If Rubik’s Cubes decided to take up sports, this is what you would get. The rules of the game specify a maximum size for the bots and set some ground rules for fair play. If they could simplify the programming interface, add some players, and sell these as a set I think they would make for a great upgrade for the old Foosball table.
A few things that caught my eye but didn’t merit a post to themselves:
The Ibex has now set two huge scientific records. It was the first animal to be cloned after extinction, and subsequently the first animal to ever become extinct twice. Better luck next time guys, this has great promise.
USB drive that masquerades as a floppy drive for those annoying things like bios updates that still tend to require them.
Flashlight hose nozzle. Why you would garden in the dark is beyond me. Most people have lights in their yard. This thing needs to be water powered at least.
Washing machine built to take the whole basket. It looks great, but the more I think about it the less impressed I am.
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He obviously needs a couple more robots in order to be able to walk at a reasonable pace, but I love the concept and the execution, although I’d coat the top of mine with moss and walk barefoot everywhere I went. I can’t help but think of Magneto in the X-Men movie, making himself a walkway out of the iron he he stole from the blood of his captors.
I see potential applications as tour guides. If the bots knew the way, they could provide directions and information, or split off as people change their destinations, all the while conveying people at their own pace. Follow the yellow brick road.
The CirculaFloor was originally designed for use in those virtual reality headsets, so you could be in a small room and walk around a large environment. The stones track your feet and counter your movement. I would imagine this would screw with your balance though, especially when you are essentially blindfolded.
This laptop rides a Roomba around and looks for straight lines. By triangulating their convergence, the little droid is able to navigate endless hallways, blasting zombies with its on-board shotgun…well, maybe in the next model.
This may not be a likely standalone navigation system, but combined with those systems used by things like the robotic rats, and maybe some GPS, we could have these things zipping around our hallways doing errands and causing accidents in the very near future.
Obama standing in the way of progress? I knew this was coming, but I’m shocked it originated from him.
On Feb 17, analog TV should be no more. The conversion to digital has been a long drawn out process, for which we have already paid a ridiculous price in commercials and other time wasters, and well over a billion dollars. The conversion will retire a dinosaur of a technology that has been bogging down huge swaths of prime spectrum that could be used for far more useful new technologies. The spectrum has been sold. New products that will use the new digital service are everywhere and have been sold for years. They have a better picture and better features.
Now Barack Obama puts out a last minute memo asking that the conversion be delayed until mid-summer. Heaven forbid anyone illiterate and living in a cave might be surprised to find their television not working and have to venture into reality long enough to figure out why. What we really should have done is just cut the TV resolution in half every month until everyone gets sick enough of it to get their crap together and convert.
The switch from analog to digital was change we could believe in.
Update: The Chairman of the FCC, Kevin Martin, has now come out at CES and said about Obama’s request, “[W]e’ve spent a lot of time and energy getting ready for the February 17 date,” “I am concerned about the consumer confusion that would be created.”
Update: Obama has named June 12 as the date he would like the switch to digital to be postponed to.
After Obama requested that the change from analog to digital television be delayed, the Senate voted to postpone the switch until June 12th.
Update: The house just voted this down. It looks like we are back on track, barring any further sillyness. (via CrunchGear)
Update: Grrr…stupid government. Postponed again.
Update: Well, this finally went through, and the world didn’t end. Let’s keep these upgrades coming. Progress people, progress.
A while back I posted a review of a laser projected keyboard with bluetooth connectivity, and was wondering how long it would be until our cellphones simply projected a keyboard and display, essentially creating a full sized laptop that would fit in a shirt pocket. That day is approaching faster than I anticipated. Logic Wireless will get you half way there with this phone it is displaying at CES ’08 going by the name ‘Logic Bolt’, which contains a projector capable of projecting an image up to five feet away with two hours worth of battery life. The phone has a touch screen and a 3 megapixel camera, and will sell for around $600.
You know those forced air heater vents you gave up opening and closing years ago because they are rusty and hard to reach? Replace them with these Vent-Misers, which contain a timer (battery powered, so no wiring necessary) to turn the vents on and off automatically. Start your morning off warming the bedroom, then switch to the vents in the kitchen, etc. Face it, you are a creature of habit, and your home should know this. This is the kind of purchase that pays for itself many times over in heating costs, warm feet, and environmental conservation.
The coherent nature of laser light, combined with its low-divergence beam, makes it perfect for all sorts of fun projects. This is one you can do at home with simple, cheap parts. When you speak, the microphone picks up your voice and converts it into a signal that is used to vary the output of a laser pointer. The receiver is a solar cell attached to a piezoelectric speaker. With a pair of each, you can stay in communication as long as you have line of sight. It has the benefit of being hard to eavesdrop on as well. Pdf with instructions here. (Via crunchGear)
a similar project could be made to use the reflected light of a laser pointer off of a window to pick up vibrations and transmit sounds from distant buildings.
I don’t know why this magic wand isn’t being aggressively marketed towards Harry Potter fans. It works like a portable Van de Graaff generator, creating enough static electricity to levitate the tinsel-like fliers. I’m sure the more innovative among you can find plenty of other uses for it. Amazon has them cheap. Or you can get them from thinkgeek.
Geeks around the world are hard at work building and training robotic rats to run mazes. No doubt we will soon have sewers infested with faster, smarter robo-rodents. At least they don’t breed…yet.
This first video is a well designed little rodent. It moves at a good pace, seeking the open section at the center of the maze (they really need some virtual cheese here). Once it finds the center, if remembers the course, calculates the best route out, and picks up the pace.
This is a much faster one. It moves a lot more like the real thing: light on its feet and quick, but with none of the pausing to wash its face. Another one uses a vacuum to hold itself down so it doesn’t skid around the corners.
This one is almost more like a robotic gopher. It has to move the obstacles out of the way as it goes. Complicating this is that it has to make it back out of the maze and can choose where to drop it. It can end up putting the obstacle in its way further down the line, so it requires planning to win this race.
Update: The below insight into the micromouse brain was found on a page about micromouse code
Update: The above video starts out slow, but culminates in a mouse doing a 5 second race through the maze. About the only thing they could do to make these little guys faster is give them rocket powered roller skates.