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Robotics

'Ban Killer Bots,' Urges Human Rights Watch 297

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the assessment-will-not-be-by-humans dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "A self-proclaimed 'Human Rights Group' — the 'International Human Rights Clinic' from Harvard Law School — has teamed up with 'Human Rights Watch' to urge the banning of 'Killer Robots.' A report issued by the Human Rights Watch, with the title of 'Losing Humanity,' claimed autonomous drones that could attack without human intervention would make war easier and endanger civilians. Where's the 'Robot Rights Watch' just when you need 'em?"
Robotics

Activists' Drone Shot Out of the Sky For Fourth Time 733

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-stay-down dept.
garymortimer writes "Photos provided by the animal rights group show the multicopter smoking on the ground, with its lithium polymer battery supply smoldering. Another photo shows the drone's video camera smashed. The drone, dubbed 'Angel,' was a Cinestar 8 octocopter estimated at $4,000. This wasn't the first time SHARK has been shot out of the sky. This is the fourth drone that the group has lost while investigating pigeon shootings. One drone landed on club property, and is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit."
Moon

Roaming Robot May Explore Mysterious Moon Caverns 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the moon-patrol dept.
ananyo writes "William 'Red' Whittaker often spends his Sundays lowering a robot into a recently blown up coal mine pit near his cattle ranch in Pennsylvania. By 2015, he hopes that his robot, or something like it, will be rappelling down a much deeper hole, on the Moon. The hole was discovered three years ago when Japanese researchers published images from the satellite SELENE1, but spacecraft orbiting the Moon have been unable to see into its shadowy recesses. A robot might be able to 'go where the Sun doesn't shine', and send back the first-ever look beneath the Moon's skin, Whittaker told attendees at a meeting of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program in Hampton, Virginia, last week. And Whittaker is worth taking seriously-his robots have descended into an Alaskan volcano and helped to clean up the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant."
Data Storage

How Data Center Operator IPR Survived Sandy 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-on-keeping-on dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "At the end of October, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States, leaving massive amounts of property damage in its wake. Data center operators in Sandy's path were forced to take extreme measures to keep their systems up and running. While flooding and winds knocked some of them out of commission, others managed to keep their infrastructure online until the crisis passed. In our previous interview, we spoke with CoreSite, a Manhattan-based data center that endured even as much of New York City went without power. For this installment, Slashdot Datacenter sat down with executives from IPR, which operates two data centers—in Wilmington, Delaware and Reading, Pennsylvania—close to Sandy's track as it made landfall over New Jersey and pushed northwest."
Biotech

A Better Thought-Controlled Computer Cursor 34

Posted by timothy
from the you-know-what-you-want-to-do dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Stanford researchers have developed a new algorithm (Abstract only) that significantly improves the control and performance of neural prosthetics — brain-controlled computer interfaces for individuals suffering from spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative disease to aid interaction with computers, drive electronic wheelchairs, and control robotic arms and legs. With this algorithm, monkeys implanted with multielectrode arrays in motor regions of their brain controlled a computer cursor more quickly and accurately than ever before, including navigation around obstacles. Further, the system maintained this high performance across 4 years, demonstrating long-term reliability. These improvements in performance and robustness are crucial for clinically-useful neural prosthetics, and pave the way for success in clinical trails."
Android

Dual-Booting PengPod Tablet Can Run Linux/Android 109

Posted by timothy
from the first-in-relation-to-what dept.
New submitter garbagechuteflyboy writes "The PengPod is the first dual-booting tablet; It's able to run both Linux and Android. Pengpod is now running the latest Plasma Active which gives this powerful Linux tablet features that were previously only available to iPad and Android tablets. PengPod is currently selling pre-orders on Indiegogo." garbagechuteflyboy adds links to articles about the dual-OS tablet at liliputing, at Ars Technica, and at PCWorld. "First dual-booting tablet" seems like a hard claim to back, but it's nice to see a tablet marketed with Plasma Active in mind.
Handhelds

Nintendo Wii U Teardown Reveals Simple Design 276

Posted by timothy
from the to-thine-own-hand-be-true dept.
Vigile writes "Nintendo has never been known to be very aggressive with its gaming console hardware and with today's release (in the U.S.) of the Wii U we are seeing a continuation of that business model. PC Perspective spent several hours last night taking apart a brand new console to reveal a very simplistic board and platform design topped off with the single multi-chip module that holds the IBM PowerPC CPU and the AMD GPU. The system includes 2GB of GDDR3 memory from Samsung and Foxconn/Hon-Hai built wireless controllers for WiFi and streaming video the gamepad. Even though this system is five years newer, many analysts estimate the processing power of Nintendo's Wii U to be just ahead of what you have in the Xbox 360 today."
Handhelds

Linux On the TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator 49

Posted by timothy
from the awesomeness-alert dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Developers been working hard for the past few months to get Linux ported to the TI-Nspire calculator. The port is not yet fully stabilized nor quite ready for broad consumption and requires some user-level knowledge of Linux systems, but is definitely worth a try. Experimental support for root filesystem installed on USB mass storage is being worked on, so that Datalight's proprietary Flash FX/Reliance filesystem used by TI's OS isn't a limit anymore. This also means that the native TI-Nspire OS image is not replaced by the Linux system, and Linux can been booted on demand. Support for USB keyboard, X server, directFB, Wi-Fi (with the help of a powered USB hub) and text-based Internet browsing is progressively being added and tested."
AI

Teaching Robots New Tricks Without Programming 42

Posted by timothy
from the use-the-force-feedback-luke dept.
cylonlover writes "Maya Cakmak, a researcher from Georgia Tech, spent the summer at Willow Garage creating a user-friendly system that teaches the PR2 robot simple tasks. The kicker is that it doesn't require any traditional programming skills whatsoever – it works by physically guiding the robot's arms while giving it verbal commands. After inviting regular people to give it a try, she found that with few instructions they were able to teach the PR2 how to retrieve medicine from a cabinet and fold a t-shirt."
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Data Storage Highway Robbery? 168

Posted by timothy
from the airwave-robbery-is-very-common dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I just learned that Salesforce charges $3000 per year for 1GB of extra data storage. That puts it in line with hardware storage costs from about 1993. We've all heard of telcos and ISPs charging ridiculous rates per MB when limits are reached — what's the most ridiculous rate that you've heard?"
Hardware Hacking

Old Electric-Car Batteries Put Into Service For Home Energy Storage 198

Posted by timothy
from the flywheels-are-too-annoying dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Josie Garthwaite writes that old electric car batteries degraded below acceptable performance levels for autos still have enough life to serve the grid for at least ten years with a prototype announced by GM and ABB lashing five Chevy Volt battery packs together in an array with a capacity of 10 kilowatt-hours — enough to provide electricity for three to five average houses for two hours. 'In a car, you want immediate power, and you want a lot of it,' says Alexandra Goodson. 'We're discharging for two hours instead of immediately accelerating. It's not nearly as demanding on the system.'" (Read on, below.)
Robotics

How Robots Saved an Artist's Sanity 26

Posted by Soulskill
from the mend-all-humans dept.
New submitter lebijoutier writes "According to Slate, '[Patrick] Tresset, for one, discovered a novel way to stay mentally healthy with the help of drugs and still pursue what was once his life's work: He created robots that can draw portraits. Far from a mere novelty, his research is telling us more about both the creative process in humans and how we relate emotionally to machines. ... Most of us still don't have robots in the home, but for decades now, we've been waiting for machines to do our bidding. Tresset believes that it might be a good idea to imbue all personal robots with some sort of artistic skill to encourage an emotional bond — it might allow for more trust, perhaps, though you can also see how overly identifying with a machine might create some existential questions.' The article also has a fascinating video of five of his robots sketching a single human."
AI

Getting Small UAVs To Imitate Human Pilots Flying Through Dense Forests 56

Posted by timothy
from the on-earth-as-it-is-on-endor dept.
New submitter diabolicalrobot writes "The Robotics Institute at CMU has been developing systems to learn from humans. Using a Machine Learning class of techniques called Imitation Learning our group has developed AI software for a small commercially available off-the-shelf ARdrone to autonomously fly through the dense trees for over 3.4 km in experimental runs. We are also developing methods to do longer range planning with such purely vision-guided UAVs. Such technology has a lot of potential impact for surveillance, search and rescue and allowing UAVs to safely share airspace with manned airspace."
Advertising

AdTrap Aims To Block All Internet Advertising In Hardware 295

Posted by timothy
from the because-it-is-hateful dept.
cylonlover writes "AdTrap is a new low-power, zero configuration device which promises to banish adverts from computers, tablets, and anything else connected to the local network. AdTrap's creators point out that their device works not only with full-sized PCs, but everything else connected to your home internet, such as Apple devices running iOS 6 – and without the need of third-party apps or jailbreaking. In addition to blocking web browser ads, AdTrap is also reported to remove ads from streaming devices like Apple TV and Google TV. A configurable 'whitelist' is offered too, so that users can allow adverts on websites of their choice."

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