Owing perhaps to the difficulty and extreme cost of building virtual worlds that can be seen, heard, explored, and interacted with in multitudes of other ways, video games have long made use of procedural content generation and computation creativity. Epic space-faring BBC Micro game Elite
generated its own star systems on the fly way back in 1984, for instance, while the likes of Minecraft
, and the SimCity
series all similarly sport environments sculpted by algorithms. But artificial intelligence research is opening new avenues in the ever-evolving dance between human game developers and their algorithmically-intelligent tools. AIs can now create entire 2D and 3D games from scratch, unassisted, and that could be just the tip of the iceberg.
Though we tend to think of private spaceflight as being in the SpaceX
league, it also includes many smaller-scale efforts. For example, the non-profit Planetary Society has announced that its LightSail spacecraft will make its first test flight in May. The solar-propelled CubeSat will lift off as a piggyback cargo atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
When an organization sets out to map the sea floor, it will typically use a device known as a bathymetric lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) unit. These are large and can weigh almost 600 lb (272 kg), so they're mounted on crewed aircraft that fly over the area to be mapped. Led by Dr. Grady Tuell, a team at Georgia Tech has now developed a cost-effective new system that they claim could lead to much smaller, more efficient bathymetric lidars, capable of being carried by a UAV.
The animal kingdom is fertile ground for roboticists looking to improve on their designs, with everything from insects
providing inspiration. Now researchers at Georgia Tech are turning to cats to help soften robot landings. Rather than strapping some felines to a robot's underside, the team is studying the way cats twist in the air when falling to let future robots land safely from a jump or fall.
Researchers from Columbia University and the Georgia Institute of Technology are laying claim to having observed piezoelectricity in an atomically thin material for the first time. The effect was demonstrated in the world's thinnest electric generator made from a two-dimensional molybdenum disulfide (MoS2
) material, which had previously been predicted to exhibit such properties.
In order for household robots to be truly useful, it would be great if they could go and get items for you, without having to be shown where those things are. Thanks to research being carried out at Georgia Tech, that may someday be the case. A robot there is now able to search out hidden objects – as long as they've been labelled first.
If Angry Birds
is known for anything, it's an ability to keep youthful eyes glued to the screen for extended periods of time. But a new study conducted at Georgia Tech has shown that teaching a robot how to play the video game keeps kids slinging those wingless birds through the air for even longer, a finding that could help in the rehabilitation of cognitive and motor-skill disabilities.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a glove that helps users learn to read and write Braille, all while focusing on unrelated activities. The wearable computer uses miniature vibrating motors sewn into the knuckles, and was found to assist in developing motor skills in participants without them focusing on the movement of their hands.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered a bacterium that could yield a new source of high-energy hydrocarbon fuel for rocketry and other aerospace uses. High-energy, specific-use hydrocarbon fuels such as JP-10 can be extracted from oil, along with more commonly used petroleum fuels, but supplies are limited and prices are high – approaching US$7 per liter. That’s where the new bacterium, engineered by Georgia Tech scientists Stephen Sarria and Pamela Peralta-Yahya, could come in.
In 2012, Jason Barnes lost the lower part of his right arm after being electrocuted. Though he could have pursued his dream of becoming a professional drummer using only his remaining limb (like Def Leppard's Rick Allen, for example), he decided to build his own stick-wielding prosthesis. The attachment certainly allowed him to make some noise, but it wasn't flexible enough to give the speed or bounce control he was looking for. Now, thanks to the work of Georgia Tech's Professor Gil Weinberg, Barnes is preparing for a gig later this month where a novel robot drumming prosthetic arm will help him pound out precision rhythms with a live band.