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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

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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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Openwashing: Microsoft, Apple and Symphony Software Foundation

Linux Foundation: Real-Time Linux (RT Linux), LF Deep Learning Foundation, OpenTracing and More

  • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux
    Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years -- here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 -- many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels. At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions. One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.” One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”
  • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue
    I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry. Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.” This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.” [...] The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.” While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”
  • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI
    The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF. Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.
  • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard
    What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.
  • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]
    Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?
  • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation
    Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.
  • Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan Schedule Announced [Ed: "Brian Redmond, Microsoft" so you basically go to an event about Linux and must listen to a talk from a company which attacks Linux with patent blackmail, bribes etc.]

Security: Updates, GrayKey, Google and Cilium

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Hackers Leaked The Code Of iPhone Cracking Device “GrayKey”, Attempted Extortion
    The mysterious piece of hardware GrayKey might give a sense of happiness to cops because they can get inside most of the iPhone models currently active, including the iPhone X. The $30,000 device is known to crack a 4-digit iPhone passcode in a matter of a few hours, and a six-digit passcode in 3 days, or possibly 11 hours in ideal scenarios. That’s why security experts suggest that iOS users should keep an alphanumeric passcode instead of an all-number passcode.
  • Someone Is Trying to Extort iPhone Crackers GrayShift With Leaked Code
    Law enforcement agencies across the country are buying or have expressed interest in buying GrayKey, a device that can unlock up-to-date iPhones. But Grayshift, the company that makes the device, has attracted some other attention as well. Last week, an unknown party quietly leaked portions of GrayKey code onto the internet, and demanded over $15,000 from Grayshift—ironically, the price of an entry-level GrayKey—in order to stop publishing the material. The code itself does not appear to be particularly sensitive, but Grayshift confirmed to Motherboard the brief data leak that led to the extortion attempt.
  • It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files
    Google has confirmed spammers can not only send out spoofed emails that appear to have been sent by Gmail users, but said messages also appear in those users' sent mail folders. The Chocolate Factory on Monday told The Register that someone has indeed created and sent spam with forged email headers. These not only override the send address, so that it appears a legit Gmail user sent the message, but it also mysteriously shows up in that person's sent box as if they had typed it and emitted themselves. In turn, the messages would also appear in their inboxes as sent mail.
  • Cilium 1.0 Advances Container Networking With Improved Security
    For last two decades, the IPtables technology has been the cornerstone of Linux networking implementations, including new container models. On April 24, the open-source Cilium 1.0 release was launched, providing a new alternative to IPtables by using BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter), which improves both networking and security. The Cilium project's GitHub code repository defines the effort as Linux Native, HTTP Aware Network Security for Containers. Cilium development has been driven to date by stealth startup Covalent, which is led by CEO Dan Wendlandt, who well-known in the networking community for his work at VMware on software-defined networking, and CTO Thomas Graf, who is a core Linux kernel networking developer.

Applications: KStars, Kurly, Pamac, QEMU

  • KStars 2.9.5 is out!
    Autofocus module users would be happy to learn that the HFR value is now responsive to changing seeing conditions. Previously, the first successful autofocus operation would set the HFR Threshold value of which subsequent measurements are compared against during the in-sequence-focusing step.
  • Kurly – An Alternative to Most Widely Used Curl Program
    Kurly is a free open source, simple but effective, cross-platform alternative to the popular curl command-line tool. It is written in Go programming language and works in the same way as curl but only aims to offer common usage options and procedures, with emphasis on the HTTP(S) operations. In this tutorial we will learn how to install and use kurly program – an alternative to most widely used curl command in Linux.
  • Pamac – Easily Install and Manage Software on Arch Linux
    Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distribution available despite its apparent technicality. Its default package manager pacman is powerful but as time always tells, it is a lot easier to get certain things done using a mouse because GUI apps barely require any typing nor do they require you to remember any commands; and this is where Pamac comes in. Pamac is a Gtk3 frontend for libalpm and it is the GUI tool that Arch Linux users turn to the most when they aren’t in the mood to manage their software packages via the terminal; and who can blame them? It was specifically created to be used with Pacman.
  • QEMU 2.12 Released With RISC-V, Spectre/Meltdown & Intel vGPU Action
    QEMU 2.12 is now officially available as the latest stable feature update to this important component to the open-source Linux virtualization stack.