SERVO 03.2014 25
AI COMPETITION A LITTLE SHAKEY
You should participate in the AAAI Artificial Intelligence Video Competition. Show
off your AI and perhaps go home with a Shakey award – the Oscar trophy of AI. The
submission deadline is April 15, so that leaves you plenty of time to be creative!
The rules are simple: Compose a short video about an exciting AI project, and
narrate it so that it is accessible to a broad online audience. Student participation is
At the award ceremony, authors of award-winning videos will be presented with
Shakeys — trophies named in honor of SRI's Shakey robot and its pioneering video.
Award-winning videos will be screened at the ceremony, as well.
The AI Video Competition will be held in conjunction with the AAAI- 14
conference in Québec City, Québec, Canada, July 27-31, 2014.
Go to www.aaaivideos.org for more details.
GATHERING MOSS IS A SNAP
Back in 2010, a company called Modular Robotics introduced Cubelets
— a system of robotic modules that could be magnetically snapped
together. By themselves, the modules didn't do much but by connecting
them, you could build and program a robot at the same time without any
experience whatsoever. Last December, Modular Robotics came out with a
slightly different take on this idea with MOSS.
MOSS is basically a bunch of these little cubes with rounded corners.
The rounded corners are magnetic, and by sticking a little magnetic ball in
them you can attach them to other little cubes with rounded corners. Four
magnets makes for a solid connection, but you can use two magnets to
create a hinged connection or one magnet to make a ball joint. Cubes that
have flat faces that touch can transmit both power and data, so there's no
need to wire anything. The whole shebang can be controlled via Bluetooth
from your phone.
As with Cubelets, MOSS cubes come in different colors and each color
does something different. There are cubes for power, communications,
sensing, moving, and controlling, plus a bunch of other modules like wheels
and braces and connectors. No programming is necessary. Snapping cubes
together is the same as writing a simple program, so (for example) you can
attach a battery cube to a Bluetooth cube, add some wheels and a light
sensor, and you can get a little robot that's attracted to light.
Sometime this year, Modular Robotics will be releasing two
software tools for MOSS. One will let you reprogram the
microcontrollers inside individual blocks in C, and the other should
enable the use of a simple programming tool from MIT called
MOSS is new enough that you'll still have to pre-order a kit,
but delivery has been promised for April of this year which isn't
very far away.