Jason is a freelance writer based in central Canada with a background in computer graphics. He has written about hundreds of humanoid robots on his website Plastic Pals and is an avid gamer with an unsightly collection of retro consoles, cartridges, and controllers.
While 3D printing
may be touted as bringing manufacturing back to the United States, that doesn't mean the rest of the world hasn't taken notice of the technology. Earlier this week, a 3D Printing Experience Pavilion opened in Beijing's DRC Industrial Design and Cultural Industry Base, where visitors were able to see how 3D printers work firsthand. With a few hours to spare, they could even have their own head scanned and printed as a bust, which follows the 3D printing booth
that opened in a Japanese mall last year.
With Hollywood movie studios increasingly gambling astronomical sums of money on the next big thing, they might want to pay attention to the work being done by Akira Ishii at Tottori University. His research group claims to have developed a mathematical equation that combines advertising, word-of-mouth, and social networks to predict if a movie will be successful.
A new species of robot fish
has been spotted in the Kalamazoo River in the state of Michigan, where more than a million gallons of oil spilled in July 2010. Developed primarily by Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor at Michigan State University (MSU), the robot's sensors detected crude oil at various sites along the river.
The current world record for triple-junction solar cell efficiency is 44 percent, but a collaboration between the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
(NRL), the Imperial College of London, and MicroLink Devices Inc. has led to a multi-junction photovoltaic cell design that could break the 50 percent conversion efficiency barrier under concentrated solar illumination.
Have you ever dreamed of what it would be like to pilot a giant robot? If you have, you're not alone. A roboticist by the name of Hajime Sakamoto dreams of building his very own Gundam mobile suit, and he's making progress on a real 4 meter (13 feet) tall bipedal robot that can carry him around. So far the legs have been completed, and you can watch them stand up and take a few steps in the video after the break.
The common cockroach may make your skin crawl, but it turns out the household pest is the perfect model for miniature legged robots. That's why Duncan Haldane and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have been studying the six-legged pests to improve their millirobots. Their latest creation, the VelociRoACH, is made primarily out of cardboard and measures just 10 cm long, yet it can run 2.7 meters per second, making it the fastest robot of its size, capable of covering 26 times its body length in a single second.
There's an avalanche of new gaming devices coming our way, from tablets with controller attachments
to Android-based consoles
that can fit in the palm of your hand. On top of that, there's a growing class of devices best described as portable emulator machines, built to capitalize on older gamers' nostalgia, with the latest called the Game Consoles Worldwide (GCW) Zero.
Hydrogen has been hailed as the fuel of the future, but producing it cleanly using platinum as a catalyst is simply too costly to service the world's energy needs. On the flipside, producing hydrogen with fossil fuels not only releases CO2 as a byproduct, but is unsustainable, negating hydrogen's green potential. However, hydrogen may yet make good on its promise thanks to a group of scientists at the University of Cambridge.
Kickstarter, the popular crowd-funding site, has assembled a list of 2012's greatest hits which we've narrowed down to five of the more technology-related projects. Conspicuously absent from the company's official selection is the massively popular Form 1 3D printer
by Formlabs, which features game-changing technology that quickly sparked a patent suit
by 3D Systems.
The U.S. military's drones – or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – were probably the most talked about robots of 2012. Every other week it seemed there was some story or other that grabbed headlines around the world, giving them a rather nasty reputation. However, robotics technology is about much more than just killing machines and here are ten noteworthy examples from the past year that prove it.