Category Archives: Future Fantastic


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Jeremie and I had an opportunity to attending the announcement event for Beakerhead!

Aiming to be a fusion of science, engineering and creativity (a video presentation called to mind the kind of wacky robotic contraptions you see at Burning Man), Beakerhead is the brainchild of co-founders Jay Ingram, best known for his work with the Discovery Channel, and his partner Mary Anne Moser. Collaborating organizations at this point include the U of C’s Schulich School of Engineering, Mount Royal University,SAIT Poytechnic, Telus Spark, the Glenbow Museum and local arts groups such as the High Performance Rodeo, the Calgary Animated Objects Society and the Green Fools.

Check out for more info!

You can also follow them on twitter @Beakerhead

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I’ve been following the online AI class from Stanford.  Included in that was a video with descriptive commentary of the robot that won the DARPA challenge.  The video is also on youtube.  The ‘trick’ was to overlay very accurate but short range laser sensor data, with much less accurate but long range camera vision, to ‘infer’ what was further ahead than it could see with the lasers.

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A news item for you.  Theoretical research on walking, running, and the transition from one to the other.  Nothing directly useful here for awhile, but if/when this gets better developed, it means that a legged robot can stably walk and run without needing a lot of sensors and fine control over the real time position of each moving part.  Instead the mechanical design of the leg, plus fairly simple control over the angle that the leg meets the ground gives good control.  Major reduction in sensors, feedback, and needed processing power.

Exploiting the Passive Dynamics of a Compliant Leg to Develop Gait Transitions

The article also includes a link to a link, that would allow buying the full 6 page Physical Review Article.


Cool flying Jellyfish

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In Google translated German:

Air is the element of AirJelly. The remote does not swim through water jellyfish AirJelly as AquaJelly, but literally glides through its central electric drive and an intelligent adaptive mechanism by the sea air. For AirJelly consists of a helium-filled ballonet.

As the only energy source used AirJelly two lithium-ion polymer batteries to which the central electric drive is connected. This transfers the force to a bevel gear and then successively to eight spur gears, which move about cranking the eight tentacles of the jellyfish. Each tentacle is as a structure with Fin Ray Effect® trained. The drive of a balloon by means of peristaltic motion is currently not in the history of aviation. AirJelly is the first indoor flying object with peristaltic drive. The jellyfish moves through this new drive concept based on the reaction principle of their propulsion, gently through the air.

There’s also an AirRay – a mechanical manta ray