first_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com Explore further (PhysOrg.com) — The humanoid robot iCub has learned a new skill: archery. After being taught how to hold a bow and shoot an arrow, it learned for itself how to improve its aim, and was so successful it could hit a bullseye after only eight trials. iCub, the Toddler Robot (w/ Videos, Pictures) Humanoid robot iCub learns the skill of archery. The iCub robot is an open-source robotic platform about the same size as a child three and a half years old, or around 104 cm tall. It has 53 degrees of freedom (hence it is called the 53-DOF iCub) distributed about the head, torso, arms, legs, and hands. The distance between the target and the iCub was 3.5 meters.The robot’s hands were set manually to allow it to grip the bow, and one joint in the index finger was used to release the string and shoot the arrow. The algorithm controlled the posture of the left arm and the orientation of the right arm (string side).ARCHER is a chained vector regression algorithm that uses experience gained from each trial to fine-tune the next attempt by modulating and coordinating the movements of the robot’s hands. Movements of the arms are controlled by an inverse kinematics controller. After each shot a camera takes a picture of the target and an image recognition system based on Gaussian Mixture Models determines where the tip of the arrow hit the target by filtering the colored pixels of the picture based on their likelihood of belonging to the target or the arrow head. This information is then used as feedback for the algorithm. Humanoid robot iCub learns the skill of archery. The learning algorithm, called ARCHER (Augmented Reward Chained Regression) algorithm, was developed and optimized specifically for problems like the archery training. Photo: Dr. Petar Kormushev The algorithm used to teach iCub is called the Augmented Reward Chained Regression (or ARCHER, naturally), and was developed especially for problems with specific knowledge about the goal to be achieved and which have a “smooth solution space.” In archery, the greatest reward comes from hitting a bullseye, the center of the target.center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Photo credits: Dr. Petar Kormushev More information: Research paper: kormushev.com/papers/Kormushev_Humanoids-2010.pdf The algorithm was developed by Dr. Petar Kormushev and colleagues of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). The results of the research will be presented in December this year at the Humanoids 2010 conference in Nashville TN in the US. Citation: The iCub robot learns archery (2010, September 29) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-09-icub-robot-archery.htmllast_img read more

first_img(Left) A diagram of the piezoelectric harvester with one straight inner piezoelectric multilayer stack (SIPMS) and two curved outer piezoelectric multilayer stacks (COPMSs). (Right) A photo of the first piezoelectric harvester prototype. Image credit: Tian Bing Xu, et al. (PhysOrg.com) — Although the idea of harvesting ambient energy from the environment and using it to generate electricity is alluring, most of the technology so far is capable of generating only very small amounts of power – on the order of microwatts to a few milliwatts with very low conversion efficiency. But a new piezoelectric energy-harvesting transducer shows that the technology is significantly improving. Researchers have predicted that 1-3 watts can be generated from a person walking when wearing a pair of shoes integrated with the new energy harvester, which is enough to power a soldier’s portable communication devices on the battlefield, among other applications. “As we mentioned in the pending paper, the critical challenge for piezoelectric energy harvesting is how to harvest electrical power on the order of tens of milliwatts to several watts, which is good enough for powering most portable devices, from any kinds of vibration and motion at any ranges of vibration frequencies (off-resonance mode harvesting technology is needed),” Xu told PhysOrg.com. “The new piezoelectric transducer addresses several critical issues from energy absorption, coupling, and conversion efficiency to overcome those challenges.”In the future, the researchers hope that the new piezoelectric harvesters will be able to harvest enough energy to power different types of portable devices from the environment. In addition to being used in shoes, the harvesters could have applications in infrastructure health monitoring systems and sensor networks. Although the transducer works best when harvesting vibrations at a certain resonance, its high efficiency enables it to still use off-resonant vibrations for low-power devices, such as some sensors.“Piezoelectric energy harvesting is a multidisciplinary issue to be addressed from the considerations of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, material science, and system engineering,” Xu said. “For each individual mechanical vibration or motion resource, a specific device is designed to get an optimized electrical energy output. Our team is confident that we can move the energy harvesting technology into a new era.” The piezoelectric energy-harvesting transducer was developed by a team of researchers led by Dr. Tian Bing Xu from the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia, in collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center, North Carolina State University, Stony Brook University, and TRS Technologies. The hybrid device combines two types of piezoelectric multilayer elements (one straight inner element sandwiched between two curved outer elements) with synergistically integrated force magnification, leading to advantages in several areas. Most notably, the transducer produces 19 times more electrical energy than current top piezoelectric transducers, and up to 1,000 times more electrical energy than a regular piezoelectric beam. Also, while the best piezoelectric transducers have mechanical-to-electrical conversion efficiencies of less than 7%, the new transducer achieves an efficiency of 26%.These improvements recently resulted in the new piezoelectric harvester winning the award for Best Technical Development of an Energy Harvesting Device at the conference of Energy Harvesting and Storage USA 2011, in Boston, MA, on November 15-16, 2011. This category was judged on which organization had made the most significant technical achievement in energy harvesting over the past 18 months. The awards are part of the IDTechEx annual conference of Energy Harvesting and Storage USA, which was attended by over 360 people from 16 countries and featured 40 exhibitors.The researchers have described the new piezoelectric harvester in more detail in a paper that is currently under NASA internal review. In a short description available on the website of Lei Zuo, coauthor and a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the researchers highlight a few important features that contribute to the device’s superior performance. For one, the curved outer piezoelectric elements are relatively soft and bendable, resulting in more deformation (and absorbing greater mechanical energy) under a given applied force. The device also does a better job of coupling this mechanical energy into the piezoelectric materials since minimal non-piezoelectric materials are used. Another advantageous characteristic is that, when a force is applied vertically onto the device, the forces of both the straight and curved elements are amplified to the sides. This design feature enables the device to generate 2-3 orders of magnitude more electric charges under a given amount of vibration. IMEC reports 40 microwatt from micromachined piezoelectric energy harvester Citation: Award-winning energy harvester brings practical applications closer (2011, December 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-award-winning-energy-harvester-applications-closer.html Explore further © 2011 PhysOrg.com This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

first_img © 2011 PhysOrg.com iRobot planning an Android-based robot This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: Brainlink controller smartens dust-collecting robots: Let’s Roomba (2011, December 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-brainlink-smartens-dust-collecting-robots-roomba.html More information: news.cs.cmu.edu/article.php?a=2876www.brainlinksystem.com/ Observing the dozens of cheap robots on the market with no desirable interfaces for students, the company wanted firmware inside Brainlink to be open source and hackable. “Though it’s possible to use the pre-made apps to use Brainlink, to, for example, control most toy robots from an Android phone, we think that those who will fully enjoy Brainlink are hackers with an intermediate level of programming experience,” according to the company’s site. “If you’ve taken one high school or college CS class, you should have no trouble with it.”CMU’s CREATE Lab also had a hand in the product. CREATE stands for Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment. The software for Brainlink was developed by Christopher Bartley, principal research programmer in the CREATE Lab and Huaishu Peng, a student in the School of Architecture’s Tangible Interaction Design program. Explore furthercenter_img (PhysOrg.com) — A Carnegie Mellon spinoff has introduced a triangle shaped connector that can make simple little robots behave in a more sophisticated way and can otherwise transform an Android smartphone into a TV and gadget remote. The device is called Brainlink and it talks to Android phones or laptops via Bluetooth. The controller has a Bluetooth range of 30 feet. Basically, Brainlink can deliver new capabilities to toy robots and other gadgets operated with infrared (IR) remote controls. The device enables programming and wireless control of whatever it is attached to. Brainlink users can write programs for robots that have limited “brains” to start with and thereby expand their capabilities and can also control items such as VCRs with IR remotes. According to the company, the device can decode, visualize, and replicate the signals of most infrared remotes. The unit is powered by a rechargeable battery. Three built-in sensors include an Axis Accelerometer to help detect orientation, shaking, and tapping; a Photodiode, to read the amount of light reaching the sensor and Battery Voltage. to allow host programs to detect low battery states (less than 3.5V). BirdBrain Technologies is pricing Brainlink at $125. The company’s target audience is both home hackers and educators. Ordering a robot to fetch beer may not seem conducive to learning environments, but the product is a result of a team mission to produce a more intuitive interface for educational robots. Brainlink uses the Bluetooth RN-42 module to communicate between its microcontroller and the smartphone or laptop.Users who write their Android apps for the Brainlink write them in Java and then can test them out on any Bluetooth equipped Android device. End uses suggested by BirdBrain have no doubt encouraged the numerous enthused reviews, including: “Create an Android App that uses object recognition and voice analysis to find you a beer – you’ll probably need to place your phone on the robot to make this work well.” Other end uses are using voice commands to control a TV, and, back to the robots, using a toy robot to add light or sound. The company, BirdBrain Technologies, announced the product in a release dated December 14 and since then gadget-focused bloggers have been enthusing over a home robotics future. The device can make a Roomba more adept at moving around without bumping into walls and the device can be used to train a simple robot to fetch the user something.last_img read more

first_imgPool revenue using the Selfsh-Mine strategy for different propagation factors, compared to the honest Bitcoin protocol. Simulation matches the theoretical analysis, and both show that Selfsh-Mine results in higher revenues than the honest protocol above a threshold. Credit: arXiv:1311.0243 [cs.CR] . Explore further (Phys.org) —Bitcoin is a digital currency that has, well, gained currency, as a medium of exchange. Now two computer science researchers from Cornell find that this extensive ecosystem can be undermined and they outline how in a paper that they have posted on arXiv. More information: Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable, arXiv:1311.0243 [cs.CR]: arxiv.org/abs/1311.0243hackingdistributed.com/2013/11 … /faq-selfish-mining/www.newscientist.com/article/d … irtual-currency.html New fund launched for bitcoin investors The paper, “Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable,” is by Ittay Eyal, a postdoc member of the Computer Sciences department at Cornell and Emin Gun Sirer, associate professor at Cornell. According to the two researchers, “Empirical evidence shows that Bitcoin miners behave strategically and form pools. Specifically, because rewards are distributed at infrequent, random intervals miners form mining pools in order to decrease the variance of their income rate. Within such pools, all members contribute to the solution of each cryptopuzzle, and share the rewards proportionally to their contributions. To the best of our knowledge, so far such pools have been benign and followed the protocol.” Nonetheless, they describe a strategy that could be used by a minority pool to obtain more revenue than the pool’s fair share, that is, more than its ratio of the total mining power. “The key idea behind this strategy, called Selfish Mining, is for a pool to keep its discovered blocks private, thereby intentionally forking the chain,” they wrote. This selfishness can come out of people getting together to siphon off more money than a fair share for mining activities.The authors wrote that central to Bitcoin operations is a public log called the blockchain where all transactions are recorded. The security of the blockchain is established by a chain of cryptographic puzzles solved by a loosely organized network of participants called miners. The two researchers present an attack with which colluding miners obtain a revenue larger than their fair share. “This attack can have significant consequences for Bitcoin,” they warned, where rational miners join selfish miners and the colluding group increases increase in size until it becomes a majority. At this point, they said, the Bitcoin system ceases to be a decentralized currency. A Scientific American report on their findings further explained how damage might occur: Instead of releasing solutions to solved cryptopuzzles. The selfish crew can mine a branch in secret, hiding it from honest miners. The group would then get a higher share of coins than is fair for the resources they have contributed because they have forced other miners to waste computing power on the original chain. The problem gets worse as the selfish group recruits extra members.Elsewhere, the two were asked if they were trying to take Bitcoin down with their sober warning. “We’re Bitcoin supporters,” they blogged, ” and are working to make the currency stronger against a broader set of possible misbehaviors than what has been considered so far.” They proposed in their paper a practical modification to the Bitcoin protocol that protects against selfish mining pools. Can Bitcoin remain a viable currency? Sirer said, “Probably. We have shown that as long as selfish miners are below a certain threshold, they will not succeed.” Citation: Cornell researchers teach Bitcoin attack lesson in selfish mining (2013, November 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-11-cornell-bitcoin-lesson-selfish.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2013 Phys.orglast_img read more

first_imgSo what are you doing this Diwali? Staying at home and bursting crackers? Spending some ‘me’ time? Or going out with friends? How about enjoying Diwali in a mall and winning some goodies too? This mall in west Delhi is being decked up to resemble the city of Ayodhya to complete the festive look. There will be contests and workshops for visitors to enjoy some fun-filled moments.  Ek Minute Dhamaal has games like Building the Ram Setu, The Great Epic Quiz and more. Workshops includes activities like magic card tricks, Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’rangoli, storytelling and mehendi art. Children can be kept busy with Stick Mask making, diya decorations, card making, lantern making and paduka making. ‘Apart from the activities, we will also be introducing an exciting raffle draw where visitors stand to win many interesting gifts,’ said Abhishek Bansal, managing director, Pacific Mall. So get crackling.DETAILAt: Pacific Mall, Najafgarh Road On Till: 18 NovemberTimings: 10 am to 10 pmlast_img read more

first_imgTell us a bit about yourself. Right from childhood to eventually painting posters and now canvases.I started off as a billboard painter. Always wanted to draw, so I attached myself with local painters as an assistant so that I could earn for materials that I wanted to work with and have access to large scale surfaces so I can practice without any financial hindrances. It was in 2000 when I got admitted in National College of Arts that I started academically being introduced to art and its many facets. Miniatures held a lot of appeal to me because at the time it was easily affordable. Later the technique held so much appeal that I decided to play with it a little further. I enjoyed adding sculptural elements into my wasli, making cut outs, perforations and then playing around with images that would go in conjunction with it. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Do you believe in this high art  – low art distinction? Because according to the definitions – you have dabbled in both.For me art enjoys a very abject position in our perceptions, no one can decipher or pin point when an artist is going to make a master piece, not even the artist him/herself. It just happens. Of course how the art is being looked at, what platform it is being exposed on, who is patronizing it, all these ingredients involve to create this abjectness. If I approach this question with a personalised view I would have to say that while enjoying the position of a cinema board painter because at that time it satisfied my need to buy art materials, no one saw what I was making, but I was making art. Today I may be using the same genre images and they are being shown at various public spaces and suddenly everyone is focusing on ‘what’ and ‘why’ I am making them. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHow difficult or easy was it to move from pop art to a newer strain of creativity? Pop art is still a very inherent part of my imagery and I guess it shall always be there, lurking in the background coming forward whenever it can because it is part of my basic training. Perceptions about art did change because before I had a very limited experience about ‘painting’ I thought I was coming to Lahore to understand how I can better my skills although I knew that I had learnt from the best because my ‘ustaad’ was the best. It was hard keeping a very open mind to what I was coming across during class. The need to excel allowed me to understand that while I was very good with my skills, the creativity part left a lot of be desired. It was then that I allowed myself to look at a certain painting in another light, the ‘isms’ that I had been introduced in the academia came forward and I realized that marrying skill with creativity can lead to much more. What would you consider your major influences?Travelling. My first visit to India and then to London was a life changing experience for me. I had never travelled abroad. The first experience of entering the boarding lounge, sitting in the aeroplane, the excitement of the take off and landing, it was just… I really have no idea how I can explain that. I feel my work is a better illustration of how breathtaking those days were for me to this date. In India no one recognized me as a foreigner, I easily gelled in, became a part of the society. I could talk in their language as well. That was an awesome experience.Is there a lot of difference in the art cultures of India and Pakistan?Not really. I think we are of the same culture at least the northern and central India and Pakistan, because geographically we were once connected. Our daily lives are same, we identify with each other and coexisted quite well for a long time. Of course, with Hindus and Sikhs still have a presence here we get to see and celebrate Diwali and other festivals. As a Pakistani artist displaying his work in India, how have you been perceived, approached and treated?Very well. It is always a pleasure to exhibit my work in India where ever and which ever city it happens to be in. My works and myself, receives a warm welcome. I have many friends who are close to my heart now in India.Do you think art can be a peace bridge? Have you ever faced any criticism that is not art related?I have never faced criticism from India regarding my practice or images. It has always been welcomed. As artists we can try to build connections and spread a more positive and softer side to our relations and we are doing that all the time. A non related art criticism I face…my appearance and how I dress. I don’t follow dress codes! For this reason I have been kicked out of many clubs. Even my marriage lunch I couldn’t attend because I wasn’t wearing the right shoes. It is a point of confusion for me because as artists we are encouraged to think and view things differently. How has the Delhi art circle treated you? Delhi art circle as always been an exciting host. The energy is so positive and the feedback and response is great. One thing I enjoy the most is the readiness of the audience to discuss and tell me what they think about my work. They don’t limit their reactions, which is very fresh. Most of the discussions are friendly heated debates and quite exhilarating. Delhi reminds me of Lahore. There is so much familiarity of spaces and places and people and yet I am a foreigner. That is what I like about the whole experience. As for a dislike- Delhi being so close to my heart because it was my first international exit as an artist, my parents being from here, it holds a lot attraction and unexplored bonds. All this pull to the beautiful city and I cant come as often and as easily as I would like to.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Workers of Burn Standard Company Limited staged a demonstration outside the factory in Howrah protesting against the Centre’s decision to close down the company.Trinamool Congress workers and supporters led by Arup Roy, the state Cooperation minister, also protested outside the factory in Howrah. The decision to close the factory was taken considering the poor physical and financial performance of the company in the past 10 years. The protest continued for several hours and they demanded withdrawal of Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsthe decision. Besides the permanent ones, there were temporary workers in the factory as well. In that case, the future of the temporary workers remains in dark as to what they would do with the closure of the factory. Hundreds of Trinamool Congress supporters and workers gathered outside the factory and staged a demonstration as a support to the workers and against the decision of the Centre to close it down.It may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had repeatedly protested against the steps to close the factory and the state government had even written to the Centre requesting steps for revival of the company. Moreover, an all-party resolution was also passed in the state Assembly against the Centre’s attempt to close Burn Standard Company Limited. Congress, Left Front and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha MLAs also extended their support protesting against the attempt after Partha Chatterjee, the Parliamentary Affairs minister, had raised the issue of the Centre’s “politically motivated” move to close down the factory.last_img read more

first_imgBALURGHAT: The South Dinajpur unit of West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited has taken measures to install prepaid meters in all the government offices from the next month of June. Officials said the survey work for launching the new system has been on.Initially, it has been decided that the prepaid meters will be distributed to all government offices, except state-run hospitals where electricity consumption is much higher, in and around the district. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsSources said the new meters will be ultramodern and problem free.Officials said the prepaid electricity billing system through the new meter is similar to prepaid mobile connectivity where the consumers have to purchase particular data pack either for voice call or internet services.Similarly, the government offices from June onwards have to recharge the same for electricity services. A message before termination of services will be sent from WBSEDCL to the consumers for continuation of connectivity. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedNotably, the post paid billing system has been active since WBSEDCL started functioning. Officials said the concerned department faces losses too due to non-payment of bills by the defaulters particularly in cases of households’ connectivity. Regional official of WBSEDCL Nirmal Biswas said: “Initially we have decided to install the prepaid meters in government offices where electricity consumption is less than 5 kilowatt. Soon, the rest of the government offices and households will be under the same category.”last_img read more

first_imgA missile fired by Syrian forces killed at least 18 civilians on Tuesday in a residential neighbourhood of the old quarter of Aleppo city, a monitoring group said. “The missile struck when people were still inside their homes in the Maghayir district. It killed 18 civilians, including one child, and wounded dozens of others,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.“There are many people still stuck in the rubble, and ambulances are going back and forth transporting people,” Abdel Rahman said.The Britain-based Observatory said the death toll was likely to rise as more bodies were discovered.Photos published by the monitor showed crumbling walls surrounded by a sea of dusty plastic and cinderblocks.Groups of men, some wearing the white helmets associated with civil defence volunteers, waded through the rubble. More than 35 homes were destroyed, the Observatory said.last_img read more

first_imgKOLKATA: Some BJP supporters clashed with civic volunteers and later chased them away after police refused them to hold a public meeting at their preferred venue. The police on Wednesday did not allow the BJP supporters to hold a meeting at the site and suggested an alternative spot. However, they refused to move and told police they would hold the programme at the announced site. On Thursday morning, the police deployed civic volunteers at the venue to stop the BJP supporters from entering. They clashed with the civic volunteers and later chased them away and took possession of the land. When Mukul Roy had come he was taken to a make shift dais from where he addressed the gathering. The local BJP leaders said the police cancelled on the venue at the eleventh hour when it was impossible for the party to shift to an alternative venue. They alleged that police did not give allotment of an alternative site in writing and apprehended they could have stopped the supporters from entering the venue and holding the meeting.last_img read more