October 19, 2010

'Real Steel' Wraps Filming

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Filming has concluded on "Real Steel," Hugh Jackman's new Sci-Fi movie. The plot concerns a former boxer (Jackman) who has to reinvent himself when 2,000 lb., 8 ft. tall robots take over the sport. He teams with his estranged son to build and train their own oversized Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot. Partially filmed in the thumb of Michigan, their camera helicopter caused temporary chaos last month when it snagged a power line. DreamWorks has planned a 2011 opening.

Via Real Steel

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October 18, 2010

EPORO and Solar Tree Slated for 2030

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At last week's CEATEC 2010 in Japan, Nissan used the opportunity to show off its latest EPORO in its demo of their 39 ft. tall Solar Tree, a charger that generates 20 kW of power. The robotic car is rigged with a wireless power system, and can recharge itself on the tree as well as charging lanes on the road. Don't get too excited. Nissan targets 2030 as the year that the system becomes commonplace.

Via Pink Tentacle

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German MIG Self-sufficient Taxi

Germany's Freie University has come up with a robotic vehicle that one ups Google's Pribot. Their laser, radar and sensor-equipped VW Passat that they have appropriately named "Made in Germany" lets the driver start a program and enter coordinates on an Appirion iPad app, then wait for his/her self-driving cab to arrive.

Via FU

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October 13, 2010

NNSA Sends MDAR to Patrol NNSS

Never send a human to do a dull job when a robot will do it and probably not complain. The US National Nuclear Security Administration recently loosed a Mobile Detection Assessment Response System on the 1,300 sq. mi. desert to patrol the Nevada National Security Site while cutting costs. The NNSS still houses old nuclear waste, weapons and research materials. There is only one MDARS for now, essentially a combination of Hummer and camera/microphone that contacts its controllers should it suspect a foreign entity or wayward alien. The NNSS plans to add a couple more over the next 6 months and rename the test site, but what really spooked us was the future plans they have for testing in the area.

Via NNSA

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October 12, 2010

Google's PriBot Automated Cars

Since 2005, Google has been developing automated cars under the direction of Sebastian Thrun. An engineer sits in the driver's seat in case of an error and another controls a computer on the passenger side. The redesigned Toyota Prius is aware of speed limit, traffic patterns and road maps. Each uses video cameras, radar, sensors and lasers to detect other cars.

Already the cars have covered 140,000 miles with the emphasis on safety as the company believes that they could reduce the number of auto-related deaths. Other plusses include instant reaction time, less fuel used and 360ยบ awareness. So far there has only been one accident when one of cars was rear-ended at a stoplight. Google believes that a launch is at least eight years away.

Via Google Blog

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September 22, 2010

Isn't It Ironic?

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While Stanford grad student Mick Kritayakirana was testing his driverless Audi TTS named Shelley on Pikes Peak, a helicopter filming the event crashed. The pilot and the crew suffered various injuries and were soon released from the hospital, while Shelley was unaffected by the crash. The autonomous vehicle has plans to retape in time.

Via Jalopnik

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September 16, 2010

The Air-Hopper - Robotic Transportation

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The Tokyo Institute of Technology is working on the Air-Hopper, a 4-legged bot that can walk on uneven surfaces and jump over large obstacles with the assistance of pneumatic cylinders. At a length of 129cm long and a height of 52.2cm, the hopping robot can leap as far as 70cm at heights as much as 40cm. We would love to take it for a test drive.

Via Robonable (translated)

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September 6, 2010

NASA Drone Sent Into Hurricane Earl

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NASA's Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes project sent the unmanned drone Global Hawk directly into Hurricane Earl as part of an experiment to better understand how tropical storms evolve into hurricanes. The result includes this incredible shot from of Earl's eye. The GRIP mission includes three aircraft with 14 different instruments and several satellites and the study will continue through September 25.

Via NASA

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August 26, 2010

Iran Unveils Karrar Drone

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Iran has been showing off its new UAV bomber. Named Karrar (farsi for Striker,) the drone can zoom up to 900 km/h with a range of 1000 km. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that it is a symbol of defense technology progress in the country, but it can apparently carry various types of bombs to let others know that it is not just for show.

Via BBC

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August 23, 2010

Sentry Discovers Oil Plume in Gulf

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The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts sent out a robotic submarine in June and discovered a 22 mile plume of oil in the Gulf near BP's Macondo 252 well. The WHOI Sentry confirmed the spill recently and found that it had high levels of hydocarbons. While it was out, it collected about 57,000 chemical samples. That data will be used to study the effects from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Via Scientific American

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