Robots Bring Couple Together, Engagement Ensues

Yes, you really can find love at an IEEE conference

1 min read
Robots Bring Couple Together, Engagement Ensues
With the Able Arm, a prototype low-cost robot arm.

He is the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab and a co-founder of Coursera. She is a surgical roboticist at Johns Hopkins University and is launching a new robot start-up.

In 2009, the two researchers, Andrew Ng and Carol Reiley, met at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Kobe, Japan, and, as Carol puts it, "sparks flew."

Today they've decided to announce their engagement here on IEEE Spectrum, and it only seemed natural to do it with a robot-themed photo shoot. 

With the autonomous helicopter Andrew and his students developed.

With a Pioneer robot (STAIR, the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Robot, is visible in the back).

With Stanford's PR2.

All of us here at Spectrum wish Andrew and Carol the very very best, and we hope that their life together will be filled with happiness.

And robots.

Photos: Colson Griffith

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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