Assorted Cool Technology - 2012-05-17

Posted on May 17, 2012

I’ve talked about assistive technology before, regarding robotic legs. This time I’ll mention a slightly trickier proposition: a neural interface system that is definitely intrusive (you have to have an electrode array surgically inserted into your brain), but which allows for the controlling of equipments such as robotic arms with nothing but the person’s conscious thoughts. The most notable part of this system is that it is not a simple lab prototype, it is already in clinical trials. You can watch a real-life demo of it here.

Our friends, the flying robots are coming along nicely, now getting free from the outer motion tracking mechanisms, and starting to do autonomous flight using only their in-board sensors and processing hardware. Some of them even do it rather aggressively.

The Opportunity Rover has woken up after the Martian winter and got back to work. Just to recap it’s history a little bit, Opportunity has landed on Mars on January 2004 and was supposed to perform a 90 day mission. It is now on it’s 8th year of service, with over 35Kms driven on the Mars surface. Talk about “above and beyond the call of duty”!

Another subject I’ve alluded to before is the legalization of self-driving cars in Nevada, USA. Well, the first license has been issued to Google and road-tests (of the legal kind) have probably already begun. Watch the seminal video of a blind man “driving” one of these cars here. A host of other entities (notably car makers) is also entering the fray and other states in the USA have also made known they are working on legalizing these kinds of vehicles, so this is a space where exciting things are bound to happen in the near future.