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Archive for the 'Robotics' Category

Accelerating Future » Folding DNA into Twisted and Curved Nanoscale Shapes

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 31st, 2009

Accelerating Future » Folding DNA into Twisted and Curved Nanoscale Shapes. Cool pics of some (artist’s conceptions of) shapes made from DNA.

Motoman SDA10

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

This is the Motoman SDA10 15-axis robot (“for high level of dexterity and range of motion”) putting together an office chair. This is roughly the kind of thing we need for the Feynman Path assembly robot. (in case the embedding isn’t working on your browser, it’s here) There are several times when the Motoman uses [...]

Diffusion Tensor Imaging and the Economy of Mind

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

More evidence for a Society of Mind model, complete with economics: The Brain Economy by Michael L. Anderson over at Forbes. Together with fMRI, DTI and connectomes offer an unprecedented opportunity to understand how the brain operates. This is similar to learning about a city from looking at a map. You could easily find major [...]

Flying Cars: how close are we?

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

Previous in series: VTOL So, how close are we to flying cars? For specificity, let’s pick a technological bar to hurdle that answers most of the objections to the concept we’ve seen as comments on the previous posts: It should be relatively high-powered compared to current light craft. It should be STOVL for safety and [...]

Organic vs machine evolution

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 5th, 2009

A short comment on Drexler’s paper Biological and Nanomechanical Systems: Contrasts in Evolutionary Capacity:  He distinguishes two types of design, O-style (like organic) and M-style (like mechanical) systems.  He points out that O-style systems are much more robust to incremental design modification, where M-style systems require coordinated changes that are much, much less likely to happen [...]

Learning and AGI

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 31st, 2009

Yesterday I wrote that we don’t have a clue how learning works. If that were as categorically true as I made it sound, the prospects of AGI would be pretty much sunk. AGI requires getting up to the universal level of a learning machine: one that can in theory learn anything any other learning machine [...]

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: 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 [...]