Thursday, May 26, 2011

Socially Awkward Robotic Blimp Stalks People

Meet Ollie, the DIY autonomous robotic blimp. He (yes, the blimp is apparently a "he") floats on Helium; has flapping wings made of wire, mylar, and servos; and he reacts to his surroundings--often socially awkwardly.

Created by Pritika Nilaratna, a user experience designer and programmer in New York City, Ollie floats around and tries to get attention from people. He is observant and reacts to voices by "excitedly flapping his wings. Ollie is meant to be friendly and eager to be noticed, but also unobtrusive--you could just just push him out of your way if he gets annoying.

In the video of Ollie below, you see that he actually kind of stalks people to get their attention. According to Pritikia "machine-human interaction has the potential to be both poetic and ubiquitous," and Ollie "is a demonstration of the creative capabilities of robots as inhabitants of our society, breaking the stereotype of the servile robot." In other words, Ollie is meant to break the standard that we're so used to. It's definitely funny watching some people's responses to Ollie.

Ollie from Pritika Nilaratna on Vimeo.

So how do you get your own? You make it! Ollie is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License which means that you can copy and modify Ollie's design so long as you give credit to the author (Pritika) and that you only distribute the resulting work under the same kind or similar license.

You can make your very own Ollie with an Arduino board, some servos, a mylar balloon envelope, and some other basic electronics supplies. Pritika posted instructions for Ollie on the main Ollie site and also as an Instructables project. To learn more about Ollie check out the abstract.
[Ollie via Hackaday / Video: Pritika Nilaratna (at Vimeo)]

Hare Psychopathy Checklist - define, person, people, used, personality, score, traits, Definition, Purpose

The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) is a diagnostic tool used to rate a person's psychopathic or antisocial tendencies. People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want.

The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimising others.

There place in society
Unfortunately the most successful psychopaths can be found in all walks of life but they are particularly prevalent in Politics and the Armed Forces, Senior Executive and Managing Director level roles in corporate organisations or as much lauded, business entrepreneurs. 

The very nature of the psychopath gives them the advantage over their more empathetic, thoughtful and co-operative competitors. Read through this article and see if you can recognise anyone in your organisation or in the public view.

The Hare PCL-R
Originally designed to assess people accused or convicted of crimes, the PCL-R consists of a 20-item symptom rating scale that allows qualified examiners to compare a subject's degree of psychopathy with that of a prototypical psychopath. 

It is accepted by many in the field as the best method for determining the presence and extent of psychopathy in a person.

The Hare checklist is still used to diagnose members of the original population for which it was developed— adult males in prisons, criminal psychiatric hospitals, and awaiting psychiatric evaluations or trial in other correctional and detention facilities. 

Recent experience suggests that the PCL-R may also be used effectively to diagnose sex offenders as well as female and adolescent offenders.

The Hare PCL-R contains two parts, a semi-structured interview and a review of the subject's file records and history. During the evaluation, the clinician scores 20 items that measure central elements of the psychopathic character. 

The items cover the nature of the subject's interpersonal relationships; his or her affective or emotional involvement; responses to other people and to situations; evidence of social deviance; and lifestyle. 

The material thus covers two key aspects that help define the psychopath: selfish and unfeeling victimisation of other people, and an unstable and antisocial lifestyle.

The twenty traits assessed by the PCL-R score are:
  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioral controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behavior problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility
The interview portion of the evaluation covers the subject's background, including such items as work and educational history; marital and family status; and criminal background. 

Because psychopaths lie frequently and easily, the information they provide must be confirmed by a review of the documents in the subject's case history. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shuttle Endeavour ready for launch: NASA TV

Two Cats In A Sack: Designer versus Developer

The differences between designers and developers can often erupt into more than simple pointed jabs and these can appear online or in public, at conferences. Joking aside, these jabs and the lack of clear boundaries can create friction with very real consequences.

Two Cats In A Sack: Designer-Developer Discord - Smashing Magazine

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Harness the disruption or become obsolete: Forreste

Disruptive technology is changing the way we do business. It is perhaps the CIO's greatest challenge. And, according to Forrester vice-president and research director, Mark Mulligan, the opportunities lie not in the disruption itself, but in how you respond.

“Companies lose control of their customers when disruptive technology enables them to interact with their products and services on their terms,” he told CIOs at Forresters Empowered event in Sydney. “When this happens, revenues are threatened and companies — unless they harness this technology and develop new products and services — fail. It’s really quite simple.”

Mulligan calls this process disruptive renewal. And although it is often rapid, it doesn’t happen all at once. There are three key stages:

1. Disruptive empowerment

“This is what happens when your customers have technology that enables them to use products and services on their terms,” Mulligan said. “Think the rise of the internet, or home broadband, or smartphones and the iPad.”

2. Discontinuous change

By this stage, according to Mulligan, the new technology hasn’t just opened up new behaviour patterns, it has permanently, and irrevocably, changed the way in which customers interact and engage.

3. A choice

“Either companies harvest this disruption and learn how to build and use these new paradigms into their products and services or they fail and face terminal obsolescence”.

Mulligan argues the most important factor in consumer technology in 21st Century is connectivity. And he is quick to point out that dramatically disruptive technology hardly new; witness the rise of radio and television.

“We don't have an exclusive on rapid technological change,” he said.

The problem for organisations is that as technology improves, people expect more from their products and services, often for less money sometimes for nothing at all. And, in the age of disruptive renewal, the customer has control.

“Good enough is just not good enough anymore,” Mulligan said.

If companies fail to respond to disruptive change, the can quickly find their traditional cannibalised by non-traditional competitors. Mulligan cites the music industry, which over the years has spent the majority of its time and effort fighting online music technology instead of trying to harness it.

“In just 10 years the disruptive of ‘free’ shattered the revenues with disruptive change — because of their response.

“It's not the disruption that decides what happens to your company. It's how you respond to it.”

Most companies do not respond effectively enough or quickly enough to disruptive environments and discontinuous change. Forrester asked product strategist across around the world about the issue, and 92 per cent said they think disruption will seriously challenge their products.