technology

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Just when you think robots are about to take over the world, they go and do something like this.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge was held this past weekend, with numerous teams “vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters.”

Turns out they had a few disasters of their own as well.

IEEE Spectrum created a compilation of robot falls from the first day of the finals, and while this is pretty funny to watch in itself, one YouTuber took it a step further and mashed it up with some WWE commentary turning it into Internet gold.

“As much as nobody wanted to see a robot fall, everybody wanted to see a robot fall,” wrote IEEE Spectrum on their blog.

The course involved the competing robots trying to open doors, turn valves, drive cars and climb over rubble.

Team KAIST from South Korea took home the top prize with the fastest time, and here’s their robot, DRC-Hubo, stepping up to victory. It was built with wheels on its knees to help protect it from taking a tumble.

“These robots are big and made of lots of metal and you might assume people seeing them would be filled with fear and anxiety,” said DRC organizer Gill Pratt. “But we heard groans of sympathy when those robots fell. And what did people do every time a robot scored a point? They cheered!”

Meanwhile, nothing can stop the beasts from Boston Dynamics, so while these falls are funny, the threat is still very real.

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The future is now.

A Canadian man named Catalin Alexandru Duru has set the new world record for longest distance traveled on a hoverboard.

While this might just seem like fictional story from “Back to the Future 2,” it’s actually very real.

Watch in the clip above as Duru travels 905 feet and 2 inches across Lake Ouareau in Quebec using a prototype device that he built over a period of just one year.

“I will showcase that stable flight can be achieved with a machine one can stand on and control with their feet,” he said.

Unlike with the hoverboard in the movie, he’s lifted off the surface to a height of about 5 meters using his propeller-based board, and it looks a bit more dangerous than Marty McFly’s version.

Although this probably will helps the average rider avoid crashing into large piles of manure.

“This is a truly mesmerising and incredible feat in the world of engineering and transportation,” saida Guinness World Records spokesperson about the news. “It’s always pleasing to see individuals such as Catalin Alexandru Duru achieve a Guinness World Records titles such as this in which personal endeavour continues to amaze us all.”

Via: Lily
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A robotics company has unveiled a new drone that flies by itself and acts as your personal videographer.

“Lily” is described on the company’s website as the “world’s first throw-and-shoot camera.”

You place a tracking device on whatever you want the drone to follow, throw it up into the air when you’re ready to starting filming, and Lily will take it from there.

The camera shoots 1080p HD video, can snap pictures and also uses “computer vision” to monitor you. And unlike other drones, Lily will also record and sync audio through the tracking device.

The promotional video above shows the device in action, which looks pretty cool, although it probably takes a while to build up the courage to throw your expensive new gadget off a bridge.

The drone is waterproof and also floats, however, so if the 20 minute battery time expires while over a body of water, you won’t have to go sprinting after it like these guys did.

Lily was invented back in 2013 by two students at UC Berkeley, Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow, but was officially launched Tuesday.

“It’s not the future of drones,” writes Wired, who got to test out the device. “It’s more like the future of the point-and-shoot.”

It’s currently $499 during the pre-sale, but the price will eventually go up to $999.



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You might need to 3D print yourself a Kleenex after watching this.

Thirty-year-old Tatiana Guerra lost her sight when she was 17, and now she is 20 weeks pregnant.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Huggies Brazil has released a new video called “Meeting Murilo” in which Guerra receives a very special surprise.

In the clip, Guerra is having an ultrasound done, and the doctor asks her how she imagines his face.

“Oh I imagine him, well… his nose like a little potato. A small mouth, a chubby little hand,” she replies. “I can’t wait to smell him.”

While she can’t see the image herself, the doctors secretly 3D-print the image and present it to her so she can feel and “meet” her child for the very first time.

At the top of the sculpture “I am your son” is also printed in braille.

“I’m very happy to meet Murilo before he’s born,” she says in tears of joy. “Thanks, Doctor.”

It’s basically the opposite of how Princess Leia felt when she saw Han Solo trapped in carbonite for the first time.

captcha,technology,robots,google
Via: Google
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You know those annoying boxes on websites that ask you to type hard-to-read text as a security precaution against spammers and bots? And then after 3 failed attempts you just throw your computer out the window instead?

Well their days might be numbered.

Google has announced that it has developed a new method of proving that a user is a real, live human being.

"No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA" - as it's being called - simply asks if you are a robot, and then you click a box if you are not.

According to Google:

Our research recently showed that today's Artificial Intelligence technology can solve even the most difficult variant of distorted text at 99.8% accuracy. Thus distorted text, on its own, is no longer a dependable test.

To counter this, last year we developed an Advanced Risk Analysis backend for reCAPTCHA that actively considers a user's entire engagement with the CAPTCHA—before, during, and after—to determine whether that user is a human.

If you are a robot… well then you need to stop, right now. Bad robot.

technology,captioning,google
Via: Google
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Google's not just building a robot army to take over the world, its also designing artificial intelligence to help people out (or so it says).

Researchers have announced that they have developed new technology that can automatically caption a photo with greater accuracy than ever before. The program is intended to assist the visually impaired in addition to making image searches easier.

"A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it's the words that are most useful -- so it's important we figure out ways to translate from images to words automatically and accurately," they wrote on their blog.

Google provided a few examples including this photo with the caption "Two pizzas sitting on top of a stove top oven."



Sounds great in theory, but it will be interesting to see how it shapes up against some of the other stuff the Internet has to offer, besides a couple pizzas.

Exhibit A:

Via: Amazon
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Alexa is listening. She knows everything about you. And she is getting smarter by the second.

Amazon unveiled a new product Thursday, called Amazon Echo, a 9-inch tall, cylindrical, voice-controlled device that will answer any of your questions, play music, and most importantly - for Amazon - create shopping lists. Just in time for the holidays.

Oh, and it responds to the name "Alexa" by default.

It is basically a virtual assistant like Siri and Cortana, but for your home, and ultimately another way for Amazon to completely own you.

Echo is $199, but if you are a Prime member you can grab one for $99. It's also invitation-only for the time being, so you'll have to wait a bit before you can get to know Alexa.

The waiting will be tough, but Billy Joel knows how you feel.

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