Ready for work in 5 mins!

10 06 2009

This came in my mail early this morning. Cheered up my morning for work!

Get up, change clothes, eat breakfast and be ready for work in 5 minutes 😀 Perfect solution for sleepyheadzz!!

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Twendy One: Ultimate Robot for the disabled

29 11 2007

Twendy One

Recently, the geniuses at Sugano Laboratory of Waseda University unveiled their latest creation, Twendy One, a household robot that can understand instructions and help with household chores. What household chores? Almost anything like getting a bottle from the fridge, using thongs to lift bread from toaster onto plate and carrying a tray of food from kitchen to dining table.

Twendy lifting bread from toaster
Twendy lifting a bread from the toaster with thongs. Looks like she doesn’t want to get her hands burnt

What really blew me out about Twendy though was how she can understand HUMAN instructions and remember the location of things. At the start of the demonstration video, the man wakes up from his sleep and calls out to Twendy. Twendy responses (with a greeting) and moves towards the bed awaiting the next instruction. The man then tells Twendy he wants to get onto his wheelchair located next to the bed. Twendy then offers both her arms which the man holds onto before Twendy lifts him onto his wheelchair. That’s not all, this intelligent robot has sensors all over to detect pressure not only on her hands but body as well. If you think Twendy is too close, just give her a slight push and she will slowly move backwards.

Twendy lifting handicapped man
Twendy lifting handicapped man to wheelchair

As this is an ultra new technology, Twendy’s response is still a little delayed. This is because before she picks up an object, her sensors will attempt to gauge the size of the object so that her hands can be maneuvered to grip the object tightly. Trust me, these sensors are cutting edge. She grabbed a sauce bottle from the fridge and it didn’t even slip.

Twendy is really a household robot that is especially useful for the disabled and elderly (AND lazyheads like myself). As I was watching the video, a list of pre-programmed commands were already brewing in my head.

EVERY MORNING:
1. Prepare toast bread and cereals, place onto dining table by 9am.
2. Switch on Su Yuen’s favourite classical music
3. Wake Su Yuen up
4. Pack Su Yuen’s bed
5. While Su Yuen is having breakfast, read out her schedule for the day
6. Clean up dishes after Su Yuen is done eating
7. Do Su Yuen’s laundry

and the list goes on and on… Seriously, even if she is slow, it is perfectly fine because it saves me the trouble of doing it. (to tell you the truth, I procrastinate on my chores a LOT).

When will Twendy become a part of our lives? My guess is 5 years for them to fine tune the AI and start mass production. 🙂

Additional resources:
The demonstration video (MUST WATCH!)
More videos
Twendy One Official English Website





Japanese see-through frogs

2 10 2007

See-through frogSee-through tadpoles

After my 3rd mid-term exam for the day, I swiftly hopped onto my laptop to relax a bit before the next war. (Not that the exams all went well, overall they were O.K). Anyway, the moment I got online, my ever resourceful brother IMed me this news about a new scientific breakthrough: See-through frogs.

Yes, literally. According to numerous video reports, the Japanese-bred (yes, its the Japanese again!) frogs have a semi-translucent skin since birth allowing viewers to see the organs form and grow within them. With this breakthrough, researchers and students no longer need to dissect these amphibian creatures to study their organs, addressing concerns brought up by animal rights activists on the ethics of frog dissections in schools.

Another benefit of this breakthrough, as mentioned by lead researcher Masayuki Sumida is how “researchers can now observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs”. The largest plus point that totally blew my mind though was how these frogs are more “modifiable” than just feeding them something and watching how their bodies react to it.

Believe it or not, you can actually inject “markers” into them or attach it to genes to watch how these genes spread within them. As quoted from this article,

Sumida said researchers could also inject into the transparent frogs an illuminating protein attached to a gene, which would light up the gene once it manifests — for example, showing at what stage cancer starts.

Maybe now we can understand cancer cells better, the way they behave, what ticks them and hopefully very soon, what kills them. However, as many have said, this is limited to observations and experiments on frogs (aka amphibian creatures) that have very different body mechanisms from mamalian animals. Nevertheless, this is a step forward in science which will definitely lead to more breakthroughs be it for diseases, cancers, genetic disorders or who knows, maybe even see-through human beings.

Side note: In case you’re wondering, amphibian skin is very different from mamalian (human) skin and hence, this breakthrough cannot be applied to create “see-through human beings”. Being able to create see-through human beings will definitely be a GIGANTIC leap in answering the many mysteries of the human anatomy but then again, do you want to see a see-through human being? I know I’d be really freaked out if I saw one. Not only that, is it ethical to breed such a human being and have diseases injected into him/her for experimental purposes? We will all then be debating the issue of human experimentation over again.

Seriously, deep down inside I really hope they can create such human-beings to find a faster cure for the various diseases plaguing this world(especially AIDS and cancer) but I get chills thinking about how these noble and miracle human-beings would be living their lives. Who knows, our society may even come to classify them as a new “minority race” specially created for scientific experimentation.

Resources:
No need for dissection as see-through frogs jump in
Video reports from various sources