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MIT’s Cheetah 3 robot is built to save lives

The latest version of MIT’s Cheetah robot made its stage debut today at TC Sessions: Robotics in Cambridge, Mass. It’s a familiar project to anyone who follows the industry with any sort of regularity, as one of the most impressive demos to come out of one of the world’s foremost robotics schools in recent years. Earlier versions of the four-legged robot have been able to run at speeds up to 14 miles an hourbound over objects autonomously and even respond to questions with Alexa, by way of an Echo Dot mounted on its back.

The Cheetah 3, however, marks a kind of philosophical change for the robot created by professor Sang-bae Kim and his team at MIT’s Biomimetics lab. The focus has shifted from impressive demos to something more practical — this time out, the team is focused on giving the world a robot that can perform search and rescue.

“Our vision changed to wanting to use this in a real situation, to dispatch it to Fukushima,” Kim told TechCrunch ahead of the event. “We want to use this in a place where we don’t want to use humans. We can use the robot to monitor the environment and other emergency situations. There are a lot of emergency situations where you just want to do a routine check.” 

Post-nuclear disaster Fukushima Japan is often brought up in these discussions around where industrial robots can be useful in the real world, and indeed, a number of robots have already been deployed to site, going where humans can’t — or at least shouldn’t. iRobot/Endeavor’s Packbot has done some work surveying the site, but the Cheetah 3 is able to do things that more traditional wheeled robots can’t, owed in part to its animal-inspired, four-legged build.

“I’ve been fascinated by developing legged machines, which can go where real machines cannot go,” explained Kim. “As mankind, we’ve conquered air, water, ground — all of these categories, but we conquered ground in a different way. We modified the ground for our wheels.”

And it makes sense. It’s the same reason so many roboticists continue to be drawn to human- and animal-inspired robots. We’ve built our environment with us in mind, so a robot drawing on similar evolutionary source material will probably do a better job navigating around. In the case of the Cheetah, that means walking around rubble and up stairs. The company also demoed the new Cheetah’s ability to balance on three legs, using the fourth as a sort of makeshift arm. It’s still in the early stages, but the team is working on a dexterous hand that can perform complex tasks like opening doors — velociraptors eat your hearts out.


The new Cheetah design also makes it more capable of carrying payloads — and if this is all starting to sound like what Boston Dynamics has been working on with robots like Big Dog, it’s no coincidence. Both projects were born out of the same DARPA funding. Though, unlike Boston Dynamics’ work, Kim points out, the Cheetah project has used electric motors (rather than hydraulics) all along. Though Boston Dynamics introduced that functionality as well with the Spot and Spot Mini.

Kim is careful to remind me that this is all still early stages — after all, today’s event is Cheetah 3’s big public debut. For now, however, the team is taking a more pragmatic approach. “We’re doing the easy things first,” Kim explained with a laugh. The robot is current being tested across the MIT campus, traversing hills and walking up stairs. Next year, the company will push the Cheetah even further. It took the functions out in the new versions but will be adding them back into the 3 later.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/17/mits-cheetah-3-robot-is-built-to-save-lives/

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Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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