POPULAR SCIENCE | NOVEMBER 2014 | VOLUME 285 NO.5
THE MARS EXPERIMENT
WHY THOUSANDS ARE READY TO DIE ON ANOTHER PLANET
...
A new app from Popular Science.
What did you look like as a Neanderthal?
See for yourself the evolutionary steps that le...
FEED
Volume 285 No.5
FRIEND
FOR LIFE
38
Robots aren’t just the
stuff of uprisings. In the brave,
weird world of soc...
006 / POPULAR SCIENCE
RANSOM: MARIUS BUGGE; COURTESY CONTRIBUTORS
FEED/ NOVEMBER 2014
From the Editor
Contributors
En...
Out-cleans
the 5 big boys.
In independent floorcare tests, the new
DC59 Motorhead vacuum out-cleans
the top five best-...
of 5

Popular science_November 2014_USA

Life Among Robots: About a year ago, Popular Science introduced a robot into the offi ce. One of the many virtues of working at a magazine such as ours is that we’re free to test all sorts of cool stuff. So we called the guys at Suitable Technologies and asked them to send us a BeamPro, the telepresence robot made famous by Edward Snowden (no doubt, he got the idea from us). Downoad the complete file here: http://getmyfile.org/file/0Xb858
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Science      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Popular science_November 2014_USA

  • 1. POPULAR SCIENCE | NOVEMBER 2014 | VOLUME 285 NO.5 THE MARS EXPERIMENT WHY THOUSANDS ARE READY TO DIE ON ANOTHER PLANET NOVEMBER 2014 SPECIAL FEATURE YOUR WORLD, VISUALIZED Celebrating the new art of information PG. 53 Curi is teaching scientists how humans and robots can live together. PLUS! OUR HERO, STEPHEN HAWKING BUILDING A BETTER SOLDIER A CAR THAT SYNCS TO THE CLOUD SUPERLICE, WTF?!
  • 2. A new app from Popular Science. What did you look like as a Neanderthal? See for yourself the evolutionary steps that led from the early hominids through to modern Homo sapiens by mapping your own face onto ancient skulls discovered around the world. Find it in the iTunes App Store PROMOTION
  • 3. FEED Volume 285 No.5 FRIEND FOR LIFE 38 Robots aren’t just the stuff of uprisings. In the brave, weird world of social robotics, engineers are making machines to be your companion. ADAM PIORE 46 BAS LANSDORP HAS A POSSE A Dutch entrepreneur has inspired thousands of people to apply for a one-way trip to Mars. Why on Earth would they go? DANIEL ENGBER 53 DAWN OF THE DATA AGE We are amassing mountains of data, but it won’t mean much if we can’t understand it. We selected 15 visualizations that offer a look at the future of information. KATIE PEEK 60 THE WEIGHT OF WAR Cumbersome gear has heavily burdened soldiers throughout history, causing injuries and even loss of life. Modern technologies are finally poised to lighten that load. JEREMY HSU POPULAR SCIENCE / 005 POPUL A R S C I E N C E DEPARTMENTS For daily updates: facebook.com/ popsci + + + + + FEATURES PAGE CONTENTS 1 1 . 2 0 1 4 FEED 06 From the Editor 08 Peer Review 10 A Bit About Us NOW 13 One smart device to rule them all 14 Ten things we love this month 16 Stephen Hawking on the silver screen 20 Mirrorless cameras reach the tipping point 21 Why gamers don’t give up on impossible games 22 A car that syncs with the cloud 24 You can put your selfie on anything, but should you? NEXT 27 A powerful new Earth-size telescope 28 The behemoth beach stormer that will scale seawalls 30 Every student’s nightmare exam, redesigned 34 A robot that sniffs out gas leaks 36 Does slacktivism actually advance medical research? MANUAL 69 Be a glow rider with LED bike wheels 72 Hackett mints coins for the postapocalyptic economy 74 How littleBits prototypes its tiny modules 76 Use spray paint as a pet protector—not a flamethrower 77 “Watch”a meteor shower with a radio END MATTER 78 Ask Us Anything: What’s the hottest temperature pos-sible? 90 From the Archives ON THE COVER AND ABOVE Meka Robotics built Curi for the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab at Georgia Tech. The robot’s eyes and lids have fi ve degrees of freedom so that it can explicitly direct its attention, conveying understanding. Meka also added light-up ears that move in two directions. “I wanted it to look more like a creature,” says Andrea Thomaz, who uses Curi to study social learning, “so that if it’s not fully human-level intelligent people would forgive it.” Photograph by Harold Daniels
  • 4. 006 / POPULAR SCIENCE RANSOM: MARIUS BUGGE; COURTESY CONTRIBUTORS FEED/ NOVEMBER 2014 From the Editor Contributors Enjoy the issue. Cliff Ransom Editor in Chief Life Among Robots KATIE PEEK Information editor Katie Peek says good data visualizations convey complex information simply and beautifully. But, she says, “the best visualizations have a point to them.” When creating her own, Peek presents new data in a way that also tells a story. For “Dawn of the Data Age” (page 53), she assembled a team of fellow experts to find the best visualiza-tions in three particularly data-rich areas: the self, city, and world. DANIEL ENGBER When contributing editor Daniel Engber heard about the Million Martian Meeting, he knew he’d attend. Entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp had assembled a group of aspiring space explorers vying for a one-way trip to Mars. While reporting “Bas Lansdorp Has a Posse” (page 46), Engber found he did not share their enthusiasm to live and die 45 million miles from Earth. “If I can convince one person to cancel his application for Mars One, I’ll have done a good deed,” he says. HAROLD DANIELS As a portrait photographer, Harold Daniels knows how to take pic-tures of people. Typically, he aims for not only a beautiful image, but one that also conveys something about his subject’s character. But how do you capture the charac-ter of a robot? His approach to photographing Curi for this issue’s cover: “The machine is made by people,” Daniels says. “I wanted to show some humanity, if not of the machine itself, of the people who built it.” ADAM PIORE Contributing editor Adam Piore first saw Hiroshi Ishiguro and his robotic clone at the Global Future 2045 convention in New York City. He was unable to tell man from machine until the robot started moving like a zombie. “It was spooky,” he says. This brush with the bizarre world of social robots inspired Piore’s trip across Japan, where he explored the country’s robotics laboratories for “Friend for Life” (page 38). About a year ago, Popular Science introduced a robot into the offi ce. One of the many virtues of working at a magazine such as ours is that we’re free to test all sorts of cool stuff . So we called the guys at Suitable Technologies and asked them to send us a BeamPro, the telepresence robot made famous by Edward Snowden (no doubt, he got the idea from us). (thanks, Roomba) and operate on patients (thanks, da Vinci). There’s even a robot bellhop that will deliver hotel guests a bottle of Scotch. The leap, for most, is not in accepting help or services from robots but in accepting them as something more, as companions or friends. As Adam Piore writes in our cover story this month, that leap is one that many in Japan are already making. There, robots are now caring for the elderly and helping customers in stores. There is even a burgeoning genre of robot plays (I wonder what Karel Capek would think about that). If you want a glimpse of the emerging human-robot soci-ety, just look across the Pacifi c. Of course, we’ve been down this road before. The 1980s saw a rush of commercial robots— who could forget Playskool’s Alphie or Tomy’s Omnibot 2000? But most of them ended up as glorifi ed toys. This time, I’d wager that things are diff erent. Tech-nology is better, certainly, but so is our understanding of ourselves. If we’re truly to integrate robots into our lives—a change that at this point appears all but inevitable—then we need to forge connections with them as we do with one another. That means our forthcoming robot companions will not only be high functioning, equipped with facial recognition and artifi cial intelligence. They’ll also be irresistibly cute. At the outset, we thought working side by side with a robot would be little more than a weird experiment. And it was—for about three days. Then things became strangely natural. Now when I see our robot roaming the halls or dipping into meetings, I’m no longer shocked or con-fused. I just smile and wave. We even named it—Gus, for reasons no one can remember. One of my fondest recent memories was watching Gus lead an offi ce tour for 25 squealing children on Bring Your Kid to Work Day. The lesson: Children love robots. When I describe Gus to friends, they all have some version of the same reaction: Their eyes get wide and they look vaguely creeped out. Which kind of makes sense. From the moment robots were conceived, they have been freighted with dark overtones. The initial mention of the word—in Karel Capek’s 1920 play, R.U.R.—was paired with a plot in which robots (or more properly, androids) exterminated the human race. Not a great precedent. But the fact is, robots are already working among us. Most cars today have some robotic functions, whether for parallel parking or collision avoidance. Robots now clean your home
  • 5. Out-cleans the 5 big boys. In independent floorcare tests, the new DC59 Motorhead vacuum out-cleans the top five best-selling full-size vacuums across carpets and hard floors. Without the hassle of a cord.* dyson.com/nocord * Tested against upright market, dust loaded, using ASTM F608, ASTM F2607, IEC 60312-1 5.2, 5.9. Using competitor NPD sales volume data, MAT June 2014.

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