Sramana Majumdar

"Violence, Identity and Self-determination: Narratives of conflict from the Kashmir Valley" 4:15 PM, Monday 18 Nov Room 239, BYC Bryn Mawr College

Exposure Index

Tired of paper and pencil questionnaires about integration and intergroup contact? Try the new and improved EXPOSURE INDEX (click tab above on this page).

Drone and Taliban Attacks Hit Civilians, Afghans Say

The drone strike killed four suspected militants – and a dozen civilian passengers in the truck.  Whether intentional or not, such strikes imply a lack of concern for bystanders that explains the heavily negative perception of drones in the region.

U.S. documents detail al-Qaeda’s efforts to fight back against drones

Notable is that some of the proposed responses include al-Qaeda building their own drones.  While most drones today are dependent on major power’s global communications reach and strong technological/industrial base, UAVs are remarkably simple for today’s technology and small, cheap versions can be obtained or built by anyone.  Terrorist and insurgent groups of all kinds […]

Will Robots Replace Rent-a-Cops?

This particular application requires using all of robotics’ worst skills: sensor analysis and human interaction.  While the idea is closer to reality than in Asimov’s day, it’s still a long way away.

Nissan Autonomous Tech Influenced By Animal Movement

Many animals demonstrate effective group movement – schools of fish, swarms of insects, and herds.  Nissan recently promised commercially available driverless cars by 2020, and part of reaching that goal appears to be cars that work with and around each to efficiently move as a group.

NASA’S Mars Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation

Fully autonomous control for the Mars rover has always been desirable – current distance to Mars is 19 light minutes, one way.  However, with $2.5 billion on the line, the slow but safe remote control mode has generally been preferable.

World’s Smallest Drone Autopilot System Goes Open Source

A sign of increased accessibility of unmanned vehicles technology.  The small chip includes everything a hobbyist or researcher or robotics team needs to guide a small UAV along a preprogrammed path.

2 Drone-Journalism Programs Seek Federal Approval to Resume Flying

There’s always been some conflict between reporters trying to get access to disaster areas and the first responders.  Now, it appears, they will have to compete on airspace, too.

Nissan Promises to Deliver Autonomous Car by 2020

An ambitious goal, but coming from a large automotive company with the ability to put a lot of money and expertise into the problem.  As with electric cars, however, autonomous cars could remain a niche item for some time.

Peru’s archaeologists turn to drones to help protect and explore ancient ruins

These UAVs are not just surveying sites, they’re surveying them in 3D.  This article mentions the flight-time problem – UAVs like the one pictured usually have a battery life of around 15 minutes.  For all the potential, this is a segment of the industry that desperately needs better power supplies.

This Hybrid Quadcopter Drone Can Take Off and Land Vertically

Vertical Takeoff and Landing systems have long been a goal of military aircraft manufacturers.  Some (the Harrier jet) usually require at least some runway, others (the Osprey) have been plagued by safety problems.  UAVs are cheaper, don’t risk pilots, and are smaller, all of which make the desired flexibility more practical to achieve.