Archive for January, 2012

A Hundred Billion Reasons to Invest in Robotics Technology

1 | By Michael A. Robinson

Here’s a 100 billion reasons why space technology should be on your radar screen -especially if you’re interested in robotics.

According to the journal Nature, the Milky Way Galaxy alone contains at least 100 billion planets.

Now forgive me if I sound excited…but that is huge.

After all, just 20 years ago, astronomers still widel y believed that our own tiny solar system contained allof the major planets.

So when I talk about how we are entering an Era of Radical Change, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s not about tiny incremental changes but gigantic shifts in thought.

And here is something else to ponder…

With all of this new data, scientists now believe the universe may contain more than 150 billion galaxies. The math is enough to make your head spin.

How Nuclear-Powered Robots Are Winning the New Space Race

All this brings to mind one key point: The odds that we are alone in the universe grow smaller and smaller every day.

That puts us on the cusp of a New Space Race – one that will undoubtedly favor robots.

That’s why I think NASA’s new Spidernaut is such an important piece of technology. It’s an eight-legged robot that looks like it crawled right out of a sci-fi movie.

NASA plans to use these robots to help construct a new generation of space-science platforms that are so large and fragile they’ll have to be built in orbit.

As it turns out, spiders are really nimble creatures. NASA designed the prototype arachnid robot to have the grace and weight distribution of real spiders.

If the technology works as planned, these giant spider robots would crawl across a “web” of space tethers so as not to damage delicate equipment.

Now how cool is that?…

It all goes to show you that despite the soft global economy and budget cuts, we’ve actually never had more interest in space exploration.

But this time it’s not just the United States and Russia. Indeed, China, India and Japan are also funding major programs.

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Forbes Misses the Mark, The Tech Sector Delivers Life Changing Gains

0 | By Michael A. Robinson

You can stop worrying about the financial crisis.

I have a new way to help Washington make ends meet. If we were smart, we would just close the patent office.

And why not?

After all, according to some folks, all of the great inventions have already come and gone.
So, if you thought we were still on the cusp of miraculous breakthroughs in technology that are going to change the world, think again.

Despite what you may have been reading, the technology sector is actually positively dull, folks.

In fact, using innovation to cure cancer, solve world hunger, and help humans live past the age of 100 with genius-level IQs is just plain boring. Ho-hum really.

I know this because I read all about in Forbes magazine. So it must be true… right?

Of course, I hope you’ll pardon the stinging sarcasm…

But in a recent column, Rich Karlgaard of Forbes actually questioned whether the future of technology would be as bright as the past.

To be fair, Karlgaard’s argument refers to a new book on the subject by a prominent college professor who claims technological progress is nowhere near where it used to be.

Or as Karlgaard argues, “doesn’t quite stir the soul.”

Miracle Breakthroughs

Maybe he should have talked to Barbara Campbell.

Twenty years ago, the New Yorker went blind while still in her 30s

Today, she can at least see rough shapes and enough light to make out the building she calls home. It’s all courtesy of the electrodes surgeons implanted in her eyes.

They communicate wirelessly with a pair of sunglasses that sport a tiny video camera.

The LA-based developer of these “bionic eyes,” Second Sight Medical Products, won approval to sell its system in Europe last year. In 2012, the privately held company hopes to finally win U.S. approval for its miraculous technology.

But whether the company goes global or not is beside the point. I predict that in as little as 20 years, human blindness will largely be a thing of the past.

And then there’s the case of Matt Nagle, a Massachusetts man whose life took a turn for the worse after being paralyzed from the neck down.

To his delight, he has learned to surf the web, send emails, make a robot move its hand and play video games – all with the power of his mind.

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