PR2 Successfully Bakes Giant Cookie From Scratch

At the push of a button, MIT's PR2 will bake you a giant cookie from scratch. The future is now!

1 min read
PR2 Successfully Bakes Giant Cookie From Scratch

This is it, folks. The epitome of robotics. After some practice runs, PR2 has successfully managed to bake itself a cookie completely from scratch:

Not being a baker, I'm not sure if it's normal for the cookie to look more or less the same coming out of the oven as it does going in. But whatever, it's got chocolate and sugar and butter in it, and we can just act all snooty and say that the cookie has been "deconstructed" by the robot in a spectacular show of culinary skill.

Obviously, there's still a bit of optimizing to be done with BakeBot here, and I'm sure that the students at MIT CSAIL are already putting in lots of overtime running this routine over and over again to try out new algorithms (and recipes). We can all be thankful that they're making this delicious sacrifice in a noble effort to extend the baking capabilities of robots everywhere while keeping their chocolate cravings at bay. Robotics sure is tough, isn't it?

[ MIT CSAIL ]

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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
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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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