Pittsburgh—While it may be a while before one joins the group Village People, robots are being adapted to do "burly" jobs in construction, mining, and agriculture.
Tony Stentz, associate director of the National Robotics Engineering Consortium at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), says robots' automation offers the opportunity for increased productivity (speed of operation), quality of work (from robotic precision), improving safety (not placing people in dangerous situations), and reducing cost (including maintenance). And robots wouldn't merely take jobs away from hard working folk. Stentz notes human operators would still be needed to monitor robotic systems, "teach" site-specific operations, and position the robots for repetitive tasks. Robots excel at the latter. Such an increase in productivity, he adds, must more than make up costwise for retaining the operator, otherwise adoption is doubtful.
Heavy-equipment robot use hinges on sensors (cameras and laser rangefinders, for example) and control algorithms now being developed.
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?
In 2003, the world contained just over 500 million Internet-connected devices. By 2010, this figure had risen to 12.5 billion connected objects, almost six devices per individual with access to the Internet. Now, as we move into 2015, the number of connected 'things' is expected to reach 25 billion, ultimately edging toward 50 billion by the end of the decade.
NASA engineer Brian Trease studied abroad in Japan as a high school student and used to fold fast-food wrappers into cranes using origami techniques he learned in library books. Inspired by this, he began to imagine that origami could be applied to building spacecraft components, particularly solar panels that could one day send solar power from space to be used on earth.
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