How does Japan celebrate a 150th anniversary? With giant robot spiders of course!

17 08 2009

The Japanese are apparently more accepting of robots as Anniversary gifts. Heck, I tried to give my wife a roomba for our 4 year anniversary, but I guess the gift goes further in Japan.

“YOKOHAMA , Japan, April 20 (UPI) — A parade celebrating the 150th anniversary of a Japanese port’s opening included a pair of 40-foot-tall mechanical spiders.

Japanese Celebrate their 150th - With Large Robot Spider

Japanese Celebrate their 150th - With Large Robot Spider

The spiders, operated by French performance art group La Machine, walked Sunday by raising and lowering each of their eight mammoth legs in turn and sprayed water from their mechanical mouths, the Kyodo news agency reported Monday.

The parade, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of Yokohama port, was attended by an estimated 500,000 people, organizers said.”

via – United Press International, Inc.

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Einstein Robot That Teaches Itself Facial Expressions

13 08 2009

Yes you heard it right. From the same people who brought you SkyNet?  Introducing a robot whose main purpose is to learn and teach itself how to make facial expressions.  

If this means my Terminator Theory is coming true, and robots will soon be taking over the world, don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!

To begin teaching the robot, the researchers stuck Einstein in front of a mirror and instructed the robot to “body babble” by contorting its face into random positions. A video camera connected to facial recognition software gave the robot feedback: When it made a movement that resembled a “real” expression, it received a reward signal.

“It’s an iterative process,” said facial recognition expert Marian Bartlett, a co-author of the study. “It starts out completely random and then gets feedback. Next time the robot picks an expression, there’s a bias towards putting the motors in the right configuration.”

 
– via. WIRED