Whiskers Inspire Technology

first_imgThe latest gadget on robots or Mars rovers could be whiskers.  These tactile sensors provide ways to see in 3D, says a report on National Geographic News.  Information about latitude, longitude and elevation can be gleaned from whiskers.  Rodents continually rotate their whiskers to gather information, but seals and sea lions let the ocean currents flow around them.    Joseph H. Solomon and Mitra J. Hartmann, engineers at Northwestern University, devised robotic whiskers and tested their sensitivity.  Writing in the Oct. 5 issue of Nature, they said,Several species of terrestrial and marine mammals with whiskers (vibrissae) use them to sense and navigate in their environment – for example, rats use their whiskers to discern the features of objects, and seals rely on theirs to track the hydrodynamic trails of their prey.  Here we show that the bending moment – sometimes referred to as torque – at the whisker base can be used to generate three-dimensional spatial representations of the environment, and we use this principle to construct robotic whisker arrays that extract precise information about object shape and fluid flow.They believe this knowledge could help improve robotic engineering.  “Our results on biomimetically engineered whiskers may find application in land-based robots and autonomous underwater vehicles, in which a capability for tactile perception could broaden and enhance performance.”  Sean Markey began his National Geographic article with a speculation about a future generation of Mars explorers: “Armed with high-resolution cameras and infrared sensors, the Mars rovers have been collecting data from the red planet in unprecedented detail…. But, some researchers say, the robotic space explorers could boost their performance if they added another powerful tool to their arsenal: whiskers.”  See also the writeup on LiveScience.1Joseph H. Solomon and Mitra J. Hartmann, “Biomechanics: Robotic whiskers used to sense features,” Nature 443, 525(5 October 2006), doi:10.1038/443525a.It’s clear that the interpretation of whisker movements must come from the base, since the protein fiber that makes up a whisker contains no nerve endings.  This means an elaborate sensory apparatus must inhabit the tiny follicle of each whisker.    Car drivers used to install curb whiskers to sense the car position during parallel parking, but the transduced information was useful not to the car, but to the driver, who through auditory input could respond accordingly.  Imagine what it would take to engineer a car to parallel park itself based on one curb whisker’s tactile response.  Sensors would have to be mounted orthogonally at the base, and computer software would have to be written, complete with feedback to the steering and brakes.    In the mammal body, whether of a rat, cat, seal or otter, sensing the conical movements of a whisker must require multiple nerve endings in each hair follicle.  The timing and strength of each nerve response must be coordinated with brain software to draw the 3D image, and the reaction time must be nearly instantaneous to do the animal any good.  This is all complicated by the large number of individual whiskers (nearly 20 per side on the face of this Weddell seal).  All this technology can fit on the tiny head of a mouse or weasel, allowing the animal to gain a continuous image of its dark surroundings.    Based on the observed performance, design-theoretic researchers could probably expect to find even more engineering behind this one tactile sense.  Undoubtedly similar responses occur in hair follicles since we are aware of temperature and touch with those smaller antennae also – another reason not to shave, men, especially if you like cave exploring or crawling under the house.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South Africa honours female freedom fighters

first_img24 August 2015KwaZulu-Natal is to unveil three statues of female South African struggle stalwarts.KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu said on Saturday that the statue of Margaret Mncadi would be unveiled in Ixopo in September, the statue of Victoria Mxenge in Umlazi in November, and that of Dorothy Nyembe in Durban in December.Mchunu made the announcement while addressing more than 2 000 people at a woman’s celebration in Esikhaleni, outside Empangeni.He also took the opportunity to call on men to be more caring towards women and girls. “Men must also be humble to women and respect them in the same way they respect other men,” he said.Margaret MncadiMncadi was a political activist who became the first president of the African National Congress Women’s League in KwaZulu-Natal.She led a protest march in 1959 and campaigned against the pass laws in the province. According to South African History Online, she was named in the Treason Trial but was not prosecuted. She went into exile in Swaziland in 1960.Victoria MxengeAfter the death of her anti-apartheid activist husband, Griffiths Mxenge, Mxenge studied law and joined the legal practice he had set up.She intervened in cases in which the youth were ill-treated while imprisoned and was part of the defence team in the 1984 treason trial against leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) in the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court.Mxenge started a bursary fund in memory of her husband, recounts South African History Online. She became a member of the Release Nelson Mandela Committee (RMC), the National Organisation of Women (NOW) and the Natal Treasurer of the UDF.In 1985, she was attacked and murdered at her home in Durban.Dorothy NyembeNyembe joined the ANC in 1952 and became a volunteer in the Defiance Campaign in Durban. She helped to set up the ANC Women’s League in Cato Manor. South African History Online explains that on 9 August 1956, she led the Natal contingent of women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the introduction of passes for women.She was part of the Natal Women’s Revolt during the 1960s, and became a member of NOW during the 1980s. She passed away in December 1998.Source: News24Wire and SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Revolution Analytics Offers Free Software for Kaggle Competitors

first_imgToday Revolution Analytics announced a partnership with Kaggle to provide Revolution R Enterprise software for free to participants in Kaggle’s data contests. Competitors can download the software here.Revolution is a company that provides commercial support and tools for the statistical programming language R (see our previous coverage). Kaggle hosts data analysis competitions for organizations such as such as Deloitte, NASA, Wikipedia and The Heritage Health Network.Kaggle reports that 50% of its contest winners submit data models written in R, and nearly 1/3 of contestants cite R as their preferred data analysis tool. David Smith of R-bloggers highlights this chart of the results: Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Why You Love Online Quizzes 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Tags:#Big Data#hack How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Related Posts klint finley Revolution has published a white paper on the use of R in Kaggle contests.Also, a poll by found that 34% of respondents do at least half of their data mining in R.last_img read more

Backyard fights: UFC coming to Long Island for 1st time

first_imgScreengrab from UFC.comUNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — Chris Weidman and Dennis Bermudez acknowledged the obvious.This is not a traditional fight week for either man. This is different. This is exciting.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ For both Weidman and Bermudez, the card also presents opportunities to reset careers that have hit speed bumps.Weidman (13-3) headlines the card against Kelvin Gastelum (14-2) in a middleweight bout, despite coming off three straight losses, although the possibility exists that the No. 5 ranked middleweight could move up in title contention with a win. The current champion, Michael Bisping, is likely to meet interim champion Robert Whittaker in a title unification fight.Weidman, 33, wrestled collegiately at Hofstra University. He was asked this week if he wanted to avenge his Dec. 12, 2005, technical knockout loss to Luke Rockhold.“I need to win this fight” against Gastelum, he said. “Then I’ll let the people decide who they want me to fight.”In Bermudez’s case, the 30-year old has lost three of his last five fights and has dropped to 10th in the featherweight division rankings.ADVERTISEMENT National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress This is the first chance to fight at home.“It’s Long Island, man,” Weidman said during a media availability this week, ahead of Saturday night’s UFC on Fox show originating from the Nassau Coliseum. The nationally televised card has 13 fights on it, with the four main card fights carried on Fox in the United States.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe event is the first professional mixed martial arts card that UFC has held at the onetime home of the NHL’s New York Islanders.“I love fighting and being from here. Getting to put on a show in front of my home crowd I take a lot of pride in that, so I’m excited to fill the place up,” Weidman said. “There (are) a lot of people who live (on) Long Island. To be in the main even at the first Nassau Coliseum UFC event, it’s amazing.” Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES MOST READ View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claimcenter_img Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Uichico aware of PH’s rich cage history as he calls shots in SEAG Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “My last fight didn’t go as planned,” Bermudez (17-6) said about his Feb. 4 knockout loss to Chan Sung Jung. “I want to go in there Saturday and show that wasn’t the real Dennis Bermudez, that I just had a little slip up.”To that end, Bermudez shared a bit of the philosophy he is planning on implementing against No. 12 featherweight Darren Elkins (23-5) in the semi-main event.“Hard work and no quit. That’s the way I’ve always trained,” Bermudez said. “I get in there and give it my all. In my practices I’m always trying to win. As I get older in my career I’m not only trying to win (but) I’m trying to learn as well. So I’ll go in there with a mind and technique that will work and I’ll get better at it and become a better overall fighter.”Both Bermudez and Weidman noted this fight week was unusual because neither had to leave their stomping grounds. While Weidman said his wife ordered him to stay at a local hotel, Bermudez is preparing at home.“The normal feel of a fight week is looking for something to do and where to go, or where I’m going to eat,” he said. “Having this fight in (my) own backyard gives me the ability to do the same things I’ve been doing throughout this entire fight camp. Nothing has changed. I sleep in my own bed. I drive my own car. I cook on my grill and it’s awesome.”Saturday’s event will be the fifth held in New York since the state legalized professional MMA on Mar. 22, 2016. UFC will run one more event in New York in 2017, the UFC 217 pay-per-view from Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’last_img read more