Posts Tagged ‘Science & Tech’



Students Build JediBot!

StarWars.com Team | July 18, 2011

Using a robot arm, Microsoft’s Kinect sensor and custom software, students at Stanford University were able to teach a robot how to weird a foam lightsaber.

ExtremeTech reports:

The robot arm is pre-programmed with a bunch of “attack moves” and it defends by using the Kinect to track the green lightsaber. To attack, JediBot performs a random attack move, and if it meets resistance — another lightsaber, a skull, some ribs — it recoils and performs another, seemingly random, attack. It can attack once every two to three seconds — so it isn’t exactly punishing, but presumably it would only require a little knob-tweaking to make it a truly killer robot.

To defend, the JediBot uses the Kinect sensor to pick the green lightsaber out of the background (that’s why it isn’t blue), and performs depth analysis to work out where it is in comparison to the robot’s lightsaber. If you watch the video, the tracking is remarkably fast, and it’s probably very hard to actually land a blow on the robot.

WATCH VIDEO: Stanford Students Create JediBot

Read more here:

Area 51 Spy Plane or Naboo Royal Starship?

StarWars.com Team | June 7, 2011

National Geographic posted a photo of a titanium A-12 spy-plane prototype that was found during a flood of files and photos that were recently declassified about the mysterious Area 51.

National Geographic reports:

Suspended upside down, a titanium A-12 spy-plane prototype is prepped for radar testing at Area 51 in the late 1950s. After a rash of declassifications, details of Cold War workings at the Nevada base, which to this day does not officially exist, are coming to light – including never before released images of an A-12 crash and its cover-up.

Looking closer at the spy plane it’s easy to see more than a few similarities to none other than the Naboo Royal Queen’s Starship from The Phantom Menace.

The Naboo Royal Starship boasts a strikingly beautiful design that embodies the craftsmanship that prevailed in the peaceful years of the Republic. The polished, streamlined J-type 327 Nubian vessel lacks any offensive weaponry, but does feature strong shields and a competent hyperdrive.

What do you think?

Read more about the Area 51 spy plane and more here:
Exclusive Area 51 Pictures: Secret Plane Crash Revealed

Solar-Powered R2-D2!

Bonnie Burton | May 2, 2011

With the never-ending energy crisis always on our minds, it’s always a good idea to think of alternative energy solutions, especially when building and operating astromechs like R2-D2. Check out this cool Artoo unit with solar panels! Now all we need are two suns…

Developed by Yosuke Kimura and Daisuke Goto, two electrical systems majors at Hiroshima International University, the radio controlled homage to the Star Wars robot includes two shoulder-mounted solar panels that would conceivably power the droid when its normal energy supply runs down. The robot was recently on display in downtown Hiroshima, Japan as an example of the university’s engineering program.

Read more about it here:
Solar-powered Star Wars droid found in Hiroshima, Japan

Jedi Master Yoda Tarsier?

StarWars.com Team | March 23, 2011

While this might look like a cuddly, furry version of Jedi Master Yoda, this big-eyed, pointy-eared critter is actually a tarsier.

The unusual-looking animal was spotted clinging to a tree by photographer Erik Mikhailov while he was on a tour of the rain forest in the Philippines.

Learn more about the tarsier here:
WATCH VIDEO: Tarsier: The Littlest Alien

Read the full story here:
Yoda’s twin is this? Star Wars character spotted in Philippines rain forest

Japanese Scientists Create Touchable Holograms

StarWars.com Team | February 17, 2011

Thanks to researchers at Tokyo University, it appears that touchable holograms are now a reality.

Researchers used two Wiimotes from Nintendo’s Wii gaming system to track a user’s hand as well as software that uses ultrasonic waves to create pressure on the user’s hand touching the projected hologram.

Professor Hiroyuki Shinoda from Tokyo University says:

“Up until now, holography has been for the eyes only, and if you’d try to touch it, your hand would go right through. But now we have a technology that also adds the sensation of touch to holograms.”

Watch video here:
Japanese Scientists Create Touchable Holograms
(via NTD Television)

Nao Robot Recites Star Wars

StarWars.com Team | January 5, 2011

IEEE Spectrum Editor Erico Guizzo writes:

Last month I posted a video of Bruno Maisonnier, founder and CEO of Aldebaran Robotics, showing off the newly enhanced Nao humanoid robot. Then several people asked me to see the full sequence of Nao doing its Star Wars act, with hilarious impressions of Darth Vader and R2-D2.

WATCH VIDEO: Nao Robot Does Star Wars

More info here:
Nao Robot Does Star Wars – via IEEE Spectrum

TIE Fighter Spotted During Eclipse!?

StarWars.com Team | January 5, 2011

In the recent partial solar eclipse, astrophotographer Thierry Legault took an epic snapshot of all the action. But wait, what is that tiny little thing to the left….?

Here’s a closer look:

Yup. Clearly a TIE fighter.

Read more here:
INSANELY awesome solar eclipse picture – via Discover magazine

Real Technologies Inspired by Star Wars

StarWars.com Team | November 24, 2010

We might not all have jetpacks or lightsabers yet, but Star Wars has in fact influenced technology that benefit us all whether it’s entertaining us in our home or turning us into functional cyborgs. Yay!

FoxNews.com reports:

In 1977, the idea of chopping down the bad guys with a beam of light, or playing a game with 3D aliens, or even sending a holographic e-mail to a mysterious recluse on Tatooine seemed like futuristic concepts. Yet, these concepts are now becoming a reality -– real products that serve a useful purpose, research projects meant to show how the tech works, and games that fulfill the Star Wars dream.

One of the most interesting of the technologies includes the advances in body prosthetics.

Touch Bionics has developed the i-LIMB Pulse bionic hand, which reads myoelectric signals (tiny electric pulses in your arm) and sends them to a mechanical hand. The latest version, released this summer, even works with your computer and Bluetooth wireless signals, so you can tweak the algorithms for sensitivity and control five fingers independently for grabbing objects.

Read more about this and more here:
8 Star Wars Technologies That Are Now Reality

Yoda the Bat?

StarWars.com Team | October 6, 2010

It’s always exciting to see new species of animals, plants and insects discovered, but it’s even cooler when they look like our favorite Star Wars characters!

A nyctimene tube-nosed fruit bat with an appearance reminiscent of the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda has been discovered in a remote rainforest. The bat, along with an orange spider and a yellow-spotted frog are among a host of new species found in a region of Papua New Guinea.

Read more here:
Feel the Force: Tube-nosed bat which bears striking resemblance to Yoda discovered as scientists find hundreds of new species

NASA to Send C-3PO to the Moon?

StarWars.com Team | February 26, 2010

Is it just us or does NASA’s robot look a little like our favorite protocol droid C-3PO? Here’s hoping they give him better coping skills.

According to AmericaSpace:

Project M is a JSC Engineering Directorate led mission to put a lander on the moon with a robot within a 1,000 days starting Jan 1, 2010. “M” has significance in two ways. First, it is the Roman numeral for 1,000. And “M” is the first letter for “Moon.”

WATCH VIDEO: NASA JSC “Project M” Video

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SOURCE: Gizmodo