more robots


One of my favorite websites just posted an impressive gallery of robots. An amazing collection highlighting the already ubiquitous role of robots in our society. Just wait a few years and then you will really be amazed and then wait a few more and we just might have a Terminator scenario going for us. The Big Picture always has mazing photos and is always highlighting pertinent issues in the news in a big bold visual manner. Make sure you check out the robots and many of their other wonderful galleries. (Hadron Collider is another of my favorites.)

Energy Conscious


Here’s an idea how about every time you go to turn on the light, just by using the switch you will know- A: relatively how expensive your energy usage is, B: how much energy you and your entire neighborhood is using at that moment.

No, you don’t need a little led readout, you don’t need to do math, or worry about stats, you will simply by using this switch know. The same way you know where your arms are when your eyes are closed, the same way you have a general sense of which gear your car is in just by touching the stick.

How does the SmartSwitch do this? Easy. It simply makes it a little bit harder to turn on the light the more energy is in use at the moment. You go to turn on the light, there is a little bit of resistance, you think to yourself: “Do I really need this light right now?” and then you either turn it on anyway or you leave it off, “no not right now.”

Greener Gadgets Design competition
SmartSwitch Peter Russo & Brendan Wypich
Stanford University 2009
more info

Self Assembling and other Robots

This robot form the University of Pennsylvania is modular in it’s design and will reassemble itself if something happens to it (like being kicked apart by a graduate student. Robots have come a long way. These are some amazing examples of where we are today. But they are still a long way from a sack of smart sand or grey goo, nevertheless it is still amazing (and sometimes scary) to watch them do the things they can do.


Here are some other amazing robot feats:

want to make your own? hacknmod has the answer. using open source software and easily obtainable hardware you too can have your own self balancing robot.

someone even made a simpler version of the concept above that doesn’t use any microprocessors at all!

If you want something bigger, that can carry a man, and doesn’t mind if you try to kick the sh*t out of it then this is the one for you. Big Dog can give you big nightmares, just imagine that thing coming at you, armed! It is after all a DARPA funded project as many robot projects are.

want more robots? check out the best of 2008

The Pico Projector

A new category of projectors is about to come out.  About the size of one of those candy-bar style cellphones, it fits in the palm of your hand.  David Pogue calls it “A whole new product category[…] [it] changes all the rules.”  I would agree.  I don’t think it will revolutionize the world, I woudn’t call it a game changer of any sort, but I think in a very short time it will become as ubiquitous a device as the iPod, and it will change the rules in terms of what you can do with and how you watch your portable video.  Personally, I’m very excited to see all of the new uses and possibilities artists and hackers will come up with.  I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Optoma Pico Projector (pictured)
$430 list price
specs or video

“It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure…”

Clay Shirky is one of the smartest people thinking about and explaining the social effects of the interenet out there. Check out this video from the Web 2.0 Expo NY. Also if you haven’t already you should definately get his book Here Comes Everybody and read it cover to cover, it will explain all of those questions and thought bubbles that pop into year head as you traverse the internet landscape.