Robotic Exoskeleton to Enhance Soldiers

I recently ran across this interesting video during one of my many sessions with StumbleUpon. The video via GeeksAreSexy (shown after the “more”) demonstrates a guy in a robotic exoskeleton performing a variety of tasks to demonstrate the strength of the device. This was a weird coincidence because I was in the process of reading Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. His Mobile Infantry armor was much more elaborate, but I’m always interested when things from science fiction start to become science fact.

I was a bit skeptical of the cable hooked up to the back, because that didn’t seem very “portable,” but the video goes on to explain that the final version will be 100% portable with varying levels of armor protection. What is most interesting is that they talk about the goal of making the exoskeleton operate as an autonomous robot when the person steps out of the suit. I’m sure lots of research will have to be completed before the programming of such a robot would be possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you are a human * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Post

New advances in Nanotechnology, should we be excited or scared?New advances in Nanotechnology, should we be excited or scared?

I have been interested nanotechnology, or nanoscience as this video refers to it, for a very long time. If you have heard about nanotech, but haven’t seen any visuals, I highly recommend this video. It touches on properties at the nano scale both in nature and how we are developing our own new materials. They also touch on the development of nano machines. What worries me is for nanotech to become useful, they will probably have to develop self-replicating machines.

In one of my reviews a few years ago for The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, he writes about Matter Compilers, usually referred to as an M.C. for short. That’s great right? We can just make whatever we want, any time we want! There are also little battles between autonomous nanobots called mites that break out. If I remember correctly, these massive battles on the nano scale result in a type of dust that pollutes the air and causes respiratory problems. That’s no good! There is a little excerpt on Google books that doesn’t really have any spoilers. It begins on the end of page 59 through page 61. Click through this link for the full text.

I can certainly see something like what Stephenson describes happening within our lifetimes. What do you think?

The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray KurzweilThe Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil

The Age of Spiritual Machines Book Cover
A few months ago a co-worker of mine suggested that I read The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil. We had been talking about AI and he mentioned that this was an interesting read. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, as I had never heard of Kurzweil before. After a few Google searches I got the impression that he was a quirky futurist.

This book was published back in 1999 and by the end looks very much like science fiction. Many of his predictions are founded on some sort of research. I can see how they would have seemed a bit “out there” almost 10 years ago. I wondered how many of his predictions would hold up. Central to his philosophy is the Law of Accelerating Returns. In short, technology will continue to progress ever faster as time goes on. He displays an interesting graph of the exponential increase of computational power in various models of computers over time. The line is slightly curved upward, which represents an increase in exponential growth over time. So, according to Kurzweil computation is progressing exponentially exponentially faster.
(more…)

IBM’s Watson beats Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad RutterIBM’s Watson beats Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter

For all of you geeks that have had your head in the sand, artificial intelligence has hit a milestone. Yesterday, IBM’s Watson trounced these bags of meat known as Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in Jeopardy. If I ruined the result of the match, I apologize, but I figure posting a day after is enough notice for anyone that was following this from the start. For some more background on Watson and behind the scenes info, check out my original post on this. I have to admit that I was rooting for Watson from the start. I was a bit worried when after the first day in the tournament Watson was only tied for first place. I’m not sure what happened between the first and second matches, but Watson rocketed ahead in the second day and never looked back.

I think IBM might have been in a rush to show off their new creation. It was interesting to see the answer confidence levels during the rounds, often revealing some really wacky possible answers. Watson crashed several times during the second day of filming, nothing a regular viewer would notice while watching the recorded match on TV.  One criticism I’ve heard about the match was that Watson was fed the questions electronically rather than relying on voice and character recognition. I have to agree that the electronic delivery could have been an advantage.  Had voice recognition and OCR  functionality been used in Watson, the victory would be quite a bit more impressive. I could clearly see the two mere mortals struggling to buzz in and shake in frustration when Watson was faster. The producers touted the physical buzzer plunger that Watson had to activate, but I still think that Watson had the advantage.

I would be interested to see a rematch in a year but with only inputs into Watson be voice and video of the Jeopardy board. After all, Deep Blue was given a second chance versus Garry Kasparov, so why not give the humans a second chance on more equal footing? It is quite possible that programming algorithms over the year would improve enough so that Watson still would win, despite the reliance of voice recognition and OCR. In that case, the victory would mean that much more. Even if you know the outcome already, I still recommend watching the matches. I already saw the Nova special, so I skipped through most of the background stuff from the IBM folks. Here is a link to my YouTube  playlist that has the three episodes broken into 6 videos. Check it out! Then you can tell your grandchildren how you watched a computer beat humans in Jeopardy for the first time. Then they’ll ask, “Humans were allowed to play Jeopardy back then?”