Author: Dr Natural


Let the robots do the teaching


“Upon returning to class after the Golden Week holidays, students at a Tokyo elementary school were delighted to find their teacher had been replaced by a robot. The talking humanoid, named “Saya,” was originally developed as a receptionist robot in 2004 by professor Hiroshi Kobayashi of the Tokyo University of Science, but has recently begun taking on work as a substitute teacher. ”


“The robot, which can speak multiple languages, uses facial expressions to facilitate communication. With an array of motors in her head that stretch the soft synthetic skin into various positions, Saya can display emotions ranging from happiness and surprise to sadness and anger.”

“However, Saya needs to work on improving her classroom management skills. At present, she can’t do much more than call out names and shout orders like “Be quiet.” But that does not make her any less popular with the kids.”

Source: Sankei. Via Pinktentacle. See also: Child Care Robot, The Professors Doppelgänger Robot.


Mapping the human desire to be touched

Fleshmap touch investigates the collective perception of erogenous zones. Hundreds of people ranked how good it would feel to touch or be touched by a lover in different points of the body. The resulting images reveal a map of sensual desire with multiple focal points and islands of excitement.

This human-body-interface project was created by data visualization artists Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. The data was gathered via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk – a marketplace where paid workers perform simple tasks.

Intimate Technology

Brain Scan Replaces Job Interview in 5 Years?

Forget about palmistry! MRI scans for candidates in top jobs such as bank directors could soon become part of the job-application package, says Erasmus University researcher Prof Willem Verbeke of Rotterdam, He’s confident brain scans will replace job interviews within 5 years.

Prof. Verbeke heads the department of neuro-economics, (NSIM), at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He predicts in an interview with Good Morning Netherlands radio station that employers demanding compulsory brain scans from their job applicants will soon become the most normal thing in the world – in fact within five years’ time’, he believes.

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Back to the Tribe

Excuse me, I am lost

cow on a pole

So, if you don’t have a clue what is going on here, imagine how that horned cow on the electricity pole must feel. Extrapeculiar image of the week.


USB condom

As soon as the USB Condom detects a virus, built-in software shuts off USB access, verifies the problem, removes the nasty bug, then reopens the communication bridge to your computer.

Gross? Be glad the metaphor isn’t boomeranging in the other direction: before you know it, you’ll be installing anti-virus software on your penis.


Oil Price Threatens Biofuel Firms


Economy is ecology? Technology Review writes the price of oil has dipped to levels that could be far too low for many advanced-biofuel startups to succeed, especially those that attracted investment this summer, while oil was well above $100 a barrel. Tight credit markets will also make it difficult for advanced biofuel companies to move ahead with plans for scaling up technologies and building commercial-scale production plants.

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Voyage of the Bacteria Bots

The 1966 science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage famously imagined using a tiny ship to combat disease inside the body. With the advent of nanotechnology, researchers are inching closer to creating something almost as fantastic. A microscopic device that could swim through the bloodstream and directly target the site of disease, such as a tumor, could offer radical new treatments. To get to a tumor, however, such a device would have to be small and agile enough to navigate through a labyrinth of tiny blood vessels, some far thinner than a human hair.

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I’m feeling lucky

21 leaf clover

A 21-leaf clover discovered on June 3 by Iwate prefecture farmer Shigeo Obara has shattered the Guinness world record for most leaves on a clover stem (Trifolium repens L.). The current official record is held by an 18-leaf clover that Obara found in his garden in May 2002.

The record-breaking clover’s 21 leaves each measure about 1 centimeter long and overlap each other like rose petals on a 3-centimeter stem.

Obara, a former food crop researcher, has been conducting independent research on clovers in his garden for over 50 years. He first became interested in clover mutations after discovering an unusual patch of 4-leaf clovers in 1951. Since then, Obara has been crossbreeding the plants in his garden to research the genes associated with leaf count, color, pattern and size.

Obara plans to file a new application with Guinness, although he is considering waiting a while. “We are likely to find clovers with more leaves,” he says. Last month, a family member claimed to have found a 27-leaf clover, but the discovery was not confirmed.

While some say that 4-leaf clovers symbolize happiness, 5-leaf clovers symbolize wealth and 6-leaf clovers symbolize fame, it is unclear what 21-leaf clovers symbolize.

Source: Yomiuri. Via: Pinktentacle.


Robot asimo conducts concert

asimo conducts

At a recent Yo-Yo Ma concert at the Detroit Opera House, Honda’s ASIMO robot took the stage and conducted. Blame Honda when the robots take over. Thanks Paul.


A robot that controls your remote controls

remote control robot

Confused with the pile of remote controls in your house? Now here is an idea: get a robot to control them. Researchers at Toshiba have developed a talking robot, named ApriPoko, that can learn how to operate various remote controls by watching and asking questions.

When its sensors detect infrared rays emitted by a remote, the robot speaks up: “What did you just do?” it asks. Tell ApriPoko what you did (”I turned on the stereo” or “I changed to channel 321,” for example), and it commits the details to memory. Then, next time you want to turn on the stereo or change the channel, simply tell ApriPoko and it transmits the appropriate IR signal directly to the device. The prototype robot is still in the development and testing phase, but the researchers hope to have a viable product soon. Toshiba refused to comment on whether the their robot possesses the ability to kill.

Source: Asahi (Japanese), via Pinktentacle. See also: One RC to rule them all.


All the water and air on earth..

Global water and air volume

… gathered into spheres and compared to the Earth.

The water sphere (blue) in this computer visualization measures 1390 kilometres across and has a volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometres. This includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as ground water, and that in the atmosphere. The air sphere (pink) measures 1999 kilometres across and weighs 5140 trillion tonnes. As the atmosphere extends from Earth it becomes less dense. Half of the air lies within the first 5 kilometres of the atmosphere. The spheres show how finite water and air supplies are.

Created by Adam Nieman / Science Photo Library. Via BoingBoing.




Who would not need a blobwall in their officegarden? This modular freestanding, indoor/outdoor wall system was designed by Greg Lynn. It is made of a low-density, recyclable, and impact-resista polymer.


Fight climate change: Hack the Planet

Hack the planet

Lots of clouds this week. The peculiar picture above shows the eruption of mount Pinatubo in 1991, which apparently resulted in a certain amount of global cooling (next to some serious negative effects). If a vulcano can do that, why not humans?

Environmental scientist David Keith talks about a cheap, effective, shocking solution to climate change (TED video): What if we injected a huge cloud of ash into the atmosphere, to deflect sunlight and heat? As an emergency measure to slow a melting ice cap, it could work. Keith discusses why it’s a good idea, why it’s a terrible one — and who, despite the cost, might be tempted to use it.

Via Beyond the Beyond. See also: Clear Blue Sky, Cloud producing Cloud, Super Mario Cloud, Blur Building, Humans to blame for Global Warming.