This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through March 25)

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ROBOTICS

NASA’s Origami Robots Can Squeeze Into Places Rovers Can’t
Mariella Moon | Engadget
“Imagine a Martian rover that can send small robotic minions to crawl into crevices or climb steep slopes—everywhere a full-sized vehicle can’t go to. That’s the scenario a team from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory hopes to achieve by developing small origami-inspired robots called Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots or PUFFERs. They’re made of printed circuit boards and can be flattened and stacked on top of each other on the way to their mission. Once they get to the location, they can pop back up and drive away.”

AUTOMATION

No Clerks Required in World’s First Unmanned Convenience Store
Rich Haridy | New Atlas
“The customer installs an app on their phone, which allows them to access the store. When inside they simply scan the bar code of the goods they want and upon leaving the store their credit card will be charged for their purchases. …Much like Wheelys’ strategy selling its bike-cafes, the company’s ultimate goal is to license the technology so any retailer can integrate it into their pre-existing stores. In the company’s words, “What Uber did for taxis, we do for retail.”

SECURITY

A Tweet to Kurt Eichenwald, a Strobe and a Seizure. Now, an Arrest.
Cecilia Kang | NYTimes
“This is an interesting and unique case in that there are lots of online attacks that can have physical consequences, such as an attack on an electrical grid or the control of air traffic control,” said Vivek Krishnamurthy, an assistant director at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School. “But this is distinguishable because it is a targeted physical attack that was personal, using a plain-Jane tool.”

VIRTUAL REALITY

Disney Researchers Catch a Real Ball in Virtual Reality
Matthew Humphries | PCMag
“It’s very difficult to convey touching something in the virtual world with physical feedback. But what if you could interact with real world objects that appear in the virtual world. Disney Research decided to carry out just such an experiment by asking the question: can you catch a real ball in virtual reality?”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

MOSTLY HUMAN: Dead, IRL
Aimee Rawlins | CNN Tech
“If you could create a digital version of yourself to stick around long after you’ve died, would you want to? …In November 2015, Eugenia Kuyda’s best friend Roman unexpectedly passed away. She created an experiment to bring parts of him back to life…Using artificial intelligence, she created a computerized chatbot based off his personality.”

Image Credit: yucelyilmaz/Pond5.com

Andrew operates as a media producer and archivist. Generating backups of critical cultural data, he has worked across various industries — entertainment, art, and technology — telling emerging stories via recording and distribution.

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