Japanese robot hurls net at suspected intruders


T-34 is a security robot that throws nets over intruders. The security robot was developed jointly by robot maker tmsuk Co Ltd. and Alacom Co Ltd. The remote-operated prototype robot T-34 moves at up to 10 km/hr speeds at the direction of an authorized individual with a linked mobile phone. If T-34’s sensors detect anything wrong in an office building or warehouse, the operator can see what T-34 sees in real time. The T-34 security robot can launch a net at intruders, incapacitating them until police arrive.

Related posts: Top 10 strangest anti terrorism patents


Visions of the Future BBC4 series- Dr. Michio Kaku

VOTF_Honda Asimo

VOTF_growing bladder

Last November BBC 4 ran a three part series called “Visions of the Future” presented by Dr. Michio Kaku. Here he discusses a range of emerging future related topics from robots & brain pacemakers to in-vitro grown organs and meat to the theories and practices of Neil Gerschenfeld’s self fabrication bits & atoms department at the MIT. YouTube clips for each episode: intelligence , biotech, quantum

Bronislaw Szerszynski, a Senior Lecturer and Director of CSEC (The Centre for the Study of Environmental Change now based in Lancaster’s Department of Sociology) has critiqued the series.

To read the review please download from here> Szerszynski’s critique of Dr. Michio Kaku’s Visions of the Future BBC4 series

Related links:


‘Monitoring vital signs or mediating loving care and connection: the social codes of new care technologies’

Ingunn Moser and Jeanette Pols – University of Oslo/University of Amsterdam:

Download power point presentation> Telecare_IMJP

Icat interacting with user or master
The Icat by Philips

Notes written by students of Theo Vurdubakis -Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University:
Ingunn’s presentation focused upon the growing recognition of the need for a deeper understanding of care technologies and the complexities of material, social, cultural, emotional and aesthetic relations involved in these. The aim of the presentation was to examine and discuss how certain and specific new technologies of care were constructed/designed and how this affected and is affecting relations of care and what it means to be cared for in contemporary times.

The first example of a ‘care technology’ that was introduced was the ‘HealthBuddy.’ Designed by IDEO in 1999. This was outlined as a ‘typical’ technological care system to which those being cared for can be seen to become socially and emotionally attached. This system is designed to monitor and educate those being cared for by asking them a series of questions each day relating to their symptoms, behaviour and knowledge. For example, ‘Did you weigh yourself today?’

health buddy

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Why did Aibo go out of production? We don’t know.

Do carers really care? The Eros-Thanatos relation is more complicated. Hate is also mediated through these technologies. There are times in care when this happens.

To what extent does the telecare offer surveillance of care-work? What kinds of pre-emptive effects arise? Do they displace protection or prevention? Reading of screens or codes works both for and against surveillance. Often local knowledge allows selection between different readings of the screens. The managers and commissioners of services can trace the work of carers.

Do patient hate their carers? Yes, even in these systems. They like people some people and not others.

Where does the image of the butler come in? The good butler renders their care invisible. How could a cat been seen as a butler?

How do the people who commission these systems think they work? The abstraction of work does not seem plausible. Somehow it is meant to address specificity. The technology is meant to make people think they are not being treated like a statistic? The push is towards individualization, in many ways. Finer grades of abstraction are ok, but not video cameras.

Why does the conversation about code and care come together? What does code do here? It disables care, it disconnects. It also leads to connections or attachments. The relation between the ill person and the illness seems to drop out here. Illness does not work out source or script or data. Prevention never works but neither does preemption. One could be seduced by a box for a while, but an illness might come and could not be coded.

The box assumes that an illness can be coded and controlled.

Protection has been cached out here in particular ways here – as a trajectory of vulnerability. The trajectory looks very different from different PoV. The agency might have a different view than the client, who feels the here and now. For the latter, the moving in and out of resources feels very different.

Design – Introductory workshop – 4-5 Oct 2007 – Day 2

Design session

Cindy Weber introduced the design speakers from RCA, LICA &Imagination@Lancaster, Lancaster University, Department of Computing, and Department of Organisation, Work and Technology.

Fiona Raby on critical design
Fiona Raby
of Dunne + Raby discussed feral nature of critical design, and the accidental political nature of what it does. It works with the mismatch between official truths and what happens through the design.
Design is about problem solving: this is what designers do well. But what happens when the projects become so complex that there are no easy solutions? How does design respond to that? How does it deal with persistent dilemma? In contrast to social sciences, to question is not normal for design. Design sits at the centre of capitalist worlds.

The example of the alcohol salesman’s cane – it would siphon the alcohol in a way that preserves the norms of good manners and hospitality. A lot of the work reflects attempts to deal with imperfections.

Fiona and the alcohol salemans cane
At the Science Museum, a piece on the future of energy tried to do something with the impossibility of predicting the future of energy. The exhibit was aimed at children 7-14 years. Three scenarios resulted: 1. using meat products-based microbial fuel cells; it would have stylised blood-bags to fuel ipods; and manuals to help people relate to this. 2. Human waste becomes an important commodity: how would toilet design change? lunchbox that carries food to school and poo home. 3 Hydrogen is probably a solution: households might compete to produce energy, families are energy productive units, birthday contracts between parents and children to manufacture energy throughout their lives, for instance by wearing hydrolysers during play. Children had discussions with their parents about the objects.

‘Technology makes us smart savvy people in control of their lives.’
The work of J.G. Ballard paints a world filled with insecurity in the midst of technology. ‘Therapy culture’ means that we are not robust enough to deal with strong feelings. Fears of being kidnapped, abducted abound. So Raby and Dunne designed an object people live with, made of flooring materials. The object opens so that you can dive in and protect yourself from such feelings. Rather than being a victim in this space, it would give you pleasure. It was important that you could slide it open easily, even with one finger. The boxes were later used in a photo fashion street, a collaboration.

The Huggable Atomic Mushrooms was made before the London bombings. Different versions used different scales and materials.

huggable atomic mushroom robots

There are many robots in Japan. They are either becoming more human-like or becoming ubiquitous. They disappear into the environment. Is there a different way to imagine what a robot could be? There could be a purely autonomous robot, a red ring, that is only distracted by electromagnetic fields. It moves out of them. It runs your home, but does nothing for you except offer an electromagnetic free space. Another robot could have an identity that comes from itself. The possibilities of sensing are manifold, but who decides what is dangerous? This robot would be paranoid because it has to make decisions about what is dangerous or not. Another robot would be awkward to hold, you have to stare deeply into the eyes of a wooden thing. The issue here is eye-contact. Do robots need us less than we need them? The domestic robot needs to be moved constantly. Who is control here: it or us? Each robot is a seed to open questions. With all of them, the idea is to jump straight into making something.

After many years working with digital technologies as designers, the biological and DNA-based research seemed a long way from everyday life, and from designers do. Could designers engage with biotechnologies? There so much mis-communication around biotechnology. With design, it might be possible to intervene in everyday life rather than making big statements. What happens as some of this becomes products? R & D tried to create a platform that would allow people to engage. Bioland is an out-of-town shopping centre where all bio-needs could be purchased. It has a hospitals, clinics and shops.

The Zebra-fish pollution detector was too expensive to use and ended up as an exotic pet. Featherless chickens allowed cheaper production. Behind all this, the promise of the technology is pervasive. For instance, people giving tissue samples on the promise of future therapeutic interventions. There are ethical difficulties in certain projects: for instance, to get bone materials, only the wisdom teeth can easily supply it (see Ian Thomson’s work at Imperial College).

Mr Ventner offered at one time for £400k to predict what illness you might die of, as well as CD with your genome on it. Would future health really affect your life? The Evidence Dolls come with indelible pen and represent a change in the nature of dating and love relationships. They would be based on DNA analysis. Samples could be stored between the legs of the dolls Women were asked to re-evaluate their lovers in terms of genetic potential using the Evidence Dolls. Each doll represented an interview about a lover. Women said that they would get DNA analysis done on their lovers hair sample. Why not have the best nature can offer? Perhaps cloned in the form of a dog. The desire to put DNA into things and possess them is there.

evidence doll and penis dna drawers

Final point: people find out about things too late. Design can be a point that makes things visible thing earlier.