Thursday, November 23, 2006


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Thursday, November 16, 2006

corner shot with girlfriend Minmin and Bage at TJ's Ayala

Jasmin Uy

A Future with Robots (Article late this year)

Since my childhood years, I have always been fascinated with Robots. How I’d like to play my C3PO and R2D2 action figures and imagine them to be real - going about the crucial situations and conditions in our lives, whether it be at the battlefield acting as replacement for soldiers thereby minimizing lives lost in wars, in disasters such as fires and earthquakes, in medical emergencies acting as aide or replacement for doctors, as pets, and in our homes doing the daily chores (which I believe some of us hate).

Thanks to the advancement of 21st Century robotics, that dream seems to be slowly inching its way to reality.

Nowadays, there seems to be a growing trend towards developing more sophisticated robots that are not just mere “Toys” but can do just as much as their human counterparts or even better, robots that can do what might seem impossible for humans to do.

In this issue, we’ll take a peek at what is happening in the world of robotics, which has pit Governments, Independent Research facilities, private individuals, and Gadget companies in a blitz race to compete with one another to achieve the perfect machine, capable of making the lives of its human masters easier.

For starters, let’s have a look at the popular humanoid robots made by top Japanese firms Sony and Honda.


Meet the playful Qrio
Sony Intelligence Dynamics Laboratories Inc. in their efforts to study how humans will react and accept partnership with robots, came up with a rather quite-small humanoid robot named Qrio. It is capable of walking uphill, singing, dancing, waving hello, wiggle its fingers and kick a ball with grace.

It has two digital cameras, one behind each eye, which helps it to map a room for future reference and recognize up to 10 different faces. This small robot can even converse in Japanese mind you!

Scientists tested Qrio by letting it participate in an experiment where it acted as playmate for toddlers at a nursery school in California.

At first the children where reluctant and did not know what to do with the robot but after a few hours of spending time together, accepted it as one of their own-even helping it get up when it falls, much to the excitement of its makers.

Scientists hoped that through this activity, they will be able to collect the necessary data that will help them alleviate errors in future experiments.


Meet little wonder ASIMO and cousin ASIMO P3
From Honda Motor Co., comes a new small-lightweight humanoid robot named ASIMO (Short for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility). This little astronaut, as commonly called because of its close resemblance, is capable of walking in a manner that is similar to a human being. Its hand and finger movements have also been increased, acting also similar to how a human would act!

This one is a product of Honda’s research of developing a robot that can be helpful to humans as well as providing practical use in society.

Earlier this month, did you know that for the first time in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, a robot rang the bell to start the trade! Yes believe it, it was ASIMO who rang the bell announcing the traditional start of trading, and not a famous personality or dignitary which has always been the usual custom.

These are but only a few of the advances made by today’s robotics, and the race still continues. Governments like the United States, Canada, Korea, and Japan are tapping on their military research facilities, and private firms to develop robots and unmanned vehicles that will someday replace their soldiers on the front lines, some armed and some for reconnaissance.

Someday in a not so distant future, robots will surely be working alongside us. Who knows maybe by then (God forbids, I still want to keep my job... giggles) we’ll have robots and computers in our offices that work by themselves without our aide.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Writing Exercises: Minimalism - The Defense of the Weak

Pirates, munitions running out, sailed in retreat against stout hearts.
The battle raged, whilst no victor can be adjudged
Heaved mightily, to the last drop of blood
Weaklings, yet determined to defend their land
The townsfolk, manned the fortress guns
Fought against panic and fear
The fortress slowly crumbles
Hearts foul intent
Pirate cannons!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Horror Story in 500 Words: T'was the Night of Halloween

It was a dark and gloomy Tuesday night the hospital hallway was empty, with nurses and doctors busily at their stations attending to their obligations; not a single soul was in sight.

Then the dark green curtain of the emergency room rises to gust of the wind and reveal two bodies- one a police sergeant who met his fate at the hands of armed robbers who shot him three times to the head and that of a gymnast who broke his neck while doing cartwheels in a competition.

Both these men were alive just a few minutes ago when they were brought in, but now they are lifeless with eyes open as if they were trying to fend off an invisible force to prevent it from taking their souls.

Then along came the sound of familiar footsteps, for it is time for the nurses to make their rounds, and two proceeded immediately to the emergency room but were stunned after finding out of their sudden death.

Personnel and equipment were scrambled immediately in the hope to revive the two, with the defibrilator they exhausted all means, but their efforts were in vain for the patients are dead.

Just as everyone was about to cover the dead bodies with blankets, a nurse saw that the window of the room was open and that a bloodied scythe was lying on the floor.

She picks it up thinking that perhaps a visitor doing a trick or treat might have left it there, but as soon as she picked it, she saw visions, though blurry at first but the picture slowly cleared and she saw the two bodies just as if they were lying there but the scythe that she’s holding was carried by another being, with a shadow that’s as black as night and who’s face was hidden by a hood.

The being stabbed the two bodies, and in the nurse’s eyes she saw that which seemed to be their souls were wailing out from their once alive bodies into the being’s hand. Moans and laughter can be heard.

Suddenly, fear gripped the nurse as she now knows that what she is holding is the scythe of death himself, and as she was about to throw it out the window, everything flickered and went black.

Her companions, who saw what is happening, screamed and tug the scythe off her hands but it will not budge. Then the door slammed shut, and after a gust of wind, everything went silent. The door slowly opened to reveal several bodies of nurses and doctors who are now lying on the floor lifeless with eyes open, a death similar to the two patients.

The scythe was picked up from the floor by a black figure in a hood, who gazes out the window to see souls slowly marching towards a black whirlpool, the policeman and the gymnast are now beside him, and with an evil laugh they slowly vanish into thin air.