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RoboCops Now Guarding South Korean Prisons

As if you needed any more reasons not to end up in a South Korean prison, they now have scary looking robot guards

1 min read
RoboCops Now Guarding South Korean Prisons

The next time you find yourself in a South Korean prison (and don't worry, it happens to the best of us), this not especially friendly looking robot is going to be either your new best buddy or your new worst enemy. But probably the latter.

Sinister, yeah?

The thing I'm not sure about here is just how complicated this robot looks relative to what it's actually capable of doing. It's huge and presumably very expensive, but aside from a microphone, a camera, some flashing lights, an alarm, and what looks to be an off-the-shelf Kinect sensor, it doesn't seem to really be able to do much. Like, you sort of get the feeling that you could do 90 percent of what this robot does with a Rovio or some other telepresenceplatform.

The sophisticated part might be the software, which looks to be able to analyze behavior and make decisions as to when to alert a human operator that something is up. This is handy, but again, you don't necessarily need something so gigantic and unwieldy to send audio and video back to a computer somewhere that can do the same kinds of things. 

The next step is, apparently, a robot that "conducts body searches," which strikes me as an application that could be particularly unpleasant for the end user. But that might be the whole idea, I suppose: how likely are you to try and sneak contraband into a prison if you encounter a robot snapping a latex glove over its steely, probe-like fingers?

[ Reuters ] via [ PC World ]

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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
DarkGray

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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