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A New Kind Of Robot: Soft-Bots

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Robots may most readily be associated with images like Forbidden Planet‘s Robbie the Robot and The Terminator, but George M Whitesides says robots don’t need to be the cold, unyielding machines they have been traditionally.  Whitesides is the Woodford L and Ann A Flowers University Professor at Harvard University and he has been doing work in “soft robots”. This new breed of robot draws its inspiration from creatures like squid and starfish and may have important real-world applications in areas from disaster relief to the medical field.

Whiteside and his team recognized that many robots are based on the human form (think assembly plant mechanical “arms”), but realized that there are “all kinds of animals […] that do things in very different ways”. These animals had been overlooked as potential robotic muses because we’ve had a kind of tunnel vision regarding robot form and function.  The team first looked to squid and starfish for inspiration, developing “gripper” robots that could perform such delicate tasks as picking up an egg without damaging the shell.

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Transformers 4 And 5 Coming, Shia LaBeouf Replaced By Jason Statham?

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BumblebeeIn another ridiculous, confounding, and, yet, completely unsurprising case of “money talks”, Michael Bay’s big screen, explosion laden Transformers franchise could be continuing with more films.  You read that right. Films.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon may only have a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the its $1,119,241,043 gross takings apparently have Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, and Hasbro talking about continuing the film franchise.  

While it first seemed that it was only one more movie in the works, Variety is now reporting the powers that be are considering shooting two more Transformer films shot back-to-back.

It probably comes as no surprise that (according to unnamed “sources”) Michael Bay might be back on board to both executive produce and direct the new flicks.  Sources also say that Shia LaBeouf will not be joining Bay for the cash cows that will be Transformers 4 and 5.  LaBeouf has been saying that he wouldn’t return for a fourth film since before Dark of the Moon was released, but it’s interesting that he’s sticking to his guns with so much money on the line.  As for his replacement, those nebulous “sources close to the production” say the studio has been toying with the idea of Jason Statham, but no offer or official word has come down on that.

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The 10 Best Robot Friends In Movies, Buddies Made Of Real Steel

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Science fiction movies have a long history of bringing robots to life. Some are good, some evil, and a few who are friends. This is a celebration of the best robot buddies in film. Today we show love for those robots that stand by our side, make us laugh, and even make us care for them. Robots may one day rise up and destroy mankind, but if it does happen at least we’ll have a few good robot buddies on our side.

These are our 10 favorite robot buddies.


The Iron Giant
Animation fans were introduced to Brad Bird (The Incredibles) in a big way back in the late 90s with Iron Giant. Possibly the greatest non-Disney animated film to be released up until that time, the film’s story is based on a Cold War children’s novel which never updated its message for our time. Because despite the anti-gun messaging – young Hogarth constantly tells the giant, “You’re not a gun” – this is still a story about a kid and his friend. A friend who happens to be a huge space robot that may or may not be sent to Earth to destroy the planet. But in finding Hogarth the Iron Giant is capable of stopping himself from immediately destroying any weapon or threat he comes across. It also helps that the Iron Giant is a super cool enormous metal eating robot that can take on a whole army. Who wouldn’t want that as a best friend?

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Sci-Fi In Real Life: Droid Astronaut Robonaut 2 Awake And Tweeting Aboard ISS

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This is the age we live in. We’ve successfully put a cybernetic droid in space to help with missions at the ISS and possibly go on space walks, and the first thing we do is give him a Twitter account. Yesterday, after waiting since February to be powered up, Robonaut 2 has booted and aptly tweeted, “Those electrons feel GOOD! One small step for man, one giant leap for tinman kind.” At least he’s got a sense of humor, or rather the engineers tweeting for him do.

The bot, also referred to as R2 for not only its name but also it’s blatantly obvious nerd cred implications, won’t be fully juiced until next week on September 1st when the ISS crew will start the robot moving it’s appendages and working with the rest of the team. According to Space.com, vigorous tests are being run to ensure that R2 is safe to operate and will remain stable during tasks.

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Glen Larson To Battlestar Galactica Fans: Drop Dead

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cylonvsIt’s no secret that Glen Larson, one of the minds behind the original, cheesy, 80s version of Battlestar Galactica hates Ron Moore’s current, much more successful version of the show. In fact for years now he’s stood in the way of turning that version into a movie. He owns the film rights, and he’s blocked all attempts to take Adama theatrical. Tonight, Universal Pictures finally threw up their hands and decided to let him screw us all over.

HR is reporting that Larson has been given the greenlight by Universal to make a Battlestar Galactica movie with no connection at all, to the current, mega-successful, much beloved television series currently finishing up its run on the Sci Fi channel. That’s right, before the new BSG’s final season has even finished, they’re already doing a remake.

Now it’s one thing to remake or reboot an unsuccessful franchise. For instance Marvel attempted it with Hulk, after the Ang Lee version received tepid reaction. That’s bad enough. But to actively seek to snuff out a popular, hugely successful version of something, a burgeoning, still fairly new franchise fresh with newly converted fans and all the excitement that goes along with that, by selfishly rebooting it so you can put everyone in 80s legwarmers is an insult. It’s a big fuck you to everyone who loves the current, massively more successful (critically and in popularity) version of BSG.