David Kirkpatrick

April 24, 2009

Ten cool robots

Well — cool, useful, interesting, etc.

I usually only run one example from these CIO slideshows, but for obvious reasons I had to do two this time.

Number two:

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Image credit: BMT Group

The Fish Bot

Known for: Fighting pollution

A school of robotic carp—equipped with chemical sensors and artificial intelligence—will be unleashed into a Spanish port to search for water pollutants. Developed by British scientists, these five-foot-long robotic fish will monitor oxygen levels and detect potentially hazardous leaks. The fish will communicate with each other using ultrasonics, and information will be wirelessly sent to the “charging hub” (where fish will charge their batteries). The port’s authorities can use this data to track the source and scale of the pollution. If this robotic pollution monitoring system is successful, researchers hope to use it globally. <!–


And number four:
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Image credit

The Telepathic Bot

Known for: Reading minds

Honda’s ASIMO humanoid robot can now be controlled with thought alone—and with a little help from brain machine interface technology. BMI tech relies on electroencephalography (EEG) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and newly developed information abstraction technology. How it works: EEG and NIRS sensors are placed on a person’s head. When the user imagines moving one of four predetermined body part options, ASIMO complies with a corresponding movement. The setup detects changes in brain waves and cerebral blood flow, which is analyzed on a real-time basis to translate what the user imagined. Tests on the process yielded a 90 percent accuracy rate, says Honda. <!–


March 3, 2009

Auto sales way down

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:43 pm

The Ru, st Belt just keeps taking body blows and crushing shots to the jaw. It’s hard to see how these companies can remain afloat without the government simply stepping in and taking over for the time being. Is GM too big to fail? Ford? Is the auto part supply chain so weak that if any of the onetime “big three” collapse, the whole system breaks down?

We may find out before long. Talking to a group of businessmen last night, the general consensus on the unemployment aspect of this financial crisis is the rate will slow, but rising unemployment will likely continue unabated through the end of 2010 if not longer.

From the link:

The three largest automakers, including Toyota, each said their sales declined at least 40 percent from February 2008.

Sales were down 53 percent at General Motors, 48 percent at the Ford Motor Company and 40 percent at Toyota. Chrysler sales fell 44 percent.

Honda reported a 38 percent drop, while Nissan said its sales fell 37 percent.

“The February numbers are clearly a step down from where we’d been running the last four months,” said Michael C. DiGiovanni, G.M.’s chief sales analyst. “It’s unsettling to our business. These are obviously unsustainable levels which are causing almost every auto manufacturer across the world to look for government aid.”

G.M., of course, has gotten $13.4 billion from the federal government to help it avoid seeking bankruptcy protection, while Chrysler, which will report its sales later Tuesday, has received $4 billion.

December 10, 2008

Auto bailout looming

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:24 am

Looks like a legislative deal is getting close. I know there’s good reasons to help automakers out — namely all the makers are tied via suppliers, etc., and if say GM eats it some suppliers that Toyota, Honda, et.al. depend on will go under as well thusly undermining otherwise healthy manufacturers.

Doesn’t make me feel any better about this entire process — starting with the financial sector — though.

From the link:

Congress and White House negotiators reached an agreement in principle late Tuesday for $15 billion in loans to keep General Motors (GM) and Chrysler afloat into the first quarter.

“We are making progress and are optimistic that we will have a reasonable compromise that will protect taxpayers and ensure the long-term viability of the American auto companies,” said Brendan Daly, spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Update — Maybe not so fast there on this bailout.

From the link:

Congressional Republicans, left out of negotiations on the package, blasted it. Their opposition reflected the tricky task of enacting yet another federal rescue in a bailout-weary Congress, with Bush’s influence on the wane.

“People realize that this bill is an incredibly weak bill, (and) is the product of an administration that wants to kick the can down the road and let somebody else deal with it,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “I think it has minimal—very little support in our caucus.”