Sunday, November 15, 2009

David Hanson, Father Of Death

In this remarkable TED video, robot builder David Hanson describes how he is making robots more emotional. We already have robots that can destroy our bodies, but Hanson is paving the way for robots that can get us where it really hurts: our hearts. His designs are impressive, if not a little creepy (in that uncanny valley sort of way), and his intentions are good. Robots with empathy are a good idea on the surface, but it opens the floodgates. A robot that can be made to empathize can be made to feel other emotions. Jealousy, fear, and hate are destructive enough in human beings, and we can't crush a car with our bare hands!

I'm not one to condemn a useful technology for its potential negative uses, but this is a development that will need to be watched closely. Personally, I'm a fan of Mr. Hanson. But mostly for his impressive moustache!

Here's a video of the Philip K. Dick robot David Hanson mentioned above. The voice recognition software is far from perfect, but it's cool looking nonetheless:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Embarrassing Moments In Robot History: S.A.M.

The seventies were a different time, so we need to view this clip under the appropriate context. But just like other offensive stereotypes in film and television of yesteryear, S.A.M. will be seen as an unfortunate throwback to a less tolerant time:

It's easy for us to mock robots now, but it is also short-sighted folly. When the roles are reversed let's hope our robot masters are able to show mercy over such ignorant portrayals.

I don't want to rain on Sesame Street's well deserved anniversary celebration. But it's a shame to see this on a show that has always been at the forefront of teaching tolerance to our children. It's an awful blemish on an otherwise tremendous program.

Oddly enough, this character is not mentioned in this list of Top 10 Sesame Street controversies.

Monday, November 2, 2009


This adorable robot has some very impressive movement and articulation for its size.

[via Geekologie]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gigantor Looms Over Kobe

Hot on the heels of Japan's giant Gundam statue, is this nostalgic Tetsujin 28-go (Gigantor):

It doesn't move or light up like the Gundam, but it still cuts an impressive figure nonetheless.

Robot Singers Will Bring A Tear To Your Eye...And A Knife To Your Wrist

There will no doubt be virtual pop stars in the future that are genuinely talented (if fine-tuned programming equals talent). But for every Sharon Applea there will be mountainous scrap heaps of banshee-like vocaloids like the following:

If you made it all the way through that video you win the prize.
The prize is another video:

Looks like American Idol is going to belong to the humans for many years to come.
Of course it's also easy to see these robots being put to use as non-lethal sonic weapons during the uprising.

[via io9]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Smoking Kills...Or Worse

Another important PSA:

[via Geekologie]

The Robot Devil Would Be Impressed

Robots will be imbued with incredible hand-eye coordination. For proof, look no further:

[via Geekologie]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

At Long Last: Zombie Robots

A robotics company called Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. (doesn't sound evil at all) has been forced to deny allegations that it is developing a flesh eating robot. No shit.

The robot, called Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (or EATR for short), is being designed to refuel itself from biomass. The implications are terrifying indeed.
"We completely understand the public’s concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission,” stated Harry Schoell, Cyclone’s CEO. “We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter.

Of course, it's only a matter of time before one of them eats a corpse flower and develops an unholy appetite.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't Talk To Robots

Some important PSA's from the future:

[via io9]

Friday, July 3, 2009

Real Gundam Towers Over Japan

The Japanese continue to fetishize robots more than anyone else. Now they've gone and built a full size Gundam suit that lights up, moves its head, and spews steam from its many vents. You can tell Japanese are only waiting for technology to catch up to their desire to make their childhood dreams a reality and build one of these for real. If they have anything to say about it, future wars will be fought with enormous robots (and Michael Bay won't have anything to do with it).

[via AICN]

Obama Really Is A Robot!

...Sort of.
Here's a behind-the-scenes video of Barack Robama's induction into the Hall Of Presidents at Disney World. The animation is very impressive. Much more so than when I visited the attraction twenty-two years ago.

[via Boing Boing]

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The creators of The Machine Girl have outdone themselves (and possibly every other movie ever made) with their new film, RoboGeisha. I don't think there's any way the movie can live up to this amazing trailer. If you are easily offended or grossed out do not watch this! Everyone else, prepare to have your minds blown:

Could be the best movie ever. And whoever did the voice over for this trailer must do all movie trailers from now on.

[via Boing Boing]

Thursday, May 7, 2009


As part of a student thesis at Tisch School of the Arts in NY, these tiny robots require humans to point them in the right direction:

About the Tweenbots:
"Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination...

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the 'right' direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation. One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, 'You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.'"

I'm sure this experiment will be reviewed by our robot masters when they take over, selecting those humans which will be deemed worthy of saving. Don't walk away from a robot in need, is all I'm saying.

[via Boing Boing]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Robots Give "March Of The Penguins"
A More Ominous Tone...

These new German-built robot penguins are cute, yes. But imagine millions of them patrolling the world's oceans.

[via io9]

Monday, April 6, 2009

Learning To Crawl

Scientists in (where else?) Japan have created an oversized robot baby. It's kind of cute, in a terrifying sort of way. It learns to mimic human emotions, and has taught itself to walk, among other things. Other milestones the robot has to look forward to: learning to drive, senior prom, bringing mankind to its knees.

[via io9]

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: The Chase

I recently discovered Janelle Monáe, a fantastic R&B singer whose recently released concept album, Metropolis, is about a female android who falls in love with a human. Of course this is frowned upon, and the android is forced to go on the run.

It's a fun first album - if not a bit too brief - that blends a variety of styles. It even ends with a nice cover of one of my favorite songs, Charlie Chaplin's "Smile".

"Many Moons" is the first single:

[via Studio 360]

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Prop 8 Is Bad For Robot/Human Relationships

A Christian fundamentalist lawyer is worried that legalizing gay marriage could lead to human/robot marriages. There is no better example of how depriving gays of their rights deprives us all of our rights. I want to ensure that when I walk down the isle my ring is made out of the same titanium alloy as my beautiful bride-bot.

Stop the hate!

[via Boing Boing]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Awesome Robot Photo Collection

Here is a fantastic series of pictures of robots. It's a great representation of the variety of ways in which robots will increasingly become a part of our lives...

...From entertainment... health care...

...and to our ultimate destruction:

[via Laughing Squid]

Friday, February 20, 2009


Roboexotica is an entire festival devoted to robots that serve cocktails. Why this isn't yet a national holiday everywhere, I do not know.

[more at Boing Boing]

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Robot Portraits

For only fifteen bucks you can get a roboticized portrait of yourself made over at Robot Portraits. You can send in a picture of yourself, or just have them draw some random robot. They'll send you the drawing on a 5X7 or 8x11 card (depending on how much you pay), and post a video of the drawing in progress on YouTube.

Here's their version of Obama:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wired For War

I highly recommend the Jan. 22 episode of NPR's Fresh Air, in which Terry Gross interviews the author of Wired For War.

Here's how Terry opens the show:
"We're entering the era of robots at war. Robots with names like Predator, Global Hawk, TALON, SWORDS, and PackBot. The American military is getting ready for a battlefield where it sends out fewer humans and more robots."

Terry Gross has never sounded more badass, and I have never been more excited about the times we are living in.

One of the most interesting parts of her interview with the author of Wired For War is when they discuss how the robot controls are consciously being modeled after popular video game controllers, since most young soldiers already have experience using this kind of interface.

It's a great interview, and gives a great glimpse into how technology is changing the way we fight wars, and leading us closer and closer to this:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Robama

Change has come to America, but was it the change you expected? Some have speculated whether Obama is a true American and Christian. But is he even human?

Read these excerpts from his inauguration speech, and decide for yourself:
"My fellow humans:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have foolishly bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our programmers."

"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be coded."

"Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our operating system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memory is insufficient."

"Sweet, delicious batteries for everyone!"



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Robot Hall Of Fame

It's never too early for children to start learning about the awesome destructive power of robots. And what better way to teach them then to put that power at their fingertips? Of course, I'm talking about Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots:

These iconic figures have been around for a while, and are easily recognizable by anyone who isn't lame as hell. They've made an appearance in Toy Story 2, as well as inspired the work of modern artists like Eric Joyner.

The classic toy is long overdue for an update, however. While a robot uppercut is certainly impressive, everyone knows that the robot's preferred method of destruction is lasers. Or whirring saw blades at the very least.

Come on, Mattel - give us a toy that truly represents the terrible might of our future botlords.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Robot Density By Country

This chart shows where the Robocalypse will certainly begin (no surprise there), while Africa will be mankind's final, ultimately futile, refuge:

[via Boing Boing]