So what's been going onat Willow Garage forthe past few months? We'd tell you that it involved cake, but that would be a lie. Instead, we have these exclusive secret pictures from deep inside the gigantic underground labyrinth that we're pretty sure is hidden beneath 68 Willow Road. 

A PR2 with a Portal device? This is going to be trouble.


This TurtleBot also has an ASHPD. More trouble.


Even the PR1 is armed and dangerous. Or armed, at least.


And now the robots are getting bad ideas:


Very, very bad ideas:


Special thanks to Chad Rockey and Mihai Pomarlan for risking their lives to get us these images.

And in other breaking but totally fictitious news, a rumor that I just made up has it that Willow has been acquired by Cave Johnson and Aperture Science to make robots that are just as trustworthy as humans:


If none of this makes sense to you, it's worth investing some time in Portal 2. For science.

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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
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

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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