Sunday, May 25, 2008

JJNN 4 May 25th, 2008

Hi again and welcome back to JJNN. Today I have two news stories for you.

The first news story is about a robotic soccer team. The original story is given here. While this may spawn images for some people of Isaac Asimov's 3 law robots kicking a ball about with robotic feet on a futuristic soccer field, this is not quite the case. The robots are pictured below with their builders.The people that built the robots are students in Aichi's prefectoral university and they have won the Robo-cup Japan Open 3 years in a row. Their team is called the RoboDragons. They are Japan's representativeentative in the world championship, which takes place in July.

The team was chosen to represent Japan in the sport though a championship that took place at the beginning of May. In 7 games they only lost once. The system that they use to control their team uses a camera on the ceiling above the soccer field. The visual data is fed into a computer which decides the best position for all of the robot players. It than uses radio waves to move the robots.

The team is getting ready to go to the world championship by ramping up the shooting power of the robots and making new strategies for their team. They have to get past 21 other teams to get that prize.

I wish the Japanese team luck and all, but I really wonder if they could find a more useful way to use this kind of robot technology. If only people would put as much time an effort into making actual helpful robots instead of things like robot soccer teams and robot vacuum cleaners (that vacuum cleaner is pure Fail by the way).

The next story is about a newly found type of steel that is strong at very low temperatures. The original article can be found here. The new type of steel is said to be about 6 times stronger than normal steel at lower temperatures. It is made by heating steel up to 500C and than compressing the metal. This causes the crystal structure inside the steel to take on an almost fibrous characteristic.

That's all interesting, but there was one thing about this article that got to me. In the middle of the article it says that the Titanic only sunk because the metal of the outer structure of the ship was weakened because of low temperatures. I wonder if that is really true. Does anyone out there know anything about this? If so, let me know. I would think that hitting a huge piece of floating ice would put a hole into just about anything if it were going fast enough.

Any way, that's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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