Apr 2, 2009
As several readers correctly answered in response to yesterday's April Fools Day blog quiz, the one real story was (drum roll…) the mind-reading robot!
Researchers from the Honda Research Institute Japan are working on a series of brain machine interface (BMI) projects, including one in which a person can control the movement of a humanoid robot named Asimo by thought alone, London's Guardian reports. A sensor-filled helmet detects the electric brain signals and blood flow of a wearer when he or she thinks about, say, raising their right arm. A specialized computer can then interpret that information and send it to the robot, which then raises its arm. According to trials by Honda, the robot gets the answer right 90 percent of the time. (The researchers, however, didn't note in the story what Asimo did the other 10 percent of the time.)
Jan 5, 2009 | 2
When NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers touched down on Mars, they were each tapped for three-month missions exploring the Red Planet. But five years later, both are still moving, providing a bright spot at a tumultuous time for the space agency.
Last Saturday marked the five-year anniversary of Spirit's landing on Mars, the start of an astonishingly long run by the rovers. (Opportunity landed safely three weeks later.) "The American taxpayer was told three months for each rover was the prime mission plan," Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement. "The twins have worked almost 20 times that long. That's an extraordinary return of investment in these challenging budgetary times."
Jul 22, 2008
NASA has coughed up $1.2 million for a navigation system that will help astronauts find their way around the lunar surface when they return in 2020. The Lunar Astronaut Spatial Orientation and Information System (LASOIS) is designed to function much the same way as a global positioning system (GPS). The major difference: the moon version will rely on signals from lunar beacons, stereo cameras, and orbital imaging sensors instead of from satellites (there are none drifting around the moon) to map coordinates. These signals will be picked up by sensors onboard roving lunar vehicles, robots traversing the moon's surface and sensors mounted on astronaut space suits.
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