its balance after being kicked! The robotic dog uses cameras and sensors to help it navigate over rough, uneven terrain. It can recognize humans and other robotic dogs and we think, but are not totally sure, that it…
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Technology

New temporary tattoo makes electricity from sweat (but only makes you cool temporarily)

Like marriage, tattoos often seem like a good idea at the time. But teens often fail to realize that the cool barbed wire tattoo is going to be little more than a picket fence when they get old. Now you can get a temporary tattoo that eventually wears off (hopefully by the time you have to go out and get a job) and serves a useful purpose while you wait for it to disappear. Researchers at the University of California San Diego have designed a sensor which can be imprinted onto temporary tattoo paper and when affixed to a person’s arm, can not only monitor a person’s progress during exercise, but generates electricity from the person’s sweat. The sensors works by detecting lactate, which is…
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Technology

Forget throwing stuff at it while you flee – this robot can catch anything you throw at it

When the robot invasion starts (when robots take over the world and enslave the human race), proper robot self-defense is going to be difficult – especially now that we find out we can’t throw rocks, furniture, or small children at them while we flee. You see, this amazing robot can catch anything you throw at it. The armature of this robotic arm has four fingers and a three-jointed hand that can react at a blazing 5/100ths of a second. The software on this EPFL-developed robot allows it to be “taught” how to catch by a human. A human moves the robot’s arm around manually until it “learns” how to catch the object. Then the robot uses its camera-based tracking system, which tracks trajectory, speed, and rotation…
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Technology

Remote island becomes self-sufficient using wind turbines and a giant lake-sized battery

Life can be inconvenient living on a tiny island out in the middle of the ocean. Sometimes you have to do without modern-day conveniences such as electricity. But not residents of the El Hierro island, located just off the coast of Spain. Islanders on El Hierro are completing an ingenious means of generating electricity using wind and a huge “battery” the size of a lake. On El Hierro island, they have built five huge wind turbines that will generate electricity using nothing more than the strong winds that blow across the island. The problem with wind generated power however, is what to do on days when the wind does not blow. Typically in small installations, a battery is installed which stores the wind generated power…
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Technology

ASIMO (the robot) has learned some new amazing tricks!

ASIMO is a remarkable humanoid robot built by Honda that  looks a bit like a kid in a spacesuit.  He is often shown off at trade shows in order to convince people that robots will not revolt and take over the world. So far, ASIMO can run (meaning he can chase you down!), climb stairs (meaning there’s nowhere you can hide!) and screw the lid off of a bottle (meaning he can twist your neck!). And he can kick a soccer ball and dance. What ASIMO can do Scientists at Honda started making the ASIMO robot in 1986 and have been working on him for over 25 years. They began by teaching him how to listen to commands and slowly added new features over time.…
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Technology

The NIST-F2 atomic clock represents “official” U.S. time and the loses only 1 second every 300,000,000 years

The United States’ method of keeping time was already very accurate but yesterday, took a giant leap forward with the introduction of the NIST-F2 atomic clock. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have been building the NIST-F2 for about 10 years in hopes of replacing the aging F1 which has been used to keep the official time since 1999. The new NIST-F2 is three-times more accurate that its predecessor.  The NIST-F2 clock is used to keep the official time in the United States and is shared with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris, France. Why is accurate time important? Accurate time is very important for businesses such as electrical power grids, GPS satellite systems, and telephone networks (which…
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