MIT Develops Robotic “Care” Bear

June 4th, 2007

Huggable Team

Above: MIT’s Huggable Robot Team (credit: PC Mag)

Welcome to Medical Robot Week at Robotic Revolutions, where we’ll be covering some unique and practical applications of robots in hospitals. First up to bat, the Huggable robot from MIT, designed to provide robotic companionship and monitoring for hospitalized children, the elderly and others in need of care. Read the rest of this entry »

Casual Fridays: Step Up Land Walker Mech

June 1st, 2007

The Land Walker

Above: The Land Walker Stands Tall

It’s the end of military week at Robotic Revolutions, which means it’s time for Casual Fridays and the usual lighter fare. This week, we’re presenting more YouTube goodness, the Land Walker! Read the rest of this entry »

Developing Military Robots with Weapons

May 31st, 2007

Terminator

Above: An Artist’s Rendition of the Rise of Machines

“The Terminator” movies feature a time-traveling robot sent from the future to save the lives of a woman and her son that play a key role in an impending robot war. Science-fiction at the time, but from recent developments, “The Terminator” is beginning to look like science fact. Different companies, from iRobot to Foster-Miller are developing and deploying military robots that appear to be more foe than friend. Read the rest of this entry »

iRobot: The Leader of the Pack(bots)

May 30th, 2007

Sen. Kerry Visits iRobot

Above: Sen. John Kerry visited iRobot in March, 2006

When it comes to military robots, iRobot is the leader of the pack. The Packbot has been deployed to combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan in a number of different configurations. Today, we’ll be examining the Packbot Scout, the Packbot Explorer and the Packbot EOD. Read the rest of this entry »

BEAR with Me: The VECNA Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot Lends Itself to Rescue Missions

May 29th, 2007

 

VECNA BEAR

Above: The VECNA BEAR is a Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot

In November of 2006, the US Congress set aside $1.1 million for the development of the VECNA BEAR, a powerful addition to any armed force, providing “a man on the streets” without actually risking a man on the streets. Military jobs cannot be outsourced, but they can be assigned to a robot! Read the rest of this entry »

Robotic Eye in the Sky: United States and Britain Consider Unmanned Drones to Police Airspace

May 28th, 2007

Fire Scout in Flight

Above: The Fire Scout takes flight over an aircraft carrier

Hello, welcome to military week at Robotic Revolutions, where we will be examining the positive, negative and questionable applications of robotics in the military.

First up: unmanned aerial vehicles, AKA drones. Today we’ll be taking a look a two different drone aircraft, the US Fire Scout and the British Hicam Microdrone. Read the rest of this entry »

The Greatest Movie Never Made: Isaac Asimov’s “Five and Five and One”

May 26th, 2007

Energy Beings

“Five and Five and One” is a science fiction rock opera suggested to Isaac Asimov by Paul McCartney, but as Asimov noted on the first page of his treatment, “nothing ever came of it because McCartney couldn’t recognize good stuff.”

Robotic Revolutions recently had the opportunity to view the Isaac Asimov Collection at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, where we unearthed Asimov’s original treatment.

“Five and Five and One” is the story of six extra-terrestrial, parasitic, energy beings that crash land their space ship on Earth and are forced to take drastic measures to survive: copying the identity of a rock band, with the goal of brainwashing the entire world. Read the rest of this entry »

Casual Fridays: Say Hello to Asimo

May 25th, 2007

Welcome to Casual Fridays here at Robotic Revolutions, where we take our weekly theme and have a little fun with it. This week, say hello to Asimo!

The funny thing about the robot named Asimo is that Honda maintains that his name has nothing to do with Isaac Asimov (yeah right). According to Honda, Asimo is an acronym for “Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.” As you can see below, this little fella is pretty mobile.

Hell, that robot can dance better than I can! I know a lot of you are worried about robotic overlords overtaking humanity, but for now, we should be safe, as long as we run up the stairs.

Asimov’s Favorite Story: “The Last Question”

May 24th, 2007

Isaac Asimov’s “The Last Question”

Isaac Asimov’s “The Last Question” is not about robots, but it was admittedly his favorite story.

Why is it my favorite? For one thing I got the idea all at once and didn’t have to fiddle with it; and I wrote it in white-heat and scarcely had to change a word. This sort of thing endears any story to any writer. Then, too, it has had the strangest effect on my readers. Frequently someone writes to ask me if I can give them the name of a story, which they think I may have written, and tell them where to find it. They don’t remember the title but when they describe the story it is invariably “The Last Question”. This has reached the point where I recently received a long-distance phone call from a desperate man who began, “Dr. Asimov, there’s a story I think you wrote, whose title I can’t remember—” at which point I interrupted to tell him it was “The Last Question” and when I described the plot it proved to be indeed the story he was after. I left him convinced I could read minds at a distance of a thousand miles.

-Isaac Asimov, 1973

“The Last Question” is a story of a computer with exceptional intelligence, the Multivac, presented with a recurring question through many stages of history, “Can entropy ever be reversed?”

Without spoiling the story, “The Last Question” is a wonderful glimpse into the technological singularity towards which we are accelerating.

Robotic Revolutions firmly believes the singularity is near. Perhaps nearer than most of us realize.

Five Minutes for the Future: Asimov Speaks!

May 23rd, 2007

Isaac Asimov believed that we will live in a future with robots, but tempered his opinion by warning of side-effects. “Will there be difficulties?” he asked. “Undoubtedly. Will there be things we don’t like? Undoubtedly.”

His point was not to steer us away from the impending robotic revolution, but rather to have us think about the ways our lives will change, to prepare our world for a radical paradigm shift. Not just a revolution, but an evolution. Read the rest of this entry »