Robot Bricklayer Can Build a House in 2 Days

July 22nd, 2015 | Robot

Robot Bricklayer

This impressive robot is named “Hadrian” after the ancient Roman emperor who built a wall in Northern Britain. Mark Pivac is the Australian aeronautical and mechanical engineer who has been designing the machine, which is expected to hit the market sometime around 2017. Reportedly, the robot can lay up to 1,000 bricks per hour and build the brick frame of a standard house in one to two days, 20 times faster than a human brick layer.

Well, enough with the build-up, here’s the machine in simulated action:

I guess if you are thinking about going into bricklaying for a career, you’re out of luck. Otherwise, it seems like great news all around.

You can find more info at Fast Brick Robotics company.

-RSB

Demiurges – Project by Serial Cut & Bartholot

July 21st, 2015 | Space

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Serial Cut, a design studio based out of Madrid, worked in collaboration with art director, Bartholot, to create these stunning images for “OFFF Unmasked” — a new art book celebrating the 15th edition of Barcelona’s OFFF festival. The series depicts mysterious figures, each with their own yellow object of unknown significance.

Demiurges, the title of the work, means an “artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe”. So I suppose the figures are some sort of artistic deities. It all comes off rather cultish, but it’s a cult I’d probably like to join.

-RSB

360° Video by Samsung

July 17th, 2015 | Robot

360° Video by Samsung

Check out this 360° video made as a demo by Samsung. If your internet speed can handle it, I recommend watching it in the full 4K resolution. It will be pretty amazing to hook up the Oculus Rift to video like this and get the fully immersive experience.

Use the ‘W, A, S, D’ keys to control direction on a computer.
Use the + and – keys to zoom.

I think you have to move your phone around if you are watching on mobile. But again, the real experience is to watch this type of video with an immersive virtual reality headset. FYI: you can cheaply get this experience with something like Google Cardboard and your mobile phone.

-RSB

New Horizons Probe Reaches Pluto

July 14th, 2015 | Space

Pluto New Horizons NASA

On January 16, 2006, the New Horizons space probe left Earth on a voyage to Pluto. 9 years, 5 months, and 29 days later, the spacecraft has successfully made it 3+ billion miles to the distant “planet.” The image above was shared via NASA’s Instagram page and represents the first look at the planet up close and personal.

via Phil Plait:

“The color is real! The reddish hue is due to tholins, organic (carbon-based) molecules crated when methane, abundant on Pluto, is hit by ultraviolet light from the Sun. This breaks apart the simple molecule and allows it to reform into more complex molecules.”

The folks at NPR’s Skunkbear put together this short tribute video to honor the journey:

And here’s a quick 1 minute informational video to catch you up on the key statistics of the mission:

Look forward to many more detailed images in the days to come.

-RSB

Decaying Soviet Space Program by Ralph Mirebs

June 16th, 2015 | Space

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The Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in the desert of Kazakhstan, was the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. It turned 60-years-old earlier this month, and I would say that it’s seen better days. Russian photographer and urban explorer, Ralph Mirebs, gained access to the defunct facility and captured these somber photos of a decaying Soviet space program.

Decaying Soviet Space Program 9

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As you can see, there are remnants of two Buran spacecrafts still in the hangar. One of them, OK-1K2, nicknamed Ptichka (Little Bird), was almost ready for spaceflight in 1992, but the program was shutdown right before it was ready for launch.

You can find more photos and information at Ralph Mirebs’ site.

Wanderers by Erik Wernquist

June 12th, 2015 | Space

Wanderers by Erik Wernquist

Wanderers is a beautiful short film by Erik Wernquist. The visuals depict humanity’s future expansion into the Solar System replete with colonies on Mars, astronauts floating through Saturn’s rings, and humans hiking across Europa’s frozen oceans. Erik’s renderings are stunning. As Phil Plait pointed out at Slate:

“Nothing in there is impossible; no faster than light travel, no wormholes. Even the space elevator shown towering over Mars and the huge cylindrical rotating colony in space (did you notice the Red Sea in it?) are problems in engineering, not physics. We can build them.”

Humanity has an exciting future ahead. I hope our species can work toward this reality.

-RSB

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