Need a battery-powered, modular, humanoid robot with strong legs and an amazing array of built-in cameras to help set up habitation on Mars for pioneering astronauts? NASA’s got you covered. Meet Valkyrie.
"The space agency’’’s new Valkyrie — a 6 foot 2 inch tall (1.9 meters) robot with a glowing NASA logo on its chest — bears an uncanny resemblance to Marvel’s superhero Iron Man, but this space age automaton was built for work, not comic book heroics. A team of engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., designed and built Valkyrie in just nine months, according to press reports."
NASA created Valkyrie for DARPA’s upcoming Robotics Challenge Trials on December 20-21, 2013, where it will be in competition with 17 teams from around the world including NASA JPL’s RoboSimian, Carnegie Mellon University-NREC’s CHIMP, and Japan’s SCHAFT.
There are always more robot videos in the archives.
Body mass and vocal pitch don’t always match. Male koalas have deep, rumbling vocalizations, an unexpectedly low sound that might normally be associated with wild boars or a huge braying beast the size of an elephant instead of a small herbivore. And now we know why…
In a study published in the journal Current Biology, scientists describe a second, much larger pair of vocal folds located outside of the larynx that creates the unique mating sound. From National Geographic (which has a great “animal body mass to vocal pitch” chart):
Koala bellows have a pitch about 20 times lower than they should be given the animals’ size… Male koala bellows, for instance, are so fearsome that sound designers used recordings of them to create the T. rex roars in the movie Jurassic Park…
Study co-author Benjamin Charlton, of the University of Sussex in the U.K., explained in a statement that during inhalation, koala bellows sound like snoring, and during exhalation, they sound more like belching.
In the archives: more koala videos.
Made by Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada for the Ulster Bank Belfast International Festival in Belfast, Ireland, this is WISH, an 11 acre portrait of a girl. It’s been nicknamed “The Face From Space” by locals.
Using 2,000 tons of topsoil, 2,000 tons of sand, grass, stones, and 30,000 manually placed wooden stakes, the face was originally plotted with state-of-the-art GPS technology, and then took four weeks and a huge team of community volunteers to make. Here’s a time lapse vid of their work.
We’re wondering if the project can be seen from the International Space Station. Follow this up with Sesame Street’s That’s about the size.