Search results for: kirobo

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Japan’s Kirobo Robot Talks To Us From Space

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One small step for man, one even smaller step for robots. On August 21, Japan’s adorable Kirobo robot became the first robot to speak in outer space, putting to shame — at least linguistically — all the awesome rovers and satellites hanging out in our neck of the cosmic woods.

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ISS Is About To Get This Weird Sounding Expansion

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BEAMInflatable rooms aren’t just for carnivals and massive house parties anymore. The ISS is about to get one as an addition to its existing digs. BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) will be the first privately designed and built room or habitat to be used in space when it launches next year, appropriately hitching a ride with one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets.

The habitat was conceived and constructed by Bigelow Aerospace, which won the $17.8 million contract last year. While private companies have taken over the space shuttle industry, this is the first such foray into habitat or room building for crewed systems. This is also a potentially important shift when it comes to the materials used to build space habitats, as an inflatable design would save lots of room.

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Russia Bailing On The ISS

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ISSSix weeks after NASA announced that it would be cutting ties with Russia, except for their collaboration on the ISS, Russia has gone a step further, saying that it plans to stop participating in the ISS after 2020.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, said that Russia will use its resources to focus on other projects. In the statement, he said, “We are very concerned about continuing to develop high-tech projects with such an unreliable partner as the United States, which politicises everything.” He also mentioned “inappropriate” sanctions, including plans to deny the export of high-tech equipment to Russia. In turn, Russia says that while it is ready to deliver engines used to build widely-used Atlas V rockets, it will only do so on the “condition that they will not be used to launch military satellites.” Um…

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Creationists Study The Interactions Between Robots And Humanity

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nao robotScientists from many disciplines are busy studying the interactions between humans and robots, and trying to discern the impact of such relationships. Whether it’s teaching autistic children, reducing feelings of isolation in space, or using them as proxies, we’re going to be spending more time with robots. Maybe this will lead to Her style scenarios, or perhaps those more reminiscent of Spielberg’s AI. Only time will tell, but that doesn’t stop us from designing studies and trying to predict the effects. Even creationists can’t resist the pull of automatons. aAgroup of fundamentalist Christians has purchased one of those adorable Nao robots and plan to use it to conduct their own study about the effects of robots on humanity.

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The Carnival Of The Future Stars Robots

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emergeWhat do you expect to see at a carnival of the future? Maybe someone levitating a heavy object via the power of his mind (with a little help from an EEG)? Or someone with bionic limbs lifting 1000 pounds in each hand? Maybe some kind of alien party tricks? Regardless of what acts might invade the next iteration of Barnum and Bailey’s, one thing I think we can all agree on is that there’s going to be plenty of robots.

Emerge is put on by Arizona State University, and held in Phoenix. The annual event, comprised of performances and interactive exhibits, attracts artists, scientists, geeks, and robots, and is meant to urge attendees to think about their roles in the world of the future. “The future is going to be a strange place,” says co-director Ed Finn, so a carnival seems like the perfect venue to celebrate that weirdness. In addition to robots, this year’s event featured projection mapping, 3D printing, and games, and explored the theme, “The Future of Me.” While it might sound a little egoistic, the creators were trying to get participants to think about how the definition of self changes in a dynamic society, and how we as individuals can use the power we wield.

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Magazine Readers Build Their Own Robots Issue By Issue

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RobiRobi the Robot is adorably tiny—just over a foot tall and a touch over two pounds. But despite his small stature, he’s got a vocabulary of 270 words (all in Japanese at the moment), and he’s able to understand most of them when people speak to him. His eyes change color to indicate his “emotional” state, and he can sure throw it down on the dance floor. The most unique characteristic of Robi, though, is how he’s built. DeAgostini, a publishing and media group, has been selling a magazine that each week contains another part of the robot. The 70th and final Robi-related issue hits the stands this June, and with that, readers will have all the pieces necessary to construct their own robots.

The magazine began distributing Robi parts last February, for about $20 a pop. So far, DeAgostini has made over $83 million in Japan alone through the magazine sales. You have to wonder if anyone’s actually reading it, or if they’re all just buying it for the parts.