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North American Forum on Sustainable Animal Agriculture Announced | Farms.com

First of its kind North American Forum on sustainable animal agriculture to be held in September 2012.
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Cultibotics
Cultibotics is about applying robotics to making horticultural best practices scalable and economical.
Curated by John Payne
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Creative AI: Software writing software and the broader challenges of computational creativity

Creative AI: Software writing software and the broader challenges of computational creativity | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“In this final part of our deep dive into the world of computational creativity, we turn to the underlying ideas and challenges that face the field as a whole as researchers grapple with questions of non-human creativity and public fears about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.”

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Whole brain emulation (WBE): What happens when we get there? | Ars Technica

Whole brain emulation (WBE): What happens when we get there? | Ars Technica | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Long the domain of science fiction, researchers are now working to create software that perfectly models human and animal brains. With an approach known as whole brain emulation (WBE), the idea is that if we can perfectly copy the functional structure of the brain, we will create software perfectly analogous to one. The upshot here is simple yet mind-boggling. Scientists hope to create software that could theoretically experience everything we experience: emotion, addiction, ambition, consciousness, and suffering.”

John Payne's insight:

This won't happen tomorrow, or even next year, but it probably will happen this century.

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HorseFly: Truck-based drone delivery | Zero Moment

HorseFly: Truck-based drone delivery | Zero Moment | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“The FAA's requirement that unmanned aircraft stay within a human's unbroken line of sight throughout its operation is a deal-breaker for Prime Air, as is the restriction on carrying external payloads. That Amazon's scheme is grounded is not news. It was always going to be. But there's hope yet for drone delivery. Cincinnati-based Amp Holdings is currently developing a drone, called Horsefly, that deploys from a compartment in the roof of an electric delivery truck.”

John Payne's insight:

Robohub previously covered HorseFly, last June: http://robohub.org/horsefly-unmanned-aerial-parcel-delivery-system-uses-truck-as-base/

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Michael Wagner: Developing trust in autonomous robots | CMU RI Seminar

Michael Wagner writes: “For decades, our lives have depended on the safe operation of automated mechanisms around and inside us. The autonomy and complexity of these mechanisms is increasing dramatically. Autonomous systems such as self-driving cars rely heavily on inductive inference and on complex software, both of which confound traditional software-safety techniques that are focused on amassing sufficient confirmatory evidence to support safety claims. In this talk I survey methods and tools that, taken together, can enable a new and more productive philosophy for software safety that is based on Karl Popper’s idea of falsificationism.”

John Payne's insight:

Michael Wagner is “a Senior Commercialization Specialist at the NREC and the CEO of Edge Case Research, a company [he] co-founded to help make autonomous vehicles and other complex software-based systems safer and more reliable.”

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SkyProwler convertible drone, quad or fixed wing, doing well on Kickstarter | Gizmag

SkyProwler convertible drone, quad or fixed wing, doing well on Kickstarter | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Like a quadcopter, the SkyProwler has four horizontal propellers that allow it to perform vertical take-offs and landings, and to hover in mid-air. … If users want to make it really sleek and fast, though, they can instruct the aircraft to retract its landing gear and pull its four copter props into the sides of its body, switchblade-style. It's then being powered solely by the two rear props, maintaining lift using its wings.”

John Payne's insight:

SkyProwler is just the beginning, however.  Krossblade really wants to build aircraft large enough to carry passengers.

 

Company website:

http://www.krossblade.com

 

SkyProwler Kickstarter campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/350745213/krossblade-skyprowler-multi-mission-vtol-transform?ref=nav_search

 

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Apple studies self-driving car | Reuters

Apple studies self-driving car | Reuters | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Technology giant Apple is looking beyond mobile devices to learn how to make a self-driving electric car, and is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers, a senior auto industry source familiar with the discussions said on Saturday.”

John Payne's insight:

In a parallel article, the Verge reports: “Apple has apparently had this in the hopper for a while: the report claims that Tim Cook signed off on Titan nearly a year ago, giving ex-Ford engineer and current Apple exec Steve Zadesky a team of 1,000 staff from across a variety of departments in the company. In recent months, company staff have visited contract manufacturers that could potentially build a car (or components of a car) on Apple's behalf; one company that WSJ names is Magna Steyr, which has built cars for Mercedes and BMW in the past, among others.”


http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/13/8037083/apple-is-working-on-an-electric-car-wall-street-journal-reports

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Michael Tarr : CMU’s new BrainHub | CMU RI Seminar

“Michael J. Tarr is the Head of the Department of Psychology in Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Chair of Carnegie Mellon's BrainHub Steering Committee . [Themes he discusses include:] (1) The complexity and challenges of studying the mind and brain; (2) How the study of the mind and brain may benefit from considering contemporary artificial systems; (3) Why studying the mind and brain might be interesting (and possibly useful) to computer scientists.”

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V-One conductive ink printer aims to short-circuit electronic prototyping | Gizmag

V-One conductive ink printer aims to short-circuit electronic prototyping | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Many hours of design and development need to be expended on prototype layouts along with masking, etching, and populating those boards with components. Even after all of this, just one simple layout mistake can ruin all of your work and you have to go through the entire process again. The Voltera V-One aims to change all of that with the promise of a one button, conductive ink printing system solely designed to reduce the effort in rapid, small run hardware prototyping.”

John Payne's insight:

Voltera's Kickstarter campaign stands at twice their $70K goal, with 29 days left:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/voltera/voltera-your-circuit-board-prototyping-machine

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UAE announces Robotics & AI Award for Good competition

“The UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good encourages innovation that benefits humanity. It focuses on three areas: education, healthcare and social services. Any solution can win; from hardware to software and any combination in between.”

John Payne's insight:

As with the Drones for Good competition, the prize will be US $1 million.

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AI-driven laboratory robot to speed drug discovery | University of Cambridge

AI-driven laboratory robot to speed drug discovery | University of Cambridge | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
Eve, an artificially-intelligent ‘robot scientist’ could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers writing in the Royal Society journal Interface. The team has demonstrated the success of the approach as Eve discovered that a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties might also be used in the fight against malaria.
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ONR tests robot surrogates for training marines | Gizmag

ONR tests robot surrogates for training marines | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Robots and other mechanical beings are cropping up in the most unexpected places. Case in point: Pay a visit to the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and you'll find yourself greeted in the lobby by a human mechanical surrogate. Operated by a human in a remote location, the surrogate is not intended to put Walmart greeters out of a job, but is part of a program by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to create robots, avatars, and animatronic surrogates for military training.”

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Raspberry Pi 2: 900MHz quad-core | The Register

Raspberry Pi 2: 900MHz quad-core | The Register | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“The Raspberry Pi Foundation is likely to provoke a global geekgasm today with the surprise release of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B: a turbocharged version of the B+ boasting a new Broadcom BCM2836 900MHz quad-core system-on-chip with 1GB of RAM – all of which will drive performance "at least 6x" that of the B+.”

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Stopping killer robots and other future threats | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“Fully autonomous weapons are not unambiguously bad. They can reduce burdens on soldiers. … But the potential downsides are significant. Militaries might kill more if no individual has to bear the emotional burden of strike decisions. Governments might wage more wars if the cost to their soldiers were lower. Oppressive tyrants could turn fully autonomous weapons on their own people when human soldiers refused to obey. And the machines could malfunction—as all machines sometimes do—killing friend and foe alike.”

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Building a real-life Baymax | Gizmag

Building a real-life Baymax | Gizmag | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“The recent animated feature Big Hero 6 is more than a collection of comic book fantasies – there's some hard science behind the soft robots. Baymax, the inflatable robot designed to care for humans who stars in the film may seem as unlikely as a chocolate teapot, but Chris Atkeson, professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon is working on a real life version (minus the karate and flying armor).”

John Payne's insight:

This project was briefly mentioned on Robohub in November:

http://robohub.org/cmu-project-to-build-real-baymax/

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Cuba’s Urban Farming Revolution: How to Create Self-Sufficient Cities

Cuba’s Urban Farming Revolution: How to Create Self-Sufficient Cities | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
Havanas’s unique agricultural infrastructure emerged from punishing trade sanctions following the fall of the USSR but today provides an exemplary precedent that could be applied worldwide

Via Alan Yoshioka
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A distributed robot garden system | MIT CSAIL

The Robot Garden is a system that functions as a visual embodiment of distributed algorithms, as well as an aesthetically appealing way to get more young stu...
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Drones and satellites spot lost civilizations in unlikely places | Science

Drones and satellites spot lost civilizations in unlikely places | Science | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“What do the Sahara desert and the Amazon rainforest have in common? Until recently, archaeologists would have told you they were both inhospitable environments devoid of large-scale human settlements. But they were wrong. Here today at the annual meeting of the AAAS (which publishes Science), two researchers explained how remote sensing technology, including satellite imaging and drone flights, is revealing the traces of past civilizations that have been hiding in plain sight.”

John Payne's insight:

Link to abstract:

https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2015/webprogram/Session9535.html

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DOT and FAA propose new rules for small unmanned aircraft systems

DOT and FAA propose new rules for small unmanned aircraft systems | Cultibotics | Scoop.it
“The Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration today proposed a framework of regulations that would allow routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in today’s aviation system, while maintaining flexibility to accommodate future technological innovations. The FAA proposal offers safety rules for small UAS (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations. The rule would limit flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.”
John Payne's insight:
A summary of the proposed rules is here: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/media/021515_sUAS_Summary.pdf
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Is AI dangerous? That depends… | SciAm Blogs

Is AI dangerous? That depends… | SciAm Blogs | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Somewhere in the long list of topics that are relevant to astrobiology is the question of ‘intelligence’. Is human-like, technological intelligence likely to be common across the universe? Are we merely an evolutionary blip, our intelligence consigning us to a dead-end in the fossil record? Or is intelligence something that the entropy-driven, complexity-producing, universe is inevitably going to converge on?”

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Linaro launches 96Boards.org for open hardware ARM SBCs | LinuxGizmos

Linaro launches 96Boards.org for open hardware ARM SBCs | LinuxGizmos | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Linaro, the ARM-backed not-for-profit engineering organization that has aimed to standardize open source Linux and Android software for Cortex-A processors, is now trying to do the same thing for hardware. Linaro, which is owned by ARM and many of its top system-on-chip licensees, has launched 96Boards.org, a cross between a single board computer hacker community and an x86-style hardware standards organization.”

John Payne's insight:

Linaro's press release is here:

http://www.linaro.org/news/linaro-announces-96boards-initiative-accelerate-arm-software-development/

 

More information is available from 96Boards.org:

https://www.96boards.org

 

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Flyability wins UAE Drones For Good Award

Flyability wins UAE Drones For Good Award | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“Flyability SA is proud to announce that it has won the UAE Drones for Good Award, an international competition with a $1M prize money to reward uses of drones which have a positive impact on humanity.”

John Payne's insight:

You've probably seen earlier versions of this drone bouncing off furniture and walls, and that's the point, it bounces off and keeps going.  The gimbal system allows the enclosing cage to rotate freely, and the counterrotating propellers cancel torque.  Steering is accomplished by vectoring thrust from the propellors, using movable vanes.  The net result is a very robust machine, that can be sent into the unknown, like a disaster site, with a high expectation of survival.

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Jan Peters : Motor skill learning, from simple skills to table tennis and manipulation | CMU RI Seminar

“Autonomous robots that can assist humans in situations of daily life have been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. A first step towards this goal is to create robots that can learn tasks triggered by environmental context or higher level instruction. However, learning techniques have yet to live up to this promise as only few methods manage to scale to high-dimensional manipulator or humanoid robots. … Jan Peters is a full professor (W3) for Intelligent Autonomous Systems at the Computer Science Department of the Technische Universitaet Darmstadt and at the same time a senior research scientist and group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, where he heads the interdepartmental Robot Learning Group.”

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Cultibotics: Crop-neutrality

The US government currently favors production of certain crops, including corn (maize) and soy beans. A proposal, authored by Tamar Haspel and published yesterday in The Washington Post (Unearthed: A rallying cry for a crop program that could change everything), would change that by shifting subsidies from support for particular crops to crop-neutral support.

 

While this isn't specifically about robotics, it would have the effect of making more money available for equipment to produce crops other than the handful that have traditionally been subsidized, and, increasingly over time, that will mean robotic equipment, as the value added by sensors, processing, and flexible behavior will become too compelling to forego.

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Autonomous quadcopter has smartphone brain | IEEE Spectrum

Autonomous quadcopter has smartphone brain | IEEE Spectrum | Cultibotics | Scoop.it

“This is a fantastic example of just how far smartphones have come: they’re certainly powerful computers, but it’s the integrated sensing that comes standard in almost all of them (things like gyros, accelerometers, IMUs, and high resolution cameras) that makes them ideal for low-cost brains for robots. What’s unique about the CES demo is that it’s the first time that a sophisticated platform like this (vision-based real-time autonomous navigation of a flying robot is pretty darn sophisticated) has been controlled by a very basic consumer device.”

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