Robot vs. human: Drum cover of classic punk hit by The Ramones — from by David J. Hill


Cheetah Robot runs 28.3 mph; a bit faster than Usain Bolt


Robotic cheetah

DARPA’s robotic cheetah, developed by Boston Dynamics, runs faster than Usain Bolt. (DARPA)


Bonus postings! 🙂



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From DSC:
Note the job descriptions further on down the page at shapetheworld.frThese are the types of jobs that may likely be in demand in the near future. Are we ready?

See also:


From DSC:
The above video reminds me why I posted this one.


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Apple’s revolutionary move into robotic manufacturing — from

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Apple (AAPL) is about to become one of the world’s biggest buyers of industrial robots. The company has announced a 78% increase in its non-retail capital expenditure to $7.1bn. Analysts in Asia and America believe that the size of Apple’s robot purchases could tie up the market for several years, making it difficult for companies such as Samsung (SSNLF.PK), Nokia (NOK) and HTC (HTCXF.PK) to compete.

Up to 700,000 people are employed in China, making products like the iPhone and iPad for Apple. It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone and each iPad will, over the course of the 5 days that it takes to build it, pass through 325 pairs of hands. Although labor only represents about 3% of the cost of building these products for Apple, the wages of Chinese factory workers have been rising at about 15% a year for much of the last decade. Problems managing this workforce have also harmed Apple’s image in a region that has become the most important engine of its growth.

Apple’s move represents an important step in the use of robots in manufacturing. Robots have long been used to build cars, but not so widely used in consumer electronics because these products are more difficult to make.

From DSC:
Some questions that come to my mind:

  • What happens to jobs in this new environment?
  • What needs to happen to people in this new workplace/environment?
  • How do we educate and train students to enter this ever-changing workplace?
  • How can we make STEM-related subjects more approachable and less “weeder” like?



Desktop CNC Machine lets you build stuff out of more than just plastic — from GIZMODO


Affordable 3D printers are all the rage, but you’re limited to only creating objects from plastic or other extrudable materials. A CNC machine, however, like this ultra-compact ShopBot Desktop, can carve objects out of any material, letting you create more than just trinkets or models.

Printing a medical revolution — from by Russ Banham
3D printing is shaping the future of medicine
Addendum on 6/18/12:

This Gigantor CNC Machine is Longer Than a Football Field— from


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The Secret Life of Data in the Year 2020– from The World Future Society by Brian David Johnson, a futurist at Intel Corporation, where he is developing an actionable vision for computing in 2020.


Why will most people think that their data has a life of its own? Well, because it’s true. We will have algorithms talking to algorithms, machines talking to machines, machines talking to algorithms, sensors and cameras gathering data, and computational power crunching through that data, then handing it off to more algorithms and machines. It will be a rich and secret life separate from us and for me incredibly fascinating.

But as we begin to build the Secret Life of Data, we must always remember that data is meaningless all by itself. The 1s and 0s are useless and meaningless on their own. Data is only useful and indeed powerful when it comes into contact with people.

This brings up some interesting questions and fascinating problems to be solved from an engineering standpoint. When we are architecting these algorithms, when we are designing these systems, how do we make sure they have an understanding of what it means to be human? The people writing these algorithms must have an understanding of what people will do with that data. How will it fit into their lives? How will it affect their daily routine? How will it make their lives better?

Also see:

Preview of Future Inventions—Futurists: BetaLaunch 2012 — from The World Future Society by Kenneth J. Moore
The World Future Society’s second annual innovation competition will allow WorldFuture 2012 attendees to preview a few of the life-changing and society-altering artifacts of the future.

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R2 Robotnaut — NASA

R2 Robonaut
Also see:

Aldebaran Robotics - Feb 2012

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MIT launches online learning initiative –from MIT
‘MITx’ will offer courses online and make online learning tools freely available.


MIT [on 12/19/11] announced the launch of an online learning initiative internally called “MITx.” MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses through an online interactive learning platform that will:

  • organize and present course material to enable students to learn at their own pace
  • feature interactivity, online laboratories and student-to-student communication
  • allow for the individual assessment of any student’s work and allow students who demonstrate their mastery of subjects to earn a certificate of completion awarded by MITx
  • operate on an open-source, scalable software infrastructure in order to make it continuously improving and readily available to other educational institutions.

Advancing the open front — from by Steve Kolowich


Forget free content repositories; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wants to deliver “interactive” elite education to the masses, complete with credentials certifying “mastery” of MIT-grade coursework.

In the latest boon for the “open education” movement, the engineering mecca on Monday announced a new online learning initiative, called MITx, that will give anyone the opportunity to work through MIT course material and earn a certificate of achievement.

M.I.T. expands its free online courses — from the New York Times by Tamar Lewin


While students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pay thousands of dollars for courses, the university will announce a new program on Monday allowing anyone anywhere to take M.I.T. courses online free of charge — and for the first time earn official certificates for demonstrating mastery of the subjects taught.

M.I.T. led the way to an era of online learning 10 years ago by posting course materials from almost all its classes. Its free OpenCourseWare now includes nearly 2,100 courses and has been used by more than 100 million people.

But the new “M.I.T.x” interactive online learning platform will go further, giving students access to online laboratories, self-assessments and student-to-student discussions.


From DSC:
The pace of innovation continues — what does this mean for our current engineering programs? For the future curriculum of engineering-related programs? How does this rapid change of pace affect our schools of education?  Should we be introducing more courses on pulse-checking/trend watching/courses in futurism? In robotics? Other?

Mitsubishi shows off what car interfaces will look like in 10 years — from


Image credit: DigInfo

Introducing kids to robotics — from by Lauren Grossberg


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DARPA to put 3-D printers in schools — from the Futurist Update November 2011


The U.S. Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) plans to put 1,000 3-D printers (rapid fabrication devices) into high schools across the United States as a way to encourage American young people to go into engineering and particularly manufacturing.

The project is one of many investments that the agency will make over the next five years to help high schoolers build STEM skills.

Source: DARPA. Watch the NAE event here.

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Stanford University is offering Computer Science courses online, free to anyone — from by Max Eddy


Introduction to databases -- free online course from Stanford for fall 2011

A bold experiment in distributed education, “Introduction to Databases” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete this class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Introduction to Databases course. A topics list and many of the materials are available here. More information about the Stanford course can be perused here. Details on the public offering will be available by late September. Sign up below to receive additional information about participating in the online version when it becomes available.

Also see the video at:
Introduction to Databases class by Stanford University


Machine learning course -- free, online course from Stanford this fall

A bold experiment in distributed education, “Machine Learning” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, lecture notes, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete the class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Andrew Ng, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Machine Learning course. A syllabus and more information is available here. Sign up below to receive additional information about participating in the online version when it becomes available.

Also see the video at:
Machine Learning: About the class


From DSC:
Again, my question is…if these trends continue, what opportunities are presenting themselves? What threats are presenting themselves?  What is our response?  How will colleges/universities differentiate themselves in this developing landscape? If items like the below continue to grow…how do we respond? -- professors


Addendum later on 8/29/11:


© 2022 | Daniel Christian