David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.
A sporting event where a contestant opens a door, promptly falls on their face, and then stands up again sounds like less than riveting, but on Friday some 10,000 people at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, cheered and screamed encouragement as exactly that happened. Of course, the fact that the contender was a robot called Tartan Rescue and the competition was the first day of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Final 2015 had something to do with it. Aimed at creating robots that may one day help responders during major disasters, the two-day Challenge is host to 23 international teams competing for US$3.5 million in prizes.
Drunk driving is a serious problem and – despite being conscientious –
at a certain point in the evening, trusting one's own judgement means
trusting someone who isn't sober enough to make the call. While
costing less than US$30 are available, they're not the most reliable,
while the more professional models need to be sent back to the factory
on a regular basis for recalibration. Recently, we got hold of an
AlcoMate Revo by AK GlobalTech. The device is aimed at the consumer
market, and uses a replaceable sensor module that eliminates the need for
recalibration. We put it through its paces.
Smartglasses, or augmented reality glasses, may have found niches in military and industrial circles, but haven't really caught on with consumers for a number of reasons – a major one being that they're extremely conspicuous. To help rectify this, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF) in Jena, Germany, has developed technology that allows for a more unobtrusive design, while also providing improved functionality.
One of the biggest events at the recent 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Seattle was the first Amazon Picking Challenge, in which 31 teams from around the world competed for US$26,000 in prizes. The challenge set entrants with the real-world task of building a robot that can do the same job as an Amazon stock picker.
The Planetary Society's LightSail CubeSat has phoned home. After being "paused" a over a week ago due to a software error, the Society reports that the solar sail technology demonstrator has now rebooted itself.
The city of Seattle saw a robotic population explosion this week as the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) descended on the Washington State Convention Center. The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s flagship conference ran the gamut of all things robotic, from showcases of new technology to forums on government policies as they relate to robotics. Here's our look at the highlights.
With Swiss pilot André Borschberg at the controls, the solar-powered, single-pilot Solar Impulse 2 airplane took off from Nanjing Lukou Airport in China today bound for Hawaii on the longest leg of its round-the-world flight. But this isn't just a major leg of the Solar Impulse 2 solar-powered circumnavigation, it is also an attempt at the longest duration flight ever by a solo pilot in any type of aircraft.
A high-power laser weapon light enough to be carried by tactical aircraft has moved out of the laboratory and onto the testing ground. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' High-Energy Liquid Laser Defense System (HELLADS) has finished its US Government Acceptance Test Procedure and is on its way to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for live-fire tests.
The LightSail solar sail mission has been "paused" due to a software glitch related to a design flaw in the avionics software, which has frozen the onboard computer in a fashion all too familiar to terrestrial technology users.