I agree, Chuck. This was my first time at MD&M West and I was amazed at the size of the show. It's true that there were several other shows co-located there, but even so, they filled all the halls of the entire convention center.
Yes, Liz, Baxter is another example of the "cool or creepy" question, also known as the "uncanny valley." To me, Baxter doesn't appear creepy, but I know many people who would feel uncomfortable working next to it (or him or her). Still, robots with human features aren't going away. We can expect more of them in the coming years. Here's a story that touches on the issue of the uncanny valley:
Baxter is pretty impressive...I remember when that news came out and wrote about it. It would have been super-cool to see up close. Was it (he?) cool or creepy? Can you imagine Baxter working alongside you in a factory? Just curious...
I agree, Rich. MD&M is the polar opposite of an auto show, where 25 big companies have mammoth "booths" that take up the entire show floor. MD&M has countless small booths. You could walk every aisle for a week and not to talk to everyone.
I interviewed Rethink Robotics' Eric Foellmer about Baxter at the booth. This robot has some revolutionary technology for making itself safer to be around humans, especially the materials and the non-pinching design.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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