The surface of the sun from October 14th to 30th, 2014, showing sunspot AR 2192, the largest sunspot of the last two solar cycles. During this time sunspot AR 2191 produced six X-class and four M-class solar flares. The animation shows the sun in the ultraviolet 304 ångström wavelength, and plays at a rate of 52.5 minutes per second. It is composed of more than 17,000 images, 72 GB of data produced by the solar dynamics observatory (http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/). The audio is the “heartbeat” of the sun, processed from SOHO HMI data by Alexander G. Kosovichev. Image processing and animation by James Tyrwhitt-Drake.
Too incredible for my tiny brain to even process.
Biomimicry has taken us far in robotics. There’s the snake. There’s the mechanized pack animal. There’s the birds, and the bees, and the fleas. And on and on. It makes sense that we would, in constructing our autonomous animals, imitate the highly evolved species of the natural world.
Except … when it doesn’t. Sometimes robots are at their most effective when they’re self-consciously unnatural.
Case in point: the Super Ball Bot. Which is the machine’s actual name.
An ingenious approach to robot design. They’ve built something with such flexibility in movement that they have to algorithmically evolve its control mechanics just to operate it, theoretically giving them a system with a baked-in robustness you couldn’t achieve otherwise.