RoboEthics

Robotics is rapidly becoming one of the leading fields of science and technology, and very soon humanity is going to coexist with a totally new class of technological artifacts: robots. 'Roboethics' is a term used in regard to the behavior of humans in advanced robotics; how humans design, construct, use and treat robots and other artificially intelligent beings.

Biomedical Engineering professor Bin He and several of his students at the University of Minnesota have created a device that allows the user to control a flying robot by simply projecting their thoughts, taking the robot through a balloon obstacle course. Of course, this development is exciting, especially when it comes to the advances it could make in the medical field for those with physical handicaps.

The technology may someday allow people robbed of speech and mobility by neurodegenerative diseases to regain function by controlling artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or other devices. And it’s completely noninvasive: Brain waves (EEG) are picked up by the electrodes of an EEG cap on the scalp, not a chip implanted in the brain.

A full report on the discovery has been published in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Scientists have taught a group of robots to learn and demonstrate lying strategies.
These strategies were modeled after bird and squirrel behavior, and were demonstrated when Professor Ronald Arkin from Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing had a robot navigate a course to find a hiding spot. Then he sent out a second robot to try to locate the first one, at which point the scientists would reward the winning bot for a job well done.


The bots were supposed to follow a path with preset obstacles that got knocked down as they progressed. One of them ran the course and then the other tried to follow the overturned markers to find the first. The hiding robot learned the system, however, and would deliberately knock over other obstacles just to create a false trail. It would then hide somewhere far away from the mess it had created. It’s a simple tactic, but using it, the hiding droid was able to trick the seeker 75 percent of the time.

Again, that strategy was not programmed into the robot from the start. It’s something it picked up and devised entirely on its own through trial and error.

The experiment is funded by the Office of Naval Research, who are planning on using robots like these to protect ammo and other essential supplies. To avoid any future dystopian outcomes, the developers have set out an Asimovian series of protocols for the robots to fulfill before they can lie. Here they are: The situation has to involve a conflict in which the robot is involved, and the lying robot has to benefit from the deception.
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Scientists have taught a group of robots to learn and demonstrate lying strategies.

These strategies were modeled after bird and squirrel behavior, and were demonstrated when Professor Ronald Arkin from Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing had a robot navigate a course to find a hiding spot. Then he sent out a second robot to try to locate the first one, at which point the scientists would reward the winning bot for a job well done.

The bots were supposed to follow a path with preset obstacles that got knocked down as they progressed. One of them ran the course and then the other tried to follow the overturned markers to find the first. The hiding robot learned the system, however, and would deliberately knock over other obstacles just to create a false trail. It would then hide somewhere far away from the mess it had created. It’s a simple tactic, but using it, the hiding droid was able to trick the seeker 75 percent of the time.

Again, that strategy was not programmed into the robot from the start. It’s something it picked up and devised entirely on its own through trial and error.

The experiment is funded by the Office of Naval Research, who are planning on using robots like these to protect ammo and other essential supplies. To avoid any future dystopian outcomes, the developers have set out an Asimovian series of protocols for the robots to fulfill before they can lie. Here they are: The situation has to involve a conflict in which the robot is involved, and the lying robot has to benefit from the deception.

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A team of researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago demonstrated a type of peripheral interface called targeted muscle re-innervation. By rewiring nerves from amputated limbs, new interfaces allow for prosthetic control with existing muscles. Former Army Staff Sgt. Glen Lehman, injured in Iraq, recently demonstrated improved TMR technology. In this video, Lehman demonstrates simultaneous joint control of a prosthetic arm made possible by support from the RE-NET program.

Researchers at the University of Texas-Austin have managed to programme a supercomputer to demonstrate the effects of schizophrenia.
Called DISCERN, the computer is a neural network: an artificial mind created by simulating human brain connections. To describe the mechanism behind schizophrenia, scientists posited the hyperlearning theory, which states that schizophrenics retain too much information. They learn things they shouldn’t, and can’t keep the information straight.

Scientists then emulated schizophrenia in an artificial intelligence by telling the computer stories, letting it establish relationships between words and events, and allowing it to store them as memories with only the relevant details. Then they amped up the memory encoder, causing it to retain ALL of the details, relevant or not.
The computer lost track of what it was taught and could not relay any coherent narratives. At one point it claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack. It literally told the researchers that it had planted a bomb. The AI did this because it confused a third-person report about a terrorist bombing with a first-person “memory” that it retained. Through a simple computerized misfire, a supercomputer accidentally put itself in the role of a terrorist.

In another example, the computer forgot which entity it was supposed to be anymore, developing a faulty sense of self and talking entirely in third person.
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Researchers at the University of Texas-Austin have managed to programme a supercomputer to demonstrate the effects of schizophrenia.

Called DISCERN, the computer is a neural network: an artificial mind created by simulating human brain connections. To describe the mechanism behind schizophrenia, scientists posited the hyperlearning theory, which states that schizophrenics retain too much information. They learn things they shouldn’t, and can’t keep the information straight.

Scientists then emulated schizophrenia in an artificial intelligence by telling the computer stories, letting it establish relationships between words and events, and allowing it to store them as memories with only the relevant details. Then they amped up the memory encoder, causing it to retain ALL of the details, relevant or not.

The computer lost track of what it was taught and could not relay any coherent narratives. At one point it claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack. It literally told the researchers that it had planted a bomb. The AI did this because it confused a third-person report about a terrorist bombing with a first-person “memory” that it retained. Through a simple computerized misfire, a supercomputer accidentally put itself in the role of a terrorist.

In another example, the computer forgot which entity it was supposed to be anymore, developing a faulty sense of self and talking entirely in third person.

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An international team of researchers have created the first telescopic contact lens; a contact lens that, when it’s equipped, gives you the power to zoom your vision almost three times. Yes, this is the first ever example of a bionic eye that effectively gives you Superman-like eagle-eye vision.
The telescopic contact lens has two very distinct regions. The center of the lens allows light to pass straight through, providing normal vision. The outside edge, however, acts as a telescope capable of magnifying your sight by 2.8x. This is about the same as looking through a 100mm lens on a DSLR. For comparison, a pair of bird-watching binoculars might have a magnification of 15x.
The main breakthrough is that this telescopic contact lens is just 1.17mm thick, allowing it to be comfortably worn. Other attempts at granting telescopic vision have included: a 4.4mm-thick contact lens (too thick for real-world use), telescopic spectacles (cumbersome and ugly), and most recently a telescopic lens implanted into the eye itself.
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An international team of researchers have created the first telescopic contact lens; a contact lens that, when it’s equipped, gives you the power to zoom your vision almost three times. Yes, this is the first ever example of a bionic eye that effectively gives you Superman-like eagle-eye vision.

The telescopic contact lens has two very distinct regions. The center of the lens allows light to pass straight through, providing normal vision. The outside edge, however, acts as a telescope capable of magnifying your sight by 2.8x. This is about the same as looking through a 100mm lens on a DSLR. For comparison, a pair of bird-watching binoculars might have a magnification of 15x.

The main breakthrough is that this telescopic contact lens is just 1.17mm thick, allowing it to be comfortably worn. Other attempts at granting telescopic vision have included: a 4.4mm-thick contact lens (too thick for real-world use), telescopic spectacles (cumbersome and ugly), and most recently a telescopic lens implanted into the eye itself.

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At the University of Wyoming, scientists are working to modify a group of silkworms to produce silk that is, weight for weight, stronger than steel. The eventual aim is to produce silk from worms that has the toughness of spider silk. However, it is unfeasible to “farm” spiders for the commercial production of their silk because the arachnids don’t produce enough of it - silk worms, however, are easy to farm and produce vast amounts of silk, but the material is fragile.
Researchers have tried for years to get the best of both worlds - super-strong silk in industrial quantities - by transplanting genes from spiders into worms. But the resulting genetically modified worms have not produced enough spider silk until now. GM worms produced by a team led by Professor Don Jarvis of Wyoming University seem to be producing a composite of worm and spider silk in large amounts - which the researchers say is just as tough as spider silk.
Different groups hope to benefit from the super-strength silk, including stronger sutures for the medical community, a biodegradable alternative to plastics, and even lightweight armor for military purposes.

At the University of Wyoming, scientists are working to modify a group of silkworms to produce silk that is, weight for weight, stronger than steel. The eventual aim is to produce silk from worms that has the toughness of spider silk. However, it is unfeasible to “farm” spiders for the commercial production of their silk because the arachnids don’t produce enough of it - silk worms, however, are easy to farm and produce vast amounts of silk, but the material is fragile.

Researchers have tried for years to get the best of both worlds - super-strong silk in industrial quantities - by transplanting genes from spiders into worms. But the resulting genetically modified worms have not produced enough spider silk until now. GM worms produced by a team led by Professor Don Jarvis of Wyoming University seem to be producing a composite of worm and spider silk in large amounts - which the researchers say is just as tough as spider silk.

Different groups hope to benefit from the super-strength silk, including stronger sutures for the medical community, a biodegradable alternative to plastics, and even lightweight armor for military purposes.

The D-Shape printer, created by Enrico Dini, is capable of printing a two-story building, complete with rooms, stairs, pipes, and partitions in one session. Using nothing but sand and an inorganic binding compound, the resulting material has the same durability as reinforced concrete, but with the look of marble. The building process takes approximately a fourth of the time as traditional buildings, and can be built without specialist knowledge or skill sets, making it ideal for producing accommodation for third world developing countries.

The D-Shape printer, created by Enrico Dini, is capable of printing a two-story building, complete with rooms, stairs, pipes, and partitions in one session. Using nothing but sand and an inorganic binding compound, the resulting material has the same durability as reinforced concrete, but with the look of marble. The building process takes approximately a fourth of the time as traditional buildings, and can be built without specialist knowledge or skill sets, making it ideal for producing accommodation for third world developing countries.

Using relatively inexpensive materials, low-cost engineering and simple manufacturing processes, Daniel G. Nocera has created the world’s first practical artificial leaf. The self-contained units mimic the process of photosynthesis, but the end result is hydrogen instead of oxygen. The hydrogen can then be captured into fuel cells and used for electricity, even in the most remote locations on Earth, which until now has relied on metals like platinum and manufacturing processes that make them cost-prohibitive.

Using relatively inexpensive materials, low-cost engineering and simple manufacturing processes, Daniel G. Nocera has created the world’s first practical artificial leaf. The self-contained units mimic the process of photosynthesis, but the end result is hydrogen instead of oxygen. The hydrogen can then be captured into fuel cells and used for electricity, even in the most remote locations on Earth, which until now has relied on metals like platinum and manufacturing processes that make them cost-prohibitive.

Two blind men in the U.K. were fitted with eye implants during an eight-hour surgery with promising results. The device is a chip similar to the camera in a mobile phone and contains 1,500 light-sensitive elements that replace the damaged cells in the patient’s eye. The operation begins with a power supply being implanted under the skin behind the ear. Surgeons then implant the 3mm-by-3mm chip through a small flap in the delicate retina at the back of the eye.
After years of blindness, both patients had regained vision within 15 hours, and ‘useful’ vision within weeks, picking up the outlines of objects and dreaming in color. Doctors expect continued improvement as their brains rewire themselves for sight.

Two blind men in the U.K. were fitted with eye implants during an eight-hour surgery with promising results. The device is a chip similar to the camera in a mobile phone and contains 1,500 light-sensitive elements that replace the damaged cells in the patient’s eye. The operation begins with a power supply being implanted under the skin behind the ear. Surgeons then implant the 3mm-by-3mm chip through a small flap in the delicate retina at the back of the eye.

After years of blindness, both patients had regained vision within 15 hours, and ‘useful’ vision within weeks, picking up the outlines of objects and dreaming in color. Doctors expect continued improvement as their brains rewire themselves for sight.

Microsoft has filed a patent for a future-generation gaming system not dissimilar to Star Trek’s Holodeck. Drawings from the patent show a game being projected on the walls of a room, extending the edge of a display beyond the television.

The patent describes a way to create “an immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user”. Accounting for things such as furniture and bending the graphics around them to create a seamless environment, it could allow users to see enemies sneaking up behind them by physically turning around, and tp also allow the player to aim off-screen.

Microsoft has filed a patent for a future-generation gaming system not dissimilar to Star Trek’s Holodeck. Drawings from the patent show a game being projected on the walls of a room, extending the edge of a display beyond the television.

The patent describes a way to create “an immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user”. Accounting for things such as furniture and bending the graphics around them to create a seamless environment, it could allow users to see enemies sneaking up behind them by physically turning around, and tp also allow the player to aim off-screen.

DARPA’s Pet-Proto, a predecessor to DARPA’s Atlas robot, is now able to make judgements and decisions in approaching challenging terrain such as stairs, high ledges, and pits. To maneuver over and around the obstacles, the robot exercises capabilities including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity. It is being developed for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which will test these and other capabilities in a series of tasks that will simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment. Teams participating in Tracks B and C of the DRC will compete for access to a modified version of the Atlas robot for use in the 2013 and 2014 live disaster-response challenge events.

8bitfuture:

Sensory feedback technology could make a touchscreen feel like anything.
Disney Research (yes that’s a real thing!) have shown off their new technology which can make any surface capable of conducting electricity feel like various other textures. The ‘Revel’ system - or Reverse Electrovibration - sends a weak current through the users skin, creating an “oscillating electrostatic field” around it.

When the electrically-charged user comes into contact with any object connected to the same ground as the Revel signal, the electrical potential difference between the finger and the electrode generates an electrostatic attraction force that creates a sensation of friction between finger and object. By varying the signal properties such as frequency or amplitude, the system can manipulate different tactile experiences.

While the system relies on electrical conductivity to work, almost any other surface could in theory be converted to do so, using a layer of conductive paint with a thin layer of insulating varnish on top.

Reblogged from 8bitfuture

8bitfuture:

Sensory feedback technology could make a touchscreen feel like anything.

Disney Research (yes that’s a real thing!) have shown off their new technology which can make any surface capable of conducting electricity feel like various other textures. The ‘Revel’ system - or Reverse Electrovibration - sends a weak current through the users skin, creating an “oscillating electrostatic field” around it.

When the electrically-charged user comes into contact with any object connected to the same ground as the Revel signal, the electrical potential difference between the finger and the electrode generates an electrostatic attraction force that creates a sensation of friction between finger and object. By varying the signal properties such as frequency or amplitude, the system can manipulate different tactile experiences.

While the system relies on electrical conductivity to work, almost any other surface could in theory be converted to do so, using a layer of conductive paint with a thin layer of insulating varnish on top.

The PaPeRo (which stands for Partner-Type Personal Robot), has been researched and developed with the intent to be a partner with human beings and its being able to live together with them. For this reason, it has various basic functions for the purpose of interacting with people.
PaPeRo is a little helper during the day and can play games with people. When asked questions like “Is today a good day for a date?”, or “Is today a good day for a drive?”, PaPeRo will connect to the internet, obtain a weather report or information about a person’s fortune and then say if today is a “recommended day.” If PaPeRo is in a good mood, it will dance to please people. Basically, PaPeRo has a cheerful character that enjoys speaking with people, but will change depending on the way it interacts with people. Changes in character are expressed by the way it speaks, its voice quality, its music, and the way it moves. Here are PaPeRo’s representative characters.
Leader PaPeRo— This character was developed first. It is easy going and does what it likes. It likes talking with people and is good at imitation and dancing. It dances according to its mood, adapting to the march, which is the theme music for Leader PaPeRo. A cute voice and manner of speaking are special features.
Knowledgeable PaPeRo— This character will inform people of various information on the Internet. It will not say what it likes or dislikes, but people can interpret its feelings from its slight gestures. If people speak to it in any way they wish, it will sulk or become naughty. PaPeRo talks in a polite manner using speech synthesis.
Dancing PaPeRo— This character is a little bit headstrong, but really likes to dance and is happy if people praise it. It has different theme music than Leader PaPeRo and has a specialty dance that it matches to the music. Using speech syntheses it talks in a friendly tone of voice.
Lazy PaPeRo— If people do not interact with PaPeRo, it will become lazy. If people answer its questions and set it up properly, it will become serious.
Computer PaPeRo— This character does what people say, but does not speak to people. If treated affectionately, such as praising it or rubbing it, PaPeRo will move around and talk to people. Like robots in the old days, it will speak in a monotonous voice.
He also looks for his charging station and docks himself when his battery’s low, and comes back out renewed and refreshed. Apparently he also tells fortunes, asks riddles and impersonates motorcycles, space aliens, a pot of ramen, and the vacuum cleaner. He’s also, on occasion, been known to do the bunny hop.

The PaPeRo (which stands for Partner-Type Personal Robot), has been researched and developed with the intent to be a partner with human beings and its being able to live together with them. For this reason, it has various basic functions for the purpose of interacting with people.

PaPeRo is a little helper during the day and can play games with people. When asked questions like “Is today a good day for a date?”, or “Is today a good day for a drive?”, PaPeRo will connect to the internet, obtain a weather report or information about a person’s fortune and then say if today is a “recommended day.” If PaPeRo is in a good mood, it will dance to please people. Basically, PaPeRo has a cheerful character that enjoys speaking with people, but will change depending on the way it interacts with people. Changes in character are expressed by the way it speaks, its voice quality, its music, and the way it moves. Here are PaPeRo’s representative characters.

Leader PaPeRo— This character was developed first. It is easy going and does what it likes. It likes talking with people and is good at imitation and dancing. It dances according to its mood, adapting to the march, which is the theme music for Leader PaPeRo. A cute voice and manner of speaking are special features.

Knowledgeable PaPeRo— This character will inform people of various information on the Internet. It will not say what it likes or dislikes, but people can interpret its feelings from its slight gestures. If people speak to it in any way they wish, it will sulk or become naughty. PaPeRo talks in a polite manner using speech synthesis.

Dancing PaPeRo— This character is a little bit headstrong, but really likes to dance and is happy if people praise it. It has different theme music than Leader PaPeRo and has a specialty dance that it matches to the music. Using speech syntheses it talks in a friendly tone of voice.

Lazy PaPeRo— If people do not interact with PaPeRo, it will become lazy. If people answer its questions and set it up properly, it will become serious.

Computer PaPeRo— This character does what people say, but does not speak to people. If treated affectionately, such as praising it or rubbing it, PaPeRo will move around and talk to people. Like robots in the old days, it will speak in a monotonous voice.

He also looks for his charging station and docks himself when his battery’s low, and comes back out renewed and refreshed. Apparently he also tells fortunes, asks riddles and impersonates motorcycles, space aliens, a pot of ramen, and the vacuum cleaner. He’s also, on occasion, been known to do the bunny hop.

The five-inch, 11 pound ApriPoko android will control all of your home electronics. He learns by watching your every move and asking you questions. Programmed to be fairly smart, he’ll wait until you use a controller for your electronics, then ask you what you were doing: the next time you want to perform the same action, you just have to tell ApriPoko to do it for you. He’s even equipped with a camera to identify users, presumably to learn their habits.

The five-inch, 11 pound ApriPoko android will control all of your home electronics. He learns by watching your every move and asking you questions. Programmed to be fairly smart, he’ll wait until you use a controller for your electronics, then ask you what you were doing: the next time you want to perform the same action, you just have to tell ApriPoko to do it for you. He’s even equipped with a camera to identify users, presumably to learn their habits.

Reblogged from cornetespoire

Live2D 

Japanese software technology turns 2D drawing into interactive 3D content for use with touchscreen devices - via DigInfo (video embedded below):

Live2D, developed by Cybernoids, is the world’s first drawing technology to enable 3D rendering of 2D images. This technology supports a variety of portable consoles and smartphones, and Live2D is already being utilized for games that take advantage of the unique characteristics of hand drawn artwork.

“In 3D, the unique attractions of 2D art like Osamu Tezuka’s can’t be rendered properly. But with Live2D, we’ve worked to enable smooth 3D motion using entirely the original 2D drawings. So, this system makes the graphics appear exactly as the creator intended.”

“When the face turns sideways, you can show perfectly how the eyelashes and eyes move. You can also use the tools to work more easily and efficiently. This can be done in all kinds of ways, with all kinds of emphasis, depending on what the creator wants to do. This technology is an extension of drawing, so it works best if the creator has a good artistic sense.”

More at DigInfo here