Apr 08, 2014

Rebel toy company launches new quest to turn princesses into engineers

posted by Laura Domela

When GoldieBlox tried to launch its line of engineering and building toys for girls, Lindsey Shepard says she heard one thing over and over from the rest of the toy industry: “Girls don’t want them.”

It seems that someone forgot to tell those girls.

In the past seven months, GoldieBlox has raised more than $285,000 on Kickstarter, garnered millions of views for a video about its toys (thanks in part to a brilliant re-imagining of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls”), pre-sold more than a million dollars’ worth of products, and parlayed that groundswell of support into winning a contest for a Super Bowl commercial slot. Its toys are stocked by big retailers like Toys R Us and Target, even expanding into the United Kingdom and Australia. And now, it’s filming the follow-up to the original video—which is where Shepard and I are sitting at right now.
via Wired

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Tags : engineering, Career,    0 comments  
Apr 08, 2014

Suck it, robots: Toyota is giving jobs back to humans

posted by Laura Domela

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My, my, my how the tables have turned. The past few years have seen countless human jobs filled with our less-whiny robot counterparts. But it turns out that, at least for Toyota, the pros of total automation haven't outweighed the cons. Meaning human factory workers are back in business.

It's certainly an unconventional move—intentionally taking a step backwards usually is—but Toyota's reasoning makes sense. Apparently, it's been suffering from an excess of average workers and a dearth of master craftsmen.
via Gizmodo

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Tags : robots, automotive,    0 comments  
Apr 08, 2014

What robot behavior makes people feel uncomfortable?

posted by Larra Morris

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According to Sean Andrist from the University of Wisconsin Madison, robots need to look away sometimes. Eye contact provides a basis for human social communication (which is why we seek to implement it in robots), but there's a sweet spot for the amount of time we spend gazing into each other's eyes.

In a conversation, humans don't look at each other 100 percent of the time, says Andrist. When listening, we look at the speaker around 70 percent of the time. On the other hand, speakers only look directly at the other person around 40 percent of the time when talking.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Apr 08, 2014

The real medical conditions behind the deformed hands in Rodin’s sculptures

posted by Larra Morris

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When James Chang was a surgical resident at Stanford Medical School, he liked to visit the sculpture garden at the nearby Cantor Arts Center. The museum happens to have one of the world’s best collections of work by Auguste Rodin, including a giant bronze cast of The Gates of Hell. Following his two young daughters around as they ran through the garden, it dawned on him that the hands on some of Rodin’s sculptures looked very similar to the deformed and injured hands he was learning to operate on. “I started playing a mental game, trying to catalog the different clinical conditions,” said Chang.

Chang’s fascination with Rodin’s hands has led to a new exhibit at the museum that features the original bronze sculptures alongside digital reconstructions of the bones, nerves, and blood vessels of real patients treated by Chang, who’s now a professor of surgery at Stanford specializing in hand surgery and reconstruction. Visitors will be able to hold an iPad up to several hand sculptures and see the underlying anatomy from different angles.
via Wired

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Apr 07, 2014

Screening of Noah cancelled after theater floods

posted by Laura Domela

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Patrons of the Vue Cinema in Exeter, England were unfortunately unable to catch the first screening of Noah last Friday. But divine intervention (or a broken ice machine) still gave them plenty to talk about.

A spokesperson for the cinema explained to the Exeter Express & Echo, "We can confirm that there was flooding at Vue Exeter on Friday 4th April [...] We are open for business as usual and are working with engineers to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible."

via Geekosystem

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Image: Noah 

Tags : movies,    0 comments  
Apr 07, 2014

Small robot surgeon designed to work inside astronauts' bodies

posted by Larra Morris

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Tiny medical robots capable of operating inside an astronaut's body could someday provide emergency surgery in space without the mess. A fist-sized robot is scheduled for its first zero-gravity test in the next several months—one small step toward enabling robotic medical attention for humans stuck on deep-space missions lasting for months.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Image: NASA

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Apr 07, 2014

Robotic kangaroo borrows its bouncy moves from the real thing

posted by Larra Morris

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Sometimes nature is the best inspiration for a robot. And if you're looking to mimic an animal, what better choice than the kangaroo? German company Festo has done just that with its aptly-named BionicKangaroo, which has some impressive robotics behind its adorable looks.

Similar to a kangaroo, the robot has a "tendon" in its leg that propels it forward and recaptures energy on landing. Pneumatics spring-load the tendon in preparation for launch, and when it's released the leg springs backwards. In the air, the leg is moved forward for landing and the tail is adjusted for balance, and when it lands the leg is spring-loaded once again by the impact, preparing it for another hop.
via The Verge

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Image: Festo

Tags : robots,    0 comments  
Apr 06, 2014

Not dead yet: Dutch, British governments pay to keep Windows XP alive

posted by Laura Domela

Windows XP is supposed to be dead next week. But the Dutch and British governments have both inked deals with Microsoft to continue to keep it on life support, at least for them—under Microsoft’s Custom Support program.

On Wednesday, ComputerWeekly reported that the UK government agreed to pay Microsoft £5.548 million (approximately $9.1 million) for continued support of Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 for all British public sector customers. On Friday, the Dutch government cut its own “multi-million Euro” deal with Microsoft for custom XP support of over 30,000 computers still running the Windows XP operating system.
via ars technica

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Apr 05, 2014

Here’s what Tesla Model S drivers are really doing in their connected cars

posted by Laura Domela

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One of the alluring features of the Tesla Model S electric luxury sedan is its always-on 3G 4Gcellular connection and built-in Internet browser.

But have you ever wondered what all those wealthy electric-car drivers are actually looking at on their in-car browsers?

Now we know. Or at least we have some data.
via Venture Beat

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Image credit: Tesla

Tags : EV, cars, automotive,    0 comments  
Apr 03, 2014

The daily schedules of the world's greatest geniuses

posted by Laura Domela

How did Beethoven, Mozart, Freud, Dickens, Darwin, Le Corbusier or Benjamin Franklin managed to be so productive and create some of the most important work in the history of art and science? Check out this great visualization by Info We Trust and find solace in the fact that some of them didn't actually work that much.

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via Gizmodo

See larger chart here

Tags : people, infographics,    0 comments  
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