Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook

Bots Raise Their Heads Again on Facebook - New York Times

Photo: Kimihiro Hoshino/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The company, called Limited Run, helps bands and record labels sell music and merchandise online. It bought advertisements for itself on Facebook this spring. It wanted to know who was clicking, so it built its own analytics tool. It discovered that only one in five clicks seemed to be from human beings. The rest, it said, came from bots, which, in essence, are bits of software performing automated tasks.” (Somini Sengupta, NYTimes.com Bits)

The Industrial Robot Revolution

Stand-alone and embedded industrial robots are taking their place alongside humans

“One small step for man, a giant leap for robot-kind.  NASA recently launched Curiosity, the newest rover to explore Mars. Curiosity is a supercharged robot that can collect, analyze and transmit data about the experience on the Red Planet using environmental sensors, radiation monitors, chemistry instruments and more.  And although the project’s price tag – $2.5 billion – might seem staggering, it’s a clear statement to the world that the future is in robotics. A message that is not lost here on Earth.” (Sandra Gittlen, Network World)

(Note: The article is about more than just $2.5 billion dollar robots…)

Drones: Coming Soon to a Sky Near You?

BROOKE GLADSTONE:

The Gatewing, you said, is illegal in the United States, as opposed to this little Parrot AR thing that sold at Brookstone.

MATT WAITE:

Which is only slightly legal. The law, as it stands right now, is that remote control aircraft pilots can’t fly near people or go above 400 feet. They also cannot use them for commercial purposes. Journalism is considered a commercial purpose.

The law has not caught up to the fact that there are these inexpensive aircraft that can do commercial things. And there are industries that are just waiting to jump in and make a lot of money doing this.  Agriculture, oil and gas – everybody is really interested to hear what the FAA has to say this month. (OnTheMedia)

 

Leaping lizards and dinosaurs inspire robot design

” ‘We showed for the first time that lizards swing their tail up or down to counteract the rotation of their body, keeping them stable,’ said team leader Robert J. Full, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. ‘Inspiration from lizard tails will likely lead to far more agile search-and-rescue robots, as well as ones having greater capability to more rapidly detect chemical, biological or nuclear hazards.’ ” (Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley)

Robot videojournalist uses cuteness to get vox pops

“However, as any journalist on a vox-pop assignment soon finds out, people can be cranky – and Boxie took its share of abuse from the public. Force sensors in the robot recorded that it had suffered violent shaking – or been thrown to the ground – a number of times. So the researchers have some advice for future builders of robotic reporters: ‘Try not to be annoying.’ ” (Paul Marks, New Scientist)

Kilobots are leaving the nest

Kilobots are leaving the nest

Photo courtesy of Michael Rubenstein

“One key to achieving high-value applications for multi-robot systems in the future is the development of sophisticated algorithms that can coordinate the actions of tens to thousands of robots. ‘The Kilobot will provide researchers with an important new tool for understanding how to design and build large, distributed, functional systems,’ says Michael Mitzenmacher, Area Dean for Computer Science at SEAS. ‘Plus,’ he adds, ‘tiny robots are really cool!’ ” (Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)