Louis C.K. doesn't need to start worrying just yet. A new video of RoboThespian trying stand-up comedy suggests the humanoid bot's not quite ready for the Comedy Cellar.
"Hello, weak-skinned pathetic perishable humans; sorry, I mean ladies and gentlemen," the robot begins in a robotic male voice. (A few paltry laughs.)
"I once dated a MacBook. It didn't work because she was all 'i' this, and 'i' that."
"You know what really pushes my buttons? That guy that's in control of me."
OK, those went over a bit better at a performance at London's Barbican Centre last week.
Still, RoboThespian -- who can be controlled live or act out programmed skits from "Star Wars," Shakespeare, or just about anything else -- probably won't be gunning for a show on Comedy Central anytime soon. … Read more
Blood clots in the brain are a growing health problem with devastating effects. These clots have a 40 percent mortality rate, and survivors can suffer from brain damage. Treatment is extremely challenging, but researchers at Vanderbilt University hope a new robot will be able to help. The bot uses a steerable needle to clear out clots.
Doctors often avoid operating on brain blood clots due to their tricky location and the risk of causing collateral damage. The robot, however, needs only a small opening to do its work. It can be guided by ultrasound or CT imaging to the targeted spot in the brain where it sucks out the clot. The needle extends like a telescope and is curved to navigate bends.… Read more
How close would you want to get to a lion with your camera for that perfect shot? It turns out that one way to capture the terrifying beasts -- and produce spectacular images -- is with a mini roving robot.
National Geographic lensman Michael "Nick" Nichols and videographer Nathan Williamson used a remote-controlled camera robot and a MikroKopter mini UAV to photograph a pride of lions in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
After they got used to the machines, the cats generally ignored them while Nichols and Williamson shot 242,000 images and 200 hours of video, mostly from a modified Land Rover. … Read more
You only need to experience another blackout for a reminder of the importance of power grid maintenance. Robots that crawl along and inspect power lines could save utilities a bundle in preventive checks.
We've seen a few designs for machines that can take on this dangerous and tricky job, such as Hydro-Quebec's LineScout, but they can still cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Engineers at the University of California at San Diego have developed a cheap and fast wire-crawling inspection robot called the SkySweeper. Made of off-the-shelf electronics and 3D-printed parts , the basic bot can be produced for less than $1,000. … Read more
It was always something of a childhood dream: a teddy bear that would wake up and become a real, live companion. Teddy Ruxpin, the storytelling bear with a cassette player inside, tried. Then there was the somewhat horrifying yet mysteriously wildly popular Furby.
The smartphone, though, seems to be unlocking some previously untapped interactivity potential.
Enter Supertoy: a teddy bear currently seeking funding on Kickstarter that uses virtual-assistant-style software to hold real conversations. Think of it as Siri meets Ted, with the added ability to tell stories, and minus the ruder elements of Ted's personality. … Read more
Calling all sci-fi enthusiasts with cash stowed under the sofa. A gigantic 1950s robot called "Cygan" is to be sold at auction next month, and could fetch upwards of $18,000.
The half-ton bot was built in Italy in 1957, the BBC reports, and was shown off in London the following year, delighting adults and children alike by dancing clumsily with a lady, and not murdering anyone.
Cygan, sometimes called Gygan, has the power to crush a can in his robotic claw, and is equipped with a camera so that his operator can monitor his movements. … Read more
On August 6 (or late August 5 for many of us in North America), the Curiosity rover landed on the surface of Mars after a journey of several months from Earth. The flight was the easy part. Once the spacecraft carrying the rover was in the thin Martian atmosphere, a braking parachute was deployed, followed by a "sky crane" that lowered the rover gingerly onto the surface. Jubilation erupted at Mission Control following the "seven minutes of terror" during which it wasn't clear whether the landing had succeeded.
When the robots take over, some of us might get scared. Others might be terrified. But the smart ones will be drunk.
Provided, that is, a new study on fish and robot fish can tell us anything about the human condition. In a piece of research that cries out for an Ig Nobel prize, scientists learned that alcohol can reduce the fear of scary robots in zebrafish.
Yes, beer goggles even work with robotic Indian leaf fish. … Read more
Move over, BigDog. DARPA's canine-like quadruped has a new animal kingdom automaton to contend with: the Crabster, a six-legged underwater robot that's sure to cause at least a few nightmares. So if you happen to suffer from kabourophobia -- yes, there's a fear of crabs -- turn back now.
Designed at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) with help from five South Korean universities, the Crabster CR200 as its officially known was aimed at overcoming the challenges posed by strong tidal currents in shallow waters. Propellor-equipped ROVs and automatous underwater vehicles are adept at swift movements and deep diving, but the technology doesn't bode well in rough conditions. Current tidal strengths of 1.5 meters per second are enough to rip the scuba mask off a human explorer, explains Jason Falconer for IEEE Spectrum. … Read more