Aug 03, 2015

Hitchhiking robot who relied on strangers' kindness was found decapitated on Saturday, just two weeks into its American tour

posted by Laura Domela

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Poor hitchBOT.

After successfully traveling around Canada, Germany and The Netherlands, the hitch-hiking robot who relied on the goodwill of strangers to get around met an untimely and brutal demise in Philadelphia.

The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment told The Associated Press that the child-sized robot was damaged “beyond repair” by vandals on Saturday in thecity of brotherly love, pulling the plug on the bot’s first American tour.

via Huffington Post

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Aug 03, 2015

Flying robots that can see

posted by Laura Domela

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A tiny artificial eye inspired by the vision systems of insects could help small flying drones navigate their surroundings well enough to avoid collisions while buzzing around in confined, cluttered spaces—a key step in making these small autonomous flying vehicles practical.

An emerging class of very small flying drones has taken off in public and private research labs in recent years (see “Robotic Insect Takes Off”). These mini drones could be valuable in spying and surveillance; they might also be useful for things like monitoring disaster areas or delivering supplies to humans. But there remains a lot of work to be done toward developing miniature navigation systems, particularly for confined spaces. Just avoiding collisions is a still a major technical challenge, says Dario Floreano, director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
via Technology Review

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Jul 31, 2015

How Shakespeare changed America’s wildlife

posted by Christy Wilding

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In the opening act of Henry IV: Part One, the eponymous king refuses to help free Lord Mortimer, the brother-in-law of his loyal knight Hotspur, from imprisonment, and even forbids Hotspur from mentioning Mortimer’s name in his presence. As revenge, Hotspur plots to “find him [the king] when he lies asleep, And in his ear … holla, ‘Moritimer,’” before changing his mind and deciding that, “Nay, I’ll have a starling … taught to speak nothing but ‘Mortimer,’ and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion.” 

It’s a strange plan, but it’s not as strange as the plan it inspired almost 300 years later, hatched by an eccentric New York businessman named Eugene Schieffelin.

via Mental Floss

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Jul 31, 2015

Humans are evolving to walk and text

posted by Christy Wilding

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While technological advancements are meant accommodate the way people live, sometimes humans are the ones that must adapt to technology. This is especially noticeable when walking with a friend who’s texting. As new research suggests, they subconsciously "shorten their step length, reduce step frequency, lengthen the time during which both feet are in contact with the ground and increase obstacle clearance height,” effectively modifying their gait in order to compensate for the distraction. And while it may seem minor, it’s a significant insight into behaviors that may shape future generations.

via Cool Hunting

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Jul 31, 2015

Inventor Colin Furze builds a high voltage ejector bed for people who struggle with getting up in the morning

posted by Christy Wilding

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British inventor Colin Furze recently built a wild High Voltage Ejector Bed that flips up and dumps the heavy sleeper out onto the floor when an alarm goes off in the morning. The Taylors of Harrogate coffee and tea company asked Furze to build something to get people out of bed, just like their new High Voltage blend coffee, and he surely did not disappoint.

via Laughing Squid

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Images courtesy of Colin Furze

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Jul 30, 2015

KFC’s new mobile gimmick is a photo-printing bucket

posted by Christy Wilding

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These days, fastfood chains are thinking up of unusual and sometimes bizarre marketing stunts to appeal to today's mobile generation? Remember the Pizza Hut projector box in Hong Kong? Or how about KFC's Bluetooth keyboard food tray? It seems that the latter is at it again. Its Canadian branch will soon be celebrating its 60th anniversary and to honor that memory, it is going to help their devoted customers make their own memories. How? By turning their boring chicken buckets into instant photo printing machine.

via Slash Gear

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Jul 30, 2015

The world’s biggest free form 3D printer is being used to build houses

posted by Christy Wilding

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The dream of 3D printing buildings is not a new one and, typically, it’s not a pretty one either. However, the visionaries at Branch Technology, a startup founded by architects in Chattanooga, Tennessee, want to change that—and they’ve built the world’s largest free form 3D printer to do it.

via Gizmodo

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