Tipped for the top of kids' Christmas lists this year is Dave the Funky Shoulder Monkey robot. Priced £24.99, Dave can perform over 30 different actions and movements, controlled via remote control. And yes, before you ask, that includes...
It's that time of year again, where we all rush off to Clinton's for a naff card, a syrupy teddy and a box of Quality Streets for our loved ones. Yep, Valentine's Day rears its sickly head once again,...
To the casual eye, this may be a fish caught somewhere off the uncanny valley, but most fishes' limited eyesight will mean that it slips by completely unnoticed as it goes about its business. And its business is detecting hazardous pollutants in the water off the coast of Spain.
They've been designed by a group of UK scientists with the intention of not scaring the local water life. They look like carp, and move around realistically with a top speed of around 2.25mph. They cost £20,000 a-piece, but fortunately the designers from the University of Essex have found the European Commission happy to foot the bill.
If you want the thrill of seeing a woman dancing on a stage but without the risk of being seen entering the establishment or having to make eye contact with a live female, here's a perfect futuristic solution.
This collection of moving, gyrating, female-like components can be seen in action at the Mutate Britain exhibition, where you can stare all you want without being made to feel sad or guilty because...
This is a damn creepy robotic head, put together by researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. He's called "Jules", and can watch your facial expressions and copy them. In the video above, he's copying the expressions of the scientist behind the camera, while you hear the scientists' voice.
Dunno about you, but this one, for me, falls firmly into the uncanny valley. Especially if it was copying my facial movements exactly. It's a bit like that friend everyone has who doesn't quite 'get' social interaction and always behaves a little bit odd. Robotics is great, but we're still some way off realistic human expressions, it seems.
(via the Daily Mail)
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Tony Blair famous said that "we're all middle class now" - what he failed to point out though, was that it was because we can now build a new working class of robots trained to do the menial stuff that rich people used to employ poor people to do.
The great thing about being a geek is that you can do stuff without the nagging question "Why?". To a geek, the questions "Why have you made the toaster run a web server?", "Why have you built a teddy that speaks Twitter?" and "Why am I not surprised you're single?" don't ever factor into any decision making. Which is why someone has made a beer pouring robot that's powered by Twitter-alike microblogging service Pownce.
The trouble with scientists is that they're too obsessed with numbers and efficiency and functionality - its why all of the robots that have been invented so far don't quite live up to what we've come to expect from science fiction. Sure, those robot arms that build cars are probably quite useful, but they don't really look the part. That's why you need artists. Artists like Nemo Gould...
Everyone loves a robot. Especially a sensitive robot. Just look at WALL-E or Johnny-5. When it comes to a robot who has the capacity to feel, we all go a bit gooey inside. The cold, unfeeling, emotionless robot is a metaphor for that fear we have of losing what it is to be human.
Okay, so i'm playing loose with the double-meanings behind the word 'feel' and 'sensitive', because we're not talking emotional robots, or robots with 'feelings' but rather robots which can feel. Like in objects, and surroundings. LIke we can, physically.
Yes, some rather smug looking Japanese researchers/scientists/tech-bods have stumbled upon the perfect answer to the problem of making Robots completely sensitive to their environment. Be it cold, hot, hard, or soft. The skin they've developed looks like tin foil, gold tin foil like the stuff they wrap around marathon runners at the end of the race. Space Blankets i think they're called. Anyway, it looks like that, but it's not. It's a fine rubbery material that has hundreds and thousands of tiny carbon particles inside which allow conductivity of electricity. The skin can be stretched to 2.3 times it's normal size, allowing it to bend around a robot's metal frame and move with joints like a glove.