The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest robot, to the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week.
Brooks’ latest company, Rethink Robotics, describes Baxter as a collaborative manufacturing robot. Brooks showed how Baxter, which costs $22,000 per model, can work alongside humans — not replace them — to do simple, repetitive tasks.
Brooks is the Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus) at MIT, where he also used to run the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His idea is that Baxter can help, for example, aging factory workers do their jobs more efficiently. He told the TED audience that after this generation ages out of factory work, they tell him, they don’t want their children to carry on their work.
Baxter has eyes for feedback. Though its eyes don’t see you as a person, they serve as a signal as to what it’ll do next.
Normally robots need to be programmed, but this one learns by physical training. Move Baxter’s arm and it learns that’s how it should move its arm. In just a few minutes, the robot can be taught, for example, to take something out of a box and place it on a conveyor belt, then, after it’s assembled, put it back in a box.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology security spotted an armed man on its campus. So far there has been not shooting reported. Lets hope that there is no violence and this is settled without any injury or killing. From yahoo: news.yahoo.com
Update from CNN and local police: “Scene is clear. Call unfounded. No threat to public safety…” news.blogs.cnn.com
Earthworms creep along the ground by alternately squeezing and stretching muscles along the length of their bodies, inching forward with each wave of contractions. Snails and sea cucumbers also use this mechanism, called peristalsis, to get around, and our own gastrointestinal tracts operate by a similar action, squeezing muscles along the esophagus to push food to the stomach.
Now researchers at MIT, Harvard University and Seoul National University have engineered a soft autonomous robot that moves via peristalsis, crawling across surfaces by contracting segments of its body, much like an earthworm. The robot, made almost entirely of soft materials, is remarkably resilient: Even when stepped upon or bludgeoned with a hammer, the robot is able to inch away, unscathed.
Sangbae Kim, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, says such a soft robot may be useful for navigating rough terrain or squeezing through tight spaces.
We used to think about machines taking over mundane jobs, like twisting a screw into a toaster on an assembly line over and over again. But more recently, technology is eliminating higher-skill jobs.
To talk about this, some of the nation’s top technologists and economists came to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this week for a jobs conference called Race Against the Machine. There was a very impressive machine on hand: Watson, the powerful Jeopardy-playing computer built by IBM that recently beat the all-time human Jeopardy game show champion.
This week Watson took on two teams from MIT and Harvard. The auditorium was packed with students. Although Harvard managed to do well, its team was no match for the powerful computer.
Only tepid applause greeted Watson after it correctly answered questions about things like a truncated icosahedron (soccer ball-shaped). Maybe the reason human beings don’t tend to clap for Watson is that we can instinctively sense that it might steal our jobs.
New drug could cure nearly any viral infection
Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab have developed technology that may someday cure the common cold, influenza and other ailments.
In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.
The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. ‘In theory, it should work against all viruses,’ says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.
Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says.
If this turns out to be true, this is quite possibly the biggest discovery in a while.
Should you have to pay for public domain content from a public institution, or should Jstor continue to be the content mogul for academic papers?
Hacker and activist Aaron Swartz faces federal hacking prosecution for allegedly downloading millions of academic documents via MIT’s guest network, using a laptop hidden in a networking closet.
Swartz, 24, faces 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine under the indictment, announced last week, raising questions about his intentions, the vagueness of anti-hacking statutes and copyright as it applies to academic work.
But the indictment also left one other question unresolved: How did Swartz get caught?
The answer, it turns out, involves a webcam stakeout, the Secret Service and a campus-wide manhunt for a slender guy with a backpack riding a bike on MIT’s campus.
Swartz, the founder of the activist group Demand Progress, was arrested by the MIT police on January 6, charged with breaking and entering for allegedly entering a “restricted” networking room. The alleged purpose was to hide a laptop that was using a guest account on the MIT network to download millions of academic papers from JSTOR, an academic journal service that MIT pays for. However, MIT, which is open 24 hours a day to students and guests, allows students and guests to use the service and its network for free.
MIT and several other US educational institutions have put their course ware online. You can brush up on what’s new in the sciences, keep your degree current, and challenge your mind through these online courses — and best of all it’s free. Learning is a life long pursuit, and I recommend online courses to all.
This course is a first-semester freshman physics class in Newtonian Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, and Kinetic Gas Theory. In addition to the basic concepts a variety of interesting topics are covered in this course: Binary Stars, Neutron Stars, Black Holes, Resonance Phenomena, Musical Instruments, Stellar Collapse, Supernovae, Astronomical observations from very high flying balloons (lecture 35), and you will be allowed a peek into the intriguing Quantum World.
At the MIT Media Lab’s recent 25th anniversary celebration, the program included a number of alumni of the graduate program speaking about their time there. One of the most compelling stories was that of Eran Egozy, who helped form Harmonix, the company that brought us Guitar Hero. Ergozy traced how a set of projects gradually built both the desire and technology needed to give everyone the chance to think they’re a musician.