IF EVER a technology were ripe for disruption, it is the microscope. Benchtop microscopes have remained essentially unchanged since the 19th century—their shape a cartoonist’s cliché of science akin to alchemical glassware and Bunsen burners. And that lack of change has costs. Microscopes are expensive (several hundred dollars for a reasonable one) and need to be serviced and maintained. Unfortunately, one important use of them is in poor-world laboratories and clinics, for identifying pathogens, and such places often have small budgets and lack suitably trained technicians. (via Cheap microscopes: Yours to cut out and keep | The Economist)
[The U.S. Navy’s] latest weapon is an electromagnetic railgun launcher. It uses a form of electromagnetic energy known as the Lorentz force to hurl a 23-pound projectile at speeds exceeding Mach 7. Engineers already have tested this futuristic weapon on land, and the Navy plans to begin sea trials aboard a Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket in 2016.
Would You Do as a Robot Commands? An Obedience Study for Human - Robot Interaction
Snip from Fast Co:
In the future, we will have robot overlords. This uncomfortable experiment (captured in hilarious video) shows just how easily humans will roll over when we work for the machines.
University of Manitoba:
Would you do as a robot commands? Robots are beginning to play a larger role in society, finding their way into hospitals, the military, and our daily lives; it’s not too far off to think that they may one day be put in positions of authority over people. We know all to well the dark side of authority from classical psychology experiments such as the Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments, but one question remains: can the authority figure effect apply to robots as well as people? As a preliminary study we decided to test this theory out; we had our robot pressure participants to continue a highly tedious (and unpleasant) task, and compared the results to having a human experimenter. Did they obey the robot? Check out the paper and project video to find out!
German researchers have developed a robot that mimics the simple nervous system used for olfactory learning in the honeybee, using color instead of odors. The researchers have installed a camera on a small robotic vehicle connected to a computer. The computer program replicates, in a simplified way, the sensorimotor neural network of the insect brain and operates the motors of the robot wheels to control its motion and direction based on the colors.
Description from the FU Berlin Team on Youtube:
Here, we present a robotic platform designed for implementing and testing spiking neural network control architectures. We demonstrate a neuromorphic realtime approach to sensory processing, reward-based associative plasticity and behavioral control. This is inspired by the biological mechanisms underlying rapid associative learning and the formation of distributed memories in the insect.
Additional material for the paper : Conditioned behavior in a robot controlled by a spiking neural network Lovísa Irpa Helgadottir , Joachim Haenicke, Tim Landgraf, Raul Rojas and Martin P Nawrot (Submitted 2013)