Performativity · Technology

DARPA’s Pet-Proto Robot Navigates Obstacles

Pet-Proto, a predecessor to DARPA’s Atlas robot, is confronted with obstacles similar to those robots might face in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). To maneuver over and around the obstacles, the robot exercises capabilities including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity. The DARPA Robotics Challenge will test these and other capabilities in a series of tasks that will simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment.

Architectonic · Bio · Digital Media · Science · Technology

Wyss Institute to Receive up to $37 Million from DARPA to Integrate Multiple Organ-on-Chip Systems to Mimic the Whole Human Body

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University announced $37 million funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop an automated instrument that integrates 10 human organs-on-chips to study complex human physiology outside the body.

This effort builds on the Institute’s past breakthroughs in which Institute researchers engineered microchips that recapitulate the microarchitecture and functions of living organs, such as the lung, heart, and intestine.

Each individual organ-on-chip is composed of a clear flexible polymer — about the size of a computer memory stick — that contains hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells.

Excerpt from a Press Release by The Wyss Institute. Continue HERE

Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Darpa to Troubled Soldiers: Meet Your New Simulated Therapist

The Pentagon hasn’t made much progress in solving the PTSD crisis plaguing this generation of soldiers. Now it’s adding new staff members to the therapy teams tasked with spotting the signs of emotional pain and providing therapy to the beleaguered. Only this isn’t a typical hiring boost. The new therapists, Danger Room has learned, will be computer-generated “virtual humans,” used to offer diagnostics, and programmed to appear empathetic.

It’s the latest in a long series of efforts to assuage soaring rates of depression, anxiety and PTSD that afflict today’s troops. Military brass have become increasingly willing to try just about anything, from yoga and reiki to memory-adjustment pills, that holds an iota of promise. They’ve even funded computerized therapy before: In 2010, for example, the military launched an effort to create an online health portal that’d include video chats with therapists.

Excerpt from an article written by Katie Drummond, WIRED. Continue HERE

Bio · Performativity · Science · Technology

Paralyzed man moves robotic arm with his thoughts

Seven years after a motorcycle accident damaged his spinal cord and left him paralyzed, 30-year-old Tim Hemmes reached up to touch hands with his girlfriend in a painstaking and tender high-five. For more information about the trial, visit

Performativity · Public Space · Technology

Big Dog and Guerrilla Depaving

Guerrilla depaving is an illicit form of urbanism wherein impermeable hard surfaces are wholly removed or perforated to reveal the underlying soil bed. This site preparation precedes the introduction of agriculture, ornamental gardens, cryptoforests and other pata-artisinal land-uses, which alleviate the urban heat island effect. However, the primary goal is to mitigate urban stormwater runoff by facilitating soil infiltration and seepage.

Pickaxes, sledghammers and elbow grease are the usual tools of the guerilla depaver, but these are being gradually replaced by robotics as fast as DARPA can declassify its research. A popular depaver is the BigDog, as it is cheaply available, easily programmable and configurable, and can traverse rough terrain en route to its target asphalt or while escaping. In the video above, a very early prototype can be seen tippy tapping on a parking lot, somewhat auguring its future reuse.

So far, guerrilla depaving activities are concentrated on medium-sized municipalities suffering from depressed tax revenues and minimal federal aid. These twin crises have left them unable to provide basic infrastructural services. Faced with the prospect of failed sewers, stagnant pools and destructive flooding, the guerrilla depaver works to knit an alternative urban hydrology.

Via Planet Architecture