Thursday, December 18, 2014

Harvard Researchers Build $10 Robot

There's been a lot of attention in the last year about various initiatives to encourage children to learn how to code; with new programming languages and of course the inexpensive and increasingly popular Raspberry Pi computer. To this we can now add a robot developed by Harvard University researchers that will cost just $10. The "Affordable Education Robot is a low-cost robot designed to introduce students of all ages to the fundamentals of programming and control of robots, with the hope of inspiring them to further pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)." Learn more about this robot here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Internet Arcade

If you're of a certain age you will remember when video games were stand alone machines that you had to put coins in to play. Some of you reading this will I'm sure have spent hours (and a small fortune) playing your favourite game trying to get the "top score."
Well you can now replay your favourite games thanks to the wonderful Internet Archive's new project the Internet Arcade: "a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s ... Containing hundreds of games ranging through many different genres and styles, the Arcade provides research, comparison, and entertainment in the realm of the Video Game Arcade. The game collection ranges from early "bronze-age" video games, with black and white screens and simple sounds, through to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music."
 - have fun!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How the World's First Computer Was Rescued From the Scrap Heap

An ENIAC technician changes a valve
Wired recently published an article on how Ross Perot decided to rescue ENIAC "one" of the world's first computers (they're not strictly speaking correct to call ENIAC "the first" computer). Read about this fascinating story here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

An Unprecedented Look at Stuxnet, the World’s First Digital Weapon

My recent book, The Universal Machine, opens its chapter on hacking with the deployment of the Stuxnet computer virus. Allegedly created by Israel and US intelligence services to target Iran's nuclear bomb programme it was the world's first state against state digital weapon. With North Korea now being accused of hacking Sony perhaps it's time to revisit this story. Wired has recently published an excerpt from a new book on Stuxnet - recommended reading.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Where were the world's first computer animations produced?


With the final instalment of the Hobbit about to be released, and Frozen still charming the littlies, computer animation has never been more prominent. You'll be surprised though to discover where computer animation started. This blog post by Brian Clegg (who's blog I recommend) will inform you of the start of computer animation in a science lab.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bogus Journal Accepts Profanity-Laced Anti-Spam Paper

My colleague Mark Wilson brought this to my attention. Like all academics my inbox always receives conference and journal calls for papers, some of which are bogus and are just a way of scamming naive researchers from some money. You can read one academic's response to this practice in this blog article.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Robot Servants Are Going to Make Your Life Easy...

...Then They’ll Ruin It.

Well that's the opinion of Evan Selinger in a recent article for Wired. JIBO, the "world's first family robot" is heralding an age where robots or digital personal assistants anticipate our needs and perhaps even start making decisions for us. That's where Selinger believes the danger lies. Watch the JIBO promotional video below and make up your mind.