Here’s the top ten virtual worlds by pageviews (on the cross-world social network Myrl.com) and signups (from Myrl.com to the virtual world’s site).
Interestingly, Google’s Lively is the number three pageview-wise and still under the top ten sign-ups on Myrl. Maybe Google should reconsider the killing of their project after all. On the other hand, Myrl has not yet the traction needed to be considered a source significant enough to show these kinds of trends of popularity. Or does it?
The iRobis Brainstorm® technology facilitates and accelerates the development of humanoid self-learning robots – like this little fella. HR-2 walks, talks, imitates and „evolves“. He is already 3 years old by now (he was a prototype developed within 3 months with help of the early Brainstorm® system), but the video about HR-2’s abilities is still worth watching. Want! [picture: Almir Heralic]
From the press release: „The Institute of Robotics in Scandinavia (iRobis) has announced that the world’s first “complete cognitive software system for robotics” is ready for application. The system turns robots into self-developing, adaptive, problem-solving, “thinking” machines. Brainstorm® automatically adapts to on-board sensors and actuators, immediately builds a model of any robot on which it is installed, and automatically writes control programs for the robot’s movements. It can then explore and model its environment. Through simulated interaction using these models, it solves problems and develops new behavior using “imagination.” Once it has “learned” to do something, it can use its imagination to adapt its behavior to a wide range of circumstances. A methodology known as genetic programming (GP) is “the trick” that makes it all possible. GP is an automated programming methodology inspired by natural evolution that is used to evolve computer programs.“
You can’t download their system right away – iRobis is rather looking for high-potential partners/companies/researchers with whom they can develop prototypes like toys or perhaps household robots. Please hurry – I really want some kind of little robot fella on my desktop or maybe a little bit larger so he can get me a coffee or pizza from the kitchen.
Here’s the full iRobis press release
Digg deeper: More information about the technology and history behind iRobis Brainstorm® by Roger F. Gay
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„Thanks to advances in our understanding of biology, scientists believe they can model a new generation of computers on how the brain actually works—the microscopic chemical interactions and electrical impulses that translate sensations into knowledge and knowledge into decisions and actions. It’s a successor to the old ideas about artificial intelligence, and a handful of companies have initiatives under way, among them IBM (IBM) and Numenta, a Silicon Valley startup.“
From: Business Week http://ping.fm/B3GEb
Artificial Technology GmbH’s modular middleware for emotional and artificial intelligence will make the inhabitants of virtual worlds more intelligent, emotional and vivid
While people still have to gesture wildly in front of a giant computer display when they go with a human-machine interface á la Minority Report (see previous article), futurist Ray Kurzweil’s dream has been rather to jack directly into the brain (in order to upload it to the net to live forever, but that’s another story, called Singularity and all).
The Scientific American recently ran an article about the current research in neuro-technology regarding brain-machine interfaces. The first page is a little dragging, mentioning all the crazy ideas of science-fiction authors of the past 30 years, but the rest of the article is about current research programs like using the brain as an interface for prosthetics, steering through virtual worlds by mere thought or improving our memories with an artificial hippocampus. If you don’t have time skip to page 4 of the article. Full article on Scientific American: Jacking into the Brain – Is the Brain the Ultimate Computer Interface?
Although we appearently still don’t know jack about jacking into the brain and doing something really useful with it, there is the next best thing that you can order now (will be shipped to US addresses only by the end of the year for 299 US$): The EmotivEpoc headset taps your neurons from the outside and translates your intentions, facial expressions and emotions into commands for 3D games and virtual worlds. Their technology also lets you control a wheelchair just using mind control (video). Spooky, huh? And damn useful if it works. Here’s a video showing how it works with games.
Mac support is planned but scheduled for later – „the market conditions dictate that Windows comes first“ is what Jonathan Geracifrom the Emotiv team told me in July. But they offer an open API set for developers so the range of supported games and virtual 3D platforms should be impressive.
Read more about the sensor-laden headset or order it now if you are living in Obama land at the Emotiv Website. (No chance for the rest of the world without US address yet)
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Demonstration of Oblong’s g-speak spatial operating environment.
Some of the core ideas are already familiar from the film Minority Report, where Tom Cruise’s character performed forensic analysis using massive, gesturally driven displays. The similarity is no coincidence: one of Oblong’s founders served as science advisor to Minority Report and based the design of those scenes directly on his earlier work at MIT. More about the technology: oblong industries, inc.
Called The Virtual Team Challenge, the competition includes some 6,000 students nationwide