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
Anyone who's shopped at IKEA knows that the worst part of the process is looking at a wordless instruction manual and bemoaning the loss of a Saturday afternoon. That's why the IKEA Bot is the best thing to happen to cheap, modern home furnishing. It also happens to display the bright future for robotic teamwork being used to complete complex assembly procedures.
Demonstrated by Daniela Rus, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, during the White House "We The Geeks" Google+ Hangout on Friday, the IKEA Bot was … 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
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
Parkour, the art of navigating the urban environment using your wits, athleticism, and leaping ability, has been the domain of humans. Now, a small robot wants to get in on the fun. The RHex robot is building up its parkour skills and trying them out by performing flips in the air and leaping onto obstacles.
RHex stands for "robot hexapod." The little machine sports six springy legs that rotate around, giving it an air of plucky self-importance as it makes its way across the ground. RHex has been in development based on a platform created over a decade ago, but its ability to tackle parkour exercises represents an evolution in its abilities. The new, lightweight version is know as XRL, or X-RHex Lite.… Read more
While the Star Wars Celebration Europe fan fest has gone the way of the Jedi, its impact is still causing ripples in the Force.
As expected, "Star Wars: Episode VII" dominated conversation at the July 26-28 event, but there was also focus on the new animated show, composer John Williams, and some interesting quotes from Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.… Read more