Feeds

€1bn handout from the EU targets ambient nagware and robot pets

'Hello. I am your cyborg buddy. You look fat'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The EU is throwing an eye-watering €1bn of public funds to bankroll some of the most whimsical technology projects ever envisaged – for a decade. A shortlist of six applicants includes talking pet robots, and ambient low-power sensors that provide health tips and "emotional" advice.

The program is called FET, and is funded by the European Commission (which means it is funded by member states – although they can also fritter contribute even more money through matching funds) Lucky beneficiaries will be forgiven for thinking Christmas has come early: €1bn to be doled out over 10 years is earmarked for the winner: that's €100m a year.

The final six nominees were unveiled by Digital Czar Neelie Kroes earlier this month. One project, "Robots Companions for Citizens", from robotics expert Paolo Dario, promises us lifelong cyborg chums.

"We have to go beyond the master-slave relationship," writes Dario in his application. "These novel devices will not be 'slaves' executing orders given by a human operator, but they will act like apprentices able to learn from experience, to understand the goals of their actions, to adapt to contingencies and to anticipate, in a developmental and evolutionary way, the intentions of their human companions (as apprentices becoming more and more skilled up to the level of autonomy desired by the personal human companion).

Er, autonomy? Up to a point, Professor. The robot that refuses to fetch its citizen a beer from the fridge may soon find itself decommissioned.

But perhaps training the human, not the robot, is the real goal here.

For example, another recipient project is "Guardian Angel for a Smarter Planet".

The "Guardian Angels for a Smarter Planet" [website] wants to build zero-energy sensors that monitor the environment, that can be built into clothing, or worn as bracelets. Sensor research isn't new, so the Swiss team has tailored its pitch to match the sponsor's desires.

The sensors could guess the wearer's emotional state and give them advice, or alert somebody else:

"Take a trader in the stock exchange, for example," the team write. "If he succumbs to his emotions, the transactions he's proposing would need to be carefully vetted before being accepted. In the classroom, students' attention levels could be monitored."

It's certainly handy to know who to throw the board rubber at, although perhaps that can be automated in a subsequent project.

Another recipient is "The FuturIcT Knowledge Accelerator" which draws on aMfM for inspiration – and distinctive capitalisation. This promises to "unleash the Power of Information for a Sustainable Future", as Professor Dirk Helbing of ETH Zurich explains: "The FuturIcT Flagship will build a knowledge accelerator to address the challenges for humankind in the 21st century." This involves a large SIM-style game capable of handling more than 10 billion nodes.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
UK.gov pushes for SWIFT ACTION against nuisance calls, threatens £500k fines
DCMS seeks lowering of legal threshold to fight rogue firms
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
Hungary's internet tax cannot be allowed to set a precedent, says EC
More protests planned against giga-tariff for Tuesday evening
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.