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Archive for the 'Robotics' Category

Where is my flying car?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 29th, 2009

In 1902, H. G Wells penned a book, remarkably prophetic in some respects, that can be taken as the definition of the fin de siecle take on the probable course of the 20th century. It was called Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought. You can find it [...]

CCC / CRA Robotics Roadmap

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 28th, 2009

The CCC/CRA, a consortium of academic computer science departments (essentially), has a roadmap to future robotics that has some implications for the Feynman Path. Some highlights (from the chapter on manufacturing): Vignette 2: One-of-a-kind, discrete-part manufacture and assembly A small job shop with 5 employees primarily catering to orders from medical devices companies is approached [...]

Will the stars align for space-based solar power? – Ars Technica

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 10th, 2009

Will the stars align for space-based solar power? – Ars Technica. Nice overview of the current status.  Nanotech can only help…   Update: economics of space-based solar  follow-on article.

Robo-ethics paper and Open-Texture Risk

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 1st, 2009

There’s a paper on roboethics by Yueh-Hsuan Weng of Taiwan’s Conscription Agency in the International Journal of Social Robotics that has gotten a write-up on Physorg (h/t to Accelerating Future). Here’s the abstract:

Moore’s Law and Robotics

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on June 26th, 2009

One thing I was at some pains during my recent visit to Willow Garage was the likely impact of Moore’s Law on the course of robotics development in the next few years. This is of great interest to a futurist because if computation is a bottleneck, it will be loosened in a well-understood way over [...]

Willow Garage Robotics

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on June 24th, 2009

After hearing an excellent talk by Willow Garage president Steven Cousins at PARC last Thursday, I wangled a visit to the company Monday and talked to a few more people. Willow Garage is a research robotics company in Silicon Valley which has a unique mission for a start-up. They are oriented to making an impact [...]

Hardware –> Software

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on May 25th, 2009

An interesting question was posed to my “Do the math” post of last week: What does this have to do with nanotechnology? A little history helps, as usual. Eniac plugboard: Hardware or software?

The other half of nanotech

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on April 28th, 2009

As I pointed out in Nanotechnology Without Engines, nanotechnology’s promise of being a revolutionary rather than evolutionary technology was based on two key ideas: Nanotechnology, the revolutionary technology, was always about the power of self-replication and never only about the very small. This was clearly the case both in Drexler’s conception and in Feynman’s: … [...]

Early retirement — how soon?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on March 26th, 2009

In my Early Retirement post, I wrote If you have a human-level AI based on computer technology, the cost to do what it can do will begin to decline at Moore’s Law rates. Even if an AI costs a million dollars in, say, 2020, it’ll be a thousand in 2030 and one dollar in 2040 [...]

The nanotechnology we were promised

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on February 16th, 2009

A response to my “Parricide” essay has been seen on IEEE’s Tech Talk blog. Dexter Johnson gives a fair summary of the positions taken to date, and says As the argument seems to go, Drexler popularized the term nanotechnology in his book Engines of Creation, and so when the general public heard that thousands of [...]

Amazing advance in robotics: see video

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 18th, 2008

Normally this blog focuses on nanotechnology, but it’s also important to stay on top of major advances in related fields such as robotics; the fields will interact in interesting ways. This video of a DARPA-funded project from Boston Dynamics is a must-see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww Watch the whole thing, and use the YouTube version; the one on [...]

Nanotechnology-based surveillance predicted

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 18th, 2008

For many years, Foresight has been pointing out that nanotechnology will be used for surveillance. Now Kevin Mitnick makes a long-term prediction on nanosurveillance. An excerpt: Warrantless Surveillance: The Worst is Yet to Come …Far from censuring the president, most of Congress seems completely unconcerned by the issue of warrantless surveillance. And telecom companies are [...]

More on nanotechnology for medicine using nanorobots

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 10th, 2007

A post by Roland Piquepaille on ZDnet further exploring a topic recently covered here: nanoscale robotic devices for medical applications. The site allows you to indicate whether you want this subject covered in the future or not. Excerpt: The idea of using nanorobots to deliver drugs and fight diseases such as cancers is not new…But [...]

Nanotechnology assemblers: likely or unlikely?

Posted by Christine Peterson on June 25th, 2007

The current issue of Nanotechnology Law and Business (Vol. 4, Issue 2) includes a surprising article called “Nanoassemblers: A Likely Threat?” by Martin Moskovits, a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara. I saw this just as I was heading [...]

Meet the Nubot: DNA nanotechnology robots

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 11th, 2007

Aharia Nair brings to our attention the new term Nubot, for Nucleic Acid Robots. Wikipedia explains: Nubot is an abbreviation for “Nucleic Acid Robots.” Nubots are synthetic robotics devices at the nanoscale. Representative nubots include the several DNA walkers reported by Ned Seeman’s group at NYU, Niles Pierce’s group at Caltech, John Reif’s group at [...]

Nanotechnology frontier meets space frontier

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 30th, 2007

For a visionary look at space applications of nanotech, see a new column over at Nanotechnology Now. An excerpt: Occasionally astronauts have to leave their spaceships, so researchers at Northeastern University and Rutgers University propose that we protect the astronauts by including layers of bio-nano robots in their spacesuits. The outer layer of bio-nano robots [...]

Nanotechnology turns heat into electricity

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 22nd, 2007

Kevin Bullis of Technology Review reminds us of something we should all remember from thermo class: Inside fossil-fuel and nuclear-power plants, as well as in cars and trucks, the lion’s share of energy in fuel is wasted as heat rather than converted into electricity or mechanical power. But the search for a practical material that [...]

Nanotechnology robotic arm built at NYU

Posted by Christine Peterson on December 13th, 2006

NYU prof Nadrian Seeman, who won the Foresight Institute Feynman Prize back in 1995, has done it again. From Science Daily: New York University chemistry professor Nadrian C. Seeman and his graduate student Baoquan Ding have developed a DNA cassette through which a nanomechanical device can be inserted and function within a DNA array, allowing [...]

Nanotechnology: Check out the 2006 Nano Quest Challenge

Posted by Christine Peterson on October 17th, 2006

The FIRST organization — inspired by inventor Dean Kamen — and the Lego Group are sponsoring the 2006 Nano Quest Challenge, and sadly for the rest of us, it seems to be limited to kids 9-14 years old, plus 6 to 9-year-olds in the junior league in US and Canada. But wait — all the [...]

European robotics goal: work at molecular scale

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 29th, 2006

From Kevin Bullis at Technology Review we learn of a project from Europe to build large numbers of robots carrying out work at the molecular scale: “The work could eventually lead to teams of such robots automating work on the molecular scale, first for research projects and prototype assembly, and eventually for industrial applications, such [...]