The thrill of verbally abusing Siri had pretty much petered out, and we were really ready to roll up our sleeves and whip some actual robot booty.
Now, thanks to "Shiri" -- and the University of Electro-Comunications in Tokyo -- we can. Shiri, you see, is -- to put it bluntly -- a robutt. Or, perhaps, a robo-butt. The university itself calls it "a buttocks humanoid robot that expresses various emotions with organic movements of the artificial muscles."
And, according to the embedded video, the project's purpose is twofold: to advance the "innovative use of robotics technology and its purpose," and "to raise the argument as to what perceptions will be manifested in the minds of people who communicate with Shiri."
We think they can check "innovative use of robotics technology" off the list. As for point No. 2, well, who knows? Let's roll the video already and get on with the robot spankfest.
One last thing though: Is Shiri for real? We're not 100 percent certain, but it seems to be. Along with informing us that "Shiri" means "buttocks" in Japanese, Kotaku reports that the project "is the work of researcher Nobuhiro Takahashi (this possibly mischievous fellow perhaps?).... Takahashi is also working on 'self-hugging' rigs as well as some sort of kissing simulator."
And we know the Japanese are into quiveringly emotive robo-devices. Plus, the university does seem to have a legitimate Web site. And this project would seem to support the tagline on the site's home page: "aiming to establish a unique and exciting campus." Indeed.