Tweenbots rely on human help


[Kacie Kinzer] put together an interesting social experiment: Could a robot navigate purely by the help of strangers? She constructed an inexpensive Tweenbot robot that would drive in a straight line. A flag was attached to the top with a plea for help and a destination. Surprisingly, on the first run it was able to traverse through Washington Square Park in just 42 minutes with the help of 29 people. You can see a video of the first run below. This is part of [Kacie]‘s thesis work at ITP and she has many other bots planned. While it’s a great demonstration of human kindness, there’s another lesson: If you don’t think your public project looks innocuous enough, draw a smiley face on it.

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HAL suit going into production


When we compiled our list of real life power suits last May, the HAL suit was being pitched as a $1000 a month rental. Cyberdyne has changed their tune for the better recently. Teports suggest that the first 400 unit run of powered exoskeletons will sell for $4200, less than a Segway. The suit can increase the wearer’s strength ten-fold and will run continuously for nearly three hours.

[via Engadget]

Googles servers revealed


We’ve often wondered what kind of hardware the giant of the internet, Google, used to handle it’s data. They’ve recently revealed what their main workhorses are. It’s a custom motherboard made by Gigabyte with two processors, and eight RAM slots. The main point of interest on these is the fact that each server and piece of network equipment has it’s own battery backup. This may add a little money in the initial cost of the unit, but apparently it is a much more efficient way of handling power. Be sure to click over to the site and check out the shipping container setup that they use. Each container has 1,160 servers. They aren’t the only ones using this method. Microsoft has adopted it for their newer facilities and Sun has done some extensive testing on how these portable facilities handle earthquakes. You can see the quake test after the break.

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RGB 7 segment display


[Markus] noticed a lack of 7 segment LED displays that could show RGB. Like any hacker, he sought to remedy this.  The solution he came up with was to basically remove all the electronics from the plastic body of the display. He then mounted new surface mount RGB LEDs in the correct places. This may be a bit messy, and definitely increased the footprint in this layout, but as you can see from the pictures on his site, the final result is quite nice. What uses can you think of for these?


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