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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Understanding and Improving Scene Recognition

The first layers (1 and 2) of a neural network trained to classify scenes seem to be tuned to geometric patterns of increasing complexity, but the higher layers (3 and 4) appear to be picking out particular classes of objects. Photo courtesy of the researchers.

Scene recognition and object recognition systems could work in tandem, according to a paper presented last weekend at the International Conference on Learning Representations. In fact, the researchers believe that one might reinforce the other. The findings come after researchers created the most successful scene classification …

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Super Awesome Sylvia’s WaterColorBot 2.0

Need an extra copy of your latest vector image? WaterColorBot 2.0 can paint lots of identical copies for you. (Photo credit: Evil Mad Scientist.)

This artistic CNC machine can work in two ways: it can paint based on completed vector artwork, or work along with you as you sketch. It can use a variety of mediums too, including pens, pencils and watercolor paints. Two little motors built into the wooden …

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Coming Soon: Superintelligence

In Daniel Wilson’s book, Robopocalypse, Archos is the supremely intelligent sentient being unwittingly unleashed upon the world. He is self-aware, self- improving and bent on his own self-preservation and destroying humankind.

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Higher Level Thinking Enabled for Underwater Robots

A Slocum glider navigates underwater using the Enterprise system. (Photo credit: Enterprise Research Team)

Programming underwater robots can be a tedious task. Engineers have to break down missions into small, simple tasks, and then write scripts for each low-level command. Now a new approach, developed by researchers at MIT, will enable the robots to figure out more on their own. …

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What Will You Do With A Nine Dollar Computer?

Chip is a small but mighty platform for projects that require Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity. (Photo credit: Next Thing Co.)

Meet Chip: a new computer perfect for tinkerers that’s cheaper and more powerful than a Raspberry Pi B+. For just $9, you get a pocket-sized board with a 1GHz processor with WiFi and Bluetooth, 4 GB storage and 512 MB RAM. Chip can also work with …

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HUZZAH ESP8266 Breakout Makes Adding WiFi Easy

Add WiFi to your next robot with the HUZZAH ESP8266 breakout. Of course, the board includes a certified ESP8266 module with an onboard antenna. But there’s a lot of other features crammed on to the 1 inch by 1.5 inch board which make working ESP8266 much …

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A Soft Material that Moves When Exposed to Light Could be Ideal for Robotics

When exposed to non-uniform light, the SP-BZ gel moves. This diagram shows how the material moves over time when only the ends are exposed to light. (Photo Credit: University of Pittsburgh)

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have designed a synthetic polymer gel that can generate enough chemical energy to shape-shift and propel itself forward. The researchers modeled their research after the single-celled organism euglena mutabilis, which processes energy to expand and contract …

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VeeaR’s 3.0 Voice Recognition Module and Shield Available

Interact with your robots in a new way using the EasyVR 3.0 system. (Photo credit VeeaR.)

Give your robot the power of voice recognition with the EasyVR 3.0 shield and module. These small, inexpensive boards make it possible to enhance an Arduino project so that it responds to voice commands. (The module plugs into shield, which plugs into an Arduino.) The system …

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Robot Takes a Walk in a Lumpy Garden, Endures Barrage of Balls

Researchers lob balls at ATRIAS to test its balance. (Photo credit: Oregon State University.)

Researchers at Oregon State University took their two-legged robot out for a field test last week, in an actual field. The ground selected was intentionally uneven, to see if the robot, named ATRIAS, would be able to keep its balance while walking about 3 miles per …

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Stanford’s Small But Powerful Microtugs

Stanford's super strong MicroTugs were inspired by geckos and ants. (Photo credit: Karen Ladenheim)

Imagine a human capable of pulling a whale. Tiny robots called Microtugs now exist with similar superpowers. Researchers at Stanford have created small robots than can apply orders of magnitude more force than they weigh. The team plans to present its work next month at the …

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Makeblock’s New, Inexpensive Robot for Kids

The mBot the perfect choice for kids who need an fun, easy to assemble robot and want to learn basic programming skills. (Photo credit: Makeblock.)

Makeblock’s mBot is perfect for STEM educators with a limited budget. It has a multitude of inputs on board, including a light sensor, ultrasonic sensor, line following sensors, a button, and an infrared receiver. The robot also includes an RGB LED, a buzzer, and two motor …

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Practical Electronics for Inventors

Spark your creativity and gain the electronics skills required to transform your innovative ideas into functioning gadgets. This hands-on, updated guide outlines electrical principles and provides thorough, easy-to-follow instructions, schematics, and illustrations.

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Flowstone Workshop 18


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