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Japanese Robot American Football is Hilariously Brutal

It's nothing like the football we're used to around here, but it's certainly much more exciting

1 min read
Japanese Robot American Football is Hilariously Brutal

I've never been much of a fan of American football myself. Too much standing around with big guys smashing into bigger guys over and over without getting anywhere. With a bunch of Japanese robots, though, it's an entirely different game, especially since they seem to throw out most of the rules.

Whatever the rules to this game actually are (and I freely admit that the machine-translated rule book at the link below is beyond my comprehension), there's no escaping the fact that the ball is decidedly not round, which makes everything a lot more eventful. It looks like most of the (remote controlled) robots are designed with the intention of somehow grabbing onto the ball and then driving off with it, but it also looks like that almost never happens in the course of play.

Generally, this sport reminds me a lot of the Robot Hockey you see at RoboGames, where the speed and agility of the robots are often too much for their human drivers to handle, resulting in more of a haphazard free-for-all as opposed to an organized sport. The solution, obviously, is to just teach all of these robots to be autonomous, so that they can properly take advantage of reflexes which, after all, vastly outstrip those of their human creators.

[ Robot American Football ] via [ Robots-Dreams ]

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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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