Advances in genetic engineering, biotechnology and nanotechnology that not long ago seemed purely science fiction are now real. Cyborgs, superhumans and clones are alive amongst us today. What does it mean to be human now? What will it feel like to be a human a hundred years from now? Should we continue to embrace modifications to our minds, bodies and daily lives, or are there boundaries we shouldn’t overstep?
HUMAN+ The Future of Our Species, ArtScience Museum’s new cutting-edge exhibition, explores the possible future paths of our species. It asks what it means to be human in a world of artificial intelligence, lifelike robots and genetic modification. It probes the social, ethical and environmental questions raised by using technology to modify ourselves. Will virtual reality be the new reality? What would happen if a robot knew what we wanted before we knew ourselves? How might we modify ourselves to adapt to an environment that we are drastically transforming? Is longevity a noble aspiration or a terrible threat for the planet? In the future, who will have ownership of our genetic information?
Featuring work by Oron Catts, Ionat Zurr, Stelarc, Nina Sellars and many more. Opens May 20, 2017
Design critic Oliver Wainwright goes behind the scenes at the Robots exhibition at the Science Museum in London. Curator Ling Lee introduces him to some of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world, from a lifelike baby to robots without conscience. She explains the stage that the technology is at, who may use it and how far it has to go.
This one isn’t that new (made in 2014). I stumbled across it when I was researching drone music. KMel Robotics (supported by the military industrial complex) presents a team of flying robots that have taken up new instruments to play some fresh songs. The hexrotors create music in ways never seen before, like playing a custom single string guitar hooked up to an electric guitar amp. Drums are hit using a deconstructed piano action. And there are bells. Lots of bells.
This robot ray is the most successful artificial animal yet!
The soft rubber body of the #robot ray is made with a 3-D-printed gold skeleton so thin it functions like cartilage. Geneticists adapted rat heart cells so they could respond to light by contracting. Then, they were grown in a carefully arranged pattern on the rubber and around the gold skeleton. Watch the video.
The birth of biohybrid beings
The new engineered animal responds to light so well scientists were able to guide it through an obstacle course 15 times its length using strong and weak light pulses.
The study authors write, “Our ray outperformed existing locomotive biohybrid systems in terms of speed, distance traveled, and durability (six days), demonstrating the potential of self-propelled, phototactically activated tissue-engineered robots.”
What biohybrid mean for robots and artificial intelligence
Science of this type is fundamental for engineering special-purpose creations such as artificial worms that sniff out and eat cancer. Or bionic body parts for those who have suffered accidents or disease. Imagine having little swimmers in your system that rush to the site of a medical emergency such as a stroke. The promise of sensor-rich soft tissue frees robots to move more easily and yet not be cut off from needed input. Sensitized robot soft tissue could perform without the energy-sucking heaviness of metal or the artificial barrier of hard-plastic exoskeletons.
Workshop for Artistically Skilled Robots :: 10 October 2016 :: Daejeon, Korea
First Call for Papers closes 15 August 2016
In Personal Robotics R&D, one of the key challenges is to develop robotic platforms that can provide multiple adaptable skills and that can exist and interact with humans in a useful, educational and playful manner. The workshop in Daejeon, Korea will discuss the future of artistic applications in #robotics.
Participants are invited to submit a contribution as a Full Paper (maximum 6 pages) or Extended Abstract (maximum 2 pages). The event is attached to the IEEE/RSJ IROS conference which runs from 11 – 13 October 2016.