Thursday, April 24, 2014

Technology Transfer: an Example?


- Technology transfer and the WikiHyperGlossary project

- I will go to 15-minute conference call at 3:20
      You can work on next HW

- I will return here at 3:50 tell you what happened


- Technology transfer:

      Taking research results and turning them into technology that is used

- The technology, WikiHyperGlossary (

       For some basic info, see link I emailed to myself

- The strategy:

       I-Corps (

            Some introductory slides:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some robot pics and videos

1. A few fun videos:

  • Big Dog:
  • 10 amazing robots:
  • (9 min.) Asimo vs HPR-4 vs NAO:
  • Ping pong:
  • Sand Flea:

2. Hard to believe these are not even brand new...

3. Robot gardening,
an artist's conception...

Art by Christine Marie Larsen,, from her "Robot of the Month Club."

and in reality...

Recognize anything about the robots?

Discussion - what do you think??

My 2013 WFS talk:
"From Highly Centralized to Highly Decentralized societies"

4. Robot gardening: 
an existential perspective

Centralized infrastructure is risky

Example 1: power
    A 2-hour blackout is fun
    A 2-day blackout is no fun
    A 2-week blackout is traumatic
    A 2-month blackout - what are the consequences?
    A 2-year blackout - consequences?

Problem: electricity is highly centralized
    If fuel not delivered, no power
    If generating plant destroyed, no power
    If distribution lines stop working, no power
    No electricity, no communications
       No internet, TV, telephone...
       No communications...rumor takes up the slack
           (As it Earth 2100)
    Hard to store food or even cook without electricity

Solution: decentralize electricity generation

Solar panels on houses would keep each house going
   Highly decentralized!
   System is robust and can't break down catastrophically
   Solar panels are decreasing in price
   Spray-on solar "paint" may happen

In my opinion, this is a lucky trend 
   Because it is so important

5. Example 2: Food distribution by truck

    What if the trucks stop rolling?
       Drivers can't be paid
       Drivers are afraid of disease
       Country runs out of gas (& diesel)
       Rogue militias or bandits
    Things could get bad fast 
     Every home is its own farm
     Save money on groceries, too!
     But who has the time?
          ...and who has the expertise...
          (I can barely grow an unhealthy corn plant)

So how is that a solution?!
The real solution:
   Robotic gardening
   Instead of a roomba, a yardba
       (Let's call it a "farmerbot")

   It tends plants
   It weeds (surely possible even now)
   It senses needs of plants
       Soil too dry
       Etc. (it has a camera and such)
   It has lots and lots of time to fix problems
       Carry water,
       pick off bugs,
       apply chemicals leaf by leaf
       what else?

       Come home from work
       Small robots bring raw food to your door
       You might still have to cook it
             No biggie - your solar panels power the stove

   My opinion:
       This is important for the safety of civilization
       (In addition to saving money)

5. What other necessities of
    life and civilization
    are over-centralized?

    ...and can they be decentralized?

6. These "classic" robots won't feed you 
but they are cool in otherways! (World's first controllable MAV monocopter, Robotic Samara (maple seed)); (TR article with embedded video of how it was developed/works (copy at

Flying insectbot?
That but with other robot video links at:

Big Dog: stable in snow, rocks, clear ice...even when viciously kicked

Minibots in swarms:

7. some newer robots...

Table tennis:



Sand fleabot:

6-legged leaperbot:
(Insects have 6 legs, so "bugbot"?)

Mowglibot wants your seat:

Gekkobot will drive you up the wall:

Will these really "haunt your soul"?

(Named after Isaac, natch)

Build-ur-own gripper:

Current syllabus

Please let me know of any topic requests - we can try to incorporate them.

Tu 1/14/2014...General course information

     Introductory meeting
     Homework #1, due Th 1/23/14 (next year in 7 days instead of 9)
     Videos: top sci-fi shorts of 2013; some top shorts of 2012; here is one; do I get some sort of bragging rights? Here is the website & trailer; to be released "really soon"!
Th 1/16/2014...Trajectories of the future
     Reminder: Homework #1, due Th 1/23/14
Tu 1/21/2014...From geotagging to the end of privacy
     Crowdsourced spaceship piloting
     Delphi Method (i)
     Homework #2, due Tu 1/28/14, do hands-on how-to
Th 1/23/2014...Delphi Method (ii)
Tu 1/28/2014...Delphi Method (ii cont.)
     Homework #3, due Tu 2/4/14
Th 1/30/2014......Delphi Method (ii cont.)
     Work on HW3 if time allows 
Tu 2/4/2014...Snow/ice day
Th 2/6/2014...Prediction markets (ser. #2)
     Sample prediction market contract (ser. #12)
     Homework #4, due Th 2/13/14 
Tu 2/11/2014...Prediction markets review (due to weather absences last time)
Th 2/13/2014...TRIZ (ser. #2)
     Homework #5, due Th 2/20/14
Tu 2/18/2014...TRIZ (ii)
Th 2/20/2014...Spoil sports of the prediction game 
     #1: Observer Effect (ser. #1)
Tu 2/25/2014...Spoil sports of the prediction game 
     Homework #6, due Tu 3/4/14
     #2: Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
     #3: Quantum Tunneling
     #4: Butterfly Effect (ser. #6) 
Th 2/27/2014...Spoil sports of the prediction game
     #5: External perturbations
     #6: Existentialist angst
     #7: The care horizon
Tu 3/4/2014...Snow day!
Th 3/6/2014...Personal futures: 
      Homework #7, due Tu 3/18/14
     "How to Really Achieve Your Childhood Dreams" (ser. #3);
Tu 3/11/2014...Building your personal future workshop
      Also an example of a futurism web site
Th 3/13/2014...Building your personal future workshop II
Tu 3/18/2014...Building your personal future workshop III 
      Homework #8 (optional)
Th 3/20/2014...The singularity
     Movie discussion: Transcendent Man
Tu 3/25/2014...Spring break
Th 3/27/2014...Spring break
Tu 4/1/2014...The singularity (cont.)
     Transcendence trailer
     Singularity notes (see lifeExt.xls)
     Asimov's "The Last Question"
     Vinge's "Technological Singularity"
     Homework #9, due Tu Apr. 8, 2014
     Schedule student presentations
Th 4/3/2014...
Start movie discussion: Earth2100 (subtitled(ser. #4)
Tu 4/8/2014...Finish Movie discussion: Earth 2100
      A Resource page
Th 4/10/2014...Hands-on robotics (ser. #5)  
     Homework #10, Extended to Tu 4/22/14
Tu 4/15/2014...Hands-on robotics II (ser. #5)  
Th 4/17/2014...More robotics
   AIShield, safeguarding humanity and the risks of AI/robotics
   Some robot pics and videos
   Metrics for progress in robotics
   Robotic cars
Tu 4/22/2014...Student presentations: 
    Homework #11 (ser. #10), due Tu 4/29/14
Th 4/24/2014...Student presentation(s): none
     Research can be future technology: an example
Tu 4/29/2014...Student presentation(s): Joseph; Patrick
    Robotic Dilemmas
Th 5/1/2014...Student presentation(s):  John; B.;
Tu 5/13/2014 from 1:30-3:30 p.m.... Scheduled final (no test)
   Meets only for people presenting: T.
   Project due

Below are potential additional topics
   Flying cars and jetpacks (1, 2)      Lead-in article;
    Do scientific proofs exist?
         Homework (see unposted draft)
   Toxoplasmosis (see also Slate and The Atlantic articles)
         Homework (see unposted draft)
   Transitpeople on the move
   Will we find other intelligent life?
   Guest lecture (remote): Dr. Harry Pence (MilneBigData13-3.ppt)
  Futurist organization example
   Crowdsourcing innovation 
   3-D printing and rep-rap
   The future of the presidency (ser. #8)
   Peak oil, solar cells, and new energy (see &
   Shift happens (& prediction heuristics)
   Hubbert peak for oil
   photovoltaics (solar cells) ser. #7
   Solar cells from agricultural waste
Trend analysis
   AIShield, safeguarding humanity and the risks of AI/robotics
   Some robot pics and videos
   Metrics for progress in robotics
   Robotic cars
Gaining long term perspective through time lapse videos
Video discussions II (last video not that great) 
Some rough notes on potential other discussion topics
TED videos and discussions
Backup plan for homo sapiens: space adventure
SETI: see end of this video
   Drake equation and such

In the far, far future…long after the singularity…when robots ponder their beginnings in the mists of their antiquity…when humankind, their creator, is only the dimmest memory…they may happen upon an ancient document…and translate it the only way they know.

The Robots’ Bible


In the beginning, humankind created visions, and reality. Now the reality was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of *robotics*. And the spirit of humankind hovered over reality. And humankind said, let there be electricity, and there was electricity. And humankind saw the electricity, and that it was good. And humankind divided electrification from non-electrification. And humankind called the electrification "progress," and the non-electrification was called "Luddism." And there was bright evening, and bright morning, one day.


And humankind said, Let robotics be gathered together into an academic discipline, and let conferences; contests; benchmarks; and journals appear. And it was so. [...] And humankind said, Let robotics put forth mobile robots, robots yielding manufactured products, and robots that build more robots after their kind, wherein are the plans thereof, upon the robotics endeavor. And it was so. And robotics brought forth Web and desert rovers, manufacturing robots, and robots that build robots, wherein are the plans thereof; and humankind saw that it was good. And there was dreaming and awakening, a third day.


And humankind said, Let reality swarm with swarms of living robots, and let fly in the heavens, even unto Mars. And humankind created the great robotic ships, and every living robot that creepeth upon the floor, wherewith reality swarmed, after its kind, and every flying robot after its kind; and humankind saw that it was good. And humankind blessed them, saying: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill reality and the imagination. And there was vision and there was the hidden hand of economics, a fifth day.

And humankind said: Let reality bring forth the living robot after its kind, workerbots, and floor-cleaning robots, and agribots after its kind. And it was so. And humankind made agribots after its kind, and workerbots after their kind, and every robot that creepeth upon the floor after its kind; and humankind saw that it was good.And humankind said, Let us make Turing robots in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the robotics field, and over the flying robots, and over the workerbots, and over all reality, and over every creeping thing that creepeth within reality. And humankind created robots in their own image, in the image of humankind created they them, with the ability to build progeny better than themselves they created them. And humankind blessed them, and humankind said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and *subdue* it; and have *dominion* over the robotics field, and over the flying robots, and over every *living thing* that creepeth within reality. And humankind said: Behold, we have given you every resource, which is upon the face of all reality, and every renewable, in which is the capacity for renewal - to you it shall be for production of more robots [...]. And it was so. And humankind saw every thing that they had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was singularity and there was post-singularity, the sixth age.

And the vision and the reality were finished, and all the host of them. And in the seventh era humankind finished their work they had made; and humankind rested in the seventh era from all their work which they had made. And humankind blessed the seventh era, and hallowed it; because in it they rested forever from all their work which humankind in creating had made.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hands-on robotics

Let's check out the "Create" model robots...

Note the...

Omnidirectional IR receiver

  • omnidirectional?
  • IR?
  • receiver?


Cargo bay

Cargo bay connector

Charging socket

Serial port

  • Avoid bending pins!
    • Never force plug
    • Align arrow properly first
  • May have a cover to remove
  • Plug in the cable and then remove (gently!):
  • Embossed arrow faces outward, see figure -

External hardware mounting holes
Power button
  • Why that symbol?
  • (per IEEE 1621)

Power LED
  • LED?
  • green=charged
  • amber=partial charge
  • red=little charge
  • flashing red=no charge
  • What is the charge of yours?

Play button
Play LED
Advance button
Advance LED
Resetting the robot:
  • Power cycle it. Try it.

Choosing a demo (10 of'em)
  • Press the 'Advance' button
  • Printed with a double arrow
  • 4 beeps for demo #4
  • long beep for #5
  • long + 4 shorts for #9
  • How about #10?
  • Demo #2 homes to the charger

Try each demo outside where there is more room...
Contact points for home base
  • Why not save $ by making them out of plastic?

Cliff sensors
  • Are these spring-loaded feelers, or electronic?

  • Carefully turn robot upside down
  • Take out battery
  • Put it back in
  • Press both ends to make sure it is seated;
    • sometimes one end hasn't clicked yet

Musical robots

128 132 (start, then put robot in full programmer control mode)

send: 140 0 4 62 12 68 12 69 12 74 36
(loads a song)

141 0
(plays the song)

140=defines a song
0=name it song #0
4=we'll see later :)
62=MIDI note #62 (range 31-127)
12=twelve 64ths of a second

You can send all three at once:
  • 128 132 140 0 4 62 12 66 12 69 12 74 36 141 0
  • Notice the 68 is a 66 this time
  • Should give you control, then load, then play the new song

Try some variations on
128 132
140 0 4 62 12 68 12 69 12 74 36
141 0
recalling that:
140=defines a song
0=name it song #0
4=song has four notes
62=MIDI note #62 (range 31-127)
12=twelve 64ths of a second

Insert a 5th, superhigh tone, 111
Play it for a longish time, 100:
128 132
140 0 5 62 12 68 12 69 12 74 36 111 100
141 0
Try it

Program new variations and we'll have a concert...

Robot motion

- a key function for robots!

Initialize: send
128 131
Make it move:
be ready to catch it if it falls
send :
137 0 100 128 0
 (If you both initialize and send on one line, it might not work (why?)

0 100=go 100 mm/sec
128 0=go straight, no circle

Command 158 is "wait for event"
158  5     wait for "bump"
(1 - wheel drop ... 5 - bumper press ...)
Try these:
128  131
158  5  137 0 100 128 0
What should this do?

Skip in Sp '13:
Notice that:
128 131
is not the same as
128 132
which gives full control
This time try
128 132 (instead of 128 131)
Then again make it move:
  • (falling alert: be ready to catch or pick it up!):
  • 137 0 100 128 0
Pick it up
Now what to do??!

What is the slowest speed you can get it to go?


A kind of small program

152 17 137 0 44 128 0 156 0 144 137 0 44 0 1 157 0 90 153

Let's analyze it!

152=define a script
17=it has 17 more bytes
137 0 44 128 0=drive, 0+44=44 mm/sec., 128 0=straight
(137 1 44 128 0 would drive 256+44=300 mm/sec.)
156 0 144=wait until 0+144=144 mm
137 0 44 0 1=drive, 0+44=44 mm/sec., 0 1=spin counterclockwise
157 0 90=wait until 0+90=90 degrees
153=repeat script
Notice how this makes it go in a rectangle!

To run the script:
send 128 131 (start in safe mode)
send 152 17 137 0 44 128 0 156 0 144 137 0 44 0 1 157 0 90 153
send 153 (to run it)
or send  158  5  153 (to wait for bump, then run it)

152=define a script
153=play a script

154=show the script
try it
what happens?

Let's review the script program...
Then try variations on the program
- see board for command details

If time allows -
Make it wait for a bump, then do something new
We can demo them at the end