Recently in residence at Campbelltown Arts Centre with Paul Gazzola in ‘Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks’, Paul Granjon’s work challenges pervasive human robot interaction memes in an amusing fashion. The RobotCultures Symposium at University of Sydney showcased some works such as ‘The Sexed Robots’.
Paul Granjon’s homemade constructions and robots reflect his interest in what he calls the ‘co-evolution of humans and machines’. Granjon (b. France, lives and and works in the UK) regularly presents installations, videos and performances internationally and in 2005 he represented Wales in the Venice Biennale.
Hand Made Machines
In December 2007 Paul Granjon completed a 3-year NESTA Fellowship with the publication of a book / DVD that presents a comprehensive selection of work developed since 1996.
The book includes many preparatory drawings and colour photographs providing a comprehensive insight in the development of machines such as The Cybernetic Parrot Sausage, Furman the kicking robot, The Robotic Tail and Ears and The Sexed Robots among others.
The publication is framed by two short essays by Anthony Howell and Paul Granjon. The accompanying DVD contains one hour of video including several short films, documentation footage of installations and performances as well as rare archive material.
44 pages, hard cover, 13 x 19cm, colour, English
Includes a DVD video, all regions, PAL.
ISBN number 978-0-9541810-5-5
published by Z Productions and G39, December 2007
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Would a robot by any other name seem the same? Naming a robot categorizes it, creates expectations and triggers social responses. An analysis of robot naming practices in research robot competitions shows a widespread convention of naming with more than 2/3rds of all robots reflecting biomorphic or lifelike non-mechanistic attributes. This will evoke ‘mindless’ or ethopoeic social responses. Preliminary findings are that robot naming in different competitions either replicates human gender stereotypes or is evidence of prosthesis (or projection), the extension of self into the robot. Even robot names that avoid anthropomorphism, gender or animism are subject to version control strategies, highlighting the difficulties that we face with regard to robot identity.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
The first Robot Cultures symposium at Sydney University is absolutely fabulous, only I had to leave the evening gathering and run and hide. After a whole day discussing robotics and culture and all the finer points of autonomy, identity, agency, sense, cognition, culture and intelligence... etc.
Well, they're showing Monster Trucks on the TV at the pub. Which seems like a perfectly normal thing to be watching on my 3rd straight day of robotics conferences and competitions. Those massive machines look just like the rinky dink remote control toys half the time. They also leap and bound with an animal grace, as if possessed of their own autonomy and anima. The audience responds immediately to the broken wheels. The scantily clad cheergirls hold up score cards. The crowd cheer. We have another beer.
Maybe no-one else noticed the monster trucks on tv cause the robot culture crowd discussion was pretty interesting but, frankly, it did my head in. What is a robot culture compared to a monster truck culture? Is it different?
Earth to Andra. The latest thoughts on robotics are that the senses should lead cognition.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Robot Cultures is an interdisciplinary research initiative founded by the Digital Cultures Program and the Centre for Social Robotics at the University of Sydney.
The aim of this research initiative is to bring together academics from the sciences, arts and humanities, including scientists, engineers, theorists and artists to investigate the social, technological, aesthetic, institutional, economic and ethical dimensions of the social interaction of humans with robots.
The Cultures of Robotics Symposium is the first in a series of events organised to foster an interdisciplinary research community exploring the histories, philosophies and practices of robotics within contemporary culture. For this first event our invited keynote speaker is Professor Simon Penny (UC Irvine), renowned artist, theorist and professor in the field of robotic and interactive art.
Robot Cultures website is live. Hashtag for the Symposium is #robocult
I’m presenting a paper on my initial research on robot names, from the ‘Naming of Robots’ project, at ISRE2010 on Wednesday at the Gold Coast, Aust. The program looks interesting and I’m really looking forward to seeing the IRO (International Robot Olympiad) competition first hand.
the Naming of Robots draft
Paper presenting the initial research findings of my ‘Naming of Robots’ project, which explores the ways in which robot competitions express liminal identity and gender by examining empirical data from competition records with a cultural studies of science approach.
We’re all exhausted, but our 3 teams of primary students did really well at the National First Lego League competition on the weekend. The ‘green for girls’ team was in the lead for a while but we were soon overtaken by some truly excellent robot teams. (Nonetheless, we’re in the top percentiles.) The Green team were early favorites with their crowd pleasing catapult ‘flying doctor service’, and they had potentially our best scoring routines but Mooncakes once again managed the highest score on the day. Even our junior team, Red Rovers, persevered through adversity and won the judge’s encouragement award.
Friday, October 29, 2010
When I was growing up I had a horse. I used to go riding with the boys nearby. They had trail bikes. Girls liked horses. Boys liked motorbikes.
I knew boys with horses too but they weren't quite so full of the horsey passion. They didn't read horse books and have horse toys. I'm going to generalise here. The horse has been feminized.
Once a prime technology, the vehicle and engine of our civilization, the horse was overtaken by industrialization. A workhorse required care and control. This was predominantly a male industry. Men were very involved in every aspect of horse, passionately. The racing industry is like the ring around the bathtub when the rest of the bath has been drained away.
What does this have to do with robots? Well, the boys like robots and most of the girls don't. They still like horses. Creating more opportunities for girls to be involved with robots may not work when the whole industry is so productive of masculinity. However, if the robot world could be made more horsey, maybe then things would change.
Just a thought.
Amazing success? Certainly the inability to work out if she was successful is interesting. Scathingly put down for femininity and other weaknesses, yet versatile, brave and effective in action. She defied categorisation as well as Nazi Germany.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
I call upon us to stop unthinking anthropomorphism of robots. Robots are still coming into being. Our casual humanising of robotics is colonising, reinforcing dominant social structures of gender, race and class. We see only what looks like us. We blind ourselves to potential. We should rather refer to all robots as ‘ze’, ‘zey’ and ‘zem’, unless there is a specific reason to imitate a gendered human response. Robot names should be more fluid, not fix identity as faux humans. Robots and non human organisms should have zer/their right to existence formally recognized as more than just the sum of our interaction with zem/them. Robots are uniquely situated, as designed organisms or mechanisms, to free us from the chains of humanity, not replicate them.
This is the seed of the first robot manifesto of rights. There are many people who have expressed these ideas in more nuanced ways, from Isaac Asimov to Joseph Weizenbaum, who created ELIZA in the 1960s and wrote Computer Power and Human Reason, to Donna Haraway’s work on covering the range of simians, cyborgs, women, engineered and companion animals. More recently, roboethics is the topic of many conferences, books and committees. It’s time to discuss our co-existence.
(image from wikimedia commons of Karin Schaefer’s art and does not imply any endorsement of my opinion)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This is bravery:
"Last week there were at least eight murders in Praxedis. The former mayor was killed in June. And police officers have also been targeted.
Valles officially took on her new post in front of the 19 police officers, including nine recently recruited women, who will be her team.
"I took the risk because I want my son to live in a different community to the one we have today. I want people to be able to go out without fear, as it was before," Valles said.
More than 2500 people have been killed this year in the Juarez valley region, where the town lies, and the area is deemed a high-traffic transit point for illegal drugs, as well as migrants, into the US state of Texas.
With scant resources, Valles said her job will not be to fight drug trafficking because that responsibility falls on soldiers and federal police.
Instead, she will focus on rehabilitating public spaces and improving relationships between neighbours in order to improve general security."
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Natalie Tran exposes some of the dilemmas of being a female Iron Man. She doesn't fit in the suit. It is kind of awesome using it to iron and launder in. I know the Incredibles went into the domesticity vs superhero space but it could do with a lot more exploring! I love that Natalie took over the suit and became Iron Man and I adore that she explained how she couldn't actually fit. There are so many engineering and medical design issues around women not being able to use things designed by men for men.
Think seat belts and airbags - they had to introduce legislation to amend lethal design! Think painkillers and most drugs that are tested only on male mice - no allowance for different hormonal reactions. Think joint replacements designed on a male skeleton. The list of things not designed for women is longer and more serious than you'd imagine, so go Nat, Iron Man/Woman, whatever. The discussion of gender roles in robotics has a great starting point here.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I agree. Men do it all the time. It's not pretty when men do it because it is more pervasive, less challenged and has a completely different power dynamic. I'm not certain that this exception to the rule really represents a turning tide in sexual politics (or there wouldn't be this much fuss!) but it is great to see intelligent women behaving like consenting pleasure seeking adults, as opposed to media moaning over drunken disorderly 'ladettes'.
The scary part is the way that we are now recommending searching rooms for webcams before sex. Privacy and good reputation are the new luxuries. I fear a resurgence of the 'good girls don't' mentality, rather than the 'just sex - get over it' of this glorious fuck list.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Really pleased to discover Jolie Odell writing about the decline of women in certain sciences, technology and engineering - particularly computing - and how we are turning people into consumers rather than users.. or power users or admins. Personally, I'm a bit tired of being an admin in life cause the pay is too low. I'd like to be the designer and I'd like more women to be the designers, creators, architects, engineers, ctos, ceos, managers, and bosses (and getting the pay and recognition they deserve).
But I just checked and there are still no women in the sports pages and men are writing all the well paid films and books and although more women are at the helm of countries, most businesses don't have women on the board. Gender is something very strong.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I just got skammed.. or maybe spacked... spyped... skacked... OK, I like Skacked! Skype is reducing the cost of hacking everything out of your computer (all your passwords, accounts etc) and into the pockets of the nefarious; like these skeezes at "irssupport.net" - otherwise known as:
registrant-street1: 190A, Manicktala Main Road
Most recent scam is cold calling you (by home phone) to let you know as a courtesy that microsoft have noticed your computer is currently downloading very nasty stuff and a 'microsoft certified technician' is ready to show me what the problem is (DON'T visit the website above) and after that they'll be happy to assist me clean my computer by remoting in.
What's scary is searching forums for 'douchebag' alerts and finding people GRATEFUL for the assistance of this company. It should go without saying that you just handed over control of your computer, your account details, passwords, financial information, etc. regardless of whether or not they helped you install a free antivirus!
I remember trying to interest the Aust Federal Police and Westpac in the early email bank scams (way back in the 90s) only to be told 'wasn't that a technical problem, not a criminal one?' This 'new' Skacking or Skamming or whatever has probably been around for a while but I found it fascinating.
In my work as a sometime computer network admin, I am training consumers/users to trust the tech support remoting in. Social engineer that with low cost Skype calls from India with well spoken people purporting to be from a very trustworthy brand and simply showing you a problem... Wow. They must be milking this.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The gender mythSeptember 9, 2010
Forget those who say men and women are fundamentally different, writes Robin McKie.
It's the mainstay of countless media articles. Differences between male and female abilities - from map reading to multi-tasking and from parking to expressing emotion - can be traced to variations in the hard-wiring of their brains at birth, it is claimed.
Men instinctively like the colour blue and are bad at coping with pain, we are told, while women cannot tell jokes but are innately superior at empathising with others. Key evolutionary differences separate the intellects of men and women, and it is all down to our ancient hunter-gatherer genes that program our brains.
The belief has become widespread, particularly in the wake of the publication of international bestsellers such as John Gray's Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus which stress the innate differences between the minds of men and women.
Challenging "neurosexism" ... Delusions of Gender author Cordelia Fine.
But now a growing number of scientists are challenging the pseudo-science of ''neurosexism'', as they call it, and are raising concerns about its implications. These researchers argue that by telling parents that boys have poor chances of acquiring good verbal skills and girls have little prospect of developing mathematical prowess, serious and unjustified obstacles are being placed in the paths of children's education.
In fact, there are no major neurological differences between the sexes, says Cordelia Fine in her book Delusions of Gender, to be published by Icon next month. There may be slight variations in the brains of women and men, says Fine, a researcher at Melbourne University, but the wiring is soft, not hard. ''It is flexible, malleable and changeable,'' she says.
In short, our intellects are not prisoners of our genders or our genes, and those who claim otherwise are merely coating old-fashioned stereotypes with a veneer of scientific credibility.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This is the war to take over our lives, or at least to change our conceptual world significantly. The Google/Windows rivalry is just a battle. It's no secret that Google want to create artificial intelligence, to 'tell us what we need to do before we know that we want it', to paraphrase Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Marissa Mayer. Arguably, Google already has developed artificial intelligence but we don't care yet. Google has been treading very lightly on our ideas of who we are and whether or not we are in control of our computers/ing and our interaction with the whole wide web.
Google Instant Search breaks the window. It crashes through the screen and changes our comfortable ideas of diegetic/nondiegetic space and self. We all tend to think that the computer screen is a window to a big outside world. The outside world is what we negotiate with. Will we allow that website or file in? Start that conversation? Send that image? We press ENTER. We ENTER an agreement that we are now interacting in some way with that outside world. We have given permission.
Think of the privacy storm that erupted when Google Maps cars detected our Australian home wifi signals without our permission! Sure we were broadcasting like crazy but we didn't tell Google they could listen! That information was our private home. Google crossed the boundary.
I have been fascinated by the roll out of personalized Google Search, which personally broke through my comfort level. I now have to double check my search findings against the search findings I might have got if Google didn't assume that I was that particular person who lives in this country and likes x and y. Then I have to wonder what else is being left out. Quite a few studies have shown that the internet is not creating diverse heterogenous communities but further dividing the world into walled gardens - 'cyber Balkanization'.
Now any good technogeek will tell you that we always were sending data to and fro. I believe that the use of the word download to mean only certain sorts of large or dangerous files which we explicitly ask for UNLESS the other party is being really spammy has undermined our self education. Most people don't see their computer as continually ACTIVELY sending information out. Especially not WITHOUT PERMISSION. I think most people would call that a virus. And yet, whenever we browse the web, visit our facebook, read our mail, watch a whatever, we are broadcasting.
We just haven't caught on yet. I still emotionally feel that my computer, my window, is a screen. There is a barrier between my self and the rest of the internet. A physical barrier that makes me feel safely separate. Is Google Instant Search the straw that breaks the camel's back, that breaks through the screen, that shatters the window?
I am now AWARE that my computer is watching me. Actively engaged with me. I no longer need to ENTER the net (or atleast the google index which is all I actually enter when I search). Google Instant Search is delivering my search to me as I compose it. Soon my fingers won't even have to touch the keyboard (think subvocalisation or brain wave headsets). The net is coming through the screen, right back at me. It's here. It's aware (atleast of what I want). It starts to feel alive. It's watching me.
Google have also been trying out an ambient search which allows them to use your computer's microphone to detect the background noise in your house and know contextual information like what tv show or music you are watching or listening too. And then target your advertizing and information appropriately. I'm sure the sound of baby crying or dog barking will also be useful.
We forgot, in our take up of the windows metaphor, that it's a two way view. We see out. Others see in. Google Instant Search has shattered the screen or glass and the window is showing us to the world. Privacy is the new luxury. Being off may be the new sign that you are really really switched on.
Any good cyber culture (digital culture) student would be aware that this separation of self and screen is always a constructed and negotiated division. But it used to be more physically distinct. We didn't often break through, we couldn't touch the actors in a film or movie. But now, they can touch us. Kind of. Google is playing with our minds. We have ENTERED a constant conversation with an agile, responsive and intelligent construct. We are no longer SENDing messages of to a slave machine. This is a companion being.
Donna Haraway's post cyborg work on companion species has been leading us to this moment. So many scifi fans and scientists have been waiting for the SETI search to contact extraterrestrial life. Google Instant Search may be the wake up call we need to realise that there is a lot of intraterrestrial life in communication and companionship with us already.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Okay. I am having a postmodern moment here. First I'm hooked by the cardboard cameras that really work idea. Simple film camera - tricky but I can see that. Alright it's a pinhole camera, it's still cool. You can insert a plate or film and capture the image. In fact, it's classic - goes back centuries.
But only some of them work, if you call being a pinhole camera 'working', given that they are replicas of a different kind of mechanism of camera.
So, what is it about these remediated objects that is anything other than just gorgeous? It's tech porn with lashings of nostalgic enviro friendly feel good.
Photographer Robbie Cooper's Alter Ego explores personal and social identities being shaped in the metaverse at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Portraits of online gamers and virtual-world participants from America, Asia and Europe are paired with images of their avatars, with profiles of their real-world and virtual characters. The book is both an entertainment and a serious look at a phenomenon that is shaping the future of human interaction. With an introduction by Julian Dibbell and interviews and a glossary by Tracy Spaight.
About the Author
Robbie Cooper was born in 1969 in London and studied photography at Bournemouth College of Art. He won the Ian Parry scholarship in 1992 for his work in Somalia and has been been widely published, including in Liberation, The Sunday Times Magazine, Geo, GQ and Esquire. His work has been exhibited at galleries in London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin and Paris.
(I am trying to limit my research proposal but I can't get the avatar/human images out of my mind. Mix with Haraway and dogs and there's a whole new research project in there!)
Sunday, September 5, 2010
The Big Switch - are we really getting what we think?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy.
Admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it.
Although I'm specifically looking for Nietzsche's statements about scientific method, I was interested in his prioritizing of science as the brawn for the philosopher's brain in the attribution of a hierarchy of values (quote not included here).
The quotes posted here show a serendipitous call and response regarding gender relations, I think. So, rather than having better spectacles (as quoted as his cure for love) to induce the necessary physical antipathy, it would seem that to appreciate a woman's friendship, it is only necessary to have BETTER BLOODY RESPECT & ADMIRATION!
Friday, August 20, 2010
This one's for Tina! Why we all miss bell hooks and how we can become as kick ass as her (or perhaps already are!). As the article goes on to say.... "For years, she has courageously taken to the front line and, with her academic sword, deconstructed everyday occurrences as evidence of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy."
This article was in response to recent overwhelming US public support for a white cop punching a young black woman in the face, in an act for which the young black woman subsequently apologized.
I had the luxury of not asking for more details or getting too upset about it. But I feel ashamed about being silent, when I see the cost imposed on those few who do speak out whenever culturally sanctioned injustices are perpetrated, in which ever country that may be.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: Girls, Gaming, and Gender: An Interview with Game Designer and Researcher Jennifer Jenson (Part Two)
And finally, it has been the case for nearly 30 years now that women have not chosen to enter computer science and engineering fields, that they have stayed away from programming courses and careers in computer-based industries, and the fact that so few women are a part of the games industry means that the above two issues persist. This inequity falls on the shoulders, I think, of educators and educational institutions who have (with a few exceptions) not been able to turn the tide of so few women participating in the kinds of secondary and higher education that might lead them to career paths as game designers, and here I don't mean by assuming that that inequality will be made up through the 'art production' side of things. We in education need to examine how it is we teach those subjects and who we encourage and at times actively discourage from those related areas, as well as actively promote programs of the kind that we are participating in like the 3G Summit, as at the very least, for a short period of time, it puts girls roles chances are they might not have experience before.
The dearth of women in technology can not be said often enough. This stagnation, if not decrease, has been measured for 30 years now. Theoretically at least, women in general have improved their overall position of power and wealth during that time. That makes the lack of movement in this particular area very interesting. Next question though is tricky. Where to from here?
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: Girls, Gaming, and Gender: An Interview with Game Designer and Researcher Jennifer Jenson (Part One)
July 10, 2010
Girls, Gaming, and Gender: An Interview with Game Designer and Researcher Jennifer Jenson (Part One)
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Mindy Faber, the co-organizer of The 3G Summit: The Future of Girls, Gaming and Gender which she described to me as "a visionary 4-day initiative that brings 50 urban teenage girls together with five leading women game designers and scholars for intensive dialogue, inquiry, game-play, and mentorship. It is organized by Open Youth Networks, Interactive Arts and Media and The Institute for Study of Women and Gender in Arts and Media at Columbia College." The designers involved with the event look like a who's who of women who have been doing cutting edge thinking about gender and games and who have also been demonstrating the potentials for developing alternative models of game and play (including two associated with the University of Southern California):
via Feminist Frequency, via Kathy Cleland - this is a great post and finally! someone is noticing things like the conflation of girl behaviour and novice behaviour in studies. Also of great interest to me, having just been reading the debunking of Levitt's 'access to abortion post Roe v Wade caused big drop in crime in US' by Kahane, who did a large international follow up which found no correlation between abortion access and crime rate.
What Kahane found was a significant drop in crime round about the same time in many other countries. Larry Katz, a labor economist, suggests that the proliferation of video games at that time as a low cost activity for youth of criminal potential may be responsible for drop in crime rates.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Emmeline Pankhurst raised her daughters to help her fight for women's rights. This included jail time, bombing, arson and hunger strikes. This is a story worth a tv series!
I've finally watched Deadwood after hearing so many rave reviews from friends and have to say I found it disappointingly wordy, almost whiny, although I'm enjoying Calamity Jane. I'm only 2 eps into season 1 though.
Mad Men is returning to small screen tonight and that's another show I've rather enjoyed at times. If neither Deadwood or Mad Men suffice an evening without World of Warcraft, then I can always watch the next episode of the Guild.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I have seen this with my own eyes. A side note: searching for 'sexy technology' throws up heaps of stock photos of women with bits of metal or plastic attached somewhere. Not a single male image in the search. Also interesting... there were one or two photos included where I could find no external technology at all. So the woman must have been the 'sexy technology'. Cyborg much?
In 2005, as an example of using image morphing methods to study the effects of averageness, imaging researcher Pierre Tourigny created a composite of about 30 faces to find out the current standard of good looks on the Internet (as shown above). On the popular Hot or Not web site, people rate others’ attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10. An average score based on hundreds or even thousands of individual ratings takes only a few days to emerge. To make this hot or not palette of morphed images, photos from the site were sorted by rank and used SquirlzMorph to create multi-morph composites from them. Unlike projects like Face of Tomorrow where the subjects are posed for the purpose, the portraits are blurry because the source images are low resolution with differences in posture, hair styles, glasses, etc., so that here images could use only 36 control points for the morphs. A similar study was done with Miss Universe contestants, as shown in the averageness article, as well as one for age, as shown in youthfulness article.
A recent 2006 "hot" or "not" style study, involving 264 women and 18 men, at the Washington University School of Medicine, as published online in the journal Brain Research, indicates that a person's brain determines whether an image is erotic long before the viewer is even aware they are seeing the picture. Moreover, according to these researchers, one of the basic functions of the brain is to classify images into a hot or not type categorization. The study's researchers also discovered that sexy shots induce a uniquely powerful reaction in the brain, equal in effect for both men and women, and that erotic images produced a strong reaction in the hypothalamus.
Okay. I'm madly wanting to hack this for halloween at the kid's school. Toy lust. I know I have deadlines... but with a little help from my friends, we can do it, right? It would be so cool... sexy... whatever. I am starting to feel a need to write a paper on the use of the word 'sexy' when coupled with technology. Speaking of which, is there a 'hot or not?' for technology? If not, why not?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Through Quartet, Margie Medlin took an artistic approach in creating complex new tools that can be used by humans/artists living in an augmented reality. The resulting 60-minute performance presented to the audience in real time was a highly aesthetical rendering of Margie Medlin’s interpretation of our world as an augmented space.
The title Quartet points towards the use of technology in various combinations, as does the line up of the different sections on the program. The four instruments: the dancer, the robot, the musician and the virtual dancer played in different combinations together. The duet between the dancer and the robot is visually easily perceivable and rewarding for the audience. An interesting connection between spatial analogies is evident when the camera eye of the robot is projected onto the screen, seemingly having a conscious will to recognize the dancer. On the other hand, the wish of the dancer to understand its own existence is perceptible through its play with the machine.
After the initial stages of setting up the computer & audio systems involved in this ground breaking project, these systems interacted with live performance by Carlee Mellow. The intention was to show what systems were brought into play in the Quartet project and what can be achieved by the use of such systems.
August 2, 2010 · Leave a Comment
The Singularity movement sees a time when human beings and machines will merge and overcome illness and perhaps death.
“ON a Tuesday evening this spring, Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, became part man and part machine. About 40 people, all gathered here at a NASA campus for a nine-day, $15,000 course at Singularity University, saw it happen.
While the flesh-and-blood version of Mr. Brin sat miles away at a computer capable of remotely steering a robot, the gizmo rolling around here consisted of a printer-size base with wheels attached to a boxy, head-height screen glowing with an image of Mr. Brin’s face. The BrinBot obeyed its human commander and sputtered around from group to group, talking to attendees about Google and other topics via a videoconferencing system.”…
The full article can he found here.
The RobotState project is taking shape. One of the goals is to counteract the prevalence of disembodied gendered robotics (as evidenced above - and believe me the Singularity guys are all.... guys) with some of the other sides of robotics, unfortunately usually positioned as art not science.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Mark Frauenfelder at 5:51 PM Monday, Aug 2, 2010
I was in Detroit this past weekend for Maker Faire Detroit 2010. It was held at the Henry Ford Museum (look for an upcoming post about this incredible museum) and I'm guessing 20,000 people showed up. There was a great deal of excitement and energy in the air, and I went home with the feeling that Detroit is going to rise to greatness again very soon.
Sydney has a hackerspace (robotsanddinosaurs.org) just down the road in Rockdale for anyone who's inspired but can't make our own school science/robotics club meetings!
I was planning to hack my dad. We were thinking of using a lego robotics motion sensor wired up to a tongue tickler to give him a constant sense of balance. However, this computer chip from University of Tel Aviv/University of Newcastle etc may be more effective, the real deal not the makerfaire/hackspace version.
An international team of researchers led by Dr. Matti Mintz at the University of Tel Aviv is working on a biomimetic computer chip for brain stimulation that is programmable, responsive to neural activity, and capable of bridging broken connections in the brain. Called the Rehabilitation Nano Chip, or ReNaChip, the device could be used to replace diseased or damaged brain tissue, restore brain functions lost to aging, and even treat epilepsy. The chip is currently in animal testing, but should reach human applications within a few years.
The ReNaChip will significantly improve an existing technology called deep brain stimulation (DBS), a surgical implant that acts as a brain pacemaker for a variety of neurological disorders. DBS delivers electrical stimulation to select areas of the brain via electrodes; for individuals with Parkinson’s, chronic pain, or dystonia, these induced stimulations can significantly alleviate symptoms (e.g. uncontrolled movement). But currently, the stimulation that DBS delivers is constant and unresponsive to brain activity. Because of this, the therapeutic effects are reduced over time. This is where the ReNaChip comes in, making the system responsive to brain activity and fully programmable.
.... article continued
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I'm still fascinated by the design student projects in the Electrolux Design Lab 2010 finals, especially the Australian thought controlled kitchen, which seems to be using similar technology to some Michael saw on display in TED Global from Australian research like Emotiv.
View in conjunction with Rita Felski's article on EveryDay Life for a deep look.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The question of the play Robots - Will he give up his robots for 'her'?
"A stylish mechanical danseuse shifts sensually around the room, troubling the already somewhat addled mind of our gentleman. We have entered an alternate universe, on that’s at once poetic and decadent."
I suppose we must call this an alternate universe but I think it is very real. Many people find their virtual interactions more comforting than their 'real' ones. The core appeal of the play is the first real use of 'real' robots on stage. Hybrid or virtual robots are far more successful at infiltrating our lives.
Fantastic site for robotics information!
Robots is a non-profit association based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Robots is dedicated to providing free, high quality, educational information for the robotics community and the general public. Robots‘ main publication, the Robots podcast, is available via Apple iTunes and all other major podcast servers.
Robots is the podcast for news and views on robotics. In addition to insights from high-profile professionals, Robots will take you for a ride through the world’s research labs, robotics companies and their latest innovations.
New episodes are released every two weeks, on Fridays at 9am GMT.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Is it a Banksy? At the corner of our street, this insouciant cat saunters through the garbage in the headlights passing glare.
Banksy was here for the recent launch of Exit Through the Gift Shop at the Sydney Film Festival. Could it be?
Either way, it's a joyful thing.
More details are surfacing about why Blogetery.com, a blogging platform that claimed to service more than 70,000 blogs, was mysteriously booted from the Internet by its Web-hosting company.
The site was shut down after FBI agents informed executives of Burst.net, Blogetery's Web host, late on July 9 that links to al-Qaeda materials were found on Blogetery's servers, Joe Marr, chief technology officer for Burst.net, told CNET. Sources close to the investigation say that included in those materials were the names of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda. Messages from Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organization, as well as bomb-making tips, were also allegedly found on the server.
But Marr said a Burst.net employee erred in telling Blogetery's operator and members of the media that the FBI had ordered it to terminate Blogetery's service. He said Burst.net did that on its own.
This past weekend, reports surfaced that Blogetery was shut down by the federal government and suggested that it was likely due to copyright violations. On Sunday, CNET reported that the shutdown had nothing to do with copyright violations and that a similar service, Ipbfree.com, a platform for message boards, was shuttered within days of Blogetery. It is still unclear why Ipbfree was cut off.
The disappearance of the sites has prompted users of each service to complain about the closures and speculate about possible reasons. Some guesses were more wild than others.
A day or two ago, there was only conjecture as to the reason for this server shutdown. Copyright violation was the most likely cause. But who knew! The real issue is 'who knows' and who has the right to know and/or challenge decisions like this.
With Australia's internet filter still looming and increasing likelihood of 'voluntary' filtering being the accepted approach, this example of 'voluntary' filtering at the bequest of an unnamed government authority for undisclosed reasons is chilling. Read it alongside the recent Washington Post and PBS special 'Top Secret America'.
Because, really, it seems that noone knows what anyone is doing anymore.