Make Your Own World With Programmable Matter

People will conjure objects as easily as we now play music or movies

9 min read
Photo: Adam Voorhes; Prop Stylist: Robin Finlay
Photo: Adam Voorhes; Prop Stylist: Robin Finlay

Several executives listen attentively to a sharp-suited sales rep making his pitch. Suddenly, a miniature car emerges from a vat of gray goop in the center of the conference table. The salesman proceeds to reshape this model using nothing more than his hands, flattening the car’s roofline and adjusting the geometry of its headlamps. Finally, he transforms the car from its initial haze gray to fire-engine red, its “atoms” twinkling in close-up with Disney-movie magic as their color changes.

Yes, it’s just a video done with special effects. But it comes from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, who are developing technology intended to enable not just the instant creation of complex objects—far beyond what today’s 3-D printing can achieve—but also their transfiguration on command.

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Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A teleoperated humanoid robot torso stands in a kitchen assembling a turkey sandwich from ingredients on a tray

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

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New AI Speeds Computer Graphics by Up to 5x

Neural rendering harnesses machine learning to paint pixels

5 min read
Four examples of Nvidia's Instant NeRF 2D-to-3D machine learning model placed side-by-side.

Nvidia Instant NeRF uses neural rendering to generate 3D visuals from 2D images.

NVIDIA

On 20 September, Nvidia’s Vice President of Applied Deep Learning, Bryan Cantanzaro, went to Twitter with a bold claim: In certain GPU-heavy games, like the classic first-person platformer Portal, seven out of eight pixels on the screen are generated by a new machine-learning algorithm. That’s enough, he said, to accelerate rendering by up to 5x.

This impressive feat is currently limited to a few dozen 3D games, but it’s a hint at the gains neural rendering will soon deliver. The technique will unlock new potential in everyday consumer electronics.

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Industrial Functional Safety Training from UL Solutions

Build knowledge and skills to better navigate today's functional safety landscape

3 min read

UL Solutions offer personnel certification at both the professional and expert levels in automotive, autonomous vehicles, electronics and semiconductors, machinery, industrial automation, and cybersecurity.

UL Solutions

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You can now register for any of the offerings listed below. All our instructor-led, virtual courses provide a deep dive into key functional safety standards.

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