Cornell teamed up two Chatbots to talk to each other, just to see what they would come up with. In an effort to with this year's Loebner Prize Competition in Artificial Intelligence (and $100,000.00,) the conversation was fairly inane and mentioned God, being a robot and/or a unicorn. Yeah, we just had to share the often biting but hilarious discussion.
ReconRobotics has been awarded $5.8 million to build micro robots for the military. They have requested 385 Recon Scout XT kits. Each weighs about a pound and can be used in areas too dangerous for humans. Both the bot and its controller can be charged from battery systems that the troops already carry and each has a titanium shell and urethane wheels that provide a drop shock resistance of 30 ft. They will be used for vehicle inspection, clearing spaces, evaluating IEDs and remote observation.
Robert Oschler's Robodance 5 is the latest version of software designed for the Rovio that has been in development for 4 years and is a cut above most. Using it, there is no need for a router, it eliminates DNS service, connects audio without a browser, can be accessed via public WiFi and can be used for Skyping. Although the download will be free when released, help out by contributing to various projects or adopting one of Oschler's domains as your own.
Social media company Tencent thinks little-Q will be your new BFF. When integrated with the Chinese company's QQ software and online services, the penguinbot chats, plays tunes, gives news and weather reports, helps you shop online and captures notes to self. We admit that this is a cutsey pet in a gimmicky kind of way that will probably never take over the planet but, although we don't understand Chinese, clearly these two humans need a life.
Chyi-Yeu Lin and team from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Taipei created an eerie head that photographs a musical score with her camera/eyes, interprets the pitch, rhythm and lyrics from an algorithm, then turns it into her version of music via synthesizer. Designed to someday be a restaurant receptionist, they need to perfect a creepy body to go with that head.
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a bot that can rescue trapped miners or deliver supplies as it is immune to gas, flooding, killing fumes and possible collapsed buildings. Gemini-Scout is four feet long and 2 feet tall and is equipped with gas sensors, and two cameras for locating survivors and scoping out the area. It was designed to go ahead of its user and is steered by an Xbox 360 game controller, making it simpler to learn. NIOSH funded the project that Jon Salton and team believe could be available by the end of 2012.
A Houston, Texas couple created their own computer minister to perform their wedding ceremony. Miguel and Diana Hanson took their vows before a 30" monitor in the backyard of his parents' house. The ceremony was not a legal one and the couple will still have to get an authentic justice of the peace to sign off on it, but think of the kewl stories the couple will be able to tell their grandkids. (And we certainly hope that it brings some attention to the groom's Web development business.)
Keepon has been around for almost 4 years and in that time the bouncing bot has worked its magic into the hearts of autistic children as well as 2,500,000 YouTube users. Toys 'R Us now has exclusive US rights and plans to bring him out to play in late October. And that is proof positive that anyone can build their dreams on dancing rubber balls.
Will.i.am, using his power of celebrity, backed a star-studded TV special last night that explored the 20th annual FIRST Robotics Championship. ABC aired "i.am.FIRST: Science Is Rock and Roll" and the singer supported it because "Most kids are not dreaming of being programmers, scientists or engineers. The ones that are do not get the spotlight or attention. Instead, they are looked at as geeks or uncool, when in actuality technology is the only thing that is cool today."