Reach Out and Touch Some Robot

first_imgThe news media were excited to report an advance in materials science last week that could pave the way for touchy-feely robots (see BBC News, News @ Nature, LiveScience and National Geographic News, for instance).  Two scientists produced a thin film with touch resolution comparable to that of a human finger, an order of magnitude better than previous attempts.  The work was published in Science.1     While this is indisputably a remarkable achievement, few of the popular articles drew detailed comparisons and contrasts with the capabilities of human skin.  Richard Crowder, in the same issue of Science,2 started his analysis of the paper with a touch of realism: Today’s state-of-the-art dexterous robotic hands cannot achieve tasks that most 6-year-old children can do without thinking, such as tie a shoelace or build a house of cards.  The improvement of the manipulative capabilities of robotic hands requires advances in a wide range of technologies, including mechanics, actuators, sensors, and artificial intelligence.  Many robots—such as NASA’s Robonaunt—have the dexterity required to perform some of the tasks that we take for granted, but replication of the full manipulative capabilities of the human hand is still years away. Calling the development of tactile sensors “one of the most difficult problems in robotics,” went on to describe how difficult it is to measure slippage while gripping an object.  Though he had praise for the touch-sensitive film invented by Maheshwari and Saraf, he continued to underscore the problems facing robot designers emulating a human hand. To appreciate the advantages of having a single sensor for both slip and texture, it is worth considering how it can be integrated into robotic hands that need to restrain and manipulate a wide range of objects under a wide range of conditions.  To achieve a satisfactory grasp, optimal force control is required.  Any movement of a robotic hand may result in the grasped object slipping and possibly being dropped; hence, the sensors on the hand have to register any slippage and adjust the applied forces to bring the object back to rest…. In short, he wrote, “The problem of defining the required grasp force is crucial and can be posed as an optimization problem.”  The new tactile sensory material is thus only part of a multi-faceted problem that will require mastery of many disciplines.  “The next stage in the development of this sensor is to look at its robustness and performance characteristics over time,” Crowder ended.  “Once these issues are resolved, the sensor can be integrated into a dexterous hand, hopefully leading to an improvement in dexterity.”  Fortunately, robotics designers will have their human sense of touch to aid them in this endeavor. 1Maheshwari and Saraf, “High-Resolution Thin-Film Device to Sense Texture by Touch,” Science, 9 June 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5779, pp. 1501 – 1504, DOI: 10.1126/science.1126216. 2Richard Crowder, “Toward Robots That Can Sense Texture by Touch,” Science, 9 June 2006: Vol. 312. no. 5779, pp. 1478 – 1479, DOI: 10.1126/science.1129110. Would you want a robotic hand encircling your neck, with the inventor’s assurance it will only apply the right force to give you a gentle massage?  What if the software, it turns out, needs a patch?     The researchers can be rightly satisfied of their achievement, but use this story as an occasion to consider the wonder of human touch.  Articles like this one on Apologetics Press remind us of the exquisite engineering behind this sense that brings such pleasure and awareness to life.  More than a mere force-sensitive material, human skin is integrated with a powerful processing and feedback apparatus (the central nervous system) with force actuators (muscles) and automatic temperature controls.  In addition, skin is self-repairing, nourished by a circulating network of nutrients, armed with defenses, and able to breathe without leaking.     Inventors can make telescopes stronger than eyes, and machines stronger than muscles, and sensors more precise than nerves.  But let no man boast till he can optimize all capabilities of a human being in a 150-lb package (more or less) and make it all reproduce itself through a cell the size of a pinhead.  Even then, the inventor will not have breathed into his creation the breath of life to make it a living soul.  He will only have underscored the degree of intelligent design it takes to design and optimize integrated, multifunctional systems.     We hope robotics science will continue to advance – not only toward the improvement of our lives, but toward illustrating the principle that integrated, optimized systems do not arise from unguided processes.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Pay Wallet: salaries to your mobile

first_imgThe solution caters for any disbursements which previously relied on cash or cheque payments; and clients also have the option of providing recipients with a Pay Wallet card, which can be used at any ATM and for cash back or purchases at point of sale. “Pay Wallet will reduce our clients’ risk of theft and fraud as well as the cost and inconvenience associated with handling cash,” said FNB Commercial’s head of sales and client relationships, Michael Vacy-Lyle. According to 2009 FinScope research, South Africa has more than 27-million economically active individuals, 37% of whome do not have bank accounts. “Pay Wallet is yet another innovative solution from FNB ensuring that all South Africans are active participants in the growth of our economy,” FNB Smart Services CEO Yolande van Wyk said in a statement this week.” Safe, affordable, convenient “Our solution provides employees who do not own a bank account, the opportunity of being able to receive their funds instantaneously and electronically,” said Van Wyk. “FNB’s focus on innovation has created the ability for our clients to conduct their financial matters safely and securely, and far more conveniently.” According to FNB, the Pay Wallet offers its corporate, commercial and public sector clients safety, affordability and convenience by allowing them to electronically pay their employees’ salaries. According to Vacy-Lyle, clients will also have the ability to “sponsor” up to two cash withdrawals for the recipient in order to further reduce costs for employees. First National Bank is set to launch a new solution enabling employers to pay the workers without bank accounts via their mobile phones, giving them immediate access to their salaries via the bank’s ATMs – without needing bank cards or accounts. 27 July 2010 “Through our commitment to entrepreneurship and enabling businesses to manage their cash flow effectively, we focus on innovation as a key driver in making banking more affordable, accessible and convenient to our clients – saving them time and money,” he said. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “By accessing a specifically developed portal on FNB Online Banking, clients will have the ability to create and pay wallet holders in real-time, and wallet holders will have immediate access to their money by withdrawing cash at an FNB ATM.” “It affords those with no access to banking services to be paid electronically without the need of a bank account.” Focus on innovationlast_img read more

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Roger Federer ready for John Isner shoot-out for Miami crown

first_imgWintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Roger Federer, of Switzerland, prepares to return the ball to Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, during the semifinals of the Miami Open tennis tournament, Friday, March 29, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)Roger Federer is gearing up for a Miami Open final shootout with John Isner on Sunday after blowing away young-gun Denis Shapovalov in straight sets.Federer produced a 6-2, 6-4 masterclass at Hard Rock Stadium to leave up-and-coming star Shapovalov, who grew up idolizing the Swiss, chasing shadows during a difficult first set.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Shapovalov, who will jump to a career best 20th in the world thanks to this impressive run, enjoyed some much better moments in the second set and looked more relaxed, although the match was never in his hands.He hit just eight winners in response to Federer’s 30 but will learn from this.“It’s kind of surreal, being on the court against Roger,”admitted the Canadian who joked the only enjoyable moment for him was the warm up.“Obviously I wasn’t trying to focus on the fact that it’s him on the other side.“I was just trying to play as good as I can, but he played an excellent match. I wasn’t able stay at his level. I’m just going to try to learn from this and move forward.”Federer, assessing his own performance, said he played “very well”.“I had to because when you let Denis play, he’s got some serious power and he gets rhythm going. He can really put you in uncomfortable situations.”This was the first time since 2007 that two teenagers have reached an ATP Masters semi-finals and although both suffered disappointing defeats, they leave South Florida with their heads held high.Auger-Aliassime’s dream run finished with the youngster from Montreal competing confidently in the biggest match of his career even if he will rue the chances that escaped him after being broken while serving for the first and second set.“Unusual,” Isner called it. “It could have been a little bit of inexperience and maybe a little bit of fatigue, also.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Despite the disappointment etched all over Auger-Aliassime’s face at the end, his run here will give him great confidence moving forward as he, and Shapovalov, aim to prove their Grand Slam credentials.The 18-year-old is the youngest-ever male semi-finalist in Miami and only the second qualifier to reach the last four after Guillermo Canas reached the same stage in 2007 before losing to Novak Djokovic in the final.Auger-Aliassime will also see his ranking jump from 55 to 33 in the world.“I think I did the best that I could,” he said. “It’s a chance you can’t miss, serving two times for the set, and just — I don’t know. It’s just terrible. The biggest lesson I learned was to stay in the present and believe in yourself.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The Swiss was superb in dismantling the 19 year-old’s game, but knows with huge serving Isner lying in wait in what will be the former world number one’s 50th ATP Masters final, the key will be to defuse the reigning Miami Open champion’s monster service game.Isner used it to great effect in his 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) win over Shapovalov’s friend and compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime earlier in the day, smashing down 21 aces. He’ll be looking for more of the same against 20 time Grand Slam champion Federer.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“Playing a big server like John is like being in a penalty shootout in soccer, but I enjoy it,” said number four seed Federer who coped brilliantly with Kevin Anderson’s dangerous serve in the quarter-finals, winning the first set to love.“Sometimes you go with momentum. Sometimes you go with feel. Sometimes you guess maybe a little bit and sometimes you see it. It’s a combination of all sort of things. Google Philippines names new country director Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants LATEST STORIES MOST READ Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event View comments Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting ABL: Alab Pilipinas on brink of ouster after home loss to HK Eastern “You just hope that the stars align, that you pick the right side, that he picks the wrong side, that maybe he misses a serve, that you can put him in uncomfortable situations time and time again, and at the end somehow you find a way.”Federer had no such challenge from Shapovalov, playing his fifth ATP Tour semi-final. Even though the Swiss was standing in his way of a first final, the 19 year-old stressed beforehand that it was a “dream” to take on Federer.It quickly, however, turned into a nightmare.The Canadian displayed understandable nerves early on, a struggle with his first serve proving as much in a 10 minute opening game which he eventually won.Yet it didn’t settle him down and when another horribly loose backhand flew long, Federer pocketed a vital early break and stayed in the driver’s seat.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krausslast_img read more

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Isolation Ward at Children’s Hospital Being Renovated

first_img Improvement work at the Glen Owen Isolation Ward at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston continues today (May 23), in an effort to better treat patients with infectious diseases. Story Highlights The scope of the project, being undertaken in phases, includes installation of plumbing and electrical works; installation of air-conditioning units, LED lights, windows and doors, among other things. In an interview with JIS News, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said the project aims to improve the infrastructure and aesthetics at the facility. Improvement work at the Glen Owen Isolation Ward at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston continues today (May 23), in an effort to better treat patients with infectious diseases.Renovation of the ward, which started last week, is being undertaken by the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) as one of its 2018 Labour Day projects.The scope of the project, being undertaken in phases, includes installation of plumbing and electrical works; installation of air-conditioning units, LED lights, windows and doors, among other things.Employees of the KSAMC participated in painting and clean-up activities at the ward today.In an interview with JIS News, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said the project aims to improve the infrastructure and aesthetics at the facility.“We have basically put up a new structure, which is more secure. There is a decontamination area that you would have to enter; we didn’t have that before,” the Mayor said.He said the KSAMC is committed to continue the improvements at the ward, which caters to children from across the island.“This is a project that we can safely say is money well spent. We are committing to continuing the renovation work until we are satisfied that the ward is at a standard that we believe is right for our children,” he said.Senator Williams said the KSAMC will be looking to partner with the Hospital to provide equipment for the ward.Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Anthony Wood, said the hospital is grateful for the support, as the renovation will not only improve the services of the hospital but will have a positive impact on staff.“I am excited and I believe my team is excited about it. This isolation area has been here for many years, from in the 1980s, but we have significantly improved it. We actually knocked it down and rebuilt it,” he said.Mr. Wood said the 25-bed ward is an important part of the medical management process at the facility.“Instead of putting them (children) on a general medical ward, we isolate them, treat them, manage them, and as soon as they start to recover, we move them out, because they would no longer need to be in that area,” he said.In healthcare facilities, isolation represents one of several measures that can be taken to implement infection control – the prevention of contagious diseases being spread from a patient to other patients, healthcare workers and visitors, or from outsiders to a particular patient.The Bustamante Hospital for Children is the only specialist paediatric hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. It caters to the medical needs of children in Jamaica and neighbouring Caribbean countries from zero to 12 years.This year’s Labour Day projects were carried out under the theme ‘Ramp it up… Fix it up’, with a focus on installing ramps in schools and improving health centres.last_img read more

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