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MIT student develops colorful 3D gloves for better gesture based applications

Posted in 3D by Conner Flynn on May 23rd, 2010

Gesture based technology just got a whole lot more colorful thanks to this MIT student’s ultra colorful Lycra gloves. Robert Wang and his faculty adviser Jovan Popovićt are the designers of this colorful project. The color sections on the gloves allow for a full range of hand gestures to be recognized by the computer system.

It also helps the system better recognize your hands as 3D shapes. A Webcam is used to capture the gloves, while software recognizes and translates the color patterns and compares the patterns to a database of hand gestures. After finding a match, it generates a virtual 3-D model.

MIT working on Virus powered batteries

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on April 5th, 2009

MIT working on Virus powered batteries Typically a battery functions with lithium ions flowing between a negatively charged anode, usually graphite, and the positively charged cathode, usually cobalt oxide or lithium iron phosphate. But three years ago, an MIT team reported that it had engineered viruses that could build an anode by coating themselves with cobalt oxide and gold and self-assembling to form a nanowire. The “virus batteries” have the energy capacity and power performance similar to rechargeable batteries.

The prototype battery is a coin battery, but the idea is that cell and larger batteries could be made from this process and that one day it will power cars, boats and everything else. As it stands right now, it can go at least 100 charges before performance goes down. That will change of course.

Robotic gardeners tend tomato plants

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on March 11th, 2009

Robotic gardeners tend tomato plantsRobot gardeners? Students and researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed robots that actually tend to tomato plants, with no human intervention. The plants have soil sensors and can network with the robots, which is a great way of letting them know when they need water or nutrients. The robots are equipped with watering pumps and robotic arms that are gentle enough to pick cherry tomatoes without bruising them.

And so we enslave the plant kingdom with their new robot overlords. It’s a great way to see how it works out with plants first. If you start seeing a bunch of squished tomatoes, plants blackened and burnt, and greenhouses that look like a hurricane hit them, than we will know what they have in store for us.

MIT Labs TOFU robot is a furry dancing machine

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on January 16th, 2009

If a Gremlin had sex with a bird, then decided to have a threesome with Keepon, then a Furby wandered by delivering a pizza and getting in on the action, this would be their bastard lovechild. It’s name is TOFU, a “squash and stretch” robot with OLED eyes developed by the boffins at the MIT Media Lab.

Tofu uses techniques of social expression that have been employed by 2D animators for ages, to explore the impact on robotics. One thing is for sure. That bot knows how to groove and puts most humans to shame with it’s dancing skills. The video above shows off his moves, which are strangely very pimp-like.

MIT’s Nexi: The overly emotional robot

Posted in Robots by Conner Flynn on April 3rd, 2008

MIT’s Nexi: The overly emotional robot
MIT thinks that the world needs an emo robot. That’s why they created this next-generation tiny humanoid robot called Nexi. It’s an ‘emotional robot’ designed by roboticist Cynthia Breazeal’s group at the MIT Media Lab. It’s known as an MDS (Mobile/Dexterous/Social) robot, which basically means it can move it’s body, hands, and face in a way that suggests human emotions. Its arms, wrists, and hands are fully adaptable to clutch and raise up to 10 pounds and by the looks of it this thing is probably a cutter too.

It possesses changeable features including eyes, eyebrows, eyelids, and mouth movement. It creeps us out in a whole new cartoon way. It also moves on a pair of animatedly self-balancing wheels. So, if you hurt it’s feelings, it will have no problem chasing you down and killing you.

Siftables lets you actually touch your stuff

Posted in Concepts by Darrin Olson on March 15th, 2008

Siftables prototype from David Merrill at MIT for physically interactive input devicesNow here is something you don’t see every day. This Siftables prototype designed by David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi at MIT was created to give some physical interaction between you and your information and media. These guys jumped right past moving things around on the screen “Minority Report” style, and provided these little independent devices each with their own display that interact with each other and you computer.

Each device also contains a 3-axis accelerometer to sense movement and it’s current position, Bluetooth, Flash memory, its own processor, infrared, a touch sensitivity and a little battery battery. According to the designers, the Siftables take advantage of the humans ability to sift and sort through a number of small items with their hands, while at the same time keeping their mind on the larger goal.