Sunday, February 28, 2016

Global Robot Expo Shows Robots for Students

Excellent article on varieties of robots for students and varieties of learning opportunities they represent...  

Educational Robots At Global Robot Expo

Robot Arm for Drummers - Could this be the start of 3 armed drumming?

Drummers rejoice: There’s now a robot arm for three-handed drumming


Neil Peart might soon be out of a job.

Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology are looking into the potential of robotic arms to augment the abilities of human drummers. Gil Weinberg (unclear whether he’s related to any famous drummers with the same name) has been researching robotic prosthetics for drummers missing arms for the last few years, but IEEE Spectrum reported that he’s now looking into how two-armed drummers can become three-armed cyborg drummers.

he arm, which is strapped onto a drummer’s shoulder, can keep time with what he’s playing and add a beat to the song. So if the drummer is hitting the high-hat cymbal, the arm will know to move to keep time on the ride cymbal, and when the human moves to the snare drum, the arm moves to the tom drum.
“We believe that if you have something that is part of your body, it’s a completely different feeling, because it learns how your body moves and it can augment it,” Weinberg said in a video released by the university. “So if you want to move toward a particular drum, the arm knows that because it recognizes your gestures and you feel that your own body is responding to you in a way.”

The two-foot arm uses onboard accelerometers to measure distance and proximity to the drum kit, and according to a release from the university, was programmed using motion-capture images of a human drumming, helping it to imitate the natural movements of a human arm. The university said in a blog post that the next step is to connect the arm to a human’s brain activity, so instead of inferring what the human is playing, the drummer would actually be able to control it as they would their own arm.

Read the full article at its source:

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Robotic Mouth... CHEW, CHEW, CHEW

Interesting item from

What food companies learn from a smart-mouthed robot


A number of big food companies are trying to change up their product formulations these days to include healthier ingredients. Earlier this month, Mars Inc. joined the ranks of companies cutting artificial coloring from candies like M&Ms and Skittles.

But changing a product can be risky. It might end up tasting less tasty or crispy than the original one.
“Sugar doesn't just make a product sweet and salt doesn't just make it salty,” said Ralph DeLong, a Professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry. “They also have chemical interactions with the other things that affect the texture of the food.”

Some major food companies, which didn’t want to be named, are now finding ways to assess how product reformulations affect things like crispiness, thanks to a robot DeLong helped build.
DeLong said the original robot, invented 30 years ago, was designed for the purpose of testing dental restoration materials. The super-chewer robot could put wear and tear on them a lot faster than humans could and cost a lot less to employ.

“For a material that you want to test for five years, in one week you have the result,” he said.
The latest version of the robot can give feedback on what it's chewing.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Robot Kills Husband, Leaving Well-Fixed Widow!

From Channelate 

Hmmmmm.... Where did this guy go wrong? In the build? In the programming? In allowing his wife access to the programming interface? In not noticing that the provider of the programming software had slipped in some robot self-programming A. I. routines? Or was he some sort of suicidal who's idea of making life easier is to leave the wife behind with a few bucks to spend after he's gone. So many questions! What do you think?

Click on cartoon for larger version

Additional prompts for reflection:
Who (or what) is actually responsible for this crime?  
What was the motive?
Was another crime contemplated and then never committed?
Imagine the back story or prequel to this  What would that be? What would the sequel be?
Do you think the wife and the robot want to get married? Would that be legal?
If the wife dies before the robot will it inherit the insurance money?
Can you think of any other robot against human murders in other fiction?
Dr, Rose Reissman