The more our buildings are made by machines, the more organic they can (potentially) look… which is a coincidence, because the more my brain is sucked into The Machine, the less attention I pay to my surroundings, the more organic my surroundings become.
There’s a thing here from Wired about using hacked Wiimotes as scientific senors.
on account of their being relatively cheap and being able to do a bunch of stuff, as it were. I’m quite keen on the idea of an iPhone basically being a detachable head… it has a load of sensors, a brain, can communicate as well as merely sense etc – and apparently the thing that is facilitating this robotics revolution that’s about to break, is the arrival of cheap sensors (previous revolutions were brought about by cheap CPUs and cheap lasers).
So it kindof makes sense to me to have a kind of “sensor pack”. Rather than having separate electronic components, and the expertise required to combine them with resistors and wires and drivers and such… just have a single thing with a whole array of sensors that can plug into any computer using USB or bluetooth or whatever. Detachable heads again.
I guess all you’d really need is to get a detachable web-cam with a microphone and add wii-like motion-sensors to it as well. It would be quite good to have some sort of chemical sensor as well though. To act as a smoke-alarm maybe…. or monitor air-quality. To monitor microbial composition etc – there was a thing on TED a while back where someone talked about using cellphones for global environmental monitoring. Not sure if anything’s happened though. I should really go back over all the stuff I’ve written about in the last year, get in touch with everyone concerned and ask “and then what happened?”
1) WTF? How could that possibly be useful?
2) LOL A sissy bot… still, at least it doesn’t look like a flea that’s dying for a piss
3) WOW it looks like a dog or something
4) OMG, We’re fucked.
Even walking is a type of communication. The robots in the vids are using Robert What’sisname from Ted (a talk on engineering designs inspired by nature) where all the smarts are built into the architecture of the legs… rather than trying to micro-manage the programming, you just make them springy sticks.
It is a kindof mincy way of walking though. Especially for a dog.
There are quite a lot of fairly mad looking lighting-type things at the above link. Which I’ll repeat here to save you scrolling back up. The V&A is a fairly mad place in a lot of ways – I can’t believe the Victorians (or whoever it was) actually made a plaster-caste of Trajan’ Column. Holy Crap! You know how big that thing is?
These are one-off light sensitive lights… the change according to their environment… and if you put them together, they change according to each other.
And that is the thing with little automous feedback systems when they get together… the inevitably talk to each other, and inevitably create higher-levels of complexity – and that is why fractals look the way they do, and why you get those repeating triangular patterns on textile cones
A robotic flower from Akira Nakayasu of Kyushu University, Japan and Himawari… on display at Robosquare in Fukuoka (they’ve got a Robosquare? Why haven’t I got a robosquare?)
It follows your hand and its LEDs copy the movements – which is pretty cool, partly at least because Copying and Attention-seeking are two of the behaviours hard-wired into the Human Bios – it’s how we learn.
I believe virtually everything I read, and I think that is what makes me more of a selective human than someone who doesn’t believe anything… but until I’ve seen a video of this thing flying…
The point though is though, that it’s using memory-metal for the muscles – pass a current through it and it moves. I can remember reading about this stuff in OMNI magazine in the 70s… and thought the future had finally arrived (actually, it was only just being invented), but nothing much seems to have happened with it since. I think that finding robot muscles other than magnetic-induction type motors is fairly fundamental in moving things forward into proper sci-fi land though.
I’m not entirely convinced about this fluttery business. I think the reasons moths and bats and whatnot have wings rather than propellers is more a case of evolution designing around a physical weakness in multi-cell systems than one being more efficient than the other… I mean, which looks more stable to you, this:
Ok – about the same, but the flapping to me looks like a it’s basically two propellers doing two back and forth semi-circles rather than a full rotation… and I suspect very strongly that the reason it’s filmed in slo-mo is that at normal speeds, they only managed to get seconds of stable flight at a time. There are a lot of flutterbots on youtube, and they look as erratic as hell.
I suspect that stability basically comes down to smarts… as you’ll know if you’ve ever watched wasps raiding bee-hives… bees bumble about and crash all over the place* while wasps can zoom straight through really narrow gaps – and they’re basically the same hardware.
Still… tiny muscles are to robots what light-gates are to computers. Maybe.
* Christ on a bike, how much time must people have on their hands to dub a scream over a bee crash?