Robotic Sense and Feel

As you may have already noticed, us writers of Wondergressive are obsessed with robots, and when new news of robotic improvements surface, you better believe that we are reading about those new developments with both vigor and ecstasy. Most of the time.

Anyway, there was early talk of a bionic hand that can feel and transmit the sense of touch to the user. It is being developed later this year so it seems the technology is finally surfacing! Amazingly, the bionic hand is getting an additional upgrade: it will soon be able to dig in your pocket (get your mind out of the gutter) to find the right amount of change needed for the toll booth you are sitting at. Soon, very soon.

Researchers of the Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology have created and successfully used a robotic arm which identifies items based on how each object feels. This new robot can maneuver around an area to reach a certain goal; even when lightly coming in contact with structures or objects the robot simply redirects its movement to get to the goal. The idea is to allow the robot to move without too much force when coming in contact with humans at a workplace, or when searching for an item that is out of the robot’s viewpoint. In this way, the robot does not have to be completely careful and can still gently come in contact with objects. Without damaging anything, it can then continue its work by redirecting its movements.

With this new robotic arm, robots could potentially be used to assist the elderly and handicapped in daily routines. Or what about those dangerous and sensitive rescue missions that need delicate care and specific precautions? Robots everywhere!

The best part? The researchers have made the robot’s “feel” skin as well as the robot’s software open source and readily available for all others working on and interested in robotics.

So why not move forward with this technology to better our lives? Why not find ways to better our AI counterparts? Why not become cyborgs that don’t feel emotion, are as strong as Metallo with evil intent, and (matrix spoiler) enslave our fellow human breatherin after a grueling war of humans and AI where the sun is blotted out in order to stop the machines from getting energy from the sun but it backfires and we humans lose the war only to become the machines’ new source of energy? Okay maybe not any of that cyborg spiel but instead the creation of a real bicentennial man.

As before and always thereafter, the singularity is nigh upon us!




Reaching in clutter with whole arm tactile sensing

Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech

Wondergressive: Bionic Hand That Can Feel

Wondergressive: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

Wondergressive: Kid Allergic to Everything Attends School

Wondergressive: Cyborg Lobsters Power a Digital Watch

Wikipedia: Metallo

Bicentennial Man

The Dangers of Fat Acceptance

First and foremost, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. I do not hate fat people. I would never judge someone’s character on their body shape. Fat people can contribute just as much to society as any other person on the planet. Just as a smoker can have an equally positive impact on the world as a non-smoker.

The fat acceptance movement has a lot of merit behind it. It strives to stop discrimination of people of different body shapes. It battles against bullying. It can help build the self-esteem of people who are heavier than average. These are all positive attributes, but this movement has begun to spawn potentially dangerous attitudes towards obesity. First, that being obese is healthy, and second, that people who are obese cannot change their body.

The idea that being obese is just as healthy as having a healthy body mass index is simply not true. The links between obesity and heart disease are real and are not going to go away despite any changes society has towards these individuals. It really is that simple.

Obese people can lose weight and can keep it off. Thermodynamics applies to our bodies the same way that it applies to everything else in our universe. Energy output vs energy input. If a person’s calorie expenditure exceeds their calorie intake, they WILL lose weight. Regardless of how much they weigh.

If someone is fat, and they are comfortable with it, then that’s fantastic. More power to them. But don’t try to tell me that it’s healthy. It’s like a smoker telling me that even though their habits are different than mine, they’re just as healthy. It simply isn’t true.

I want to reiterate the fact that the fat acceptance movement has potential to be beneficial. However, there are certain truths that need to be accepted. People need to accept the fact that being obese is not healthy and that obese people are perfectly capable of losing weight and keeping it off.

All the best to all body shapes!