0

Extant Adds One More Cast Member And Talks About Robot Children

ExtantEven though many of us are already pumped for CBS’ upcoming sci-fi thriller Extant, we don’t know all that much about what the show. Sure, Steven Spielberg is producing and Halle Berry is the star—those facts alone are enough to capture a wealth of attention—but beyond that we only have a vague, bare bones description of what the plot will look like when the series premieres July 2. There’s been another name added to the even expanding cast list, and a fact that’s been known for a while, but flown under the radar—that Halle Berry has a robot son—is getting more play.

Last week TV veterans Goran Visnjic and Michael O’Neil joined Extant, and now TV Line reports that Grace Gummer has signed on to join the party as well. Gummer may be known as Meryl Streep’s daughter, but is an accomplished actor in her own right, having appeared in the likes of last year’s indie hit Frances Ha, The Newsroom, and American Horror Story, among others.

Tags: ,

0

Drone Crash Near California Raises Concerns, Again

DroneSecret stealth drones, French and Norwegian drones, spotlight-stealing German drones, Amazon delivery drones — the list goes on and on. Drones are in the spotlight more than Justin Bieber these days, and with them, concerns about privacy and safety. The safety concern was underscored Monday, when an American drone patrolling the Mexican border crashed near the southern California coast, about 20 miles from San Diego.

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service has a fleet of 10 drones that patrol the Mexican border looking for people smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants. This particular $12 million Predator B surveillance drone has a special kind of radar system for use over the ocean — there’s only one other like it in the fleet. The drone started experiencing mechanical problems and a crew in Arizona operating it made the decision to crash it into the Pacific because they couldn’t return it to its point of origin in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Later reports indicated that the drone was on a routine patrol mission when its generator failed, and that the back-up battery didn’t have enough charge to fly the drone back to a landing pad. Upon hitting the Pacific, the drone broke into pieces, and the CBP has surrounded the area to troll for recoverable parts. The origin of the generator failure is thus far unknown, or at least hasn’t been released, but the rest of the fleet has been grounded during the investigation.

Tags: , , , ,

0

Robots Galore At This Year’s CES (Plus Doc Brown And A DeLorean)

AlibabaI officially have a new entry on my bucket list — someday, I will attend CES, the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) international conference showcasing the best inventions and innovations from around the world. With over 3,000 exhibits and 300 conferences and sessions, this is a tech geek’s dream. They’ve got electronics, computers, gaming, telecommunications, driverless cars, and, most importantly, robots. And more robots. For those of us who didn’t get to attend the conference, I’m sure we’ll see some of these bots on the market soon. Until then, here’s a preview to get you all excited and ready to shell out dough for these robots that perform very specific tasks.

Tags: , , , ,

0

New Study Measures How Well Humans And Robots Interact

nao robotRobots: friends or foes? Companions or competitors? I’m not sure the debate will ever truly be settled, but one thing most of us will agree on is that the use of robots will only continue to become more widespread as the years pass. There are even a couple on the ISS right now, and one is there to test whether its presence helps keeps the isolation and loneliness of the astronauts at bay. Even though most mechs are used in factory and military operations, robots designed to interact socially with humans—the Jetson’s maid Rosie is probably the earliest culturally pervasive example—will become more and more a part of our daily lives. What will that mean for society? Is it possible for us to interact with our automated counterparts in anything approaching a natural, comfortable way? Time will tell, but researchers are trying to come up with answers sooner than that.

Six universities in Bristol and Bath plan to test human-robot interactions. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the project, Being There: Humans and Robots in Public Spaces, will test the possibilities of sending robot emissarys to places people can’t get. The idea of a robot proxy isn’t new, but most of the existing models, such as the VGo, aren’t humanoid—they look like segways with a screen. The idea has merit—how many times have you wanted to be in two places at once? How many overseas weddings have you been unable to attend? Have you ever been too sick to see a concert or go to a party? Robotic proxies could provide the next best thing to actual attendance, and according to the project leader, could “help to reduce social isolation and increase civic participation.”

Tags: , , , ,

0

Two New Battle Of The Damned Trailers: Dolph Lundgren + Robots = Dead Zombies

I never thought I’d get to say these words, but here we go. The trailer below is red banded because a robot says “fuck,” and it’s pretty awesome, if you’re into that sort of thing.

There are a lot of movies coming out in 2014 that have us frothing at the mouth. We’re talking everything from giant lizards to time travel to talking apes, it’s going to be a good year. All but one of those upcoming films, however, are sorely missing the monstrously daunting combination of Dolph Lundgren, zombies, and killer robots. Anchor Bay’s Battle of the Damned is chock-full of all three, so you obviously have your favorite film of the year just waiting to be seen. (I’m not sure you’ll have to change your Oscar predictions however.) The Lundgren opus hits Blu-ray and DVD on February 18, 2014, and the studio has released two new trailers, along with a couple of stills of Lundgren looking like a guy who kills zombies alongside robots.

Tags: , ,

0

The Dutch Create The First Autonomous Flying Robot

DelFlyFlying robots are nothing new (unless you’re Amazon), and neither, at this point, are robotic bees and remote-controlled cockroaches. But within this basic category of, there are still characteristics that set the new DelFly apart—namely, autonomy.

FlyTech Dragonfly

FlyTech Dragonfly

Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has created the first Micro Air Vehicle, or the first autonomous winged machine. They named it the DelFly Explorer, and it looks like a cross between a dragonfly and a kid’s paper airplane. It also weighs in like one, tipping the scales at a whopping.7 oz. With a design that combines a barometer, gyroscope, two cameras, and a microcontroller that performs all necessary processing, it flutters all on its own without the help of pesky humans. DelFly sees the world through its eye cameras, and adjusts to the environment, avoiding obstacles and other pitfalls. Unfortunately, its lifespan is a bit like that of its insect counterparts—9 minutes. But hey, the DelFly just needs to be charged back up for another go. I’d like to see a fruit fly do that.

Tags: , , , , ,