A team of robotics engineers working in the Personal Robotics Lab at Cornell University (led by Ashutosh Saxena) has developed a new way to give robots a context-sensitive way to organize a room. Instead of providing the robots with a map, the researchers instead cause the robot to “imagine” how a human being would use objects in a room and then to place them accordingly.
Traditional programming for robots has relied on providing clear instructions on what they are supposed to do—pick something up from one place and put it down in another, for example. To get a robot to engage in activities that require some degree of intuition, however, would mean giving them some means for doing so. One example would be to ask a robot to enter a room, note objects on a table, and ask that they be arranged on a desk for use by a person. To arrange objects in a way that makes sense to a human being requires some understanding of how people operate. To do that, the Cornell team gave a test robot a means for imagining what a person would look like in the room while using a set of objects.
As an example, the researchers programmed a robot to pick up a coffee mug and computer mouse from a table and place them on a desk in what would seem the most logical positions based on human behavior. To do that, they gave the robot what they call “an ability to hallucinate” humans into the room—the robot “brain” overlays images of stick figure humans onto images of the room. Various poses are considered while the robot “imagines” how a human might make the best use of the mouse and mug. Based on this process, the robot then placed the mouse just to the right of the keyboard (because the average person is right handed) and the mug a little ways back—within reach, but not so close it might get knocked over unintentionally. The approach mimics what a human would likely do given the same instructions, of course, and that is exactly the point.
A snap of a finger, a handful of scattered microphones and a computer algorithm are all it takes to create an accurate three-dimensional map of a room
According to a new study in Science, some roaches’ tastes are evolving to the point where they’re refusing to gobble down glucose, a form of sugar commonly found in plants. “They now perceive glucose as bitter,” says Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University and one of the report’s authors. And while that might sound like good news for the roach-infested, it’s not: sucrose is the key attractant used in roach traps — and many of the nasty little creatures are no longer interested.
How did this happen? Turns out it may be our fault.
When prehistoric roaches lived in the wild, experts have theorized, it made sense to be glucose-averse—that mutation helped them avoid glucosides, or toxic glucose-containing molecules found in certain plants. “They’re nasty substances,” says Schal.
But when cockroaches joined us in caves, and ultimately in homes—away from the threat of glucosides—“they would have lost this trait, because it became maladaptive,” says Schal. Regular sugar, after all, is a highly concentrated source of energy, and if roaches were wired to avoid it, their odds of survival would drop. “If you brought them a Krispy Kreme donut,” Schal explains, “they couldn’t eat it.”
The mutation remained in the genome, though. And when humans began putting glucose in roach poison, we reactivated it—so much so that when some roaches now taste sugar, Schal says, “they jump back as though you’ve given them an electric shock.”
If you look at a cylindrical block from the bottom, you see a circle. If you look at it from the side you see a square.
Imagine a cylindrical block that is spinning around amazingly fast. When you look at it, it stops spinning and snaps into either a circle or a square.
This is similar to how a qubit will behave. Whereas a normal bit has a value of either one or zero. A qubit is both. A qubit has some amount of one and some amount of zero, however when you measure it the qubit will always snap into a one or zero. These measurements are probabilistic and will not be the same each time.
USB Drives have a quantum spin of 1/2 and exist in the fourth dimension
Temporary tattoos could make electronic telepathy and telekinesis possible
Temporary electronic tattoos could soon help people fly drones with only thought and talk seemingly telepathically without speech over smartphones, researchers say. Electrical engineer Todd Coleman at the University of California at San Diego is devising noninvasive means of controlling machines via the mind, techniques virtually everyone might be able to use.
Full Story: Io9
This is the world’s smallest snowman - at 10 micrometres across, it’s only 1/5th the width of a human hair. The tiny guy was made from two tin beads used to calibrate electron microscope astigmatism. The eyes and smile were milled using a focused ion beam, and the nose, which is under 1 µm wide (or 0.001 mm), is ion beam deposited platinum.
How do blackholes affect light?
Assuming we could get close enough to a blackhole without dying, how would it affect what the surroundings look like? How will the bending of light impact what we see?
The reddit user, entropyjump, synthesized what a blackhole would look like (before it sucked up a bunch of stuff). Watch the video and read the below description:
The youtube movie shows a simulated view of a small black hole, if it were suspended in the air about a meter away from the camera. I wrote the simulation in Python, and used a spherical panorama image available online. In the movie clip, the camera is orbiting the black hole to show what the environment looks like as light is traveling through strongly curved spacetime close to the black hole. In some movie frames, a so-called ‘Einstein ring’ can be seen: this feature appears when there is an object exactly behind the black hole as seen by the camera. Light from this object passes around all sides of the black hole on its way toward us, forming a ring around its shadow.Although this black hole is tiny (it has a Schwarzschild radius of about 1.8 centimeters), its mass is about twice that of Earth. Such a black hole would wreak havoc on our planet if it were to come in the vicinity of Earth. So, this is just a visualization of how light would behave close to it, and not a full physical simulation of the other effects the black hole might have on its environment.