Archive for February, 2018

At The Winter Olympics, Robots Are Here To Help. But Don’t Assume They Work All Hours : The Torch : NPR

February 20th, 2018 No comments
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Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Multimedia: All Raw Images: Opportunity

February 20th, 2018 No comments

Over 200,000 images taken by Mars Rovers in one place!

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A Slide Rule for Real Programmers – IEEE Spectrum

February 19th, 2018 No comments
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Where is Starman? Track Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster’s Current Location.

February 18th, 2018 No comments
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February 14th, 2018 No comments


Please help by:

We’re the Memphis Public Libraries’ Memphis-Mech Warriors, and we need to raise $5,000 to go to the FIRST Robotics competition finals in Houston this April!

There are 3,620 robotics teams world-wide registered to compete in FIRST Robotics competitions. Memphis/Shelby County has 4 teams competing. One of those teams is us… the Memphis Mech-Warriors, the only community-based team. Unlike school-based teams, we’re based out of the Memphis Public Libraries’ CLOUD901 teen learning center where any student in the city can participate.

The Memphis Mech-Warriors have 15 team members from 7 schools, plus 3 home-schools. We are comprised of 6 girls and 9 boys, we’re 70% African American (representative of the Memphis population). The Mech-Warriors plan to compete regionally in Peoria, IL and Knoxville, TN before going to the national competition in Houston, TX in April.

“We want to go to Houston whether we place or not – and we plan to place!” says Memphis-Mech Warriors!

Our goal is to raise $11,300 for:

Renting 2 passenger vans to transport the team (+7 adults; staff/mentors) = $2,000
Hotel rooms (8 x 5 nights @ $150/night) = $6,000
Food (for 22 people @ $30/day = $660/day x 5 days) = $3,300
Total = $11,300

The team also received grants from FedEx, AZO, Grainger, and Snap-On Tools, but it’s not enough to cover all costs. We have spent a lot of time preparing, and we’re ready to compete!

Background – Robotics help Memphis teens learn 21st century skills like collaboration, creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. Without CLOUD901 and this team, we would not have the opportunity to participate in high level tech programs. Robotics is just one of the many digital and tech skills teens can learn at the Memphis Public Libraries.

According to 2017 TNReady (State of TN), the percentage of Shelby County School students considered on track or advanced in math was only 9.7 percent. According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, vs. other occupations at 9.8%. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. It is clear that most jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. Without adequate STEM programming, students simply do not have the tools to be competitive in academic achievement or workforce readiness.

Robotics teams are expensive! Most public and even private schools cannot afford to field a team. But the lessons teens are learning from competing in robotics are transformative and lasting. Take a look at this creative parody video, filmed at the Library’s teen lab, CLOUD901. CLOUD901 students, with the help of the library staff, wrote, recorded, and filmed it for viewing at the many FIRST events throughout the season:


[Full disclosure…..the editor of this blog is a Mentor / Coach of this team…..please help them out!]

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Nissan Embeds Self-Parking Tech in Pillows and Slippers

February 14th, 2018 No comments

I never knew how badly I needed a self-parking slipper until now!
By Evan Ackerman
from IEEE Specturm

Nissan, like every other car manufacturer that doesn’t want to be rendered mostly obsolete within the next few decades, has been gradually developing autonomous technology for its vehicles. They’ve been going about it very sensibly, introducing discrete modules like highway assist and parking assist, and they’ve managed to get the parking bit working well enough to take it beyond cars. One such attempt at an even more challenging and important self-parking application: slipper arrangements.

At first glance, the ProPILOT Park Ryokan looks like any other traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan. Slippers are neatly lined up at the foyer, where guests remove their shoes. Tatami rooms are furnished with low tables and floor cushions for sitting. What sets this ryokan apart is that the slippers, tables and cushions are rigged with a special version of Nissan’s ProPILOT Park autonomous parking technology. When not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots at the push of a button.

Even the television remote is self parking! Brilliant!

For its primary application, Nissan’s ProPILOT Park system uses an array of four cameras and twelve sonar sensors to wedge its host vehicle into even the smallest of parking spaces—whether it’s nose-in parking, butt-in parking, or trickiest of all, parallel parking. It seems unlikely that the slippers use quite the same technology, although Nissan does suggest that the technology is at least similar, which would mean that the slippers are operating autonomously rather than relying on someone off-camera with a remote control. If you’d like to investigate further, Nissan is offering a free night for a pair of travelers at this particular ryokan, which located in Hakone, Japan—a lovely place that you should consider visiting even if self-parking slippers aren’t on the amenities list.

Our only question now is, why limit this technology to cars, slippers, and pillows? I’d like my cereal bowls to be self parking. And my socks. And how about the toothpaste? Just think about how much more convenient it would be if all of these things were self-parking, too. So let’s get going with this, Nissan. Make our lives better already.

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Article: Robby Robot Kit Helps Learn About Robots And Robotics

February 14th, 2018 No comments

Robby Robot Kit Helps Learn About Robots And Robotics
11:51 am February 13, 2018 By Julian Horsey
from Geeky Gadgets

Anyone interested in learning more about robots or robotics may be interested in a new educational robot created by the team at Mr. Robotics, based in Lille, France. Robby the robot has been designed to “empower curiosity” and robotics with an innovative and powerful robot kit which has this week been launched by Kickstarter, to raise the required €20,000 needed to take the design into production. Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the Robby Robot kit and its features.

The Robby Robot is available to back via Kickstarter with pledges starting from €169 for early bird backers providing a starter kit with everything you need to get up and running and begin programming your robot. If all goes well, worldwide shipping is expected to take place during August 2018.

The robot kit is fully programmable and allows you to add your own modules and sensors as well as choose your own architecture providing an open source scalable system complete with plug and play sensors. The robot kit is ideal for educational applications as well as keen hobbyists and makers.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced maker looking to create your first robot the open source library of components will simplify the process and also offers a wide variety of functionality, which can be tweaked to suit custom applications if required. For more information jump over to the official Robby Robot Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign page by following the link below.

Source: Kickstarter

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Watch “Hey Buddy, Can You Give Me a Hand?” on YouTube

February 12th, 2018 No comments

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Watch “Falcon Heavy: The story of Elon Musk rocket launch – BBC News” on YouTube

February 10th, 2018 No comments

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Article: Here’s why 100 qubit quantum computers could change everything

February 7th, 2018 No comments
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