Category Archives: Videos
June 27, 2012, 2:22 pm
Play the famous Rock-Paper-Scissors duel with a robot, and the robot will win every time. At least, this robot will: Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have developed a small “Janken” robot which follows its human opponent with a small camera, and on the count of “3″ produces the winning hand signal. Technically, it’s cheating, but faster than the rest of us would be able to: the speed at which the robot recognizes the human’s signal and beats it is less than a millisecond. So, while this particular robot can’t yet predict the behavior of its human counterpart, maybe it’s time we start preparing to lose. Often.
The applications could be numerous: as the the researchers say, “this technology can be applied to motion support of human beings and cooperation work between human beings and robots etc. without time delay.” Then again, isn’t “cooperation” exactly…
May 8, 2012, 4:06 pm
If you spend time on the Web, you’ve seen some of the clever RSA Animate lectures produced by Cognitive Media on behalf of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Now a group that is critical of Ohio State University’s administration has borrowed the whiteboard-animation technique for a video announcing a two-day event called “Re-Imagine OSU,” May 16-17.
A group of students at Brown University created this video challenging stereotypes about scientists as part of a course on science communication.
Harvard University’s baseball team went viral this week with a choreographed lip-synch of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” performed in a team van. (And yes, the guy in the back, Jack Colton, really did sleep through the whole thing.)
A research team at Emory University did MRI scans of the brains of two dogs as part of a study into th…
May 1, 2012, 8:42 pm
Last week at MIT, in a carefully orchestrated demonstration of gravity, students rolled a piano off the top of Baker House. This first happened in 1972.
Henry Rollins, former singer for the iconic punk band Black Flag, offers advice to the young. The money quote: “That’s why you can survive on no sleep, Top Ramen noodles, and dental floss.”
A freshman at the University of California at Berkeley shows off his Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm room, or BRAD.
April 10, 2012, 6:11 pm
In February we mentioned that Drexel University had kicked off National Engineers Week by unveiling seven humanoid robots, one of which was shown rattling a tambourine to a song by Genesis. It was a pitiable performance, but every aspiring musician has to start somewhere, right? Now take a look at how the robots of Drexel’s Music Entertainment Technology laboratory have come together as a band in just a few short weeks. Someone sign this bunch!
Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese Web site that uses animation to imagine the news, gives its usual treatment to the plans for Yale-NUS College in Singapore. Don’t miss the part where Yale President Richard C. Levin helps a student do a keg stand.
April 3, 2012, 7:45 pm
A team from St. Olaf College won the 25th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Saturday at Purdue University by creating a machine that inflated and popped a balloon to musical accompaniment.
A team from Purdue University placed second in the contest with a machine that took 300 steps to inflate and pop a balloon. That apparently breaks the Guinness World Record for the most steps by a Rube Goldberg machine, a mark set by the same Purdue team in last year’s competition. Here is this year’s record-setting machine at work.
In non-Rube Goldberg news, Zorro saved the day last month in a chemistry classroom at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the professor gamely played along.
Stephen Colbert unveiled a do-it-yourself Super PAC starter kit last week on The Colbert Report in response to a letter from a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
March 27, 2012, 4:53 pm
Students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion have skewered the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon with a musical satire of their own, “The Book of Purim!” Below, a sendup of “Hello!” the opening number from the original.
Students at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen welcomed Maitland Mackie as the institution’s new rector last week by parading him around the campus atop a stuffed bull named Angus. Afterward Mr. Mackie, chairman of Mackie’s Ice Cream, bought the students a round of drinks at St. Machars Bar.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech have created a robotic jellyfish that is fueled by hydrogen and oxygen and that could one day be used for surveillance or rescue missions.
March 23, 2012, 11:49 am
The White House announced today that President Obama has nominated Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, to lead the World Bank. Most of us know that Dr. Kim is a physician and anthropologist, and even that he played quarterback on his high-school football team. But did you know that he can also dance and rap? Below and at bottom, Dr. Kim onstage at the “Dartmouth Idol” shows in 2011 and ’10.
March 20, 2012, 9:51 pm
The political scientist Francis Fukuyama, like seemingly everyone else these days, is mad about drones, he revealed last month in a blog post. We wrote Mr. Fukuyama to see if he would discuss his hobby with us. His polite reply: “Thanks for the message but I’m not going to have time to talk this week.” We’re guessing he’s too busy hanging out at Stanford, proving the adage that “the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” Who can blame him?
Scientists at the University of Cambridge make use of Lego Mindstorms robots to perform repetitive tasks in the laboratory.
On their way to the University of Kansas women’s basketball game in Little Rock on Sunday, members of the university’s spirit squad and pep band stopped to free a guy who got pinned under a vehicle that he was working on when the jack broke. This is a television news report after the fact,…
March 6, 2012, 8:27 pm
As a farewell to the space shuttle program, a Romanian teenager sent a Lego shuttle aloft tethered to a weather balloon and recorded the whole thing on a GoPro Hero video camera. “The launch took place from central Germany (easy flight clearance) and reached a max altitude of 35000m,” writes the teen, Raul Oaida, on YouTube.
Via the Mary Sue
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency reported this week that the “Cheetah” robot, developed for the agency by Boston Dynamics, had set a new land-speed record of 18 mph.
An animated short by students at San Jose State University imagines a future in which robots have been banned.
A reader of Time magazine asked the astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe?” This is his reply.
February 28, 2012, 8:58 pm
Theo Gray, the author and cofounder of Wolfram Research, shows off his “periodic table table.”
Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education, makes an amazing pass last week during the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. Too bad his teammate missed the layup.
Mike McLaughlin, an MBA student at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, describes his plan to hike the Appalachian and Ozark trails back-to-back, a distance of more than 2,500 miles. Mr. McLaughlin, who was emotionally and physically abused as a child by his mother and stepfather, hopes to bring attention to the plight of underprivileged children in St. Louis and Africa by raising funds for both the Family Resource Center and a school for neglected blind children in Cameroon, Africa.