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Universal Manipulator Does Chess
Technology Posted by timothy on Tuesday July 31, @06:36PM
from the good-girls-from-bad dept.
SillyWilly writes: "A while ago a story was posted here about a vibrating plate capable of sorting color poker chips, and there was much ado about the videos being real. Well, a new cool demo involving chess pieces is out, done by a fellow called Neil Aldrin, who is hacking away at Dan Reznik's (the original inventor) cool contraption."

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Danilo Rezende
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  • 'Universal Manipulator Does Chess' | Preferences | 136 comments | Search Discussion
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    Heh... (Score:1, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @06:38PM EDT (#2)
    I used to do this with little rubber Kinniku men on a little vibrating wrestling platform with my friends... (that didn't sound good...)

    Before that, there was a little football game that did the same type of thing.

    This is cool?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Wow... (Score:2)
    by JohnnyKnoxville on Tuesday July 31, @06:42PM EDT (#6)
    (User #311956 Info)
    a game of chess that plays itself. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of playing chess? Next up, self watching TV...
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:Wow... by phantumstranger (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @07:03PM EDT
      • Re:Wow... by grammar nazi Tuesday July 31, @07:16PM EDT
        • Re:Wow... by Anonymous Coward (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @08:22PM EDT
        • Re:Wow... by terrymah (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @09:42PM EDT
      • Re:Wow... by Anonymous Coward Wednesday August 01, @06:32AM EDT
      • Re:Wow... by BLAMM! (Score:1) Wednesday August 01, @10:04AM EDT
    • Re:Wow... by dr_labrat (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @07:52PM EDT
    • Re:Wow... by clem (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @11:23PM EDT
    • Already have that by Anonymous Coward Wednesday August 01, @03:58AM EDT
    • Re:Wow... by Anonymous Coward Wednesday August 01, @04:42AM EDT
    How about some magnets (Score:1)
    by Tarkwyn (slashdotorg@bucketoffish.com) on Tuesday July 31, @06:42PM EDT (#7)
    (User #130064 Info)
    Cool - How about putting some magnets in each piece and then disabling the magnet as the piece is about to move. That way only the moving piece is, well, moving?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    remember the football game? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @06:42PM EDT (#8)
    does this remind anyone else about the vibrating plate with the small football players that would endlessly go in circles? That would really piss me off.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Videos (Score:2)
    by OnyxRaven (onyxpenguin@yahoo.com) on Tuesday July 31, @06:45PM EDT (#10)
    (User #9906 Info) http://www.onyxraven.org/
    I'd like to see some better videos of the movement and maybe some information on the other equipment. The videos are of such high-compression that they look to be faked already (though it is apparent that lots of compression is being done)

    problem is I can't forsee any real practical application of this technology (item sorting is great, but why do it this way? sure, for HazMats it _might_ be useful, but looks extremely complicated.)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Videos (Score:5, Interesting)
      by chialea (chialea@hotmail.com) on Tuesday July 31, @06:51PM EDT (#16)
      (User #8009 Info)
      The movies aren't faked. I used to work for the same professor (John Canny), and I saw the table in action. It's pretty cool stuff, though it could go a lot farther with some more math work on the field created.

      Yes, the table is real. Yes, it works. Yes, it could be better. This is research... this is expected!

      Lea (who used to work on cs theory and robotics, and now works on cs theory and crypto)
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      • Re:Videos by Anonymous Coward Wednesday August 01, @01:27AM EDT
        • Re:Videos by chialea (Score:1) Wednesday August 01, @11:35AM EDT
      • Re:Videos by jovlinger (Score:2) Wednesday August 01, @12:16PM EDT
    • Re:Videos by Anonymous Coward Tuesday July 31, @07:36PM EDT
    • they look fake as hell by ArchieBunker (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @08:22PM EDT
    • It's Fast Motion... here's proof. by M3shuggah (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @09:06PM EDT
    Most Profitable Industrial Application is ... (Score:2, Funny)
    by Sydney Weidman (weidmans@mts.net) on Tuesday July 31, @06:45PM EDT (#11)
    (User #187981 Info)
    Sex Toys, of course.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Misleading (Score:1)
    by sharkey (die_goober@spambait.hotmail.com) on Tuesday July 31, @06:46PM EDT (#12)
    (User #16670 Info) http://www.act1.net/users/seth
    from the good-girls-from-bad dept.

    None of the links provided had to do with good girls, or bad girls. And I was ready to get excited, too.

    "Outlook not so good." That magic 8-ball knows everything! I'll ask about Exchange Server next.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Uh Oh... (Score:3, Funny)
    by phantumstranger (who@what.org) on Tuesday July 31, @06:47PM EDT (#14)
    (User #310589 Info)
    Deep Blue + UPM = an even more frustrated Kasparov? Do you think he would give the finger as he stormed out of the building? Do you think the machine would give one back?

    I'd watch just to find out.

    "From of old, there are not lacking things that have attained Oneness." - Lao Tzu

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:Uh Oh... by complex (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @11:58PM EDT
    Ok, I think I know.. (Score:3, Funny)
    by (H)elix1 on Tuesday July 31, @06:58PM EDT (#19)
    (User #231155 Info)
    what you would use it for - to fill in the "further funding is required" checkbox on a grant....
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Why do people get so interested (Score:5, Interesting)
    by perdida (revlucion@journaSPAMlist.com) on Tuesday July 31, @07:00PM EDT (#20)
    (User #251676 Info) http://www.indymedia.org/
    when computers and machines do humanlike tasks such as basic sorting of real world objects...

    and they don't get all hot and bothered when they do non-machine like tasks, such as lifting big cars and things?

    Robots that walk like people, human facial expressions on computer-graphics simulation.. they all generate so much interest among technical people.

    Perhaps, not being a technical person, I am more interested in the great alienness of machines. I am interested in earth movers at mines; the Big Dig in Boston; construction cranes; auto assembly lines; mainframes; enterprise-class servers; billion dollar electronic fund transfers.

    The replacement of humans in industrial processes with machines has always been an object of industrial design. The assembly line replaced the guild style craft. Instead of creating little portable machines that aided the watchmaker and the bootmaker in their old craft methodologies, inventors remade the ways of creating goods; those guild methods were replaced by roboticized methods of manufacture.

    I would rather see a chip in the head of the watch maker that gives him eagle eye vision, or an augmentation of intelligence or emotional sales skills in a salesperson, than something that would eliminate these people from their industries.
    This is what democracy looks like
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Electric NFL Football... (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @07:02PM EDT (#21)
    The bow-tie demo on the original inventor's webpage is most impressive.

    This stuff reminds me of those old vibrating playfield football games from when I was a kid.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Neil Aldrin? (Score:3, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @07:07PM EDT (#25)
    Are you sure it wasn't Buzz Armstrong? :)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    I don't understand (Score:5, Informative)
    by coupland ($me="geek@"."whengeeksattack.org";) on Tuesday July 31, @07:15PM EDT (#30)
    (User #160334 Info) http://www.whengeeksattack.org/
    I hope someone who understands robotics better than me can explain -- what is so special about this device? I saw the chess and poker chip demos and I was impressed, but the same could be accomplished using a robotic arm, probably in less time. Can someone in the know explain the import of this technology? I'm sure it exists but I haven't read enough on the topic to see it plainly...
    I'm not paranoid. But everyone thinks I am...
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:I don't understand by Anonymous Coward Tuesday July 31, @08:02PM EDT
    • Re:I don't understand by darrylg (Score:1) Tuesday July 31, @08:19PM EDT
    • Re:I don't understand by Lostman (Score:2) Tuesday July 31, @08:35PM EDT
      Re:I don't understand (Score:5, Insightful)
      by jetpack (wrgcnpx@ubhfgba.ee.pbz) on Tuesday July 31, @08:40PM EDT (#64)
      (User #22743 Info)
      Well, I used to work for a prof that did research in this area. That was five years ago, so I'm way out of date, but hopefully I can give you a bit of insight.

      A big use for this kind of thing is for part feeding, that is a method of orienting parts on an assembly line. There is mention of this on Dr. Resnik's web page. Basically, you have the problem of presicely orienting a whole whack of (possibly complicated) parts as fast as you can to present them to the next stage in an assembly process.

      Yes, a robot can accomplish this, but because of the motion that is involved they are slow, and because of the optical recognition involved they can bit, uh ... touchy :)

      One method of dealing with part orientation is by things called bowl feeders. They are a bit hard to describe in type, but imagine that you have a big steel drum with a spiralling track up the inside of the drum. By vibrating the drum you can make the parts you are trying to orient climb up the track (beleive me, this sounds wierd, but it actually works). By changing the shape of the track you can force incorrectly oriented parts to fall back into the bowl, thus filtering out parts that are correctly oriented. So, only parts that are correctly oriented arrive at the top of the drum.

      It's not quite as simple as that, but that's the general idea. Now, as well as this works (when it works), the problem is that whenever you change the shape of the part, you need to build a new bowl feeder! And building these things is not simple (or cheap).

      I beleive what Dr. Reznik is trying to do with this experiment is not to prove that you can move poker chips around, but that you can build a programable solution to this problem; you can build one machine that will sort anything, given the correct programming of the controllers, thus alleviating the cost of prototyping things like bowl feeders.

      So, to my mind, it's actually pretty spiffy, despite what others are saying here.

      I know I've left out some details, and I certainly haven't researched Dr. Reznik's work, but hopefully I've given you (and some of the /. detractors) some idea where this work is probably headed.

      The only thing I find a bit perplexing is, if he is proceeding towards the end that I've described, is how he is going to do this in three dimensions. Sure, he can rotate things in two dimensions, but what about more complicated parts?

      I should also add that watching one of those bowl feeders in action is actually pretty creepy at first. Parts move up the track, but nothing else seems to be moving (the vibration rate is quite high, so you don't really see it). Mind you, they are freakin loud :)

      run my email address through rot13

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:I don't understand by Danilo Rezende (Score:1) Wednesday August 01, @01:26AM EDT
    OK enough is enough (Score:1)
    by Uttles (uttles@hoe.wide.world) on Tuesday July 31, @07:18PM EDT (#33)
    (User #324447 Info) http://personal.atl.bellsouth.net/atl/u/t/uttles/TOM/
    Don't you think it's time we stop slashdotting these researcher's websites? Please mirror these things before you go posting links like crazy. These people don't have enough time or money as it is, I don't think we should add to their headache by crashing their servers.
    Let me go back and face the perils!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Possible applications? (Score:1)
    by MikeyNg (mikeyng@SPAM-MUSUBIhotmail.com) on Tuesday July 31, @07:39PM EDT (#40)
    (User #88437 Info) http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~mikeyng/

    People are correct in saying that robotic arms would be able to move bigger objects and is probably a cheaper solution. Apparently, UPM allows movement of more than one object at a time in a small area. If you have a robot arm, let's face it: you need room for it to move. This may be room that you don't have.

    Having said all that, I still don't know exactly what real world applications this may have. Would it be used to sort drugs? Maybe someone can think of a good reason to move multiple pieces of something at the same time. This is somewhat exciting, but we're years away from any practical application, especially since I can't even begin to think of one. :)

    .sig your face
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Possible applications? (Score:5, Informative)
      by danyelf on Tuesday July 31, @08:32PM EDT (#61)
      (User #449491 Info)
      Ok, first the full disclosure. I'm a grad student who worked with both John Canny (the advisor involved) and Dan Resnik (the builder of this cool device). http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~jfc/

      The objections that I'm seeing seem to be of the following:
      * "It's not real--the videos are fake."
      No, it's real. The basic principle is this: if you take a table and shake it, stuff moves a little. If you shake it in a different direction, stuff moves in a different direction. Dan has figured out a pretty cool way of quantifying all this. He does a vector addition of several different shakes, and is able to therefore target the shaking.

      * Why is it cool?
      Well, first, because it's not obvious that it works. This is tricky math.

      * Yes, but why THIS?
      Because robot arms are a pain, and only manipulate one thing at a time, and they need a lot of elbow room, and a lot of motors, and they have to touch things. This requires four motors that JUST pulse in and out. It works on a flat table. Nothing touches except the table surface. This would be perfect for carefully-controlled environments like clean rooms (where you want to minimize the amount of stuff in the room), hazardous materials, and delicate objects. There's very little complexity, and because it's just a bunch of (tuned) vibrations, you could slap up a new one against a floor and it works.

      The chess demo is just showing that one can comfortably manipulate a large number of items.

      * Does anyone need to sort multiple things?
      All the time. Factory floors separate out rejects from working models. Recycling centers separate cans from bottles. Usually, they hire people to sort the stinking messes apart, and they use clever special-built machines to separate metal (use a magnet) from glass (heavier than plastic when crushed) from paper. This sorts on a smooth--therefore easily cleanable--surface.

      Dan now works for Siemens TTB, who are, among other things, very interested in small motors.

      * My toy did this.
      Yes, it did. But it did it in an extremely constrained way, and it probably took a really practiced flip of your wrist. And it probably did it in one dimension. (Dan has a little plastic train set that works on this principle).

      * This eliminates human jobs
      Not necessarily. It could work well in conjunction with a human job. Why do that annoying RSI-inducing reach/grab/sort when you can sit behind a desk, look at a video camera, and tick off the items on a screen? After all, image recognition isn't too good yet. The machine is responsible for the reach/grab/sort, and you don't have to wear a bunny suit.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Score -1 for this site (Score:0, Redundant)
    by Alan on Tuesday July 31, @07:47PM EDT (#42)
    (User #347 Info) http://arcterex.net/
    I'd love to check out the movies on the demos page, but they are all wmv. "You must install windows media player" Well, sorry, I'm in linux and don't have that.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Universal Manipulator Plays Chess? (Score:4, Funny)
    by Ukab the Great on Tuesday July 31, @07:57PM EDT (#47)
    (User #87152 Info)
    If I could manipulate entire universes, I'd find chess kind of boring.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Great.. (Score:1)
    by niloroth on Tuesday July 31, @08:00PM EDT (#49)
    (User #462586 Info)
    yet another machine that will be able to beat me at chess.
    If You Canít Dazzle Them With Brilliance, Riddle Them With Bullets
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    The "jet" (Score:4, Interesting)
    by Animats (slashdot-replies@downside.com) on Tuesday July 31, @08:16PM EDT (#54)
    (User #122034 Info) http://www.animats.com/
    That's very impressive. I'd have thought that impossible.

    Recognize what they're doing. They're vibrating a rigid plate in such a way that one object, out of many, moves. The system that drives the plate can produce both small rotations and translations. The vibrations have arbitrary waveform, and are generally asymmetric. It's the asymmetry that produces motion. That's all.

    I could see this working for two objects, because you could vibrate the plate such that the center of rotation was under the one you didn't want to move, so it didn't go anywhere. But I had no idea how they make this work for N objects.

    The novel result in the thesis is section 6.1. Figure out how a "jet" vibration works, and you'll understand the whole thing. The basic idea is that a rotational vibration centered on the point at which motion is desired is superimposed on a translational vibration in the desired direction of travel. When both vibration functions are suitably chosen, there's a very unexpected property: the feeding velocity is small everywhere except near the center of rotation.

    This is counterintutive. You'd expect the rotational effects to be biggest far from the center of rotation, and zero at the center of rotation. Apparently the idea is that the forces induced by rotation interfere with the translational vibration that makes objects move. What puzzles me is that they're able to achieve zero feeding motion over most of the entire plane. But look at figure 6.2 in the thesis, showing the jet field.

    That's really neat. But I don't get it intutively yet. Can anybody else explain it more clearly?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Not only in windows media format, READ PEOPLE! (Score:4, Informative)
    by sanemind (spamme@rhodes.mine.nu) on Tuesday July 31, @08:18PM EDT (#55)
    (User #155251 Info)
    Yeesh. Normally I wouldn't bother posting this, but I've read 4 comments about how the propriatary bastard is offering the videos only in windows media format! Good lord. Read a little further. It's in good ol' MPG1 too.

    They clearly only are posting in windows media because it uses so much less bandwidth. Actually windows media uses MPG4 as it's underlying implementation, which you can play in linux anyway if you really care to. Yeesh!

    the pen is mighter then the sword. the sword is mighter then the court. the court is mighter then the pen.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Finally, the answer I've been waiting for! (Score:1)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @08:50PM EDT (#65)
    As a kid, I always hated that damn football game. I'm a nerd, so of course real football is out of the question... but playing the stupid board game, my quarterback ALWAYS ran in the wrong direction. I almost think my brother found a clever way to cheat. But thanks to the wonders of technology, not only will he run in the right direction, he can also dodge and weave around the defensive player that the dog chewed the head off of.

    As long as my brother's pieces still move randomly, this is ultra cool.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Oooh. Ahh. Uh uh... (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Greyfox (nride@uswest.net) on Tuesday July 31, @09:00PM EDT (#66)
    (User #87712 Info) http://www.flying-rhenquest.net/
    I find most of the applications in the original article a bit forced. Self setting tables (Assuming you do 95% of the work and move the dishes to the table and chuck them down anywhere.) Conference room tables that serve coffe (Again, assuming you do 95% of the work to get the coffee to the table.) The coolest thing about the chess thing is the piece recognition the computer does, which a camera is used for. The Post Office application is, admittedly a bit cooler but for the most part I'm not really overwhelmed. Just kinda whelmed...

    Got Evil?

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    UMI sucks (Score:1)
    by whovian on Tuesday July 31, @09:14PM EDT (#74)
    (User #107062 Info)
    Being at UC-Berzerkley :), does he have to relinquish his thesis to UMI for publishing? That would be a shame.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    the poker and chess may not be too impressive... (Score:2, Funny)
    by tetsugakusha (anything@AignoreXtheElowercase.ORG) on Tuesday July 31, @09:15PM EDT (#75)
    (User #466747 Info)
    but I bet it would be really good at pinball :D

    this .sig is umop apisdn
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Is it just me... (Score:1)
    by jeko on Tuesday July 31, @09:29PM EDT (#78)
    (User #179919 Info)
    ...am I the only one reminded of those cheesy "magic fingers" hotel beds?

    Think of the new applications.

    (No, not those, get your mind out of the gutter, get married for a few years and rejoin us at the grownups table.)

    The bed automatically gives you back your half of the blanket when your spouse (significant other) steals it.

    The bed automatically shakes cookie, cracker, and granola crumbs out of the bed after your toddler finishes watching cartoons on your TV.

    The bed automatically finds the remote and returns it to the head of the bed.

    Um, well, OK, so the bed would also have ... other uses... which would probably add to the granola and cookie crumbs in your bed.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    electric footbal (Score:1)
    by Scrooge919 on Tuesday July 31, @09:41PM EDT (#79)
    (User #188405 Info)
    Kinda reminds me of the old electric football game where the pieces just vibrated all over the field. Of course, the damn thing never worked right... :) Maybe after all this time, some game manufacturer can make an electric football game that actually works!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Universal Manipulator Does Chess (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @09:43PM EDT (#81)
    I've looked all over the pr0n VHS websites and all I found was "Debbie Does Dallas", but no "Universal Manipulator Does Chess". It sounded so promising.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    manipulators (Score:1, Funny)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @09:56PM EDT (#83)
    With all these posts about Bill Gates, don't we have enough articles dealing with manipulators? Let's see something more positive, please.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Great! (Score:3, Funny)
    by GiorgioG on Tuesday July 31, @10:15PM EDT (#85)
    (User #225675 Info)
    Now I don't have to get up if I forget my beer on the other end of the coffee table
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:Great! by Dr_Cheeks (Score:2) Wednesday August 01, @09:12AM EDT
    Programmability is the key (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Bugmaster on Tuesday July 31, @10:33PM EDT (#86)
    (User #227959 Info)
    The important fact about this device is not that it moves poker chips around, or that it can be used to set tables (what ? anyway), but that it is programmable. Meaning that it can potentially solve any problem which involves moving multiple objects to some specific configuration. What do you think is easier - building a physical robot arm capable of moving 100 objects at the same time, or writing a computer program using pre-built library functions ?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Updated videos (Score:1)
    by nalldrin on Tuesday July 31, @10:56PM EDT (#89)
    (User #472465 Info)
    Hi everyone, it's cool to see that my work has received so much attention. Thanks to Robert Cicconetti, I now have a video with an overlaid chess-board, so you can see where the pieces are in the chess game. I also changed the video links to list the mpeg's before the windows media files since many people didn't notice that I had mpegs. The reason I have such high compression is I have very limited web-space. --Neil
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    A skeptic (Score:3, Informative)
    by MarkusQ (concat("MarkusQ",64,"reality.com")) on Tuesday July 31, @11:55PM EDT (#93)
    (User #450076 Info)
    Call me a skeptic, but I would have been much more impressed if they had moved one thing at a time. Instead, if you watch the video, you see them moving everything on the table at once, with no real pauses between steps, and most of the pieces in multiple squares at once. There is also considerable collective drift. The text speaks of accurate positioning of individual pieces, but that isn't what I saw.

    -- MarkusQ


    "DEG DED {DE}F ED CBCA..." (George Gershwin)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • Re:A skeptic by rabidcow (Score:1) Wednesday August 01, @01:48AM EDT
    I don't get it (Score:0, Redundant)
    by de Selby on Wednesday August 01, @12:13AM EDT (#97)
    (User #167520 Info)
    Can someone please explain what's so impressive about this?

    The plate shakes; several objects move around randomly. They claim it's intentional positioning, but it doesn't look like it.

    I could do this myself. I shake my table, things move, and I say "Look! Each is moving on it's own vector!" Who would disagree?

    If they moved only one object, or moved objects from a specific point to another specific point, things would be different....
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Move over Deep Blue... (Score:2)
    by quintessent (quintessent@bigPleaseDon'tSPAMfoot.com) on Wednesday August 01, @12:35AM EDT (#98)
    (User #197518 Info)
    This machine knows how to sort chess pieces.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    And how is this exciting? (Score:1)
    by larva on Wednesday August 01, @03:35AM EDT (#107)
    (User #82883 Info)
    What exactly is spectacular news here? i mean pepole make all sorts of fantastic programs/hardware for their ph.d, and this is what slashdot features?

    Im not trying to rain on anyones parade or anything, but this is a non-event.

    -- gunzip-howto.tar.gz
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    This is real world engineering (Score:1)
    by ultrasound on Wednesday August 01, @04:15AM EDT (#110)
    (User #472511 Info)
    What a disappointing reaction from /.

    This is real world engineering. It may be trivial to write software to manipulate objects on a GUI, but this application requires indirect mapping between vibrating transducers and deterministic motion of 1 object whilst N objects remain relatively stationary. Iterate this and you have arbitrary manipulation of multiple objects in Ďparallelí.

    Solving the mapping problem, and building a working demo deserves some respect. So you canít think of a decent application after 30 seconds thought, so it must be useless.

    The whole world of manufacturing is based on manipulation of components to produce a more complex assembly. The Universal Manipulator provides new method of achieving this and I am sure lots of applications will be found, because it is easily reprogrammable without retooling and faster than serial manipulation by a single positioning device.

    As an example, PCB populating involves a whole number of pick and place motions to position all the components on the board. If all of the mechanical steps could be replaced by simply dropping all the components on the board and shaking it for a while, assembly would be faster and machines would be cheaper and simpler.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    This will completely revolutionize... (Score:1)
    by Voltaire99 on Wednesday August 01, @05:10AM EDT (#114)
    (User #265100 Info)
    ...the vibrating hotel bed industry.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    homer beat you to it (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, @05:22AM EDT (#116)
    Apparently, Homer's been doing this for years. By the time he demonstrated moving a bowl of dip across a coffee table simply by stomping his foot, he had obviously had quite a bit of practice. Even Mr. Burns was impressed.

    Let's see this contraption land a bowl of dip in your lap.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    The progression of the industry (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, @09:53AM EDT (#121)
    Wow! And I thought the old-skool bouncing football men was the epitomy of the vibrating plate!
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Genetic programming to create optimal movement? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, @10:37AM EDT (#123)
    Has anyone tried to use genetic algorithm evolution to find better motion algorithms? It seems like a great application for them, since you can set up a pretty simple "optimal" target case (the selected item or items move toward the goal position and and other items don't move), which you can use to measure the suitability of the algorithm. Of course, you may get really sick of puting pieces back in their starting positions until it comes up with a decent solution... Brett
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Uh .... (Score:1)
    by Greedo on Wednesday August 01, @10:43AM EDT (#124)
    (User #304385 Info)
    I had an electric football game back in the mid 70's that did pretty much the same thing. You set up the pieces, plugged it in. It buzzed and shaked, and the little guys moved around. A search for "ELECTRIC FOOTBALL GAME" on eBay turns up lots of the things.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Intuitive thinking (Score:1)
    by kmferry on Wednesday August 01, @11:41AM EDT (#127)
    (User #461242 Info)
    The way to think about this intuitively is to think about your "knowns" in the equation, and how to solve for your "unknown". Your "knowns" are the following: 1)You have chess pieces set at initial positions, 2)You know where you want these chess pieces to go (final positions), and 3)you can get info on the materials involved as they can act as "dampers", and dampers affect the vibrations. Your "unknown" is the forced vibration input (i.e. how fast each motor spins at a given time). For those of you with a calculus background, you can see that this is a second order linear equation with constant coefficients ( g(t)=ay''+by'+cy ). Thus you can set up matrices using Mathcad, etc. to crunch the math...solving for the motor inputs for each unit of time.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    !(cool) (Score:1)
    by mcgrof (mcgrof[at]eden[dot]rutgers[dot]edu) on Wednesday August 01, @12:39PM EDT (#129)
    (User #250521 Info)
    I'm sorry, but I think the video clearly showed how un-prepared this UMP was... I saw two pieces move at the same time, several times...

    How about putting Chess pieces on a mattress while people get their grove on?


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Neil Aldrin (Score:2)
    by zyqqh on Tuesday July 31, @06:58PM EDT (#18)
    (User #137965 Info)
    I've met the guy. The name is not a random coincidence =)
    // zyqqh
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:In Windows Media Player format? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @07:27PM EDT (#36)
    Yes. It's secret for everyone except the 90% who use a real OS.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:In Windows Media Player format? (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, @07:40PM EDT (#41)
    Grow up.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    It's in mpg1 too, sillyhead! (Score:1)
    by sanemind (spamme@rhodes.mine.nu) on Tuesday July 31, @08:15PM EDT (#52)
    (User #155251 Info)
    Look at the page a little more carefully before you complain.

    the pen is mighter then the sword. the sword is mighter then the court. the court is mighter then the pen.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Add some voice recognition . . . (Score:1)
    by -Nails- on Wednesday August 01, @01:49PM EDT (#131)
    (User #135059 Info)
    Wow I'm honored that my comment pissed off some moderators enough to get marked as flamebait. Oh wait don't tell me there are quadriplegic moderators out there.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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