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Real Fish Get Schooled By Robots

Fish, I guess, are not the smartest fish in the... Well, they're not that smart, let's go with that. Stefano Marras of the Institute for the Marine and Coastal Environment-National Research Council, in Torregrande, Italy, and Maurizio Porfiri of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University have convinced some golden shiners to follow a robotic fish in a schooling pattern.

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Sebastian Thrun Will Teach You How to Build Your Own Self-Driving Car, For Free

Last August, Sebastian Thrun, the brains behind Google's self-driving cars and one of the world's top AI experts, offered an online version of Stanford's Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course to absolutely anyone who wanted to take it, for free. It turned out to be just a little bit popular (over 150,000 students enrolled), and now Thrun is offering a new, totally free, seven-week online course called Programming a Robotic Car. I know, it sounds a little bit ambitious, but this is straight from the class FAQ:

Can I really learn how to build a self-driving car in 7 weeks?

Yes! In seven weeks, you will learn the basics of all the primary systems involved in programming a robotic car.


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Truss-Climbing Robot Can Build Structures, Take Them Apart

Next time you need a new house, Cornell's Creative Machines Lab is betting that robots might have a hand (or lack of hands) in helping you build it. Like other climbing bots we've seen before, their "autonomous truss-structure modifying robot" is capable of clambering around three-dimensional structures, but with a twist: The robot can add and remove bits and pieces as it goes.

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DARPA Wants to Give Soldiers Robot Surrogates, Avatar Style

In the movie Avatar, humans hooked themselves up to brain-machine-interface pods with which they could control giant genetically engineered human-alien hybrids. It's just a movie, but DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, doesn't care: It wants this kind of system to be real, just replace "giant genetically engineered human-alien hybrids" with "robots."

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This Will Be Robonaut's New Job on the ISS, For Now

Robonaut 2 has been up on the International Space Station for, geez, like a year now, and it's only over the last few days that he's really gotten to wake up, stretch out, and get to work. What work is that? Well, it's not hand-to-hand combat with invading aliens. Not yet, anyway.

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In 1930, Robots Were Stealing Musicians' Jobs

I lost my job to a robot once, but I certainly wasn't the first person to have this happen to them. Back in the 1930s, the invention of synchronized sound rendered live musicians who played accompaniment at movie theaters as superfluous. The American Federation of Musicians wasn't about to take the loss of their livelihood lying down, so they orchestrated a PR campaign to try to stop the evil music robots from taking over.

It didn't work.

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The Evolution of Robot Soccer

This is the official goal of the RoboCup soccer competition:

"By mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win the soccer game, complying with the official rule[s] of the FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association], against the winner of the most recent World Cup."

We've seen a lot of improvement over the last few years, but nothing that compares to the skills that the new version of ASIMO recently displayed. And RoboCup itself isn't far behind.

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