Issue #58

This week – a beautiful bio-inspired robotic stingray, a bomb disposal robot killed the shooter in Dallas and another robot broke the First Law of Robotics, do you have a right to bionic arms, AI helps brew beer in the UK, Pokemon Go and more!

More Than A Human

Do We Have a Right to Bionic Arms?

Imagine that a new fancy prosthetic limb enters the market. You go to your doctor and ask her to cut off your arm. What should the doctor say? Dyani Sabin from Inverse asked Margaret Moon, a medical ethicist at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics this question.

DARPA-funded prosthetic arm set to go on sale later this year

One of the world’s most advanced prosthetics is set to hit the market later this year. The Luke arm was designed by Segway creator Dean Kamen with funding from DARPA. In 2014, it received approval from the FDA, and now, the company behind the prosthetic says it will be ready for “commercial introduction” in late 2016.

Neuroscientists Warn Against Unsupervised Direct Brain Stimulation

The thirty-nine scientists got together and endorsed an open letter to the DIY brain-zapping community. The letter addresses the potential ill effects of transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. They warned about the possible side-effects of using the therapy in a wrong way and politely asked to not end up electrocuting your brain.

I Replaced My Fingerprints With Prosthetics to Avoid Surveillance

Just a proof that we are heading into cyberpunk future. Here’s a story about a industrial design student who created a kit that allows you to cover your real fingerprint with a fake one that’s fully-functional, replaceable, and practically impossible to copy.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is being used to brew beer in the UK

The AI takes the form of a Facebook Messenger bot and asks beer drinkers the questions about the beer. Those answers about taste and preferences are then used to find trends that could be used to improve the final product over time.

Microsoft’s Project Malmo is teaching AI to build stuff in Minecraft

Back in March, Microsoft Research showcased the work it was doing with Project Malmo, a platform designed to leverage Minecraft as a means of helping improve AI problem solving, using machines to accomplish tasks and create items in the blocky game. Now the company is bringing Malmo to the GitHub-using masses, courtesy of an open-source license in a private preview.

Will AI Companies Make Any Money?

This article from Harvard Business Review takes a closer look at a peculiar (from a business perspective) AI environment, where all the tools are mostly free and building your own AI solution isn’t so expensive as you might think.

Harry Potter: Written by Artificial Intelligence

Another example of “let’s throw a lot of things into a recurrent neural network and see what will happen!”. This time, the RNN was fed with the Harry Potter novels and then generated a completely new story about The Boy Who Lived.


Silicon Valley Security Guard Robot Injures Toddler

The more I think about the less I’m surprised that a Dalek-like security robot didn’t obey Asimov’s First Law of Robotics.

The Dallas police used a ‘bomb robot’ to kill a shooting suspect. That’s a really big deal.

The Dallas stand-off ended when a police bomb disposal robot delivered explosive close to the shooter and killed him. It’s a big thing. placing a bomb on a police robot with the intention to kill a suspect would represent a major shift in policing tactics and stir a lot of controversy regarding already hot topic of killer robots.

Meet the Drone That Will Train You to Be a Tennis Superstar

Drone-ovic, named after tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, will allow novice tennis players to refine their serves and backhands using a sports drone.

Deep Learning AI Leads Robot to Victory in Amazon’s Picking Challenge

A robot with deep learning capabilities and depth-sensing cameras has won this year’s Amazon Picking Challenge.

The Freaky Artificial Muscles on this Human Skeleton Are the Future of Robotics

This creepy robot uses bundles of multifilament artificial muscles. Like real human muscles, the multifilament bundles contract and expand when an electrical current is applied, and by controlling different groups of these muscles at different times, the skeleton’s arms, legs, and head can all be made to move similar to how a real human can.

Nivea made a seagull drone that poops sunscreen on kids

This. Is. So. Wrong.

Grocery-Bagging Robots Are Finally A Thing

Sawyer was developed to revolutionize the role of robots in the workplace. This one-arm robot learns its tasks by looking how people do it instead of being programmed to do specific task.


A Cyborg Stingray Made of Rat Muscles and Gold

A beautiful example of a convergence of robotics and cybernetics. Researchers from Harvard have created an artificial stingray made of rat muscles and gold. The rat muscles were genetically modified to react to light, allowing to control the robot by using the pulses of light.

MIT Engineers Test Programmable RNA Vaccines

MIT engineers have developed a new type of easily customizable vaccine that can be manufactured in one week. The study leverages the capabilities of messenger RNA, which can be designed to code for any viral, bacterial, or parasitic protein. In other words, instead of getting the immune system to figure out which proteins to produce, the vaccine gives the immune system a complete solution.

3D Print All The Things!

Now You Can 3D Print Your Own…Candy

This 3D printer is able to print… gummies. Whichever shape or form you desire, it would probably print it.

Virtual Worlds

Pokemon Go Is a Glimpse of Our Augmented Reality Future

Pokemon Go is a massive success. This augmented reality game is probably the first so frequently used AR application and it might create a whole new genre of games, if not the whole industry, where reality blends with the virtual world.

Hololens and Japan Airlines demo at WPC 2016

Here’s a demo from Worldwide Partner Conference showing how Microsoft and Japan Airlines imagine the future of work with Hololens and mixed reality.

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