How robots act, think and sense the world around them will be the focus of an upcoming exhibit billed as the largest and most comprehensive nationwide on robotics. • The Carnegie Science Center plans to open a robotics exhibition next spring called Roboworld that will encompass an array of mechanized devices, including a welder that's been modified to pick up basketballs and shoot them through a hoop. • The $3.4-million permanent display — similar to a traveling exhibition that's been on the road since 1996 — will emphasize three aspects of artificial robotic behavior: sensing, thinking and acting. And it will include members of the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame
(www.robothalloffame.org). • The exhibition, which also will pay homage to portrayals of robots in popular culture, will capitalize on the work of area universities and businesses that have developed an international reputation in robotics, said museum director Joanna Haas. • The museum hopes by mounting the exhibit to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, math and technology, among other fields, she said.
AOL moves closer to center of ad industry
With little fanfare, AOL began occupying new headquarters in New York this month to bring itself closer to the heart of the media and advertising industry as it transforms itself into an ad-supported business. About 300 senior executives and content producers, many already located elsewhere in the city, were the first to move to the new digs at 770 Broadway in Greenwich Village, once home to the grand Wanamaker department store. AOL's ad sales representatives are to follow at a still-unspecified date. Many senior executives will keep second offices at AOL's former headquarters in Dulles, Va. Although AOL has laid off thousands of employees, few of those dismissals result from the headquarters move. AOL plans to keep a large presence in Dulles, which became its headquarters in 1996.
Repeat passwords only at your peril
Using the same password for multiple Web pages is the Internet-era equivalent of having the same key for your home, car and bank safe-deposit box. Even though a universal password is like gold for cyber crooks because they can use it to steal all of a person's sensitive data at once, nearly half the Internet users queried in a new survey said they use just one password for all their online accounts. At the same time, 88 percent of the 800 people interviewed in the United States and the United Kingdom for the survey by the Accenture consultancy said personal irresponsibility is the key cause of identity theft and fraud. Researchers say the findings suggest that many users underestimate the growing threat from organized cyber criminals who can reap big profits from selling stolen identities.
Army to use portable polygraphs on bases
U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan are getting portable detectors aimed to help determine whether suspects in roadside bombings or people looking to enter military bases are telling the truth about their intentions. The devices, which cost $7,500 each, are not full-blown polygraphs, or lie detectors, said Donald Krapohl, special assistant to the director at the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment, the agency at Fort Jackson that helped design the devices. The Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening Systems will be among several tests the Army uses to decide if a person is truthful, Krapohl said. He said the Army has bought 94. The use of the devices was first reported by MSNBC.com, which also raised questions about the Army's test of their reliability.
Google adapts tech for child-porn fight
The fight against child pornography is getting an assist from technology designed by Google to help identify copyright-protected clips on its YouTube video-sharing site. Four Google employees used their "20 percent time" — during which the company encourages them to pursue unofficial, out-of-the-box projects — to customize the copyright software for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's program for identifying children in photos and video. Software already has been used to match known images, but when new ones are submitted, analysts generally make identifications manually, often based on recollections. With the new Google tools, analysts can also seek matches based on other attributes, such as the color and shape of a couch or wallpaper.