Taking a Look at the History of Robotic Technology

Robotic technology can be found in clocks, remote control vehicles, automobile computers, Aibo, factory robotic arms, self-guided rovers, service bots like ASIMO, robotic toys like AIBO or Robo-Raptor and a CNC milling machine. To be considered a “robot,” the specimen must be able to interact with its environment and physically do something. Most recently, robots are being used in surgery, disaster recovery and firefighting.

Historically, ancient people believed in the existence of a humanoid robot species. The Greek god Hephaestus was thought to have created mechanical servants to help him build temples. Furthermore, the Jewish people thought that clay golems could come to life and the Norse believed that clay giants could awaken. In 4th Century BC, Greek mathematicians Archytas of Tarentum proposed that he could create a steam-powered bird known as “The Pigeon.” Additionally, Hero of Alexandria (10-70 AD) devised automated machinery powered by air pressure and steam.

In 1088, Su Song developed the first clock tower that was built using mechanical figurines and audible chimes. In 1206, the first humanoid robot was created by Al-Jazari, a Muslim inventor who wished to entertain royal guests with automated musicians who played on a boat in a lake. Al-Jazari was already well-known for constructing everything from kitchen appliances and other astounding robotic machines.

There are many different ways to think about robotic technology. For instance, do we want an artificial being to look like a human or an unmistakable nuts-and-bolts prototype? Should they go to work at the plant or in our own homes? Should they think for themselves or be simply capable of pre-programmed simplified tasks?

There are “soft robots,” which have silicone bodies and flexible actuators that behave almost human-like. There are “swarm robots” that behave like bees or ants, cooperating together to find something, clean, explore space or spy. “Haptic interface robots” allow users to interact with virtual simulation environments. Engineers are always coming up with new designs and uses for automation robotics.

Robotic technology is continually progressing. Early prototypes used steam, water or air, while new robotic prototypes use actuators, electric DC motors and air muscles. To study robotics engineering, interested students can attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which is the only school that offers a Bachelor of Science in Robotics Engineering.

Other schools have graduate programs based on robotics automation, including Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, UPENN and UCLA. To increase early interest in this field, programs like FIRST Robotics were devised to encourage students as young as six to look to math, science and technology fields for hobbies.

Science and Meditation – A Deeper Truth

Don’t you just love science? I love the excitement, the boldness, the amazing complexity of all we have discovered. This week scientists are talking about new pictures of water freezing and thawing on Mars-and it looks like we’re back to hoping for life there once again. My field has been bursting with discoveries of how our nervous system works, and the crazy way pain moves through our brain to our body.

I especially love learning about the brain.

I’m reading a book right now called The Other Brain. It’s all about glial cells-the very cells we believed, till just a few years ago, were nothing more than the ‘glue’ that held all the important stuff, like neurons, dendrites and axons, together.

Boy, were we ever wrong! Now it looks like glial cells may be the controlling force behind much of what happens in the brain. So many different kinds of glia-my favorites are oligodendrocytes. They were named for their stubby short arms-only it turns out their arms were just invisible to our technology at the time. Ironically, their arms are so long that they span vast areas of the brain, connecting and sending biochemical messages from one place to another, influencing everything in their paths.

Whew! It’s hard to keep up! Especially when the very things that were once certain-”it’s all about the neurons”, for instance-are now shown to be utterly wrong. And who knows what will be overturned next week!

Well, that’s how science works. It’s part of why science is exciting. But it makes me glad to have another source of knowledge. A deeper source. For a deeper truth.

When you meditate, you open your heart to many levels of truth. You begin to know how it feels to be in your body, as it changes from moment to moment… as your very act of observing begins to change the experience.

You can move down further, and know how it feels to be in your heart… discovering new spaces, new possibilities. You can find conflict, and peace… you can find pain, and forgiveness. You can discover joy.

And when you allow yourself to open to the word of God, you can move all the way down into Truth.

It’s not the truth of science, although that’s great stuff. Science is valuable and important, a gift to our world. But science leads us to a more temporal, and often temporary, truth. The truth you begin to rest in as you quiet your mind and open your heart is a different kind of truth than science shows us. It leads us to the truth beneath truth…

TRUE truth, if you will.

You might check out current research on the brain-it’s fun. Or explore and discover in any area of science that interests you-birds, bugs or trees, earth, sky or universe, darkness or light.

But I hope you also discover the Truth for your life as you move down beneath all those created truths… down to the foundation… the source… the true Truth of the One who gave us all.

A Step Up in Food Technology With US and BHU Uniting

The professor and head of department of food science and technology of University of Georgia, USA, Dr. Rakesh Kumar Singh, had a collaborative meeting with professor Mr. DP Singh, the vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), on November 9th, 2009 at Varanasi.

Dr. Rakesh Kumar Singh earlier paid a visit to the Center of Food, Science and Technology. He delivered a lecture to the students of the university then, briefing them up about the opportunities and prospects for higher education in the University of Georgia. He mainly stressed on the key research issues like post harvest technology, value addition in waste food commodities. In fact he pointed out the importance of water management and how it can be useful and effectively done if the research is also done on the areas of emerging food processing technologies. In that visit, he emphasized on the scope and opportunities in Food Science in the University of Georgia, USA.

That visit led to some progress with another meeting on 9th November, where both the parties discussed about the possible collaboration between the BHU and the University of Georgia in the area of food sciences. They also discusses how the staff and the students of both the universities can be united to promote scientific cooperation between the Banaras Hindu University and the University of Georgia in the area of food technology. There were other areas too that were broadly discussed for the mutual cooperation between the two. The areas were Nutraceuticals, food packaging, functional foods, value-added food products. The food safety was also discussed in the meeting.

The meeting witnessed the presence of the other high dignitaries like Professor SR Singh, Director of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, the rector Professor Mr. BD Singh, Professor Mr. RP Singh, the Dean, and the Professor Mr. Alok Jha, coordinator of Food Science and Technology.