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Monday, October 29, 2012

Can Technology Save Us? A Two Part Series

Genocide, overpopulation, famine, water shortage, global warming, terrorism, energy crisis, natural disasters are some of the devastating problems facing the Earths inhabitants. So the big question on everybody’s mind is: will technology save us from these complications or is it the burden that caused these problems and will only enhance it, eventually lead us to our doom. The problems are well known, but will a device come like the iPad shown and save humanity? This example may be bit extreme but the question is still there. 
One of the biggest problems that is obvious is population growth. For millions of years the earth has sustained a population of the United States (300 million) or less. Only until very recently was there a huge population increase. This graph shows the recent increase in population from

This growth is generally do to the newly productive petroleum energy source. When this source is depleted what do we do with the large population? What about the other problems like global warming/natural disasters? One of the recent TED talks, Paul Guilding talks about this subjects called "the Earth is Full." That in order to save a dire predicament we must work together and change our habits.

 He talks about the economics of earth and how the people need 150% of Earth's resources in order to keep up demand. Even with the world's best machines this still cannot keep up with the world's needs. We are furthering our debt with finite resources the world can not sustain! The examples of the problems are not to hard to find and the only solution is a total remake of human resource systems.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this technology conundrum! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Without further ado, here is our video project post:

Blogger doesn't seem to like the larger version of the file, so we apologize for the video quality.

Updated 12:11 p.m. 10/18/12: fixed the color of the credits font.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deep Sea Made Easy

This blog has commonly argued that machines may be harming the human race. However, if machines didn't benefit humans they wouldn't be around today.

Everywhere you look all you see is darkness, the water temperature is a frigid 33 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water pressure pushing on you is over 1000 atm or over 1000 times more forceful than the pressure we feel from the atmosphere at sea level. This place is better known as Mariana Trench located almost 7 miles below the ocean surface, the deepest ocean location on the planet. Does that sound like a cozy safe place that you would want to spend your time? Fortunately there is no need to send people into this dangerous and unique location to discover it's mystical properties.

Meet Kaiko, the first robot to reach the deepest part of the ocean. Kaiko is a Japanese made ROV (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) that was first sent to the bottom of Mariana Trench in March 1995.  On its first journey Kaiko reached its deepest travel depth at 10,911.4 meters and took video and pictures of it's travel. On its second trip to the bottom of the ocean it actually collected sediment and microorganism samples that were then examined. These samples were extremely important because they gave scientists an idea of what sort of life and environment existed at this unique location. Below is a video of Kaiko at work.

The implications of what deep sea ROVs can provide for mankind are almost unlimited. First, they allow humans to travel into extremely dangerous locations without having to physically being there. This increases the safety factor for scientists performing the research. Second, they make discovering and mapping the earths entire surface an easier task. Third, and maybe most importantly, they help discover new organisms such as bacteria that could one day help humans with anything from curing medical diseases to advancing technology.  ROVs are great examples of how the machines we have created were made to ultimately help us. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Biological Inspired Relationships

Here is where man and machine relationship gets rough. We know that there is a certain competition between man and machine when it comes to many human jobs. What if machines were not modeled to do selected tasks, but modeled after humans? Now things are starting to heat up. Though the idea is not new-iRobot, Terminator, Transformers- the field of animalistic behaviorial robotics has never been this far. Accoring to an essay in Science,Self-Organization, Embodiment and Biologically InspiredRobots” by Preifer, Lungarella and Iidal the modeling of not just humans, but all living organisms to robots is the real deal.
This simple diagram shows the simple process of stimulation and reactions in biology. Everyone reacts to stimuli whether it is being pinched or failing a test. For instance a failed test starts off as a stimulus and then the information is sent to “controller” or brain and then signals a motor reaction like rage.
The embodiment of motor reactions is a science with in itself. The modeling of skills certain organisms exposed to a highly stimulated environment. Like when a cricket phonotaxis (finds a mate). Finding a suitable mate for a cricket is no easy task. Imagine a room full of men beating their chests and howling some indistinct mating call. The female crickets must overcome this type of stimuli in order to find the maximum suitable male. The robotics are mimicking this type of behavior with many sensory, memory and mechanical devices.