11 August 2014

Transformers robots in disguise

Some very cool advances in technology I thought I'd post on today.

1. Origami Robots:
These crazy self-folding/self-constructing robots are inspired by Origami.
Check out the video.
Prof Wood, who is also part of Harvard's Wyss Institute for biologically inspired design said there were a huge number of applications for devices that self-fold.
"Imagine self-deploying structures - maybe shelters or structures for space exploration or for satellites," he told BBC News.
"Things where the logistics are difficult, like humanitarian aid in war zones."  "
2. Computer Chip full of artificial neurons.
Computer are fast when it comes to a lot of calculations, but there are some things the human brain can do better, but it maybe we are about to be outstripped.
I'm going to give a longer quote here: "Part of the reason is that both the architecture and behavior of neurons and transistors are radically different. It's possible to program software that incorporates neuron-like behavior, but the underlying mismatch makes the software relatively inefficient. 
   A team of scientists at Cornell University and IBM Research have gotten together to design a chip that's fundamentally different: an asynchronous collection of thousands of small processing cores, each capable of the erratic spikes of activity and complicated connections that are typical of neural behavior. When hosting a neural network, the chip is remarkably power efficient. And the researchers say their architecture can scale arbitrarily large, raising the prospect of a neural network supercomputer.

Conclusion: Together these things give the Transformers. Maybe one day we really will see Bumblebee and Optimus Prime - the thinking self-constructing robots of fiction could be made real.