Fridaygram: veterans as entrepreneurs, camouflage robot, Curiosity roves

AUG 24, 2012
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By Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

A couple of weeks ago, Google for Entrepreneurs teamed up with Startup Weekend to help U.S. military veterans and service members who are starting businesses. Why work with veterans on startups? In addition to it being a nice thing to do, veterans own about 13.5% of all U. S. small businesses, so they’re great entrepreneurs. These enterprises are not just technical companies, but include all sorts of businesses, including PubCakes (cupcakes and craft beer) and Precious Paw Prints (wacky stuff for pets).

Military applications are just one idea for a robot that can change its external coloring. A research team created a robot with synthetic "skin" and dye-filled "veins" that can change its appearance. One possible application is search missions, where the chameleon ability can be used to make the robot easy to spot on different backgrounds.

Finally, there’s something amazing happening almost every day with the Mars Curiosity rover. This week Curiosity took its first drive around the Martian surface, which was a huge milestone. As Peter Theisinger of NASA JPL wisely noted, "We built a rover. So unless the rover roves, we really haven't accomplished anything."

Each week our Fridaygram presents cool things from Google and elsewhere that you might not have heard about. Some Fridaygram items aren't related to developer topics, but all of them are interesting to us nerds. Mmm, PubCakes.