Robot Roundup

I’ve been down in Wellington for a bit, and I’ve hurt my finger and decided to get into the movie business so um… here’s a load of robots that have turned up recently.

The definition of “robot” seems to have broadened a fair bit since the days of R2D2 – and even he was pushing it a bit… and he looked a bit like a Dalek. Daleks actually had little men inside them. R2D2 had another little R2D2. That’s why he was a robot, while strictly speaking, Daleks weren’t.

Anyway, lets start off with one of my favourite concepts – which is robots that don’t have any apparent use, to the people who made them imagine that maybe they might be useful for search and rescue.

1) Midgital fishbot


Cool – in a funny sort of way. Makes you appreciate real fish though dunnit. They go like the clappers real ones – and they know where they’re going, by and large.

2) Roombacam 2000


This absolutely had to happen – in fact people (hackers) were already doing this… in fact I can see an unholy (or holy) alliance developing between the Chinese Shanzai lot, and the Western (or global… but right now it feels kindof Western) Maker Community… where the Makers invent things – and do the test-marketing… if it creates a buzz, then the guys who are really good at mass-producing stuff on the uber-cheap, pick up the thread.

But anyway – this absolutely had to happen – because a Roomba isn’t actually FOR vacuuming floors is it. Not really. I don’t know what it is for… but using a Roomba to vacuum floors is like using a cellphone to make telephone calls.

3) Antique Walkybot 2001

I’m the sort of guy where if someone mentions a band, I say “yea, I used to be into their early stuff… they’ve gone a bit commercial now though”.

I was going on about this one last September – sans vid. Mind you, I got it from someone else, who was probably a proper reporter… and who could well have been the botjunkie person to start with. I’m an echo-chamber me.

Still, never mind about that. This ones with the spiderybot legs still give me the creeps. Cool though.

4) Carhacking

Not entirely about robots… but….

More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns wanking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.

Which is interesting from a whole load of different angles – the least of which is that there are actually remote controlled vehicle-immobilization systems for cars. Eh? Are you taking the piss? DRM for cars? Unbefuckinglievable.

Great for kidnapping though innit… and it also raises the question – “at what point does your car become a type of robot?”, because let’s face it possums, if they’ve DRMed it, it’s not yours.

The other thing of course is that if this is doable to cars, at some point it will be doable to video-enabled Roombas… so while you’re doing whatever it is you do when no one’s watching, the entire internet will be sitting there, eating popcorn, watching you.

Still no worries eh. If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear. Yer fecking weirdo.

5) Natural Language Understanding Quadracopter

So long as you talk like a droid.

If you say something like “WTF are you doing? Arrgghhh… don’t do that!!! WTF!!! STOP!!! NO!!!! ARRRRGGHHHHH!!!” it probably won’t understand you. Or would pretend not to.

6) Fish Condo


You can stack them up and make apartment blocks etc.

Instead of fish, you could put little R2D2s in them. They’d go about their business etc, but would actually be watching your every move and telling the internet if you did anything weird. They’ve got little men inside them you know.

7) And The Artist said “Oh I saw, pretty much what I always see”

Also via Notcot.

8) Ok, it’s not really about robots anymore. Let’s stop pretending.

The Raw Feed was wondering, “What’s this dude doing? Does anyone know the story?”

Well I’d say it’s fairly obvious. He’s made his own sensory deprivation pod to do computer stuff in. Only his screen isn’t big enough to be properly emmersive. See – this is what people want. This is what the Shanzai guys should make – meanwhile Microsoft et al are making these W.A.A.I interfaces because they’re always turning up (for dramatic effect) in Sci Fi movies – and they figure that’s what people want.

It isn’t. Only idiots want computer interfaces where they have to run about the place flapping their arms. It’s a no-brainer. Mind you Wiis seem to be quite popular. I think the human race will devolve into two separate species – one that lives in pods like off The Matrix, but instead of being asleep, they’re lying there playing video games and swapping LOLcat pictures, and the other will be daft bird-like creatures who flap about the place with brains like ping-pong balls, eating millet.

Which will you be? Hmmm? Which will you be?

Because you’re probably already a bit like that now.

9) A robot looking at stuff

It actually looks quite a lot smarter than it is. Machine intelligence is so easy to fake – they just have to look attentive – instead of sitting at the back and yawning and doodling on the desk etc.

1 Comment » for Robot Roundup
  1. My favorite punchlines of this hilarious post:
    “…like using a cellphone to make telephone calls.”
    “…it probably won’t understand you. Or would pretend not to.”
    “…telling the internet if you did anything weird”
    “…Because you’re probably already a bit like that now.”

    Myself, I’m often pod-based whilst eating millet!