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The Future of Robots is China

 “China could well turn out to be ground zero for the economic and social disruption brought on by the rise of the robots.” New York Times   Last November, the World Robot Exhibition was held in Beijing. It was an opportunity for the media to gawk at cute, dancing automations, and stoke unfounded fears about […]

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FAA & the UAV Explosion

Go to a solar energy conference, and much of the discussion will be about financing. Go to a meeting of national security professionals and you will hear about terrorism. Gather folks interested in unmanned systems – specifically Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) AKA drones –  and you will hear endless talk about the Federal Aviation Administration […]

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Flame-throwing UAV roasts a turkey [VIDEO]

I lived overseas for several years. When I came back to America, one of the differences that I noticed was that more men were seriously into cooking. Not just any cooking either – manly cooking.  Guys were deep-frying whole turkeys and even tenderizing meats with explosives (“Well, sure it’s dangerous, but so what?”). The video […]

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Facts & Figures for Global Defense Spending [TABLE]

Strategy Page has a comprehensive article about global Defense spending, full of facts and figures. Whenever I deal with with a report with lots of numbers, I arrange the most salient figures in a table, so I can comprehend them more easily. Below is a table with data pulled from the Strategy Page. Some key take-aways include: […]

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Why Can’t We Beat ISIS?

“What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State   Recent attacks by terrorists have highlighted the issues of ISIS and the eternal mess that is the Middle East. Why does it seem that we have no good options for […]

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Starship Robot Delivers Groceries [VIDEO]

A while back Microsoft bought out Skype for an astounding $8.5 Billion. Ever wonder what the founders of Skype are doing with all that money? They figuring out to use Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) to deliver groceries. Seriously. Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis have built a small delivery UGV, and slapped it with the glorious label “Starship.” It […]

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Six Best Robots at IROS 2015 [VIDEO]

Recently, the 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) took place in Hamburg, Germany. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) posted a video of the most interesting unmanned systems at the show (see below). In the video, most robots had recognizable human-like characteristics. This is not inevitable; some unmanned systems, […]

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Robot smartphone [VIDEO]

This gives a whole new meaning to saying you have an Android  phone. Japanese have taken their love for human-like robots to a whole new level, and have built “RoBoHoN,” a smartphone that is also a robot. It speaks, dances, displays your email, projects images, and will help you remember to buy toothpaste. It uses […]

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U.S. Army War College Key Strategic Issues

The US Army War College (USAWC) just released its key strategic issues for the academic year 2015/2016. People who wish to understand the direction of the American military would be wise to study this document. What is the US Army War College? Every year, the USAWC provides graduate level instruction to approximately 800 Army colonels, and […]

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Three Surprising Applications for Robots [VIDEOS]

Everyone is looking for the “killer app,” the must-have application that will speed the consumer adoption of unmanned systems.  As evidence by the following videos, the next big thing may be something that none of us thought of. Prevent football-related concussions Wait in a line for an iPhone Four-legged dancing [layerslider id=”31″]

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Israeli Unmanned Developers are FAST

The article below, originally published in Strategy Page, details the development, deployment, and sale of the Israeli-made Micro Tactical Ground Robots (MTGR). It illustrates several key reasons why tiny Israel is a giant in the unmanned world: Close cooperation between military and civilian institutions. During the 2014 war with Hamas, the military authorities identified a […]

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There Are No Robot Surgeons

Recently, I sat down to talk with Daniel Naftalovich, who is a PhD candidate in robotics engineering & control systems at California Institute of Technology. Simultaneously, he is pursuing a medical degree from the University of Southern California (he claims he has time to sleep, but somehow I doubt it). As may be expected, he […]

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Civilian IED Deaths

While researching an article on the Defense budget, I came across these two charts. Source: Council of Foreign Relations Intellectually, I knew that we had dramatically scaled down our involvement with Iraq and Afghanistan, but I didn’t fully appreciate how much until I saw these two charts. Sure, we’re still very much involved in the […]

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First Licensed Autonomous Truck [VIDEO]

The first officially licensed autonomous-capable semi-truck is here. Licensed in Nevada (only on highways during daylight hours and good weather), it is not a driverless vehicle; humans are still required. However, the human is not an operator, at least all the time. In theory, he could be playing Candy Crush or watching a ball game. […]

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Space Robot’s Unique Locomotion [VIDEO]

Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) faced an unusual problem. NASA wanted a rover that could navigate the uneven surfaces of asteroids and comets. However, rovers, such as the ones used on Mars, have treads and wheels. In the low gravity environment of small extra-planetary objects, the rovers with wheels would lose their grip on […]