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Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

I, For One, Welcome Our Marathon-running Robot Overlords

February 24, 2011 1 comment

It has been a bad couple of weeks for humans.

With Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter getting defeated quite easily by IBM’s supercomputer ‘Watson‘ at a game of ‘Jeopardy!’, mankind is on the ropes to robots.

Undated handout photo of Jeopardy! contestants Ken Jennings (second from left) and Brad Rutter (right) — shown with host Alex Trebek — as they prepare to play the supercomputer Watson.

Photograph by: Jeopardy Productions, Inc., Handout

Now, robots are not only starting to make ground against humans in games of intellect, but also in physical activity.

The first ever robot marathon, called the Robomarafull event, has kicked off today in Osaka, Japan. The race contestants are 5 knee-high “athletes” which will traverse the full 26 miles (42 km) of a marathon on an indoor track.

Finishing the race will involve circling the track 423 times and is expected to take about 4 days. Since the current world record for running a marathon is 2 hours, 3 minutes and 39 seconds for a (human) male and 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds for a (human) female, the robots still have a ways to go.

The rules of the race allow robot operators to change the motors and batteries of their contestants, but they cannot help the robot get back on its feet if it falls.

Since the race is going to take 4 days, it’s not so much about speed but endurance. As such, it is always important to train and stretch…

The Adventure of Links: January 17, 2010

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

After a long break, the Adventure of Links is back. This week,  an anti-pirate laser, the largest molecule ever made, and the most pornographic study ever. Enjoy!

Physics/Astronomy

Thunderstorms throw anti-matter into space. If I tried, I couldn’t come up with a cooler sentence than that one.

Playboy photo that was in the Apollo 12 spacecraft is up for auction. Dude, didn’t you know you can get porn for free now on the interwebs?

An astronomical portrait with 1 TERApixel resolution.

A little girl from Canada discovers a supernova. What am I doing with my life?

Astronomer reveals the Zodiac is out of whack. Loyal astrology followers ask him what they should do…

Sex is part of the problem if we are going to colonize Mars.

Health/Biology

Your weekly stoopid: Jenny McCarthy responds to the BMJ calling Andrew Wakefield a fraud. (He falsified his data. His work is a fraud.)

What do sex, drugs, and rock & roll have in common? Dopamine!

Listing nutrition information at fast food joints doesn’t discourage patrons from ordering the Double Quarter-Pounder.

The largest molecule ever made. Hint: It’s carbon-based.

Homeopaths show their nasty side. As opposed to their anti-science woo-loving side, which is closely related.

Fun/Funny

A device that blocks the noise from a dental drill.

The runways at Tampa airport need to be renumbered because the Earth’s magnetic pole is moving.

How to cut the top off a champagne bottle with a knife (with video!).

Trouble with pirates? Blast ’em with a laser!

Discovery of the world’s oldest wine-making facility.

Changes in climate correlate with the fall of the Roman Empire. Scientists once again try to explain the difference between “correlation” and “causation”.

Watson, the IBM supercomputer, beats two human champions in a game of Jeopardy!

NCBI ROFL finds the most pornographic study abstract of all time. Gotta love science!

Florida woman arrested for slapping a horse. And you thought YOU were having a bad day!

 

 

A Remote that Shatters Glass

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Wish I got that for Christmas…

Invented by Giuseppe Longobardi, a researcher at IBM in Castellammare di Stabia, Italy, the device would allow a pane of glass to be destroyed with the touch of a button.

The device has recently been patented (“Method and apparatus for remotely activating destruction of a glass window” US Patent #7806310) and could be used instead of a hammer to break emergency glass, or by film studios for special effects.

Image: US Patent and Trademark Office

The device works by using a physical principle called “resonance“. Based on its shape and size, objects will store vibrational energy at a certain resonant frequency. In this way, even small driving forces can create large vibrational amplitudes in the material. In English that means that if you move the object at its resonant frequency, even just a little bit, it “likes” to move at that frequency and will keep doing it.

The remote would be tuned to the resonant frequency of the particular pane of glass in question. When activated, the remote would generate small acoustic signal at that frequency, causing the pane of glass to respond by also vibrating at that frequency. Eventually, enough energy is built up that the glass vibrates at such a large amplitude that it shatters, much like an opera singer shattering glass using their voice.