The Next Frontier

Fascinating people, advanced technology, Artificial Intelligence

NASA has Launched a sort of HAL-like Robot to help an Astronaut on the ISS

This morning I had the pleasure to watch the SpaceX cargo ship berth with the International Space Station on NASA TV. It began at 8 AM CDT and lasted 52 minutes total. The cargo ship was retrieved with the Canadian robotic arm and then slowly moved by inches to the docking port on the ISS and finally attached after being properly aligned with six bolts. The recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 launched on Friday, June 29, with the first Artificially Intelligent Robot into space  from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The AI robot is named CIMON (pronounced Simon). It is an acronym for Crew Interactive MObile companioN.

The CIMON Robot is basketball sized and is primarily intended to act as a companion and assistant with German astronaut Alexander Gerst. It has a cartoon face. The designers say will be used to interact with humans on the ISS.

Airbus developed CIMON for Germany’s national space agency. The Artificial Intelligence is provided by IBM’s Watson. While the experiment will be conducted primarily with Gerst, CIMON is expected to interact with any astronaut that calls it’s name.

According to Matthias Biniok, an engineer for IBM and one of the lead architects behind CIMON’s Artificial Intelligence, “the concept of CIMON was inspired by a 197os science fiction comic series set in space, about a sentient, brain shaped robot named Prof. Simon that mentors an astronaut named Captain Future.” Continue reading

Elizabeth Jones – MS, Occupational Therapist, Registered/Licensed, Patients’ Champion

After Spinal  Neck Surgery and recovery Why I Admire the Mayo Clinic, I was moved to Occupational and Physical Therapy. I knew what Physical Therapy is, but I had no idea what kind therapy could be provided for my occupation of Internet Consulting, Artificial Intelligence, and Writing. I soon found out that had to do with using my hands and personal hygiene.

I met my young therapist, Elizabeth Jones. She is from Apple Valley, MN (where my family and I lived for one year) and resides in Austin,  MN. She received her degree and Masters of Science at The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (where I grew up and received my Bachelor of Science Degree) but we never met until she gave me therapy at Mayo.

Elizabeth struck me as shy and serious and seemed a bit nervous but that was probably because I was sliced up and frazzled looking. I think I was still coming out of anesthesia to some degree, or maybe even a large degree. Anyway, I had no idea what occupational therapy is or would be but Elizabeth eased me into what it is about.

One of the first things Elizabeth did was to take me to the gym on our floor and show me what some of the equipment was for such as the large touch display that could be used to follow sprites with my finger. She also introduced me to some of the colored putty that I would play with. My initial conclusion was “this is going to be child’s play!”

Really, I knew it wouldn’t be child’s play because the reason I had surgery was my nervous system was being pressured and I was losing physical capabilities. I really needed to take therapy for the abilities that I was losing. It is not easy to admit to yourself that your body is no longer functioning as it always had.

The next thing we did was to go back to my hospital room to the toilet and bathing area. Elizabeth told me I would need to buy a

picker like the one she showed me. I think I told her that it was a silly idea and I would probably never use it. What I didn’t take in consideration was, I wouldn’t be able to been down for quite a long time to pick things up off the floor. The neck surgery had hobbled me. Continue reading

Dan Pufahl: A Man For All Seasons

Recently, we had an event that no one wants to happen, and that was our air conditioning failing at the beginning of a heat wave. We have a maintenance contract with our local gas company so I called them to come and fix our air conditioner. They were able to come out within two days and the tech guy determined that our AC was dead and irreparable.

We also have a replacement plan with our gas company that pays us a rebate toward our replacement and they came back with a suggested air conditioner which they could install in two weeks.

Just a few years ago, and before having a replacement plan, we bought a new efficient furnace system from Dan Pufahl who had gone to high school with some of my children. Dan now owns an HVAC company. He had done an exceptional job putting in the furnace he sold us and thus I called him to see if he could put in an air conditioning system for us in two days that was high-efficiency and competitively priced.

Coincidentally, as a result of a gift card I had received from AT&T, I purchased an Amazon Alexa Echo which is pretty impressive. So the next most obvious thing to do was to purchase a Google Nest intelligent thermostat that integrates nicely with the Alexa Echo and our new air conditioning system. My reasoning is, if you put in a new system you might as well make it an intelligent system too.

Instead of two days Dan came with the AC unit the next day and his crew and began installing air conditioner and the necessary coils and wires into the furnace.

The day that Dan and his crew installed our air conditioner was the beginning of the heat wave which lasted through the weekend and into the early part of the next week and at one point officially hit 100°F. Needless to say I’m grateful to Dan. He has proved to be a friend to my family and to me and has gone out of his way to be helpful.

Dan’s business is truly one for all seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

If you’re interested in contacting Dan, the name of his company is Top Dog Mechanical. It is located in Elk River, Minnesota. His phone number is 612 – 578 – 2436 and his email address is topdogmech@yahoo.com. You won’t regret it if you do contact him.

 

A Gem in a Garden of Flowers: Holly Kleschold

As I have talked about in previous posts, I had extensive cervical spine surgery, which is limited my mobility. Some things become a nuisance such as cutting my toenails. That is something I never thought I would need to think about, but now I’m not able to do it.

So, the only reasonable and logical solution is to get pedicures. in reality, I had begun to get pedicures before I met with the male people because I had already begun to lose balance and was able to adequately cut my nails anymore.

My real problems, however, began after surgery because I become housebound and was unable to drive my car. Then when I was able to get transportation and make an appointment for a pedicure, the appointment was canceled.

My daughter Candace is a senior hairstylist at Simonson’s in Plymouth, Minnesota. She knew that I was very disappointed and talked with one of her friends there and her friend agreed to set me up with a pedicure. I was able to get in with Holly Kleschold a few days later. Continue reading

The US Air Force is Waiting a Year for Parts It Could 3D-Print

In my most recent post NASA Will Use Stratasys 3d Printer to Make Mars Lander Door. I wrote about the fast evolving technology of 3D printing. Ironically, Will Roper, the assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics, said quote “I have airplanes right now that are waiting on parts that are taking a year and a half to deliver. A year and a half!” He just wants to use additive manufacturing technology to get broken planes back in the air. The roadblock is legal, not technical. Read more >>

 

NASA Will Use Stratasys 3d Printer to Make Mars Lander Door

NASA has announced that a new partnership, Stratasys of Eden Prairie and Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies are teaming with Lockheed Martin Space to make a 3D printed hatch door for NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

 

This is a new venture for Stratasys which traditionally makes 3D printers and component parts for automotive, aerospace, industrial and medical device firms. The Stratasys printed materials that Lockheed selected includes high-strength resins and Antero 800NA electrostatic dissipative plastic materials offer high-performance mechanical chemical and thermal properties according to officials.

 

Stratasys was founded in 1989, by S. Scott Crump and his wife Lisa Crump in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Crump’s idea for the technology came to him in 1988 when he decided to make a frog for his young daughter by using a glue gun with a mixture of polyethylene and candle wax in creating the shape layer by layer and of a way to automate the process. Four years later in 1992, Stratasys sold its first product, the 3D Modeler.

 

In October 1994, Stratasys had an initial public offering on the NASDAQ; they sold 1.38 million shares of common stock at five dollars per share. In 1995, Stratasys bought IBM’s rapid prototyping intellectual property and other assets. They also employed 16 former IBM engineers who’d been developing a small 3D printer that relied on extrusion system similar to Crump’s patented fused deposition modeling technology. Continue reading

Why I Admire the Mayo Clinic

Last September I had my annual physical with my personal physician of 30 years, Dr. Dean Kahoi, and he noted that I had an abnormal gait in my walk. He suggested that I make an appointment with a neurologist which I did. I met with Daniel J. Kuyper, MD and he did some basic tests and ordered up MRIs of my brain and neck. The outcome of the MRIs was my brain was happily all right but I did have spinal stenosis.

 

In November, I met with a neurosurgeon from Minneapolis-St. Paul. My wife, Corrine Foley, was in attendance with me. The doctor showed me where I was having some strength difficulties and some muscle loss and proceeded to show me from my MRIs where the stenosis was occurring. He recommended that I have a couple of discs removed and then a couple of weeks later have additional surgery to scrape bone away from my spine. The discs would be removed from the front by opening my throat and then the scraping would occur from the back of my neck by cutting through muscle. In other words it would be a two surgery procedure. Continue reading