Search results for: robotics

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Big Hero 6 Is Gorgeous And Science-Filled, But Too Half-Cooked For Superhero Cinema

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big hero 6Though Marvel has been building its cinematic universe beneath the Disney umbrella, Big Hero 6 is the first time that Disney Animation has poked around the comic company’s catalog for subject matter. Obviously they steered clear of Marvel’s elite super squads, as Big Hero 6 is an obscure title. And though I kind of feel like a dick for saying so, I wouldn’t mind if this movie reached the same level of obscurity at some point. At times it’s one of the most gorgeous animated films I’ve ever seen, but it’s also (within reason) one of the most forgettable superhero movies I’ve ever seen.

Big Hero 6 takes place in the megalopolis hybrid city of San Fransoyko, where 14-year-old high school graduate Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) is making money in underground robot fights. See, he’s working with these microbots, guided by a neural transmitter, that work as individual pieces but also come together to do anything the transmitter-wearer wants. Hiro’s brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney), wants to set Hiro on a path to greatness by introducing him to mentor Dr. Callaghan (James Cromwell) and getting him enrolled in Callaghan’s specialized robotics university. This is where we meet the gang, who are far better at making quips than they are at actually doing anything superheroic. More on them in a sec.

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This Kickstarter Aims To Bring Robotic Combat Back To The Masses

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robogamesRemember Robot Wars from back in the day? Actually, there were a few—the 1994 U.S. series in San Francisco, a British game show first broadcast on BBC in 1998, and then a Nickelodeon version featuring kids driving the robots in 2002. All of these shows gave rise to SyFy’s Robot Combat League (which features humanoid, mecha-ish robots, and is by far the weakest of them all). Anyway, robots have been fighting each other for human entertainment for a while now, but unless Robot Combat League gets another season, there’s a dearth of these shows available at the moment. But all that’s about to change—RoboGames is coming to a computer near you.

RoboGames, created by the Robotics Society of America in 2004, bills itself as the “Olympics of Robots.” Competitors from all over the world compete in over 50 different robot fighting events, including Kung-Fu, Lego robots (including Lego bowling!), bartending, painting, and weight lifting—basically, if it’s something a robot can do, it’s an event. The games are held every year, and have aired on the Science Channel and on Discovery, but thanks to a successful Kickstarter, we’ll soon have access to a bunch of new mech combat, this time, in the form of a new independent web series.

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Arthur C. Clarke Predicts The Future From 1964 — How Well Did He Do?

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ClarkeIn addition to being one of the literary titans of the science fiction genre, Sir Arthur C. Clarke proved an adept hand at predicting the ways technology would evolve in the future, from game-changing communications satellites to visions of space flight that uncannily mirrored the eventual real thing. Of course, this sort of forecast runs the risk of you looking goofy a few decades down the line when we’re not all puttering around the sky in Jetsons vehicles. Or, as Clarke himself more eloquently put it:

Trying to predict the future is a discouraging, hazardous occupation, because the prophet invariably falls between two schools. If his predictions sound at all reasonable, you can be quite sure that in 20, or at most 50 years, the progress of science and technology has made him seem ridiculously conservative. On the other hand, if by some miracle a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd, so far-fetched that everybody would laugh him to scorn.

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This Tattoo Project Turns Body Art Into Music

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music tattooI’ve always considered tattoos to be art, just never multimedia art, until now. Russian artist Dmitry Morozov, also known as ::vtol:: has created a tattoo art project he called “Reading My Body,” a combination of electronic music and robotics, his two favorite things. I like this guy already. He developed a tattoo that, when scanned by a bizarre-looking machine he created, produces music. Don’t expect Tchaikovsky to come from this device—the music it makes is, broadly, electronic. Sometimes it sounds like a theramin, sometimes like an old-school dial-up modem connecting, and often like a mixture of both. Or at least, that’s what Morozov’s own musical barcode tattoo sounds like.

The scanning instrument he slides over the tattoo to produce the sound has two black-line sensors that “read” the image, a motor that keeps the sensor moving across a metal railing, and a Nintendo Wii controller. As the scanner moves across the ink, the length of each bar of the code, which Morozov designed in Photoshop, dictates the duration of each sound. Better yet, if he uses a Wii controller with Open Sound Control, he can distort the sound by moving his arm, which triggers the sound change via the controller’s accelerometer.

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Big Hero 6 Trailer Saves The World With An Adorable Inflatable Robot

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When Disney first acquired Marvel back in 2009, after people stopped assuming their favorite comic book characters would get Mickey-fied, there was a lot of guesswork going into what Marvel properties Disney would take on first. Oddly enough, they chose the relatively unknown title Big Hero 6, and they pretty much Mickey-fied it. But in this case, that’s perfectly fine, as it gives the world the huggable and goofy robot that is Baymax. Honestly, he’s pretty much the only memorable thing about the Big Hero 6 trailer seen above, although the film still looks like a fun and lighthearted adventure. Just with, like, puberty and grief and stuff. This isn’t a princess tale, to say the least.

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Cirque du Soleil Embraces The Future With Flying Lampshades

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lampshadesOf course the Carnival of the Future features robots, but I don’t necessarily expect the same of Cirque du Soleil. But it’s good to know that the world’s most extravagant circus is capable of surprises—I mean, other than terrifying accidents—and they’re embarking on a new endeavor that brings robotics into their already breathtaking show.

The project starts with ETH Zurich, a university known for being a hub of ground-breaking technology and science. ETH has a Flying Machine Arena (FMA)—a “portable space devoted to autonomous flight.” The FMA houses, records, and facilitates the flight of various objects, though the quadrocopter is the favorite given its maneuverability. Given the FMA’s success, I suppose it was only a matter of time before they developed their own performance studio to display their awesome flying vehicles. Thus, Verity Studios, a place where ETH’s flying robots and Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic imaginations merge, was born.