robotics

Still Burning via flickr Creative Commons

California’s Pelican Bay state prison houses gang leaders high on the food chain. Contrary to popular myth, they run the joint like a well-oiled machine, with chains-of-command, communication networks, even a system for intake.

On today’s show: a glimpse into the surprisingly orderly life behind bars, and the influence of gangs on life on the outside.

Also today, an African-American woman says it’s time to reject the notion that beating kids is part of black culture.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

Logan Shannon

An agricultural art dating from the Neolithic period shares a glass with the robotics of the future. Since the first evidence of grapevine cultivation for wine about 7000 years ago, viticulture has developed a degree of automation…still, wine-makers depend on human hands and eyes to thoroughly -- and tediously -- inspect their crop for quality and yield. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an automated grape-counting system that will help lighten that load and lead to the production of better wine. Sara Reardon is a staff writer and reporter for New Scientist who covered the machines that could change the future of winemaking.

Researchers from MIT will present a paper on a breakthrough in a dynamic new approach to useful robotics. Here with a preview of the material they call “Smart-Sand” is Daniela Rus - a professor at MIT and a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory there, also known as C-SAIL, along with her PHD student Kyle Gilpin.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/greg2point0/2623514400/" target="_blank">Greg Gillinger</a> via Flickr)

When Word of Mouth sent me to cover a competition designed around Legos, I had no idea that I was walking into the Superbowl of problem solving. 

LINKS:

First Lego League Web Site

Watch the Yappin' Yodas in action