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Jason Falconer

Jason Falconer

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.

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— Robotics

Panasonic Power Loader Light exoskeleton takes a load off your back

By - January 7, 2013 8 Pictures
Robotic exoskeletons that artificially augment puny human muscles have been in development for years, but we're yet to see any of them really take off. Panasonic is still betting on its own solution, the Power Loader Light (yes, named after the one seen in the sci-fi film Aliens), which is being developed by Activelink, one of its subsidiaries. The company has made some modifications since its initial appearance in 2010 and is showing off how it works on video for the first time. Read More
— Robotics

UCSD's robot baby Diego-san appears on video for the first time

By - January 7, 2013 15 Pictures
A new android infant has been born thanks to the University of California San Diego's Machine Perception Lab. The lab received funding from the National Science Foundation to contract Kokoro Co. Ltd. and Hanson Robotics, two companies that specialize in building lifelike animatronics and androids, to build a replicant based on a one year old baby. The resulting robot, which has been a couple of years in development, has finally been completed – and you can watch it smile and make cute faces after the break. Read More
— Robotics

Walkbot exoskeleton rehabilitates stroke survivors

By - January 3, 2013 6 Pictures
After suffering a stroke or spinal cord injury, a patient regaining their ability to walk typically requires three to five physical therapists supporting them while physically moving their limbs. This is not only physically exhausting, but leaves therapists at risk of personal injury. Now, the leading health care facilities in Korea have adopted a rehab robot that only requires one therapist – the Walkbot combines an adjustable lower-body robotic exoskeleton that moves a patient's legs in time with a treadmill. Read More
— Drones

DARPA's sub-hunting drone appears in concept video

By - January 2, 2013 10 Pictures
The murky details of DARPA's sub-hunting drone project are a bit clearer, thanks to a new concept video published by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). DARPA is spending US$58 million to have SAIC build the first Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vehicle (ACTUV), which will detect and track a growing number of stealthy, inexpensive diesel-electric subs. Read More

LG's 3D smart TVs to include even more popular gaming apps

Families will have even more games to play on their LG CINEMA 3D Smart TV, which LG will be demonstrating at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013). The new additions follow the company's launch of gaming apps in July. Some of the games will take advantage of its 3D capabilities with a Dual Play feature that gives two players their own full-screen view of the action, unlike traditional split-screen modes. The games are played with the company's new motion-sensing Magic Remote. Read More
— Science

Japan frontrunner to get International Linear Collider

By - December 24, 2012 7 Pictures
According to Nature, Japan is the frontrunner for the planned International Linear Collider (ILC), for which Europe and the United States are also in the running to host. Scientists and engineers are already examining potential sites in the island nation for the US$7 to $8 billion machine, which is intended to complement the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The head of the global design effort for the ILC, physicist Barry Barish, presented finalized blueprints at a ceremony in Tokyo earlier this month. Read More
— Robotics

RQ-TITAN robot wants to dominate the soccer field

By - December 21, 2012 5 Pictures
Let's say you're interested in acquiring a large bipedal robot. Commercial options, like Kawada Industries' HRP-4 and KAIST's HUBO cost upwards of US$300K and $400K respectively. Those could break the bank, and building one from scratch is an expensive and time-consuming process in itself. Now Korean robotics company RoboBuilder is offering a pre-built solution that's one-tenth the cost of those robots, and at approximately three feet tall is big enough to compete in RoboCup soccer's "TeenSize" division. Read More
— Robotics

DARPA LS3 quadruped plays follow the leader through mud puddles and more

By - December 20, 2012 10 Pictures
DARPA's robotic pack mule, the Legged Squad Support System (or LS3 for short) is now following orders and its master, going where no robot has gone before. In a recently published video, the impressive quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics climbs up and down hills, scrambles over logs, bobs and weaves through woods, and even takes an impromptu dip in a bog before leaving the obstacle-ridden forest and picking up the pace. Video after the break. Read More
— Robotics

Ping-pong ball-sized Droplet robots work by swarming together

By - December 18, 2012 6 Pictures
Imagine if you could harness the productivity of an insect colony – hundreds, if not thousands of miniature agents working together towards a larger goal – that's the future promised by swarm robotics. Potential applications, such as intelligent sensor networks, could have a wide-ranging impact on various industries. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) are developing the technology with prototypes about the size of a ping-pong ball, which they have called "droplets." Read More
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