3 things direct from the future

Edition 85

Once every 2 weeks I will deliver “3 things direct from the future”. A 2 minute read that will always give you:

  • one thing that can help,
  • one thing to be wary of, and
  • one thing to amaze.

If this sounds interesting to you then please subscribe.


1, One thing that helps

Super Boots

We take physical balance for granted, but especially in older people, falls are a common cause of injury. Wherever there is danger – Super Boots will be there! A team of researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University has developed robotic boots that help the wearer maintain their balance.

The boots can be programmed with a response time either the same as normal human response or faster.  When programmed with the latter, the wearer recovered from having the floor pulled out from under them without having to take a step. Crazy stuff! 

This research hopes to help people maintain their balance not only while standing but also when moving about. The robotic boots can allow them to move more safely and over longer distances. The boots are particularly helpful for old people and those with spinal injuries who have trouble maintaining balance. Future research hopes to extend the boots’ balancing act to include the hips and knees for better performance. Bring on the full robotic exoskeleton!


2, One to be wary of

Direct Brain Marketing

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have been gaining attention lately. They are helping patients by translating thoughts into movement, speech, and text. We’ve even seen companies like Neuralink use BCI to allow us to play computer games with our minds! Looking forward though, do we really want to open up our minds to the potential of a hack?

The premise is simple: BCIs connect the brain to a machine. All that a hacker needs is to gain access to the machine and use it to send subtle messages into the brain. The keyword is subtle. Let’s say a patient has an implanted BCI for medical reasons. They may be susceptible to manipulations like influencing their choices when making a purchase. There’s also the danger of one’s emotional states being uploaded without consent. 

But we don’t have to worry because Zuckerberg and Bezos run extremely ethical companies and wouldn’t misuse our private data 🙂 🙂 🙂  


3, One to amaze

Fastest Humanoid Robot

Ever heard of RoboCup? It’s an annual international robotics competition that involves various leagues, including soccer, rescue, and home robots. This time though, the soccer-bots will have a tough opponent. Meet ARTEMIS, short for Advanced Robotic Technology for Enhanced Mobility and Improved Stability. Let’s see what it’s got aside from the long name.

ARTEMIS touts its exceptional ability to balance itself while walking or running on uneven terrain. I know! Two balance bots in one newsletter! Its actuators were created to act like biological muscles that are springy and force-controlled. These actuators are also electrically controlled instead of being hydraulic. This allows the actuators to be cleaner and quieter. It’s got a walking speed of 2.1 meters per second on lab tests. That’s higher than the average speed of a walking adult at around 1.39 meters per second.

It was originally developed as a bipedal balanced robot for general use. But the researchers are also training it to compete in the soccer league of the RoboCup. This includes training its running and soccer abilities. I feel a bit sorry for ARTEMIS in the video with those guys kicking him and pushing him around. When the robot uprising comes, those dudes better look out he will be seeking robot retribution!

Have a great week.

Daniel J McKinnon

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