How do you learn to cook a steak? Some people might say "attempt to cook a steak." Those people are living in the past! What you should do is rig a system of wires and pulleys and augmented reality cameras and projectors so you can toss and turn a digital projection of a steak and onions with a digital projection of a spatula while feeling simulated resistance that mimics the weight of a steak. Duh. Video after the jump.
“I will have that curly thing,” as I once put it to the pastry-selling woman across the counter. There was no sign, so how was I supposed to know it was called a pecan braid? This new food recognizer could have helped!
When the need arises for a very specific type of robot, odds are pretty good it exists in Japan. A new Japanese robot can make 2,500 fried tofu rolls per hour, puffing little triangles of tofu with air and stuffing them with rice with precision and speed.
It is so careful that the designers, based at Suzumo, compare it to a syringe: The fried tofu skin is opened quickly, and then more air is blown in so the rice can be inserted.
Sometimes when framing a photo, you might draw a little box with your fingers, visualizing the field of view before looking through the viewfinder. Now there’s a device that turns your little hand-rectangle into an actual camera. You frame the shot with your fingers, and you determine the view by moving your hands closer to or further from your face.
Researchers at the Ishikawa-Oku lab at the University of Tokyo have gone one-up on augmented reality with a system they call "invoked computing." Basically, that means computers will be embedded everywhere in your daily life, and you'll "invoke" operations, so everyday, non-computerized objects--like a banana--can be given computer-like capabilities. This is all leading up to a real-life bananaphone, obviously.
At this year's International Robot Exhibition, Masahiko Yamaguchi demonstrated a smallish robot--maybe a foot high or so--that is able to ride a fixed-gear bike, like a 2011 version of the opening scene from The Muppet Movie (and there's a Muppet movie coming out this year, too! Sorry sorry. Back to robots.) What's especially impressive is that the robot is capable of biking just like a human--it moves and brakes solely through the strength of its own adorable little body.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.