Category: Technology (Page 1 of 3)

Doing the robot

Check out this tiny skull borrowing robot worm bringing precise, nerve dodging, surgical help in accessing tumors  growing around the nerves and bones of the inner-ear.

This TED talk presents a future for flying robots: Precision Farming.

For those of you with a bet on, the dominant life form out in the cosmos is probably superintelligent robots.



Facebook: creating the matrix for the third world

Facebook’s project is all about scooping up future users before they get a taste for Google, according to this author. Those future users are predominantly in those parts of the world which suffer from poor internet access. So the ZuckerBorg will connect them – but only through the matrix of Facebook and those “services” deemed friendly to FB share price obviously.

It’s an interesting read and like one of the comments below, seems quite commonsense and obvious. Infact, it seems to be a kind of physical representation of Facebook and other social platforms ethos:that the “free” platform isn’t really free, value is extracted in other ways. The stink emanates from the humanitarian/not-for-profit marketing angle. Though this will change. Facebook’s strength comes from its ability to weather the tirade and morph into more consumer friendly (or atleast digestable) forms.

Facebook has about the same number of users as Google: about 1.4 billion. That’s one out of five people on earth. And the social network made US$12.4 billion off them last year – that’s about US$ 8.65 per person on their service. While Google made $66 billion off about the same number of people – almost $46 per head – a revenue efficiency more than 5 times that of Facebook. And that gap isn’t narrowing nearly fast enough.

Revenue growth to support Facebook’s stratospheric stock price at 60 times earnings is a big challenge, I’d imagine. Oh, and even at 5 times the revenue efficiency, Google’s Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio is less than half of Facebook’s – so the pressure on the Facebook stock price can only increase with time.

There’s only so much you can squeeze out of the first world – the current billion or so people – even though Facebook has cut virality, decreased organic reach and tried every which way of getting someone, anyone to pay more for visibility on its once-open social network. A more desperate measure was probably needed.

Image: Maurizio Pesce

Hattip: Mez

Driverless cars will be driven on Australian roads for the first time

Look out SA drivers. You’ll be joined on the road from November by computerised vehicular drones. Its an initiative led by the Australian Road Research Board ( ARRB) and in partnership with the automotive industry, will collect data on local driving conditions. It will be the first of many national trials.  The ARRB group President said:

Driverless cars have a range of benefits that could significantly improve road safety and the quality of life of everyday Australians, add to the nation’s economic competitiveness and help relieve rapidly growing congestion that is crippling our infrastructure and creating productivity deficits in our capital cities.

// Driverless cars? whatever…Australia’s had self driving trucks for years

Image: Norbert Aepli, Switzerland [CC BY 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons


3D grass printer lets you produce creative gardens

PrintGREEN, which is a specially-modified Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, dispenses a combination of soil, seeds, and water, rather than plastic or metal. The mud holds its form and, over time, grass is able to grow from the organic, printed materials. There are a variety of uses for this type of machine, one of which is the application of single-surface compositions featuring lettering, artwork, and decorative patterns. In addition, PrintGREEN is capable of printing along the z-axis to produce bowls and other sculptural shapes.


Bitcoin could destroy existing finance firms

One of the worlds largest banks, BMP Paribas, has asmitted that the technology behind Bitcoin could prove disastrous to key parts of the finance sector. It goes something like this: the technology that underpins bitcoin is called the blockchain. this piece of software allows an simultaneous online ledger of all transactions that have taken place. The ledger is networked across thousands of computers around the world. This allows people to exchange bitcoin between each other and the ownership history of that bitcoin is available for anyone to check, adding a layer of security to transactions.

…if this type of technology is applied to securities trading — the world of buying and selling company shares — then “existing industry players might be redundant.”

If investors can trade shares directly with each other in a system that has a layer of trust built into it then middle men — stock brokers — aren’t needed anymore.

Image: Flickr / btckeychain

Smart house vs dumb drone

As houses become “smarter”, in that it becomes a more contextually aware environment in response to your living needs, it begins to rely on the network/internet. This means that these systems are vulnerable to hacking. A radio manipulator using off the shelf parts, attached to a store bought drone, can evade normal sensor detection to get close enough to brick your home.

Image: Flickr – Elektrojänis

a robot wrap-up: we’ll make great pets.

//Steve Wozinak (Apple co-founder) stepped back from his previous AI apocalypse statements telling TechRepublic he thinks that we’ll make great pets and be treated well.

//Meanwhile robots are getting married in Japan…where else really.

//From Perth, the aussie robot Hadrian can lay bricks really fast, apparently will build house in about two days (non-stop). Look out Sydney housing market…

//a robotic cure for baldness?

music and mathematics and microtonal tunings

Always good to see my old uni, regional and all, forging into future with technology:

UOW is exploring the potential for 3D printing to change the music industry through the creation of custom-designed flutes that can play a variety of microtonal tunings unavailable on standard instruments.

image from DARPA 2015 robotics challenge

Robots falling over

Getting a humanoid robot to walk is hard, we take the process for granted (beyond the toddler stage) however programming that movement mathematically is not easy.

Currently the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) just finished running a robotics challenge for humanoid robots based around simple activities robots may need to complete in a disaster relief scenario. It was won by a Korean team.

But here is a compilation video of the robots falling over, kinda like a funniest home video section that amusingly highlights the difficulties of robot development:

3D printed jet engine: a first by Australian researchers

Australian researchers create the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine in a manufacturing breakthrough that will lead to cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jets.

“This way we can very quickly get a final product, so the advantages of this technology are: One, for rapid prototyping and making a large number of prototypes quickly. Secondly, for being able to make bespoke parts that you wouldn’t be able to with classic engineering technologies.”

Professor Smith, Monash University’s vice-provost for research, goes onto to talk about how this is just ‘tip of the iceberg’ stuff:

“We’ve talked about how it can be useful in the aerospace industry, but we see enormous applications in the biomedical industry,” he said. For example, if you’re unfortunate enough to have one of those serious car accidents, you can be scanned in the scanner, that information can then be taken to a 3D printer, and while you’re on the operating table we can print those precise body parts you might need.”

Read the entire article


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