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Japanese robot trolls humans at rock-paper-scissors, sadly wasn't named the UMADBRO 9000 (video)

28 июня 2012 | robots
Japanese robot trolls humans at rock-paper-scissors, sadly wasn't named the UMADBRO 9000 (video)

Japan got itself in the good graces of many a Futurama fan after creating Bender's ancestor. Then again, another Japanese robotic creation -- one that specializes in rock, paper, scissors -- may actually have more in common with the morally questionable, beer-guzzling bot. That's because this sneaky little future overlord wins 100 percent of its matches by using an oh-so human trait known as cheating. See, the researchers at the University of Tokyo's 4chan, er, Ishikawa Oku Laboratory programmed the "Janken" robot to recognize its human opponent's hand shape and counter it within a millisecond. Adding to the troll factor is the fact that it was unwittingly named the "Human-Machine Cooperation System" because, well, it needs the cooperation of some poor human sap to work its magic. The achievement joins other man-versus-machine milestones, including losses by humans in chess and shogi. Of course, the question now is, what happens if you pit two "Janken" machines against each other?

Keio University's Kinect-based Haptic VR system lets you roll your own face flat (video)

26 июня 2012 | Kinect
Keio University's Kinect-based Haptic VR system lets you roll your own face flat (video)

A research team at Keio University has built a fun haptic virtual reality system that enables you to manipulate pictures with a rolling pin. A vertically mounted Kinect takes a 3D image that is then displayed on the projection surface. Using the rolling pin, the image can be rolled over and flattened as if it was dough -- with a series of motor cranks inside the implement to replicate the necessary feedback so you can feel what it'd be like to iron out your own face. It's been designed as a modern-day update to the penny-squashing machines you found in theme parks, except with slightly more grotesqueness. You can watch the face-mashing in glorious color after the break.

ViewSonic VP3280-LED 31.5-inch 4K monitor prototype hands-on (5 pics + video)

6 июня 2012 | 4k
ViewSonic VP3280-LED 31.5-inch 4K monitor prototype hands-on (5 pics + video)

Would you rather own a mid-range car, or a 31.5-inch 4K monitor? That might not seem like a terribly difficult call, but after seeing ViewSonic's 150 ppi prototype at Computex, we're not so sure we'd go with the car. Hidden beneath a nondescript engineering case a few feet away from the company's 22-inch ICS "tablet" was one of the most impressive 4K displays we've seen. The ViewSonic VP3280-LED features a 31.5-inch LCD panel, packing 8.8 million pixels for a total density of 150 pixels-per-inch. That means incredibly sharp images and vibrant frames -- the display is capable of 10-bit 1.07 billion-color presentation. A relatively small footprint means you could realistically pack 3840 x 2160 pixels on your desk, with a bit of room to spare.

Lian-Li designs a moving train PC case, makes plugging in a challenge (video)

31 мая 2012 | Lian-Li
Lian-Li designs a moving train PC case, makes plugging in a challenge (video)

Lian-Li is a fan of odd-looking PC cases, but the boxes have usually had a tendency to remain stationary. The CK-101 takes away that one certainty: the design stuffs a fully functioning PC case with hard drive bays, a slim optical drive and USB 3.0 ports into an on-the-move model of a steam engine train. There's more than a few questions about how it works -- including whether or not it needs a battery to stay rolling, and just what's generating the 'steam' -- but it's already apparent from the video (below) that wired peripherals won't be much fun if you're chasing your computer down the tracks. There's a chance that Lian-Li will be selling a considerably more fixed-in-place version; we'll know more when the CK-101 is shown off at Computex in early June, where there will also be a show-specific, SUV-like Q15 case to sate your appetite for very literal car computers.


Volvo's driverless road train in Spain is public mainly on the plain (video)

29 мая 2012 | Volvo
Volvo's driverless road train in Spain is public mainly on the plain (video)
It's been awhile since we saw Volvo's SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project, which was last running out of harm's way on a test track near Gothenburg. Volvo has just taken a big step forward in fostering confidence by conducting its road train on public asphalt. The 124-mile Spanish test both proved that the cars could stay driverless without posing a threat and upped the ante for what the cars could do: the lead truck, an S60, a V60 and an XC60 all moved along at a brisk 53MPH with a tighter gap between vehicles than there was in the original test, at just 20 feet. SARTRE was so successful in the public run that Volvo is now focusing on far less contentious issues -- like making sure fuel use drops by the promised 20 percent. There's still the looming question of making a viable business model, though Volvo's dream if realized will make sure no driverless car has to go solo.


Insert Coin: CordLite illuminated iPhone cable (video)

21 мая 2012 | apple
Insert Coin: CordLite illuminated iPhone cable (video)
On average, North American consumers will spend a lifetime total of five days on failed attempts to pair their dock connector cable with an iPad or iPhone. Yeah, that's not true, but we can certainly sympathize with frustrated device owners -- fitting a tiny connector to any gadget can be a chore, especially in the dark. Scrap Pile Labs' CordLite sets out to point the way to a successful connection with its built-in LEDs. The illuminated cable is quite simple to use -- with no buttons or switches to fuss with, the connector lights up when you touch the aluminum plates, and powers off the moment it's secured to your device. There's really not much else to it -- CordLite functions identically to an Apple-manufactured cable, though the dock connector itself is significant larger than the OEM variety, at least in its current prototype form.

Juggling Robot Takes on Two Balls With One Very Fast Hand (video)

17 мая 2012 | robots
Juggling Robot Takes on Two Balls With One Very Fast Hand (video)

This high-speed hand and arm combination is coupled to an even higher speed vision system that allows the robot’s controller to plan for catches and throws (up to nearly 2 meters in height) at a leisurely 500 frames per second. The hand has three fingers with two or three degrees of freedom each, while the arm has seven more (although not all of them are being utilized). To be clear, the system isn’t just doing a repetitive motion that results in a series of actions that mimic a juggling behavior: the balls are being tracked through the air, and a series of throwing calculations are made for each and every cycle.

Bots Destroying Appliances: Systematic Annihilation of Helpless Objects Via Robot (video)

16 мая 2012 | robots
Bots Destroying Appliances: Systematic Annihilation of Helpless Objects Via Robot  (video)

When it comes to the subject of hacking, we all have different ideas of what is the coolest. Some prefer bits and solder, some prefer hammers and fire. [Justin Gray] has built a name for himself doing a broad mixture of the two. Mainly known for his fire sculpture bots, [justin] also has a fab shop where he builds electric motorcycles.
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