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Tesla’s Triplets

Yeah, yeah, I know…I’m late to the Tesla hype train. Sorry, I’ve been a little busy.

Disclaimer aside, with the recent addition of the Model 3 to the family, Tesla’s S.3.X-y lineup is now complete. First came the Model S, then X, and now the more wallet friendly Model 3. Some of you might just know that Teslas are all-electric, but might now know much beyond that, so let’s take a look at how and why these cars are being dubbed as the future or automobiles.

First, let’s take a look at a Tesla car’s biggest selling point; being 100% electric. The Model S, 3, and X all use specially designed and manufactured brushless motors, powered by a battery of up to 90 kWh. These motors provide torque instantaneously, and races off the line faster than a Lamborghini AventadorThe motors are expected to last over 200,000 miles. The large battery packs are also tucked low into the car’s drivetrain to lower the center of gravity, is able to be swapped out easily as well, and gives each Tesla a range of over 200 miles per charge.

Now, we can take a look at some extra features and amenities that make Tesla cars so great. Each model Tesla comes with a 15+ inch center dashboard touchscreen that controls all of the car’s features, moving the seats, climate control, and even BIOWEAPON DEFENSE MODE. While most people don’t exactly see a point to this, it’s pretty exciting. Now you don’t have to smell manure as you’re driving through the farmland on Highway 5! (I have a sensitive nose…this is a real issue). Now you might be thinking to yourself, “This site is called ‘Because Robots’, this isn’t a robot!’ Yes, you’re right, it’s not, but it might as well be considered one. Why? Autopilot mode. This car literally drives itself. Sensors in the car can sense when cars are getting too close to you, and cameras can read and follow the lines on the ground.

Ok, this post is getting long.

Now that we’ve established Teslas as basically being fully fledged robots, here’s a list of more cool things. Falcon Wing Doors. Ludicrous Mode, the Summon Feature, Self Parking…

All this is excluding the Tesla’s first car, the Roadster and the innovations like the Tesla Superchargers and Tesla Powerwall. And as electric and autonomous vehicles start to take over and eliminate the need for human drivers, it’s nice to know that the proliferation at least started with something human…S.3.X.

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MEDi Soothing Robot

Especially for small children, flu shots are a terrifying experience, with apparently terrible pain. This phase is quite crucial because studies show that children who experience distress in a medical setting are less likely to seek medical care in adulthood. The question is how to relive suffering, and this robot shows that such relieve evidently comes in the form of a robot.

Another video can be found here.

This robot is called MEDi, a NAO robot owned and programmed by researchers at the University of Calgary. The robot greets children with a high-five, collects toys from a tray, and talks with the patient, altogether acting as sort of a playmate.

One example of how the robot actually helps is when the robot asks the child to blow dust off of a rubber toy, at which point the doctor injects the flu shot. In medical terms, this exhaling relaxes the deltoid muscle and reduces the pain of injection, while appearing as a very natural interaction between child and robot.

This robot was the target of a scientific study, with 57 children ranging from 4 to 9 years old. These children were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The control group got the routine care for flu shots, while the other group had MEDi to interact with the child. Later, the children, parents, nurses, and researchers present in the cases rated how distressed the children seemed. The results are pretty interesting to say the least.

Not only did children who interacted with MEDi report significant pain reduction, children also recovered more quickly, relaxing almost immediately after injection, whereas control group children remained sullen for up to 20-30 minutes. Some parents also interacted with the robot cooperatively, working together to coordinate actions such as the dust-blowing.

The possibilities are endless in this case. Because MEDi has facial recognition capabilities, researchers are considering possibly making the robot greet children on subsequent visits, adding to the effect. MEDi is a pioneer in pediatric pain relief, and let us hope that this field will further expand so that children will experience the least suffering overall.

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R2B2: Button Basher

This robot will probably make you take out your phone and maybe fix some features in there, because it’ll make you question just how safe the information in your phone is. If you think that your flimsy password will deter anyone, think again!

This robot is called R2B2, short for Robotic Reconfigurable Button Basher. It does the dirty work of cracking Android passwords by trying every single combination until it hits a match. Not only that, it does it in around 19 hours, less than the time in a day. If you lost your phone for a day, you could essentially have all of your information stolen!

Now the interesting thing is that R2B2 isn’t even physically worth that much. It’s made of three $10 servomotors and  many 3D-printed plastic parts, overall built for less than $200. It runs on an Arduino microcontroller, wields a plastic stylus to tap screens, and uses a cheap webcam to detect when a correct password is entered.

Alas, R2B2 does have its shortcomings. It’s so far restricted to Android numerical codes, because brute-forcing locks on an iPhone on default settings. Of course, you can always change your settings a bit, and prevent the robot from getting very far. Just make sure that your passcode isn’t the one that the robot guesses in the first three tries.

This robot was created by Justin Engler and Paul Vines, the former of whom is a security engineer, so it looks like we won’t have these roaming the streets and stealing info anytime soon. Instead, this robot is being considered for the improvement of security systems, as sort of a pass system.

Better security is more privacy, so make sure that all of your information and mobile devices are locked down securely!

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Tradinno, Robot Dragon

Most of the time when it comes to robots, size depends very much on what the robot is being used for. For convenience, some robots are smaller and portable. For sheer necessity, others are hulking machines. But when it comes to show business, for dramatic effect, bigger is better.

This real-life dragon is called Tradinno, meshing together Tradition and Innovation. He weighs 11 tons, is 51 feet long, and has a wingspan of 40 feet. This guy is nightmare fuel if you’re afraid of fire-breathing mythical creatures and a dream-come-true if you’re a fan of fantasy.

The robot is the product of a decade of planning and work, and is magnificent to behold. With a 2 liter turbo diesel engine and polyurethane, glass-reinforced plastic skin, controllable veins that spurt 21 gallons of stage blood, flappable wings, and liquid gas for fire-breathing, Tradinno is truly an entertainment robot.

In fact, this robot is in the “Guinness World Records 2014″ book as the world’s largest walking robot. The only thing it can’t do is fly, but that’s more of a blessing if you really think about it. Entertainment, on a new level.

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Is the Terminator Finally Here?

Skynet is nigh! Skynet is nigh! That might very well be your reaction after seeing this video.

Robotics enthusiasts and experts alike, for years, have been trying to make the most human-like robot possible. It’s obvious what that entails; an accurate and believable replication of the human body’s 206 bones and 640+ muscles.

Cut to the researchers at the Suzumori Endo Research Lab. They’ve fitted a fake skeleton with relative quantities of multifilament artificial muscles that contract and expand when exposed to an electric current. Although the muscles at this point are only strong enough for movement (they can’t pick anything up just yet), the end result is eerily smooth.

Let’s just hope Sarah and John Conner arrive just as we need them to stop the humanoid robot uprising.

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