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SciFi

9 open source robotics projects

Filed under
OSS
SciFi

Open source isn't just changing the way we interact with the world, it's changing the way the world interacts back with us. Case in point: open source robotics.

Robots are playing an increasing role in our world, and while we perhaps haven't reached the utopian future with robotic housekeepers imagined for us in the Jetsons, robotics are making advances in fields that fifty years ago would have been completely unimaginable.

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Introducing MrRobot, Ubuntu Touch App Enabled Robotics Powered by Raspberry Pi

Filed under
Linux
SciFi

Today we have the great pleasure of introducing you to a brand-new project developed during the Ubuntu ShenZhen hackathon by Joseph Wang. It is called MrRobot, just like the TV show we taked about in a couple of articles right here on Softpedia.

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Linux-based bipedal robot endures kicks and dodgeball attacks

Filed under
Linux
SciFi

OSU demonstrated its speedy, bipedal ATRIAS robot withstanding a barrage of kicks and dodgeballs. ATRIAS runs on ROS and a real-time Xenomai Linux kernel.

Researchers at Oregon State University’s Dynamic Robotics Laboratory have demonstrated their Linux-driven ATRIAS robot withstanding a considerable beating while keeping its cool. OSU recently posted videos of its unusual torture testing procedures, which include human kicks and a barrage of dodgeballs, as reported by IEEE Spectrum. Eventually, the human-sized bipedal robot is knocked from its feet, but not before it absorbs a lot of hits. The robot protects itself with strategies such as side stepping and hopping on one foot

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Linux for Astronomers

Filed under
GNU
Linux
SciFi

I've looked at specialty distributions that were created for engineers and biologists in previous articles, but these aren't the only scientific disciplines that have their own distributions. So in this article, I introduce a distribution created specifically for astronomers, called Distro Astro. This distribution bundles together astronomy software to help users with tasks like running observatories or planetariums, doing professional research or outreach.

From the very first moment of booting up Distro Astro, you will notice that this distribution is aimed at astronomers. The look and feel of items, from the boot splash screen to wallpapers and screensavers, have all been given an astronomical theme. Even the default wallpaper is a slideshow of Hubble images.

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Imitate Fake Hollywood Terminal Hacking Melodrama with This Amazing App for Ubuntu

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Movies
SciFi
Humor

We all know that Hollywood movies are the worst place to see some accurate depiction of anything from real life and that includes computer terminals. Well, there is a solution for that now and we can only hope that some misguided producer will see the new "hollywood" package made for this exact purpose.

Hollywood movie producers invest a lot of time and money in custom interfaces and GUIs that don't really do anything, but they think they’re nice and interesting on film. Most of the time, someone is hacking away by typing frenetically while windows with crazy stuff open and close. This is why this kind of image is now seared into the public's consciousness and hacking looks more exciting than in real life. It isn't.

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NASA’s R2 bot to receive legs via SpaceX

Filed under
Linux
SciFi

The 330-pound Robonaut 2 measures 3 feet, 4 inches tall from the waist, and is equipped with more than 350 sensors. Its stomach-located brain runs Linux on 38 PowerPC-based processors. The robot is operated remotely by humans, using the Robonaut Tele-operation System (RTS). This telerobotics system requires a ground- or space-based user to wear a 3D visor, vest, and pressure-sensitive gloves. (For more on the R2, see our original coverage.)

According to the OSRF, the R2 team also uses the open source Gazebo simulator to simulate R2 for development and testing. NASA and ROS.org released their Gazebo models of the R2 and the ISS as open source.

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Top 10 tech tricks we're sick of seeing in movies

Filed under
Movies
Sci/Tech
SciFi

cnet.com: Think how awesome it was the first time you saw a lightsaber in action. Or how your mind was officially shredded when Neo mastered the Matrix. Technology in movies is cool. But for every thrilling example of cool-ass tech, Hollywood seems to produce a tired, dated cliche.

Michael Crichton, million-selling science-fiction author, dies at 66

Filed under
SciFi
Obits

latimes.com: Best-selling author Michael Crichton, who wrote such novels as "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park," and created the popular TV drama "ER," has died at 66, his family said today.

George Lucas Talks More 'Star Wars' TV

Filed under
SciFi

cinematical.com: In a two-part interview with TV Guide, George Lucas talked some more about those two Star Wars TV series he currently has in the works.

BBC confirms Doctor Who series five

Filed under
SciFi

the register: The BBC has announced there will be a fifth series of Doctor Who, although it won't be until 2010 and David Tennant is doubtful to reprise his role as the Time Lord.

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Security News

  • Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study
    Windows 10 was the least secure of of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft's own security bulletins in 2016. Security firm Avecto said its research, titled "2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges", had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights. The research found that, despite its claims to being the "most secure" of Microsoft's operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265. The research also found that while 530 Microsoft vulnerabilities were reported — marginally up from the 524 reported in 2015 — and 189 given a critical rating, 94% could be mitigated by removing admin rights. This was up from 85% in 2015.
  • Windows 10 Creators Update can block Win32 apps if they’re not from the Store [Ed: By Microsoft Peter. People who put Vista 10 on a PC totally lose control of that PC; remember, the OS itself is malware, as per textbook definitions. With DRM and other antifeatures expect copyright enforcement on the desktop soon.]
    The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build doesn't add much in the way of features—it's mostly just bug fixes—but one small new feature has been spotted, and it could be contentious. Vitor Mikaelson noticed that the latest build lets you restrict the installation of applications built using the Win32 API.
  • Router assimilated into the Borg, sends 3TB in 24 hours
    "Well, f**k." Harsh language was appropriate under the circumstances. My router had just been hacked. Setting up a reliable home network has always been a challenge for me. I live in a cramped three-story house, and I don't like running cables. So my router's position is determined by the fiber modem in a corner on the bottom floor. Not long after we moved in, I realized that our old Airport Extreme was not delivering much signal to the attic, where two game-obsessed occupants fought for bandwidth. I tried all sorts of things. I extended the network. I used Ethernet-over-powerline connectors to deliver network access. I made a mystic circle and danced naked under the full moon. We lost neighbors, but we didn't gain a signal.
  • Purism's Librem 13 Coreboot Port Now "100%" Complete
    According to Purism's Youness Alaoui, their Coreboot port to the Librem 13 v1 laptop is now considered complete. The Librem 13 was long talked about having Coreboot over a proprietary BIOS while the initial models still had shipped with the conventional BIOS. Finally in 2017, they have now Coreboot at what they consider to be 100% complete for this Linux-friendly laptop.
  • The Librem 13 v1 coreboot port is now complete
    Here are the news you’ve been waiting for: the coreboot port for the Librem 13 v1 is 100% done! I fixed all of the remaining issues, it is now fully working and is stable, ready for others to enjoy. I fixed the instability problem with the M.2 SATA port, finished running all the tests to ensure coreboot is working correctly, fixed the headphone jack that was not working, made the boot prettier, and started investigating the Intel Management Engine issue.
  • Linux Update Fixes 11-Year-Old Flaw
    Andrey Konovalov, a security researcher at Google, found a use-after-free hole within Linux, CSO Online reported. This particular flaw is of interest because it appears to be situational. It only showed up in kernels built with a certain configuration option — CONFIG_IP_DCCP — enabled.

Kerala saves Rs 300 cr as schools switch to open software

The Kerala government has made a saving of Rs 300 crore through introduction and adoption of Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) in the school education sector, said a state government official on Sunday. IT became a compulsory subject in Kerala schools from 2003, but it was in 2005 only that FOSS was introduced in a phased manner and started to replace proprietary software. The decision made by the curriculum committee to implement it in the higher secondary sector has also been completed now. Read more

Tired of Windows and MAC computer systems? Linux may now be ready for prime time

Are you a bit tired of the same old options of salt and pepper, meaning having to choose only between the venerable Windows and MAC computer operating systems? Looking to branch out a bit, maybe take a walk on the wild side, learn some new things and save money? If so, the Linux operating system, which has been around for a long time and is used and loved by many hard-core techies and developers, may now be ready for prime time with the masses. Read more

Braswell based Pico-ITX SBC offers multiple expansion options

Axiomtek’s PICO300 is a Pico-ITX SBC with Intel Braswell, SATA-600, extended temperature support, and both a mini-PCIe and homegrown expansion connector. Axiomtek has launched a variation on its recently announced Intel Apollo Lake based PICO312 SBC that switches to the older Intel Braswell generation and offers a slightly reduced feature set. The board layout has also changed somewhat, with LVDS, SATA, and USB ports all changing location. Read more