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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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More in Tux Machines

Programming: Node.js, Micro:bit, L4Re, Python, Go and More

  • 14 Best NodeJS Frameworks for Developers in 2019
    Node.js is used to build fast, highly scalable network applications based on an event-driven non-blocking input/output model, single-threaded asynchronous programming. A web application framework is a combination of libraries, helpers, and tools that provide a way to effortlessly build and run web applications. A web framework lays out a foundation for building a web site/app. The most important aspects of a web framework are – its architecture and features (such as support for customization, flexibility, extensibility, security, compatibility with other libraries, etc..).
  • Debian now got everything you need to program Micro:bit
    I am amazed and very pleased to discover that since a few days ago, everything you need to program the BBC micro:bit is available from the Debian archive. All this is thanks to the hard work of Nick Morrott and the Debian python packaging team. The micro:bit project recommend the mu-editor to program the microcomputer, as this editor will take care of all the machinery required to injekt/flash micropython alongside the program into the micro:bit, as long as the pieces are available. There are three main pieces involved. The first to enter Debian was python-uflash, which was accepted into the archive 2019-01-12. The next one was mu-editor, which showed up 2019-01-13. The final and hardest part to to into the archive was firmware-microbit-micropython, which needed to get its build system and dependencies into Debian before it was accepted 2019-01-20. The last one is already in Debian Unstable and should enter Debian Testing / Buster in three days. This all allow any user of the micro:bit to get going by simply running 'apt install mu-editor' when using Testing or Unstable, and once Buster is released as stable, all the users of Debian stable will be catered for.
  • Some Ideas for 2019
    Well, after my last article moaning about having wishes and goals while ignoring the preconditions for, and contributing factors in, the realisation of such wishes and goals, I thought I might as well be constructive and post some ideas I could imagine working on this year. It would be a bonus to get paid to work on such things, but I don’t hold out too much hope in that regard. In a way, this is to make up for not writing an article summarising what I managed to look at in 2018. But then again, it can be a bit wearing to have to read through people’s catalogues of work even if I do try and make my own more approachable and not just list tons of work items, which is what one tends to see on a monthly basis in other channels. In any case, 2018 saw a fair amount of personal focus on the L4Re ecosystem, as one can tell from looking at my article history. Having dabbled with L4Re and Fiasco.OC a bit in 2017 with the MIPS Creator CI20, I finally confronted certain aspects of the software and got it working on various devices, which had been something of an ambition for at least a couple of years. I also got back into looking at PIC32 hardware and software experiments, tidying up and building on earlier work, and I keep nudging along my Python-like language and toolchain, Lichen. Anyway, here are a few ideas I have been having for supporting a general strategy of building flexible, sustainable and secure computing environments that respect the end-user. Such respect not being limited to software freedom, but also extending to things like privacy, affordability and longevity that are often disregarded in the narrow focus on only one set of end-user rights.
  • 5 Best Python IDEs You Can Get in 2019
    If you’re taking Python lessons online, you will eventually need a good IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to write better code. The command line interface can only prove so useful. At Python.com you can download a native IDE called IDLE (Integrated Development and Learning Environment). However, it is rather basic in scope, and debugging can consume more time than necessary. With this in mind, here are a few of the best IDEs for Python which add to your productivity.
  • Python’s Requests Library (Guide)
  • Factorial one-liner using reduce and mul for Python 2 and 3
  • Sample Chapters from Creating wxPython Applications Book
  • Migrating from Pelican 3 to Pelican 4
  • Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q4 2018 [Ed: Python Software Foundation has many Microsoft employees in it now. Not good. Microsoft has been using money to filtrate just about everything, including its competition. This isn't so new a strategy and many examples of it exist.]
  • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #352 (Jan. 22, 2019)
  • Why Don't People Use Formal Methods?

    Before we begin, we need to lay down some terms. There really isn’t a formal methods community so much as a few tiny bands foraging in the Steppe.1 This means different groups use terms in different ways. Very broadly, there are two domains in FM: formal specification is the study of how we write precise, unambiguous specifications, and formal verification is the study of how we prove things are correct. But “things” includes both code and abstract systems. Not only do we use separate means of specifying both things, we often use different means to verify them, too. To make things even more confusing, if somebody says they do formal specification, they usually mean they both specify and verify systems, and if somebody says they do formal verification, they usually mean mean they both specify and verify code.

    Before we begin, we need to lay down some terms. There really isn’t a formal methods community so much as a few tiny bands foraging in the Steppe.1 This means different groups use terms in different ways. Very broadly, there are two domains in FM: formal specification is the study of how we write precise, unambiguous specifications, and formal verification is the study of how we prove things are correct. But “things” includes both code and abstract systems. Not only do we use separate means of specifying both things, we often use different means to verify them, too. To make things even more confusing, if somebody says they do formal specification, they usually mean they both specify and verify systems, and if somebody says they do formal verification, they usually mean mean they both specify and verify code. For clarity purposes, I will divide verification into code verification (CV) and design verification (DV), and similarly divide specification into CS and DS. These are not terms used in the wider FM world. We’ll start by talking about CS and CV, then move on to DS and DV.

  • Learning C as an uneducated hobbyist

    V=Programming, however, is conscious. It’s an activity in which you have to think in order to act. Unlearning bad practice in programming takes no energy at all apart from that spent being told that the practice is bad and coming to understand and remember it. Once you’ve done that, it’s almost impossible to make the same mistake again.

    That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of learning “along the way”, “as you go” or “in an ad-hoc manner” because “you might learn bad practice”. If you learn the wrong thing, you can learn the right thing later. After all, you’re not a professional programmer. It doesn’t matter very much if you make a mistake; your job doesn’t depend on it.

  • Demystifying Pointers in Go
    If you’ve never worked with a language that exposes pointers, it could be a little confusing. But the good news is pointers don’t need to be scary. In fact, pointers can be pretty straightforward. Here are the basics of pointers in Go:

GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment to Launch with a "Radical New Icon Style"

Besides the slightly revamped default theme, it looks like the GNOME 3.32 desktop environment will come with a "radical new icon style," along with new guidelines for app developers to provide a more unified icon style across the GNOME ecosystem. GNOME designer Jakub Steiner writes in his latest blog article about the improvements needed for the revamped icon style to be included by default with the GNOME 3.32 release of the open-source desktop environment used by numerous Linux-based operating systems, including Ubuntu. Read more Also: GNOME Is Making Great Progress On Overhauling Their App Icons

Dell XPS 13 9380 Developer Edition Now Available, Shipping With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Dell is now shipping their new XPS 13 8th gen (9380) laptop in a developer edition that comes preloaded with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The Dell XPS 9380 is only an incremental upgrade over the previous-generation 9370: it has the slightly newer Intel Whiskey Lake processors, moves the web camera position to the top of the display rather than at the bottom, and other minor refinements but nothing too dramatic. From the Developer Edition side, they have moved from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to 18.04 LTS. Read more Also: The new Dell XPS 13 developer edition now available in the US, Europe and Canada New Dell XPS 13 Laptop with Ubuntu Is Now Available in the US, Europe and Canada

Microsoft Windows Server Benchmarked Against Six Linux Distributions

While it was not too long ago that Microsoft Windows Server 2019 began shipping and that we conducted some end-of-year benchmarks between Windows and Linux, with being in the process of running a number of Windows and Linux benchmarks as part of our ongoing 10GbE OS performance testing, I also took the opportunity to run some other benchmarks on Windows Server 2016 and 2019 as well as a set of Linux distributions. With carrying out the fresh OS installations anyways for the network testing, with recently having brought over some more Phoronix Test Suite test profiles with Windows support, I decided to run some fresh Windows Server vs. Linux benchmarks anyways. Granted, not all of the tests are server-oriented and not all of the traditional Linux server distributions were used. Just take this as you wish of some fresh Windows vs. Linux performance benchmarks. Read more