Tag Archives: robots

Robotic Couture

Dutch designer and V2_ collaborator, Anouk Wipprecht and Austrian hacker Daniel Schatzmayr (thingiverse twitter) dress features a hexpod perched around the shoulders of wearer, or perhaps it’s a dress with tripod epaulets. Normally the legs simply slowly wave, but when something triggers the proximity (sonar?) sensors, the legs suddenly pull in tight, as if the dress has become scared.

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BarBot

I’ve been strongly considering making a barbot (a.k.a. a drinkbot), even thought don’t usually drink at home. I haven’t given much thought to its cosmetics, instead I’ve been focusing on mechanics of the bot. I figure, the mechanics will dictate the form, and if one sprinkles enough LEDs on it, can look look fine.

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Plant-In City

Designed by Huy Bui, Jon Schramm of HB Collaborative and Carlo Gómez de Llarena have designed a set of interlocking cedar boxes to create an automated terrarium. Called Plant-In City, they are currently running a Kickstarter Campaign to gather funding to finish prototypes and to ramp up production.

The system consists of three different cedar frames. The main frame is the “light frame”, and features LEDs mounted along the top rectangle. A “soil” frame a simple box that contains dirt along with sensors to monitor light, humidity and moisture. The last frame is the “water frame” and it is made up of a water tank along with tubing and a solenoid valve to control water flow. The sensors, lights, and valves are connected to an arduino that wirelessly connects to the Internet. Through either the Plant-It City website or mobile app, owners can monitor and control their frames via cosm.com‘s API. The sensors not only alert the owner to changes in the terrarium, but also are used to drive an audio and visual effects for in-person visitors of the system.

Previously.

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For Your Chinese Room

Tic-Tac-Tome is a 1400 page policy for playing tic-tac-toe. Like a giant Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, the reader chooses a location to move to, and turns to the appropriate page to see the counter move. Of course, the book plays optimally, and so “the only winning move is not to play.

The book fits perfectly the Chinese Room argument. In the thought experiment, a Chinese speaker writes messages in chinese and slips them under the door to a locked room. Responses, also written in Chinese get passed back under the door. The responses are so convincing, that the Chinese speaker is convinced he/she is conversing with an intelligence that understands Chinese. Unbeknownst to those outside, a person that does not speak Chinese collects the papers as they slide under the door, consults a giant lookup table of inputs to outputs and then copies the prescribed response to another piece of paper and slides it back, never understanding the inputs or the outputs. The question is then, whether Chinese speaker is conversing with an intelligence or nor, and if so where does the intelligence lie?

Personally, I find the whole “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” argument rather quaint and tiresome. Something that’s only worth discussing while riding in my atomic powered self-driving car while smoking a bowl of the finest hashish. AI always struck me a bit like a magic trick. From the outside, it looks amazing (Wow! You made an orange float in the air! Amazing!), then you find out how it is actually done, and then you’re disappointed because your fantasy has been dashed (You just shoved your thumb in it! You suck!). Personally, I think this says more about us, and our willingness to be misled than anything else.