A Better Understanding to Robots and its Artificial Intelligence

Exploding Digital Science Exploding Digital Science

Have you ever want to see what goes on inside a robot mind? We see robots make decisions for themselves every day. Think about an autopilot system in an airplane. These systems can take information about the environment around them and have the plane function accordingly. What actually happens inside that robotic thought process? A team of scientists and grad student at MIT want to get a glimpse inside the robot brain and so they developed a way to visually represent what goes on when a machine make the decision?

In their experiment the decision was a pretty straightforward one — how to cross a room without hitting a pacing human? The visualization system they developed is called measurable virtual-reality. It uses an 18 motion capture cameras on the ceiling to track multiple simultaneous movement. Computer software then render the robotic processes that we can’t see projecting the information visually on the ground in the test space. That rendering was the robot stop process.

A large pink dot marks the robots perception at the pedestrians position. A series of lines crossing the floor represented the possible routes the robot was considering taking. These routes are color-coded. tThe green line marking the optimal route across the brim but the environment was always changing and here’s where it gets interesting. The pink dot behind the pedestrian moved as he paced and the route lines shifted in response to these changes. The robot understand the changes to the room and change its possible routes.

This visualization of a robot thought process is really neat but there’s a practical side to it too. The researchers realized that in projecting the robots thoughts they could see the underlying problems and algorithms and make the necessary fixes much faster. It’s the kind of insight into robotic minds that could lead to better autopilot systems and drones in future because there’s no shortage of uncertainty for robot to deal with in the real world. So, helping get the better brains to process those uncertainties could only be an improvement and maybe we’ll see consumers spin off version of this visualization system that will lead to see what are robots are thinking as the vacuum the room.

Sonic Adventure 2 Gets a Makeover

Sonic-Adveture-2

It all started when DreamCast was dead, two of the big companies when it come gaming console — Nintendo and Sega agreed to cease the cold war. Sega then re-released this game from the Dreamcast, marking the first Sonic game on Nintendo’s GameCube, making it the end of the bitter rivalry of two video game publishers. This is Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, on the Nintendo GameCube, a fun game with a good bit of variety, though a few oddball things tossed in.

Sonic Adventure 2 introduces us to two new playable characters: Rouge the Bat, who’s a gem-obsessed government spy seeking the Chaos Emeralds, and Shadow The Hedgehog, a creation of Dr. Eggman’s granddaddy who touts himself as the ‘Ultimate Life Form.’ Everyone gets Shadow and Sonic confused during this game and other games as well, and that always confused me. They look nothing alike! You can choose which group of characters you’d like to play as, choosing to save the world or conquer it, and once you complete both stories, a final story to conclude the game becomes available.

I always start with the Dark story, since it’s fun being the bad guys. With 6 characters to play as, Sonic Adventure 2 has to do a few things different to keep things interesting. Sonic and Shadow have speed-focused action stages, which are probably the most fun to play. Sonic and Shadow don’t have very many levels though, which is sad, because just when you’re finally getting into the game, they hit you with the treasure hunting stages for Knuckles and Rouge which are just not fun at all, to me.

The camera in the whole game is a little wonky, but it’s downright frustrating in these levels as you can probably tell here. You follow a radar to find keys and emeralds in these stages, with vague hints to assist you. There are far worse levels in other games I’m sure, but these levels just are not all that fun, they’re kind of boring. Tails and Robotnik or Eggman or whatever his name is, have the biggest difference in gameplay from the other characters, walking around in giant mechs and shooting enemies in slower, longer stages. These are pretty fun, since you get to blow up a ton of stuff and in some cases, are more difficult than other levels and it’s pretty cool that this is the first game we get to play as everyone’s favorite immature animal-hating mustache.

Every character has upgradeable gear that grants new abilities or firepower, and most of the levels are pretty well detailed with cool stuff going in the background, like the equipment in the space colony or the advertisements in the city. The 3D models for characters are a little awkward in some cut scenes, like Shadow in this cutscene, but overall it’s a decent looking game.

Overall, Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is a fun game with a good bit of variety in it, even if it has a bit of an oddball story about Eggman’s revenge focused Grandfather, Shadow’s status as the Ultimate Life Form, and why everyone can’t tell the damn difference between a blue and black hedgehog. There’s also a pretty awesome soundtrack in my opinion, though I’m not a huge fan of the Knuckles Rap for some of his stages. Sonic Adventure 2 is getting another re-release on PlayStation and other services in widescreen HD later this year, and it’s a game worth looking into if you’re into Sonic, but just be ready to get used to different controls and gameplay styles if you just got done playing the newer Sonic Colors or Sonic Generations.

Fastest USB SSD on the Planet Unmasked

Speed is one of the main goals when it comes to computing and technological advancement ever since the endeavor started way back some few centuries ago. We, humans, want to do things swiftly that we put so much important on how fast our computers and other gadgets can perform. Companies and developers are toe to toe with other coming up with innovations that can potentially give them the edge against their competitions.

USB drives, I mean now that  that I can get four gigs once enough to install an OS for free with press kits about new products or whatever online, they’ve got to do something pretty special in order to grab my attention especially if they come from a company that doesn’t normally even make USB drives like VisionTek. This is not VisionTek’s first portable SSD. They actually had a product that you plug in MSata SSD into a little enclosure and then connect that to your PC via USB 3. Although it’s certainly there much more elegant one  much like the 900 696 the 900 71 8 promises much better performance than a normal high capacity USB Drive by using a LSI SandForce 2281 SSD controller. The same kind that a desktop SSD would use rather than a normal flash drive controller to interact with the flash chips on the drive. But this time instead of a cloggy dangle and fragile MSata drive, you’re getting a solid aluminum housing. One that is evidently assembled in the USA. It also has a metal key chain loop on one end, a nice upgrade from the last SSD controller based USB Drive I checked out. And a standard rubber USB port cover, a significant downgrade from other designs that I’ve seen that is sure to get lost quite quickly.

Then the last nice thing I had to say about is physically completing these  is that compared to other drives, it’s much skinnier making inserting it into closely spaced parts much easier. A bit more on specs before we jump in the benchmarks though it’s backwards compatible with USB 2 but obviously works best on a USB 3 port with support for UASP, a data transfer protocol that’s better optimized for random reads and writes and VisionTek claims that you can achieve up to 445 megabytes per second read and 440 megabytes per second write. Well above what we’re able to do with our flash GTX from Corsair — the only other similar SSD in your pocket based product that we’ve seen so far.