Archive for the 'Almost there' Category

Stephen’s Law of Robotics

Monday, April 21st, 2008

In the previous article the notion that over a period of time the number of capabilities a robot possesses will double was introduced. While some of these capabilities will likely come from the artificial intelligence field, just as many will come from plain old engineering. The growth of capabilities will come about due to problems to be solved, and new tasks to be performed. There are many motivations driving the growth of capabilities in robotics.

Power of incentive

Moore’s Law of Robotics

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

I have no idea whether truly intelligence robots will ever exist, but I can definitely imagine that their actions will start to seem intelligent within the next twenty years. Being intelligent and seeming intelligent are close enough, that I am not sure the difference matters. Being intelligent implies having the ability to create new solutions and ideas for situations never previously encountered. Seeming intelligent is to apply existing solutions and ideas to new situations. Current robots and machines are far from seeming intelligent and even farther from being intelligent. However, as their accumulated set of capabilities increases, this will change. Over the next couple of articles, a sketch of the idea that as the number of capabilities a robot possesses increases, the overall flexibility of its actions will increase as well. Flexibility of action is the ability to respond appropriately to situations which have never been encountered before. As an individual robot’s capabilities reach into the millions, and then billions, there will be fewer and fewer situations where it will be unable to complete its task. In such an environment, robots will be very hard to distinguish from seeming intelligent to actually being intelligent. The meaning of capabilities will be rather broad, but the notion should be clear by the time we finish.

GPS enabled cell phones

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

More and more cell phones are shipped with built-in GPS receivers. The position coordinates used by applications running on your cell phone allow for sharing your location with a community. Various projects have gathered this data to monitor health, traffic, and social interactions. The infrastructure for standardizing the exchange of location for applications is just beginning to form. Some of these services are even becoming available for phones which do not have GPS to accurately capture position. Instead, triangulation based on cell phone towers in range is used. Since the phone is tied to a communications network, sending information off to be aggregated with others, makes for many potential applications. Just a few are listed here.

Improved Cellphone Integration

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

905i CellphoneWith the release of the 905i series of cellphones in Japan, the degree and quality of integration continues to improve.  3G network, GPS, high-definition TV, 5-mega-pixel camera, fast internet access, and even English-Japanese translation are included.  Of all the integration factors we have talked about, only Bluetooth and WiFi are missing.

Quick to adopt

Planning a Vacation

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

GPS ReceiversTechnology related to the Global Positioning System (GPS) has advanced significantly since the system was opened for civilian use in 1983. In the early 90’s my Garmin 45 GPS receiver took five minutes or more to lock onto enough satellites to get a position fix. If left unused for a few weeks it could take an hour to update its database and provide location information. Essentially it was good for primitive navigation over open terrain, such as out at sea. Today I have a Garmin Vista HCx which locks on in seconds and provides color mapping and car like navigation capabilities. With the ability to find location quickly, it is so much more practical to use. Today GPS can be found not just in specialized receivers, but on laptops, in cars, and even in cell phones. In this article, I will talk about using a GPS receiver as an aid in travel. In a later article, we will discuss areas where the overall experience needs improvement.

Recap and moving forward

Saturday, March 1st, 2008

Surveillance Camera‘Tech Yet To Be’ has been going for over a month now. Over this time we have discussed:

Driving Force of the Singularity

Monday, February 25th, 2008

TRS80 Model 1 ComputerTechnical advances are coming at a seemingly unstoppable pace. Between eighteen months to three years, technologies experience a doubling in performance or capacity, and still manage to get cheaper. But as new as new gadgets come out to satisfy our current problems or desires, we find ourselves with even more problems to be solved and grander dreams.

The All Knowing Digital Personal Assistant

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Account AggregationThese days there are many web sites and programs that help organize aspects of our lives. They help to aggregate a particular aspect such as bank accounts, phone services, instant messaging, email, calendars, passwords and more. These sites or applications bring together diverse accounts into one convenient location. However, in return for the convenience we need to hand over personal information so the service can log in to various sites automatically. How much risk do we take by using these integration tools? For something like a feed reader where we don’t have to provide anything personal, there is not much risk. However, that all changes when it comes to money, email, and so much more.

Household Cleaning Robots

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Honda's Asimo humanoid robotiRobot has been steadily increasing their line of cleaning robots. They currently provide floor vacuuming (Roomba), moping (Scooba), pool cleaning (Verro), and gutter cleaning (Looj). These robots work well in limited domains, but not a one would help with cleaning the car. The flat environment of a room is no comparison for the complexity of a car’s interior. A robot like Honda’s Asimo seems like it would make for a better all around house cleaner. Instead of having a separate robot for each chore, it is more desirable to have a single robot that can vacuum, mop, clean the gutters, wash dishes, clean the car, mow the lawn, wash the windows, and so much more.

Digital Media Center

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Stack of DVD moviesTerabyte network storage systems are appearing for the home. With so much storage an integrated media center makes a lot of sense. Why have a pile of DVDs and CDs stacked up someplace when they can be migrated to the media center. I don’t know how many times I have opened a DVD case to find either the wrong movie or no movie inside. This results in a search for the actual movie. If everything were contained in the media center keeping track of individual movies would be easy.