Upon examining a piece of Attic pottery, certain words may come to mind: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" — and some would have you believe that is all you need to know here on Earth. But in space, you need to know a bit more.
Japan certainly hasn't let the recession damp its enthusiasm for all things robot, even if much of the robotic workforce still suffers from unemployment idleness.
The robot tiles emerged as the brainchild of Hiroo Iwata, a virtual reality researcher at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. A touch-sensitive conductive fabric covers each robot and gauges the pressure applied by a walking person's foot, which goes toward predicting the next step.
Mapquest and Yahoo Maps are slow. Google Local's maps pop up almost immediately and allow you to click and drag to scroll around without waiting for a new page to load. Google bypasses the traditional bottleneck-building the map on a server and then transferring it-by instead sending your computer several small map "tiles" with instructions for assembly. When you scroll, it sends new tiles rather than a whole new map. Google also released the code behind the site, inspiring users to create dozens of applications with it, including chicagocrime.org, which plots reported crimes.