Sunday, June 22, 2003

Check out these modular, self-reconfiguring robots from PARC (especially the demo videos).
As a kid I loved both Transformers and any sort of Lego-like toy; I'd
love to be able to give my kid a set of these one day. (Ah, who am I
kidding? I'd love to be able to give myself a set of these) [via Boing Boing]

Thursday, June 19, 2003

A basic truth of design: "No one person could come up with something so awful. There had to be at least two of them."

Life imitates Jurassic Park

A genetically-modified bacterium
not only produces a beneficial chemical (in this case an
anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of inflammatory bowel
disease), but it lacks a gene which would be necessary for its survival
outside the intestine. It's an interesting safety mechanism (although
the 72-hour lifespan in the outside world seems awfully long).
Fortunately it's a lot easier to make an organism non-viable than to
make it extraordinarily prolific. (Yeah, I know the idea probably
pre-dates Jurassic Park but that's where I first read about it)