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Inside Mantis: a 2-Ton Hexapod Robot With a Linux Brain

timothy posted 1 year,12 days | from the but-can-it-get-to-boston-on-one-battery-charge? dept.

Robotics 84

DeviceGuru writes "After four years of development, Micromagic Systems has finally completed the Mantis Hexapod Walking Machine (YouTube video), claimed to be the world's largest all-terrain operational hexapod robot. The device stands nearly three meters tall, weighs just under two tons, and is controlled by a PC/104 module stack running embedded Linux."

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84 comments

Dubstep Warning (5, Informative)

locater16 (2326718) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377019)

Warning, obnoxious dubstep sountrack for video. You have been warned.

Re:Dubstep Warning (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377201)

warning, obnoxious douche that can define dubstep sighted, take cover in your safe place until the fecal storm subsides

Re:Dubstep Warning (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377589)

The Ministry of Silly Walks has made a whole sound track to accompany that dubstep? Lovely!
I think a soundtrack of the dubwalk and dubrun are in order as well. Now lets see that hexapod doing some dubsteps!

Re:Dubstep Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43378237)

I thought that the name said "Ministry of Silly Walks", not "Ministry of Noisy Walks"...?

Re:Dubstep Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43378205)

I agree

Probably, with a punchier machine, this would have been way more appropriate as a soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlYBPuHeZxw (Amon Tobin - 4 ton mantis)

Re:Dubstep Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#43385983)

I wish I had seen your post first. That is some seriously annoying excuse for music.

Horrible video (5, Informative)

homb (82455) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377023)

The video couldn't have been worse, considering how interesting the subject is.
The videographer should be shot on general principle.

Re:Horrible video (2)

hairyfish (1653411) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377133)

Don't you know that quick cuts and a shaky camera angles means that there's hardcore action going on and you should be impressed. See the Fast and Furious franchise for more detail.

Re:Horrible video (4, Funny)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377411)

I think it is intentional. To hide the fact that it's a slow plodding disappointment.

So far the video has shown:
-Walking at a snails pace.
-Feebly kicking over an oil drum.
-A huge cloud of smoke at the end which is either a pyrotechnic effect to hide the machine or a side effect of that diesel engine blowing up.

But hey it runs Linux, or so they say.

Re:Horrible video (2)

roman_mir (125474) | 1 year,12 days | (#43378077)

It doesn't run Linux, that was a miscommunication. It's somewhat successfully trying to run away from Linus.

Re:Horrible video (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | 1 year,12 days | (#43378283)

The videographer should be shot on general principle.

A full 20% of the video consists of closing credits!

Clunky gaits (1)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,12 days | (#43380371)

Painfully true. All the jerkyness in the video seems to be to conceal what a klutz the thing is. It's comparable to the OSU Hexapod [youtube.com] from 1984. The OSU thing was supposed to have "off-road" capability, but it never did more than climb a slightly sloped dirt road. DoD cut off their funding after that.

As with the machine from 30 years ago, there seems to be an option to plant five legs and take manual control of the sixth. That's how they kicked the barrel. With this capability, the operator can (eventually) step over obstacles and ditches.

Mantis seems to have nice mechanical design. It's certainly better looking than the OSU machine. Without details of the hydraulic system, though, you can't tell how controllable it is. If it's all on-off valves with no accumulators for springiness and no force feedback, it's doomed to be clunky. If it has proportional valves, strain gauges, and accumulators in the right places, it has the potential for software upgrades to better movement.

The Mantis looks like it has pure kinematic control, like the 1980s OSU machine. There's been some progress in computing and control since the 1980s. You can do dynamic control, where balance and inertia are considered. Maybe not as good as BigDog, but better than pure kinematic. That thing should be able to go a lot faster on the flat. Hobbyist hexapod robots are moving faster and much more fluidly today. [youtube.com]

Robot? (3, Informative)

theNetImp (190602) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377029)

So er it has a driver... That makes it not a robot!

Re:Robot? (1)

homb (82455) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377045)

It can be controlled remotely via wifi. The in-seat driver is optional.

Re:Robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377087)

What difference does it make if the driver is remote or not?

Re:Robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377191)

it doesnt

Re:Robot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377413)

What would you class as a robot?? Would you say Asimo is a robot, or big dog? because both of those still have drivers behind the scenes. Only when big dog is in follow the leader mode does it not need the driver! In fact, a washing machine is probably closer to a true robot than all of these, but who wants to sit in a washing machine and drive it around!! So much negativity!

Re:Robot? (2)

v1 (525388) | 1 year,12 days | (#43378825)

What would you class as a robot??

The term "robot" has been around for quite awhile, and due to its broad use, it doesn't have a very clear definition.

About all the agreement you're going to get on it is that a robot is a mechanical device capable of performing automated actions. It generally doesn't have to emulate physical (walking) or cognitive (AI) biological features. My dish washer is technically a robot. It's not very glamorous, but there you have it.

Robots exist in all degrees of "autonomy". It can be a difficult line to draw. If you start with a remote controlled plane, it meets the most basic automation definition of "robot" as soon as it can auto pilot.

I'd tend to call a machine a more "modern" robot when it is able to do more than directly react to stimulus. (which is all that an airplane autopilot does) A "decision maker by necessity". The Mars Curiosity robot for example. It's impractical to operate it purely by remote control. It has to evaluate its circumstances, assess priorities and capabilities, select a high level goal, ("analyze that rock over there") and then execute a series of actions (customized at that time based on current circumstances) to accomplish the goal.

But I suppose I'm thinking more of "automaton" than of robot?

Re:Robot? (2)

bughunter (10093) | 1 year,12 days | (#43378945)

Robot is one of those terms like "artificial intelligence" that keeps getting diluted by overreaching marketing use. The cumulative effect is to drag down the term rather than inflate the product.

"Robot" has devolved from meaning a conscious, completely autonomous, usually humanoid, self-contained machine capable of making its own decisions (thus the need for Three Laws of Robotics) to meaning any servomechanism under human control aided by a PID Loop or Kalman Filter to relieve the operator from the most routine tasks.

Re:Robot? (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377195)

I can start my car and access my house via wifi, and control many aspects of it with a phone, is that a robot, acc to your theory its the fucking terminator

Re:Robot? (1)

homb (82455) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377209)

I'm not saying it's fully autonomous. But it seems it can do some stuff autonomously. Then again, all I see is some hexapod walking around and kicking a barrel.

Brute (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377077)

Big body, small brain. I'm not sure that's how we should build machines.

Underwhelming (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377125)

I was really excited to open the video, and... I'm not sure they could have made a 2 ton hexapod vehicle any more boring to watch. Good job?

OMFG (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377173)

it went almost 10 feet in 2 min and 100 jump cuts

it put its foot on a pile of stuff then jump cut to it walking on smooth tarmac

it kicked a barrel while standing completely still

meanwhile a stupid mid 80's army hummer can travel at highway speeds. can scale a 3 foot wall, and who gives a shit about a barrel, an empty cylinder is not a problem when you have wheels that dont span 15 feet wide

Re:OMFG (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377215)

Yes, but your mid 80's army hummer doesn't run Linux, and has unformfortable teeth...

Re:OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377289)

Excuses - foreigner here.

WTF does "unformfortable" mean!?

Re:OMFG (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377367)

WTF does "unformfortable" mean!?

It means it cannot be formforted.

Re:OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377551)

Ok...
Google gives 22 results for "formforted" - not a single one of them seems to make any sense whatsoever.

Re:OMFG (1)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377303)

Running Linux as the OS is no big deal. It is just an OS they could use Windows or DOS if they wanted to. It is the custom software written is more important then the OS. Granted Unix based OSs makes it easier to communicate with hardware, but so what. It isn't like the mid 90s where Linux was new. Linux is widely used. I just never made it in the desktop.

Re:OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377695)

I just never made it in the desktop.

you poor thing, you should really try harder.
I think you'd like it.

Re:OMFG (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377337)

it went almost 10 feet in 2 min and 100 jump cuts

it put its foot on a pile of stuff then jump cut to it walking on smooth tarmac

it kicked a barrel while standing completely still

meanwhile a stupid mid 80's army hummer can travel at highway speeds. can scale a 3 foot wall, and who gives a shit about a barrel, an empty cylinder is not a problem when you have wheels that dont span 15 feet wide

Really! Why call it "all terrain" when its really "paved flat surface" . When I read all terrain I was expecting it at least being designed to be able to lift its feet more than 2 feet and for it to be able to place them at an arbitrary height. I think it was twenty years since I saw a thing just like this one... and it required no "software stack" to walk.

The important question is... (1)

Alex Vulpes (2836855) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377203)

But does it run Linux?

Oh wait, yes it does. Never mind then.

Re:The important question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377207)

class 1 moron

Re:The important question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377285)

Imagine a beowulf of these!

Re:The important question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377385)

You're not clever.

You're not funny.

You're not creative.

You're not cool.

I, for one, welcome our new hexapod overlords! (2)

Gnulix (534608) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377231)

Bow to the hexapods!

Re:I, for one, welcome our new hexapod overlords! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377265)

You could beat this hexapod in a footrace on crutches. It's usefulness is practically 0. It's a pet project, and a proof of concept, but certainly not a vehicle that'll do any better than modern ATVs, Humvees, and plain old walking.

No Retreat, No Surrender! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377237)

Microsoft Kinect Spy System (THIS ARTICLE IS BEING SCRUBBED FROM THE NET - Pin, Archive, Share this article quickly!

= Microsoft Kinect Spy System

THIS ARTICLE IS BEING SCRUBBED FROM THE NET. THE SITE IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED TO YANKED THE PLUG ON THEIR WHOLE SITE!!! COPY/PASTE THIS ARTICLE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO DISCUSSION FORUMS, BLOGS, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND ARCHIVE AND MIRROR THIS DOCUMENT SO IT DOES NOT VANISH FOREVER!

"So you just got the Kinect/Xbox360 gaming system and you're having fun, hanging out in your underwear, plopped down in your favorite lounge chair, and playing games with your buddies. Yeah, it's great to have a microphone and camera in your game system so you can "Kinect" to your pals while you play, but did you read that Terms of Service Agreement that came with your Kinect thingy? No? Here, let me point out an important part of that service agreement.

If you accept the agreement, you "expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or © act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

Did you catch that? Here, let me print the important part in really big letters.

"If you accept the agreement, you expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications⦠on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

OK, is that clear enough for ya? When you use the Kinect system, you agree to allow Microsoft (and any branch of law enforcement or government they care to share information with) to use your Kinect system to spy on you. Maybe run that facial recognition software to check you out, listen to your conversations, and keep track of who you are communicating with.

I know this is probably old news to some, but I thought I would mention it because it pertains to almost all of these home game systems that are interactive. You have to remember, the camera and microphone contained in your game system have the ability to be hacked by anyone the game company gives that ability to, and that includes government snoops and law enforcement agents.

Hey, it's MICROSOFT. What did you expect?

And the same concerns apply to all interactive game systems. Just something to think about if you're having a "Naked Wii party" or doing something illegal while you're gaming with your buddies. Or maybe you say something suspicious and it triggers the DHS software to start tracking your every word. Hey, this is not paranoia. It's spelled out for you, right there in that Service Agreement. Read it! Here's one more part of the agreement you should be aware of.

"You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service."

Did you catch it that time? YOU SHOULD NOT EXPECT ANY LEVEL OF PRIVACY concerning your voice chat and video features on your Kinect box."

###

= "Listen up, you ignorant sheep. Your government is spending more money than ever to spy on its own citizens. That's YOU, my friend. And if you're one of these people who say, "Well I ain't ever done nothing wrong so why should I worry about it?' - you are dead wrong. Our civil liberties are being taken away faster than you can spit. The NSA is working away on its new "First Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center' to keep track of every last one of us. This thing will be the size of 17 football stadiums. One million square feet, all to be filled with more technology and data storage than you could imagine. And 30,000 spy drones are set to be launched over America which can each stay aloft for about 28 hours, traveling 300 miles per hour. WHY? Why do we want these things in our skies?

The military is now taking a keen interest in the Microsoft Kinect Spy System, the fastest selling electronic device in history. Conveniently self-installed in over 18 million homes, this seemingly innocent game system, armed with facial recognition programming and real-time recording of both sound and video, will be used by our own government to spy on and record us in our own homes.

And it doesn't stop there. Other game systems such as Nintendo's WWII are also being turned into government-controlled spy systems. WHY?

That's the real question. WHY?!!! Why is our own government spending billions and billions of dollars to spy on its own people? To keep us safe? Do you really believe that?"

= Microsoft's Kinect System is Watching You
Published on Apr 5, 2012 by TheAlexJonesChannel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkYgC-AvPGM [youtube.com]

"Microsoft X-Box Kinect games device has a video camera and a microphone that records speech. Microsoft has stated that users "should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features," and the company "may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications."

###

= Big Brother alert: Microsoft wants to know how many friends you've got in your living room

- http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/micwright/100008237/big-brother-alert-microsoft-wants-to-know-how-many-friends-youve-got-in-your-living-room/ [telegraph.co.uk]

"One of Microsoft's latest patent applications[1] is a humdinger. It proposes to turn the Kinect camera into a snitch for movie studios, reporting back just how many friends you've got in your living room and what they're watching. Think that sounds alarmist? Here's what it actually says: "The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken." It's that blatant â" a system to spy on private viewing habits.

If put into practice, Microsoft's plan could mean that the film you're watching suddenly stops playing if it detects that you've got more people squashed on to the sofa than the licence allows. You'd then be prompted to buy a more expensive licence to keep watching. It's as if Big Brother had built 1984's Telescreen not to monitor the population but to ensure no one was pirating the Two Minutes Hate.

In all likelihood, Microsoft will struggle to actually apply this patent in the real world. While copyright holders would be delighted, customers would be turned off by such a draconian system. But that's what's interesting about this application and patent applications in general: they often reveal what companies would do if they could get away with it. The black and white drawings and blandly technical language can cover immoral, scary and downright evil ideas.

There was an even more striking example from Apple earlier this year[2]. In September, it was granted a patent for "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device", i.e. a system allowing companies or governments to remotely disable mobile phones and tablets in a particular area.

While Apple mentions benign examples such as preventing phone calls from disturbing concerts or ensuring devices are switched off on planes, it also states: "Covert police or government operations may require complete "blackout" conditions." That's exactly the kind of feature certain governments would love to use to suppress pictures and videos. The patent Apple put its stamp on is a handy form of censorship regardless of whether it will ever apply it.

Last year, Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that the company would hold off from creating a facial recognition service because it would be "crossing the creepy line". Still, Google has filed for and been granted extensive patents in the area and, as its Project Glass augmented reality goggles move forward, who knows when the "creepy line" will shift?"

[1] http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220120278904%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20120278904&RS=DN/20120278904 [uspto.gov]

[2] http://www.zdnet.com/apple-patent-could-remotely-disable-protesters-phone-cameras-7000003640/ [zdnet.com]

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012

###

= "People are aware that Windows has bad security but they are underestimating the problem because they are thinking about third parties. What about security against Microsoft? Every non-free program is a âjust trust me program'. âTrust me, we're a big corporation. Big corporations would never mistreat anybody, would we?' Of course they would! They do all the time, that's what they are known for. So basically you mustn't trust a non free programme."

"There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones."

"Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more""

From:

Richard Stallman: 'Apple has tightest digital handcuffs in history'
http://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2012/12/05/richard-stallman-interview/ [newint.org]

###

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN ARCHIVED AT SEVERAL LOCATIONS, INCLUDING/NOT LIMITED TO:

http://anonymous.livelyblog.com/2012/08/27/the-microsoft-kinect-spy-system/ [livelyblog.com]
http://awkpaste.blisted.org/cgi/paste.cgi?id=5980 [blisted.org]
http://codepad.org/MrDg6dFr [codepad.org]
http://codepad.viper-7.com/rOF7S5 [viper-7.com]
http://crunchbanglinux.org/pastebin/2039 [crunchbanglinux.org]
http://dark-code.bulix.org/mew3mi-83250 [bulix.org]
http://demo.php-pastebin.com/NpgcmGlP [php-pastebin.com]
http://dumpz.org/492993/ [dumpz.org]
http://frugalware.org/paste/14164 [frugalware.org]
http://hpaste.org/85284 [hpaste.org]
http://kpaste.net/a2fca9b3 [kpaste.net]
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http://oxynux.org/pastebin/dk6i5v-2021 [oxynux.org]
http://paste2.org/cNyO4G0B [paste2.org]
http://pastebin.anope.org/index.php?page=viewpaste&id=aaff119399 [anope.org]
http://pastebin.archlinux.fr/460758 [archlinux.fr]
http://pastebin.calculate-linux.org/en/show/5376 [calculate-linux.org]
http://pastebin.com/CJ6tBR3Z [pastebin.com]
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http://www.dcpubin.com/upO6UpWK1w [dcpubin.com]
http://www.inetpro.org/pastebin/11871 [inetpro.org]
http://www.megapastebin.com/DlJfi772 [megapastebin.com]
http://www.mpaste.com/p/RxeiN7LM9flOvSgw42 [mpaste.com]
http://www.pastepal.net/view/a237cfc6 [pastepal.net]
http://www.paste.to/MjU5NjY= [paste.to]

That don't impress me much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377343)

Going from the promo video, the thing is heavy, slow, huge, seats only one and isn't even terrain capable. Maybe Micromagic Systems is a subsidiary of EA?

Turkey Headed PENIS !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377387)

Microsoft Kinect Spy System (THIS ARTICLE IS BEING SCRUBBED FROM THE NET - Pin, Archive, Share this article quickly!

= Microsoft Kinect Spy System

THIS ARTICLE IS BEING SCRUBBED FROM THE NET. THE SITE IT WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED TO YANKED THE PLUG ON THEIR WHOLE SITE!!! COPY/PASTE THIS ARTICLE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO DISCUSSION FORUMS, BLOGS, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, AND ARCHIVE AND MIRROR THIS DOCUMENT SO IT DOES NOT VANISH FOREVER!

"So you just got the Kinect/Xbox360 gaming system and you're having fun, hanging out in your underwear, plopped down in your favorite lounge chair, and playing games with your buddies. Yeah, it's great to have a microphone and camera in your game system so you can "Kinect" to your pals while you play, but did you read that Terms of Service Agreement that came with your Kinect thingy? No? Here, let me point out an important part of that service agreement.

If you accept the agreement, you "expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or © act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

Did you catch that? Here, let me print the important part in really big letters.

"If you accept the agreement, you expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications⦠on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public."

OK, is that clear enough for ya? When you use the Kinect system, you agree to allow Microsoft (and any branch of law enforcement or government they care to share information with) to use your Kinect system to spy on you. Maybe run that facial recognition software to check you out, listen to your conversations, and keep track of who you are communicating with.

I know this is probably old news to some, but I thought I would mention it because it pertains to almost all of these home game systems that are interactive. You have to remember, the camera and microphone contained in your game system have the ability to be hacked by anyone the game company gives that ability to, and that includes government snoops and law enforcement agents.

Hey, it's MICROSOFT. What did you expect?

And the same concerns apply to all interactive game systems. Just something to think about if you're having a "Naked Wii party" or doing something illegal while you're gaming with your buddies. Or maybe you say something suspicious and it triggers the DHS software to start tracking your every word. Hey, this is not paranoia. It's spelled out for you, right there in that Service Agreement. Read it! Here's one more part of the agreement you should be aware of.

"You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service."

Did you catch it that time? YOU SHOULD NOT EXPECT ANY LEVEL OF PRIVACY concerning your voice chat and video features on your Kinect box."

###

= "Listen up, you ignorant sheep. Your government is spending more money than ever to spy on its own citizens. That's YOU, my friend. And if you're one of these people who say, "Well I ain't ever done nothing wrong so why should I worry about it?' - you are dead wrong. Our civil liberties are being taken away faster than you can spit. The NSA is working away on its new "First Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center' to keep track of every last one of us. This thing will be the size of 17 football stadiums. One million square feet, all to be filled with more technology and data storage than you could imagine. And 30,000 spy drones are set to be launched over America which can each stay aloft for about 28 hours, traveling 300 miles per hour. WHY? Why do we want these things in our skies?

The military is now taking a keen interest in the Microsoft Kinect Spy System, the fastest selling electronic device in history. Conveniently self-installed in over 18 million homes, this seemingly innocent game system, armed with facial recognition programming and real-time recording of both sound and video, will be used by our own government to spy on and record us in our own homes.

And it doesn't stop there. Other game systems such as Nintendo's WWII are also being turned into government-controlled spy systems. WHY?

That's the real question. WHY?!!! Why is our own government spending billions and billions of dollars to spy on its own people? To keep us safe? Do you really believe that?"

= Microsoft's Kinect System is Watching You
Published on Apr 5, 2012 by TheAlexJonesChannel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkYgC-AvPGM [youtube.com]

"Microsoft X-Box Kinect games device has a video camera and a microphone that records speech. Microsoft has stated that users "should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features," and the company "may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications."

###

= Big Brother alert: Microsoft wants to know how many friends you've got in your living room

- http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/micwright/100008237/big-brother-alert-microsoft-wants-to-know-how-many-friends-youve-got-in-your-living-room/ [telegraph.co.uk]

"One of Microsoft's latest patent applications[1] is a humdinger. It proposes to turn the Kinect camera into a snitch for movie studios, reporting back just how many friends you've got in your living room and what they're watching. Think that sounds alarmist? Here's what it actually says: "The users consuming the content on a display device are monitored so that if the number of user-views licensed is exceeded, remedial action may be taken." It's that blatant â" a system to spy on private viewing habits.

If put into practice, Microsoft's plan could mean that the film you're watching suddenly stops playing if it detects that you've got more people squashed on to the sofa than the licence allows. You'd then be prompted to buy a more expensive licence to keep watching. It's as if Big Brother had built 1984's Telescreen not to monitor the population but to ensure no one was pirating the Two Minutes Hate.

In all likelihood, Microsoft will struggle to actually apply this patent in the real world. While copyright holders would be delighted, customers would be turned off by such a draconian system. But that's what's interesting about this application and patent applications in general: they often reveal what companies would do if they could get away with it. The black and white drawings and blandly technical language can cover immoral, scary and downright evil ideas.

There was an even more striking example from Apple earlier this year[2]. In September, it was granted a patent for "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device", i.e. a system allowing companies or governments to remotely disable mobile phones and tablets in a particular area.

While Apple mentions benign examples such as preventing phone calls from disturbing concerts or ensuring devices are switched off on planes, it also states: "Covert police or government operations may require complete "blackout" conditions." That's exactly the kind of feature certain governments would love to use to suppress pictures and videos. The patent Apple put its stamp on is a handy form of censorship regardless of whether it will ever apply it.

Last year, Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, said that the company would hold off from creating a facial recognition service because it would be "crossing the creepy line". Still, Google has filed for and been granted extensive patents in the area and, as its Project Glass augmented reality goggles move forward, who knows when the "creepy line" will shift?"

[1] http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220120278904%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20120278904&RS=DN/20120278904 [uspto.gov]

[2] http://www.zdnet.com/apple-patent-could-remotely-disable-protesters-phone-cameras-7000003640/ [zdnet.com]

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012

###

= "People are aware that Windows has bad security but they are underestimating the problem because they are thinking about third parties. What about security against Microsoft? Every non-free program is a âjust trust me program'. âTrust me, we're a big corporation. Big corporations would never mistreat anybody, would we?' Of course they would! They do all the time, that's what they are known for. So basically you mustn't trust a non free programme."

"There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones."

"Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more""

From:

Richard Stallman: 'Apple has tightest digital handcuffs in history'
http://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2012/12/05/richard-stallman-interview/ [newint.org]

###

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN ARCHIVED AT SEVERAL LOCATIONS, INCLUDING/NOT LIMITED TO:

http://anonymous.livelyblog.com/2012/08/27/the-microsoft-kinect-spy-system/ [livelyblog.com]
http://awkpaste.blisted.org/cgi/paste.cgi?id=5980 [blisted.org]
http://codepad.org/MrDg6dFr [codepad.org]
http://codepad.viper-7.com/rOF7S5 [viper-7.com]
http://crunchbanglinux.org/pastebin/2039 [crunchbanglinux.org]
http://dark-code.bulix.org/mew3mi-83250 [bulix.org]
http://demo.php-pastebin.com/NpgcmGlP [php-pastebin.com]
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Ohshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377443)

Once Skynet takes control of that, we're so fucked.

Re:Ohshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#43389823)

Yup, if you see one of those sleek killbots you only have 2-3 years to run away before it gets you!

Reminds me of the Timberjack (5, Informative)

xarragon (944172) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377511)

This sort of technology has been available for some time, I remember seeing this six-legged forest machine complete with crane and cutting machinery back in the early 2000s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYh54Qdh_5g [youtube.com] Apprently it was developed in Finland by John Deree, and was only displayed rwecently (2012 press release): http://www.deere.com/wps/dcom/en_US/corporate/our_company/news_and_media/press_releases/2012/forestry/2012apr10_walking_harvester.page [deere.com]

Re:Reminds me of the Timberjack (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377891)

In 2003 I was working on an automation project and the general consensus amongst the team members was that PC104 was too crappy and obsolete to consider for any new development.

Re:Reminds me of the Timberjack (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377937)

It was not developed by John Deere, they just acquired the tech *after* it was developed.
You Americans like to buy or rewrite history when you can't claim you invented cool stuff, just like with the recent Wired article that all but marginalizes Nokia's fundamental contribution to the mobile phone industry.

Re:Reminds me of the Timberjack (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#43383707)

Only one of two in existence, Deere's walking harvester on display at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline was designed by Deere's research and development unit in Finland in the 1990s, but it "was ahead of its time" and never reached the production phase. Manufactured in 1994, this walking harvester machine was the first to be equipped with a harvesting head and accumulated approximately 2000 working hours during testing.

Brain. (1)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377529)

Am I the only one who read the headline three times, before realizing it said "LINUX brain" instead of "HUMAN brain"?

bad PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43377561)

All the people can see is : this "linux brain" is a bit slow...

The point? (1)

loufoque (1400831) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377811)

What is the point of this?
It's slow and probably consumes a lot of fuel.

I'd rather take a car or a motorcycle.

PC/104? ugh. (3, Interesting)

gmarsh (839707) | 1 year,12 days | (#43377983)

From personal experience.

Never put a PC/104 setup in a system that's going to be subjected to vibration, you'll cause the connector to wear out and eventually one of the important pins on the PC/104 connector will fail. And when it does, the ISA bus presented on the PC104 connector doesn't have any error detection/correction either, meaning your system may not fail gracefully.

Not something you want in a large robot.

Re:PC/104? ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43378187)

issue that you can easily solve ...

Re:PC/104? ugh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43380857)

That is why you do a good job of shock mounting any electronics in the frame. Also if you want better speed you will have to add air rams to the leg movements to increase walking speed. But don't expect it to win races with mopeds. At our society’s current level of technology and R&D spending we can only do so much.

Asimov's laws of robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,11 days | (#43383193)

No, we don't have autonomous robots yet. But I fear that when we do, we will more likely have self-replicating human killing machines than robots obeying Asmiov's robotic laws. Why? 1. If you propose them seriously, you looking like a fool, because, 2, people won't do that, so therefore #1 is the action of a fool, except 3., people will build robots for the express purposed to kill the enemy or evil doers, because they consider it moral and reasonable. Heck, the US is using drones around the world controlled from bases in the American Southwest. As time goes on more and more of the functions humans control will be taken over by automation.

At least my estimate lifespan is only another 20 years or so...

Re:PC/104? ugh. (1)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,11 days | (#43385307)

Never put a PC/104 setup in a system that's going to be subjected to vibration

PC-104 is rather retro at this point, but there is something called a Can-Tainer [dpie.com] for using PC-104 in hostile environments. "Internally, each corner of the PC/104 stack is held in place by a rubber corner system ... Externally, the anodized aluminum enclosure mates with a thick rubber-mounting pad..."

We tried one of those in 2003-2005 for our DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle. (Getting board stacks into the Can-Tainer is a huge pain.) Even then, PC-104 was retro. We ended up with Tri-M industrial Pentium 4 PCs, which turned out to have an overheating problem due to really lame case design. (The CPU fan was aimed at a solid metal case bottom.) Back then there were fewer rugged computer options. Today, that situation is much better. There are good low-cost "Car PC" devices suitable for the automotive environment. Mobile hard drives are smaller and more shock-resistant. So today, getting enough compute power onto your large robot isn't a problem.

It's a good time to build robots. Many of the pieces that were hard to find or troublesome a decade ago are now mature products. Rugged computers, laser rangefinders, high precision GPS systems, attitude and heading reference systems, and servomotor controllers are all commercially available and not outrageously priced. A decade ago, you could get all of those things, but they were more expensive and didn't work as well.

"Call me Mantis... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43378461)

,Mantis Toboggan."

What is the point? (1)

danlip (737336) | 1 year,12 days | (#43378541)

Slow as heck and can't actually climb anything (as far as I can tell from the video) which is the only real reason to have legs instead of wheels.

wild wild west (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#43378749)

wild wild west cosplay

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