Yes, okay, so there’s been a bit of delay between Round Three of our Robot World Cup and the quarter finals. They needed some oil after three rounds of knockout action (and besides, if the Cricket World Cup can last for what seemed like 17 years, I don’t see why our robo-contest can’t be strung out a bit).
Anyway, there are eight bots left in the competition, so things are hotting up. I’ve randomised the draw this time too, in proper FA stylee with a bunch of numbered balls being picked out of a hat by Metal Mickey and R2-D2. Oh, alright, I just picked them out of a hat.
Read on to see which out of Asimo, Kansei, Robosapien RS Media, N.S.E.C.T., Packbot, iRobiQ, Rogun and Roboquad make it through to the semi-finals. And if you’re new to this World Cup lark, check out Round One, Round 2 and Round 3 to see which bots have already bitten the dust.
Honda Asimo v Kansei Facial Robot
Let’s get this round underway with two of the more emotional robots currently in existence. Honda’s Asimo spent much of his starring appearance at CES 2007 making wisecracks from the stage, while demonstrating his athletic prowess by booting a football, running in circles, and trotting up and down stairs. Honda reckons one day, every home will have one – I for one can’t wait. Meanwhile, Kansei is a new Japanese robot designed to accurately mimic human emotions when presented with 36 words. It’s a bit harsh scaring a robot with the word ‘BOMB’, mind. However, Asimo wins, because really, you’d rather have a robot that can play football AND negotiate your stairs, rather than one that can just wiggle its eyebrows and look worried.
More info: Honda Asimo – Kansei
iRobiQ v iRobot Packbot
There’s a strong current of current robotics research designed to make robots friendly home companions, capable of fitting into the average family. iRobiQ is one of the best examples, being a cheeky Japanese bot who connects to the internet to give you news, weather reports and recipes, while also teaching your kids English and running karaoke singalong sessions. Packbot is by far a more military-minded robot who’s used to sniff out and defuse mines, negotiating even tough ground using his tanklike tracks. This one’s a close fight, but Packbot wins, following news last week that he’s just been kitted out with a Taser stun-gun. Ouch!
More info: iRobiQ – iRobot Packbot
KornTech Rogun v Roboquad
KornTech’s Rogun is another family-friendly robot, who’s designed to be the companion of choice for rich people’s children. And when I say rich people, I’m talking millionnaires… He’s got a seven-inch screen in his belly, which is used to watch TV or make video calls, and can recognise faces using his embedded cameras. Meanwhile, Roboquad is the latest bot from WowWee, with four legs to make scampering along in facehugger fashion more easy. His agression and behaviour levels can be fully customised, enabling you to make him a cuddly insectobot, or a remorseless killing machine. I think doing the latter might void the warranty, mind. Rogun wins because he’s more use around the house. If you can afford him.
More info: KornTech Rogun – Roboquad
Robosapien RS Media v Tyco N.S.E.C.T.
Robosapien is one of the most popular entbots in the world, meaning cheaper robots designed to be… well, not quite toys, but certainly entertaining. He’s packed with multimedia features, as you might guess from the name, and will keep kids of all ages (I’m including parents here) amused. Meanwhile, Tyco’s N.S.E.C.T. is a more traditional robot straight out of a sci-fi film, given that he’s modelled on a spider, with the ability to shoot missiles out of his legs. And while tooled-up arachnids are intrinsically impressive, Robosapien wins for bringing robotics into the mainstream.
More info: Robosapien RS Media – Tyco N.S.E.C.T.
So there is it: the four semi-finalists are Asimo, Packbot, Rogun and Robosapien. Come back tomorrow (really, I mean it this time) to see which two bots make it to the final.