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31 JANUARY 2016

The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

"By 2020, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have brought us advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology and genomics.

These developments will transform the way we live, and the way we work. Some jobs will disappear, others will grow and jobs that don't even exist today will become commonplace. What is certain is that the future workforce will need to align its skillset to keep pace.

A new Forum report, The Future of Jobs, looks at the employment, skills and workforce strategy for the future."

(Alex Gray, 19 January 2016, World Economic Forum)

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202021st Century skills • advanced materials • advanced robotics • artificial intelligence • autonomous transport • biotechnologycareer futurescognitive abilitiescognitive flexibilitycomplex problem-solving • coordinating with others • creativity skillscritical skillscritical thinkingdecision-making capabilitiesdisruptive innovationeconomic change • emotional intelligence • employment opportunitiesexponentially advancing technologiesflexibility and innovation • fourth industrial revolution • future careerfuture casting • future of jobs • genomicsgrowth needsincreasingly complex opportunitiesindustrial revolutionjobsmachine learningnegotiation • people management • predicting the futureproblem-solvingreportroboticsservice design • service orientation • skilled workforcesound judgmentsustaining innovationstransformational innovation • World Economic Forum

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 FEBRUARY 2015

The Creepy Collective Behavior of Boston Dynamics' New Robot Dog

"Robotics company Boston Dynamics has a new four–legged addition to its family: a 160–pound quadruped named Spot...

We know from Spot's reaction to that kick that he can dynamically correct his stability–behavior that's modeled after biological systems. From what Couzin can tell, the robots' collective movement is an organic outgrowth of that self–correction. When the two Spots collide at the 1:25 mark, they're both able to recover quickly from the nudge and continue on their route up the hill. 'But the collision does result in them tending to align with one another (since each pushes against the other),' Couzin wrote in an email. 'That can be an important factor: Simple collisions among individuals can result in collective motion.'

In Couzin's research on locusts, for example, the insects form plagues that move together by just barely avoiding collisions. 'Recently, avoidance has also been shown to allow the humble fruit fly to make effective collective decisions,' he wrote.

It doesn't look like Spot is programmed to work with his twin brothers and sisters–but that doesn't matter if their coordination emerges naturally from the physical rules that govern each individual robot. Clearly, bumping into each other isn't the safest or most efficient way to get your robot army to march in lock step, but it's a good start. And it's relatively easy to imagine several Spots working together in organized ways if the LIDAR sensors fitted on their 'heads' were programmed to create avoidance behaviors–like those locusts–rather than simply reacting to collisions.

Spot's life–like motions are uncanny, but when you add this emergent, collective behavior–which can sometimes be unpredictable–the possibilities get downright scary. Will Spot's group dynamics stop at the point of swarming like locusts? (Ominous.) Will they cluster into self–protecting balls like sardines? (Less so.) Or could they end up as smart and responsive as humans?

Couzin goes so far as to call this bump–and–grind between Spots One and Two a social interaction. 'No matter how primitive, there's no doubt that these interactions could enhance the decision–making capabilities of such robots when they must make their own, autonomous, decisions in an uncertain world,' he wrote. We'll just have to hope that decision–making involves not trampling us when a pack of Spots starts stampeding like wildebeest."

(Neel V. Patel, 11 February 2015 Wired News)

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2015animal locomotionartificial lifeautomataautonomous creature • avoidance behaviour • biological systems • Boston Dynamics • bumping • collective animal behavior • collective behaviour • collective decisions • collective motion • collective movement • collision detection • decision-making capabilitiesdogfruit flyherd • Iain Couzin • LIDARlocomotionmechanical being • nudge • physical rules • quadruped • robot army • robot dog • robot machinesrobotic creaturerobotics • self-correction • social interactionspeculative engineering • Spot (robot) • stabilityswarming • swarming locusts • walkingWired (magazine) • Wired News

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 JULY 2014

Mechnical sound works from commonplace industrial objects

"The sound sculptures and installations of Zimoun are graceful, mechanized works of playful poetry, their structural simplicity opens like an industrial bloom to reveal a complex and intricate series of relationships, an ongoing interplay between the 'artificial' and the 'organic'. It's an artistic research of simple and elegant systems to generate and study complex behaviors in sound and motion. Zimoun creates sound pieces from basic components, often using multiples of the same prepared mechanical elements to examine the creation and degeneration of patterns."

(Statements about Zimoun: Tim Beck http://www.zimoun.net/about.html)

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acoustic hum • artistic research • Bern • cacophony • chaotic forces • commonplace industrial objects • commonplace objects • complex behaviours • elegant systems • functional materials • generative systems • hum • industrial objects • installation artintricacykinetic sculpturekinetic sound sculpture • lifeless matter • mechanical rhythmmechanism • mechnical sound works • minimalist art • minimalist constructions • multiples • noise • ordered system • orderly patternspatternprimitive oscillatorsquasi autonomous creaturesrepetitionrhythm oscillator • rhythmic pattern • robotic artroboticsrule systemsimple rules • sonic chaos • sound and motion • sound artsound artistsound installationsound pieces • sound production • sound sculpture • sound works • structural simplicity • swarm behaviourswarming • synthetic structures • visual chaos • Zimoun

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 JUNE 2014

REX: independent mobility through hands-free robotic exoskeleton

"Rex Bionics Plc (The Rex Bionics Group) is the global technology leader in robotic exoskeletons (REX). Uniquely, REX® provides independent mobility to wheelchair users and other mobility impaired persons using advanced robotic technology, custom–designed electromechanical actuators, precision engineering, and specialised networking systems.

The key differentiator of REX is the fact that it has been designed from the outset to provide mobility to non–ambulatory wheelchair users rather than as a means to enable otherwise fit individuals to lift supra–physiological loads, enhance endurance or aid mobility of those able to walk with crutches.

The device is designed to enable all users to stand and walk, and REX Personal™ users to scale stairs and navigate slopes."

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ambulatory disability • Aotearoa New Zealandapplied researchartificial limbbionicsbodycyborgdesign for disabilitydisability • electromechanical actuators • engineeringexoskeletonfuturistic machines • hands-free robotic exoskeleton • human body • independent mobility • intimate interfaceskiwi ingenuitylegslocomotionman machinemechanical engineeringmitigating impairmentmobility • mobility aid • mobility impaired • movingnew ways of being • paraplegic • physical engagementphysiologyproduct designprosthesisprosthetic leg • REX • Rex Bionics • Rex Bionics Group • Rex Bionics Plc • Richard Little • Robert Irving • robotic exoskeleton • robotic systemsrobotic technologyrobotics • Sophie Morgan • spinal cord injury • supraphysiological • thoracic vertebrae • walk • walkingwalking machine • wheelchair users

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 FEBRUARY 2014

Project Tango: mobile devices with a human-scale understanding of space and motion

"As we walk through our daily lives, we use visual cues to navigate and understand the world around us. We observe the size and shape of objects and rooms, and we learn their position and layout almost effortlessly over time. This awareness of space and motion is fundamental to the way we interact with our environment and each other. We are physical beings that live in a 3D world. Yet, our mobile devices assume that physical world ends at the boundaries of the screen."

(Johnny Lee, Google Advanced Technology and Projects group)

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applied research • auditory cues • game space • gamifying • geographic data • geospatial analysis • Google Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP)Google Inc • hide and seek • human scale • human-scale • human-scale understanding • Johnny Lee • mobile devicesmotion • physical beings • physical space • place and route • Project Tango • Project Tango (Google) • research labroboticssensory phenomenaspace • space and motion • spatial analysis • spatial awareness • spatial contextual awareness • spatial environments • spatial location • spatial orientationspatial perceptionspatial relationshipsvisceral experiencevisceral journey

CONTRIBUTOR

Liam Birtles
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