Using solar sails with a laser driven power system to launch from orbit, and traveling at 20% of the speed of light, tiny little Starships will visit Alpha Centauri. There will be a swarm of postage stamp sized nanocraft sent to our nearest neighbor to look for signs of life and give us more detailed information about the resources available there. If you are asking When will this happen?, they are working on it now, with the goal of launching within a decade or two. The folks involved in Breakthrough Starshot include Steven Hawking, Freeman Dyson, Yuri Milner, Ann Druyan, and a host of others.
Using a combination of solid and liquid printing, MIT printed the first ever 3D Printed Hydraulic Powered Robot. No assembly was required, beyond popping on a motor and battery. Which means now our Evil Robot Overlords will be able to print up their minions themselves. The advance that made this possible was developing a technique to print both solids and liquids in the same printer, and I find it somewhat surprising that they got the best results for the liquid printing using a regular ink jet printer.
There are less than positive implications sometimes when a Humanoid Robot With AI meets the cold, cruel world. This interpretation on how it might work out is not exactly comforting to the intelligence at the core of this story, and should not make the rest of us feel very easy about it. When the time comes that we face these situations, I hope you are ready to stand up and be counted among those who believe in freedom and justice.
This is the first Aurora Official Trailer, and it makes the potential movie look very interesting. In 2020 super-computer Kronos concludes that human beings are the biggest threat to the planet, and takes action. The movie begins in 2080, when Andrew meets Calia, a girl heading back to robot-free Aurora and latches on to her for dear life. This is yet another of those movies where frail humans like ourselves go toe-to-toe against our Evil Robot Overlords, and I have to tell you, our prospects are not great. But we might just have a chance. This Swiss science fiction film looks like it has some potential, and I hope I get a chance to check it out on the big screen.
When it comes to programming a swarm of robots, the question has always been do you program from the top down or the bottom up? According to the Technology Review, you no longer have to decide between programming each robot individually or programming the flock as if it were a single entity. Carlo Pinciroli and a collection of his friends and colleagues at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal have come up with Buzz, a programming language that allows you to combine both kinds of commands into a single language. It allows you to tweak the two kinds of command structures to any level of detail you feel is required, and it scales easily to control any size of swarm. If that weren’t enough, they have started building and collecting libraries of program modules of common swarming behavior that researchers and hobbyists can drop into their own programming projects. That means for the first time swarm programmers can actually share their work in a common environment, and not have to be constantly reinventing the wheel someone else already solved.
SIGGRAPH is going on right now, from August 9th to the 13th, and many of us are missing it. Here are a few videos explaining a couple of the tracks. While it isn’t as good as being there, a number of these individual programs will hopefully be captured and uploaded to their official SIGGRAPH You Tube Channel soon. While we wait for that, enjoy these teasers.