Emergent Futures Tumblelog

This is the Tumblelog of Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle - Futurists from Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. Go to Emergent Futures to see more or follow on Twitter at FuturistPaul . If you right click on the pictures, titles or links in these posts you will be able to go to the original story on the web. If you click on comments for each post you can either read what others have said or add your own comment via Disqus. If you click on the date of a post it will take you to a single post view where you can copy the web link if you want to send it to someone else. If you click on the tags it will take you to other stories from Emergent Futures with the same tag.

Paul Higgins: My first thought was “shark”

smarterplanet:

Spanish Government Deploys Robotic Fish to Monitor Maritime Pollution

Currently the port relies on divers to monitor water quality, which is a lengthy process costing €100,000 per year. The divers take water samples from hundreds of points in the port, then send them off for analysis, with the results taking weeks to return. By contrast, the SHOAL robots would continuously monitor the water, letting the port respond immediately to the causes of pollution, such as a leaking boat or industrial spillage, and work to mitigate its effects.

The SHOAL fish are one and a half metres long, comparable to the size and shape of a tuna, but their neon-yellow plastic shell means they are unlikely to be mistaken for the real thing. A range of onboard chemical sensors detect lead, copper and other pollutants, along with measuring water salinity.

They are driven by a dual-hinged tail capable of making tight turns that would be impossible with a propeller-driven robot. They are also less noisy, reducing the impact on marine life.

The robots are battery powered and capable of running for 8 hours between charges. At the moment the researchers have to recover them by boat, but their plan is that the fish will return to a charging station by themselves.

Working in a group, the fish can cover a 1 kilometre-square region of water, down to a depth of 30 metres. They communicate with each other and a nearby base-station using very low-frequency sound waves, which can penetrate the water more easily than radio waves. However, this means the fish have a low data transmission rate and can only send short, predefined messages. “It’s a good solution, but it requires thinking carefully about what data to transmit and how to use that data,” says Kristi Morgansen, a roboticist at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research.

Robotic fish shoal sniffs out pollution in harbours - environment - 22 May 2012 - New Scientist

via joshbyard:

Posted at 5:23pm and tagged with: tech, technology, robots, internet of things, environment, sensors,.

Paul Higgins: My first thought was “shark”

smarterplanet:

Spanish Government Deploys Robotic Fish to Monitor Maritime Pollution
Currently the port relies on divers to monitor water quality, which is a lengthy process costing €100,000 per year. The divers take water samples from hundreds of points in the port, then send them off for analysis, with the results taking weeks to return. By contrast, the SHOAL robots would continuously monitor the water, letting the port respond immediately to the causes of pollution, such as a leaking boat or industrial spillage, and work to mitigate its effects.
The SHOAL fish are one and a half metres long, comparable to the size and shape of a tuna, but their neon-yellow plastic shell means they are unlikely to be mistaken for the real thing. A range of onboard chemical sensors detect lead, copper and other pollutants, along with measuring water salinity.
They are driven by a dual-hinged tail capable of making tight turns that would be impossible with a propeller-driven robot. They are also less noisy, reducing the impact on marine life.
The robots are battery powered and capable of running for 8 hours between charges. At the moment the researchers have to recover them by boat, but their plan is that the fish will return to a charging station by themselves.
Working in a group, the fish can cover a 1 kilometre-square region of water, down to a depth of 30 metres. They communicate with each other and a nearby base-station using very low-frequency sound waves, which can penetrate the water more easily than radio waves. However, this means the fish have a low data transmission rate and can only send short, predefined messages. “It’s a good solution, but it requires thinking carefully about what data to transmit and how to use that data,” says Kristi Morgansen, a roboticist at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the research.
Robotic fish shoal sniffs out pollution in harbours - environment - 22 May 2012 - New Scientist
via joshbyard:

futurescope:

Combat Exoskeleton Marches Toward Afghanistan Deployment

Lockheed appears to be on track for deploying combat versions of the HULC exoskeleton into Afghanistan in early 2013 or even late in 2012.

The HULC can assist speed marching at up to 7 mph reduces this somewhat; a battery-draining “burst” at 10mph is the maximum speed

A soldier with a pack would normally go at 3 mph maximum and cover 10-12 miles in a day. Exoskeleton Soldiers could also carry lightweight foldable electric scooters on their exoskeleton that would enable 60-100 mph on roads. If the bike had motocross like capabilities it could still go about 30-60 mph on rougher terrain.

[read more @wired @nextbigfuture]

Posted at 11:54am and tagged with: tech, technology, robots, augmentation, military,.

futurescope:

Combat Exoskeleton Marches Toward Afghanistan Deployment

Lockheed appears to be on track for deploying combat versions of the HULC exoskeleton into Afghanistan in early 2013 or even late in 2012.
The HULC can assist speed marching at up to 7 mph reduces this somewhat; a battery-draining “burst” at 10mph is the maximum speedA soldier with a pack would normally go at 3 mph maximum and cover 10-12 miles in a day. Exoskeleton Soldiers could also carry lightweight foldable electric scooters on their exoskeleton that would enable 60-100 mph on roads. If the bike had motocross like capabilities it could still go about 30-60 mph on rougher terrain.

[read more @wired @nextbigfuture]

futurescope:

Microbots Made of Bubbles That Are Powered by Lasers

We’re used to thinking of robots as mechanical entities, but at very small scales, it sometimes becomes easier to use existing structures (like microorganisms that respond to magnetic fields or even swarms of bacteria) instead of trying to design and construct one (or lots) of teeny tiny artificial machines. Aaron Ohta’s lab at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has come up with a novel new way of creating non-mechanical microbots quite literally out of thin air, using robots made of bubbles with engines made of lasers. […]

[read more @ieee @popsci]

Posted at 8:20am and tagged with: robots, tech, technology,.

futurescope:

This Robot Makes Its Own Custom Tools Out of Glue

Humans are generalists. We’re adaptable. If there’s a task we can’t do on our own, we find ourselves a tool to help us. Robots aren’t usually like this, because it’s very hard to design a robot that implements all the different tools that might conceivably be useful to it. Roboticists at ETH Zurich are trying to get around this problem by designing a robot with just one tool, but the tool they’ve chosen is a hot glue gun that their robot can use to manufacture any other tools that it needs to. […]

[read more]

Posted at 4:41am and tagged with: robots, tech, technology,.

futurescope:

Juggling Robot Takes on Two Balls With One Very Fast Hand

This high-speed hand and arm combination is coupled to an even higher speed vision system that allows the robot’s controller to plan for catches and throws (up to nearly 2 meters in height) at a leisurely 500 frames per second. The hand has three fingers with two or three degrees of freedom each, while the arm has seven more (although not all of them are being utilized). To be clear, the system isn’t just doing a repetitive motion that results in a series of actions that mimic a juggling behavior: the balls are being tracked through the air, and a series of throwing calculations are made for each and every cycle.

At this point, the hand can only reliably execute about five catches in a row before it loses a ball. This is primarily because there’s no operating shoulder joint: the robot is restricted to what’s essentially a two-dimensional vertical plane of operation, so anytime a ball drifts even a little bit sideways, the robot can’t get to it. Also, there’s still some throwing instability going on, which is what causes the ball to gradually wander in the first place. The researchers plan to conquer the latter with a new throwing motion, and then move on to other types of juggling.

[read more]

Posted at 12:00pm and tagged with: tech, technology, robots,.

futurescope:

MIT’s Jammable Robot Manipulator

MIT researchers present a robust, high-force, low-cost, and highly articulated manipulator based on reversible jamming of granular media. Part of the paper “Design and Analysis of a Robust, Low-cost, Highly Articulated Manipulator Enabled by Jamming of Granular Media,” by N. G. Cheng et al, presented at the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. 

Posted at 7:21pm and tagged with: tech, technology, robots,.

futurescope:

Paralyzed Patients Move a Robotic Arm With Their Own Thoughts

With the BrainGate interface, Cathy Hutchinson, who is paralyzed from the neck down, moved a robotic arm toward a coffee cup, grasped it and was able to take a drink. It was the first time in 15 years that she was able to drink her coffee on her own. […]

[read more @popsci] [Brain Gate]

Posted at 12:01pm and tagged with: health, tech, technology, robots, brain,.

futurescope:

Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC) 

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge, in which teams had to design gadgets that would allow soldiers to safely and quickly ascend vertical surfaces […]  took place April 16th to 20th, at Wright State University’s Calamityville tactical laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. It was required that all competing devices must allow users to climb higher, faster and with less effort than current techniques allow. The devices also had to be reusable, permit multiple pitches within one climb, allow the operator to keep one hand free for using other equipment, and be capable of getting three people each carrying 300-pound (136 kg) loads up a 90-foot (27.5-meter) vertical silo within 20 minutes.

At the heart of the two PVAC units were two back-mounted carpet extractor motors. These each created suction with a three-stage impeller, were powered by seven lithium-polymer batteries, and created a seal against the wall using connected handheld pads lined with closed-cell foam. A pressure release lever on each pad allowed it to be secured against the wall when being used by the climber to pull themselves up, then released so it could be lifted higher.

A gauge indicated safe vacuum levels, while a volt meter let climbers know if they were about to run out of juice (as it turned out, they just made it).

Hanging beneath each pad was a stirrup, with a foot rest made from fiberglass rebar. Users placed one foot in each stirrup, then set to climbing the wall. “The motion of the system is like that of climbing a ladder,” team leader TJ Morton told us. “The only difference is the climber must learn to correctly distribute his weight as he climbs.” […]

[read more] [Wright-Patterson Air Force Base] [Photo: USU]

Posted at 5:32pm and tagged with: Teccnology, Tech, Robots,.

futurescope:

Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC) 

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge, in which teams had to design gadgets that would allow soldiers to safely and quickly ascend vertical surfaces […]  took place April 16th to 20th, at Wright State University’s Calamityville tactical laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. It was required that all competing devices must allow users to climb higher, faster and with less effort than current techniques allow. The devices also had to be reusable, permit multiple pitches within one climb, allow the operator to keep one hand free for using other equipment, and be capable of getting three people each carrying 300-pound (136 kg) loads up a 90-foot (27.5-meter) vertical silo within 20 minutes.
At the heart of the two PVAC units were two back-mounted carpet extractor motors. These each created suction with a three-stage impeller, were powered by seven lithium-polymer batteries, and created a seal against the wall using connected handheld pads lined with closed-cell foam. A pressure release lever on each pad allowed it to be secured against the wall when being used by the climber to pull themselves up, then released so it could be lifted higher.
A gauge indicated safe vacuum levels, while a volt meter let climbers know if they were about to run out of juice (as it turned out, they just made it).
Hanging beneath each pad was a stirrup, with a foot rest made from fiberglass rebar. Users placed one foot in each stirrup, then set to climbing the wall. “The motion of the system is like that of climbing a ladder,” team leader TJ Morton told us. “The only difference is the climber must learn to correctly distribute his weight as he climbs.” […]

[read more] [Wright-Patterson Air Force Base] [Photo: USU]

thisistheverge:

Real-life transforming robot car puts Hasbro toys to shame

For once, we’re using the word “Transformer” to mean exactly what you’d expect: not a tablet, toy, lawsuit, video game, or movie. No, this is a small car that automatically turns into a genuine working robot, does so with speed and grace you’ve only dreamed of before, and then proceeds to punch and uppercut its way through any would-be Decepticons. 

Posted at 1:51pm and tagged with: tech, technology, robots,.

thisistheverge:

Real-life transforming robot car puts Hasbro toys to shame
For once, we’re using the word “Transformer” to mean exactly what you’d expect: not a tablet, toy, lawsuit, video game, or movie. No, this is a small car that automatically turns into a genuine working robot, does so with speed and grace you’ve only dreamed of before, and then proceeds to punch and uppercut its way through any would-be Decepticons. 

talkingmonkeynews:

New method offers automated way to record electrical activity inside neurons in the living brain.

Gaining access to the inner workings of a neuron in the living brain offers a wealth of useful information: its patterns of electrical activity, its shape, even a profile of which genes are turned…

Posted at 2:39am and tagged with: tech, technology, science, robots, brain,.