Weeknotes 154; robolympics

Thanks for reading. Hope I can share some interesting articles from last week to contribute to deal with our weak summer (for those who read in from the Netherlands of course)!

Let me first congratulate Peicheng Guo on his graduation this morning. He did a really nice job bringing the design for predictive relations with things that predict a step further. You can find his thesis and other materials here at the TU Delft repository. I will add it to the Cities of Things website soon too. Next to that, I am happy that Yeonju has had her greenlight for graduation end of August.

As mentioned last week I use the slow summer meeting schedules for diving deeper into the research of predictive relations synthesizing the results from the minor projects by bachelor industrial design students, and the work of students at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. And now I can also add the explorations of Peicheng!I will continue with that this week. Keep also an eye on the Cities of Things Monthly Reflections newsletter that I will -hopefully- finish this evening. I can already disclose that is I plan to have a closer look at DAOs in relation to organizations of autonomous things, as there were some interesting articles, and podcasts published.

Last week I watched the hyped introduction of Nothing Ear 1, a new company for well-designed products adapting transparent design as a new design language. Well-known Teenage Engineering is the designer and I think it has the potential to look great. Have to see them in person. Also curious to see if this transparency theme is getting traction in a world where opening up black boxes of tech is becoming so important.I also attended the session on design for innovation by Clearleft. It might be the format of a conversation or the topic to be too much a beaten track for me, but looking back, I did not write down anything from the session.

No events are planned for this week. If you need some inspiration, I find the podcast of Australian radio show Nightlife doing a good job to sketch state on AI with Genevieve Bell and Toby Walsh. And even more rich with references and inspiration are the two lectures by Tobias Revell that you can watch. I watched the one on Imaginary Machines.

Ok, let’s check out the news of last week. With interesting robolympics, road-legal AVs, better metaverse frameworks, and the newest dumb-smart product of IKEA.

Maybe start with robolympics

Say Hello To The Tokyo Olympic Robots : Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics

The field support robot will be fetching all sorts of objects during the weekend’s track and field events. It’s one of several robots designed to make the games more user-friendly and efficient.”Having the Olympics held in robot frontrunner Japan you would expect a lot of interesting concepts; like functional ones.

Basketball Shooting Robot at the Tokyo Olympics

This video shows Cue making 3-pointers like a pro. In fact, it can make perfect shots from the halfway line.

Cassie the bipedal robot runs a 5K

“The robot is all legs and not much else.” What if there would be an Olympics for robots? Would we demand legs to enter the competition?

gripit: smart wearable glove enhances biophysical abilities for parkour athletes

‘gripit’ designed by lior edri is a smart wearable glove that aims to enhance the biological and physical abilities of the human body.” Will this be part of the Olympic gear as parkour is part of the official sports next edition?

There is more than Olympics to share in robotics though…

Do robots need clothes? Yes, for form and function

Besides a stray feline Roomba, very few people are investing energy into putting clothes on robots. Researchers from Cornell Tech and NYU say that now’s the time to think more actively about when, how, and why we would dress them” My question to add here is if we need robots that have an embodiment that resembles ours or that the robots would evolve in a species on their own.

BeachBot, an AI-powered robot that cleans cigarette butts at the beach

BeachBot is a mobile, beach-cleaning robot that can spot cigarette butts, pluck them out and dispose of them in safe bins.” I hope more than cigarette butts in the end. And I can’t help thinking that it could make people lazy.

Will members of the military ever be willing to fight alongside autonomous robots?

My first response to this title would be; why not? Or even, expect them to be front runners to see this as new valuable tool. And indeed: “But if history is any guide, the soldiers who will fight alongside and against robots will ultimately evolve: They’ll learn how to trust the tools at their disposal, adapt, and, ultimately, survive to see another day.”

KEYESTUDIO Smart Robot Car for Arduino – Robotic Gizmos

An Arduino kit to make your own robots. A good way also to explore what makes a robot a robot.

From individual robots to robot societies

On the reading list is this special Science-edition on Robotics. Asa I figured out how to order…

Autonomous vehicles, it is all about road rules

China Tech Digest: Beijing Opens Expressway For Autonomous Driving; Dada Now Launches Unmanned Delivery Open Platform

Beijing opens expressway for autonomous driving” The evolvement of AV is related to the evolution of roads and regulations, more than to the autonomous tech.

Self-driving technology reaches a crossroads

Autonomous trucks, robo-taxis and fully self-driving cars compete for dominance.” Combine with the notion that regulation and road are defining…

Argo AI can now offer the public rides in its autonomous vehicles in California

Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle technology startup backed by Ford and VW, has landed a permit in California that will allow the company to give people free rides in its self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.” Start for free, create lock-in and the rest will be history.

How the trucking industry is preparing for autonomous driving

In many ways, trucks are a more viable focal point for the development of the artificial intelligence.” More on the roadmap towards an AV future.

Busy Nav Screen? Get Ready For Information Everywhere In Your Car

It is already happening, even in the navigation apps on your phone, every moment you come to a standstill. With commercials that is. No illusions that it will end up differently. “Navigation” screens have rapidly evolved in automobiles over the last few years to central information hubs that provide data on everything from climate-control settings to what Sirius-XM channel is playing to which of the driver’s favorite fast-food joints are coming up soon.“

Living in the metaverse

I feel this will be a returning category to bundle everything tech life and impact…

Reality, Ownership, Scarcity

Still a lot of attention to the metaverse. I think Patrick is doing a good job shaping a model to score the concept and implementations.“Right now I’m considering, and it’s very early stage, something like a three axes model for the various ideas of what the Metaverse is.”

Chips with everything, by Evgeny Morozov

Our lives run on semiconductors, the dizzyingly powerful and sophisticated chips found in every device we use. This century, dominating chip design, manufacture and supply will be at least as significant geopolitically as oil was in the 20th.” Too bad I have no subscription, as I am curious to read Morozov’s take here.

Forward Motion: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Happening Now

4 Tips To Ethically Navigate The Next Big Tech Innovations” won’t surprise you if you have been exploring tech ethics before.

Disposable Identities? Why digital identity matters to blockchain disintermediation and for society

A new paper exploring the insightful and even applicable concept of disposable identities.

“Imagining if we’d grown up with The Usborne Book of 2021 instead of The Usborne Book of the Future.”

Take a look at the pictures and stories and think indeed about concepts like a perfect storm…

To end (pun intended)

New IKEA Starkvind smart air purifiers

Just announced today “IKEA has launched two new smart air purifier systems in the form of a floor standing and coffee table option, with phone app for control” Another example of how the term smart is not about any intelligence but just referring to the connection with your smartphone for remote operation by hand. Sigh.

That’s all folks! Next week back in you email-box again.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.